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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all.

After having a new high voltage voltec battery a few months back to fix the dreaded reduced propulsion power error, my Ampera was now bricked with the service steering column notification.

Couldn’t do anything for about half an hour then turned the car off and on again.

Vauxhall want £470 to fix it.

Any suggestions?

Was there a recall note? Should I pay it? Is there a cheaper way to fix?
 

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If the 12V battery is old (>4 years) or original change it. Low voltage will do this. Park with the wheels straight to keep tension off the lock mechanism as it's a pathetic slot car motor doing the work!

See various threads on here about it.
long thread
 

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Hi all.

After having a new high voltage voltec battery a few months back to fix the dreaded reduced propulsion power error, my Ampera was now bricked with the service steering column notification.

Couldn’t do anything for about half an hour then turned the car off and on again.

Vauxhall want £470 to fix it.

Any suggestions?

Was there a recall note? Should I pay it? Is there a cheaper way to fix?
You can reset the fault by opening the drivers door find the fuse cover on the side of the dash which was hidden by the door,remove the cover .
With the car off remove second from the bottom, red 10 amp fuse first one is gray then two red fuses so it's the first red then turn on your car then turn it back off put fuse in and turn on again the steering lock will be off .
Mine has done this two times in 4 years so don't rush to change it .
 

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The fuse trick worked for me. Same has only happened twice in 3 years, so don’t rush..
Also don’t lean on or pull steering wheel when getting out of car, that’s how I done mine I think last time
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I’ve had a new 12V battery and tried the fuse trick. Still pops up and and then.

My only frustration is the fact that the car was bricked. Couldn’t even turn it off. Had to sit and wait 30 min.

Don’t fancy that if we’re stuck somewhere.
 

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Hi all.

After having a new high voltage voltec battery a few months back to fix the dreaded reduced propulsion power error, my Ampera was now bricked with the service steering column notification.

Couldn’t do anything for about half an hour then turned the car off and on again.

Vauxhall want £470 to fix it.

Any suggestions?

Was there a recall note? Should I pay it? Is there a cheaper way to fix?
I’ve had a new 12V battery and tried the fuse trick. Still pops up and and then.

My only frustration is the fact that the car was bricked. Couldn’t even turn it off. Had to sit and wait 30 min.

Don’t fancy that if we’re stuck somewhere.
I have read that you can buy a small plug in unit which tricks the car into thinking it's working your steering lock but the lock never works so you don't have the problem but not sure if they make one for the ampera .
 

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I've posted on the steering lock issues before and in my view there are 2 different issues here. The first time it happened to me I was stuck like Joe 13 unable to do anything and not able to turn the steering wheel. Luckily I was able to search EV and come up with the fuse solution.
The other issue is that about 90% of the times when I start the car, there is a message re servicing the steering lock. This message does not affect the driving of the car and it disappears when you press the vehicle message button. Many people suggest to park with the wheels straight but I always do and it makes no difference. Perhaps that's because I am parking on a slightly inclined driveway and that might be triggering the fault message.
 

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I was talking to some working at Vxl headquarters in Luton that worked on the Ampera project, explaining that I had this issue recently and he said that Vxl were replacing the steering lock module with the ones fitted to the 2014 batch as they didn't seem to suffer the same issue.

Not sure if that's what the ultimate fix or just that those units lasted longer before suffering the same issue
 

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My 2012 Amp got a newer lock fitted around 2015 time if I remember correctly. Made a different buzz when operating, but hasn't got rid of the dreaded message. I don't believe there';s a permanent fix tbh.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi all.

Had the issue arise again. Completely bricked the car.

What now? Need this fixed. Do I pay Vauxhall £470 or try something else?
 

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Have you applied the Fuse technique Galloway posted a few posts above? If that's failed, try a complete car reset. In the boot, lift the base & you'll see the 2 removable covers above the 12V battery terminals. Remove the right one, which is the Earth. Am not sure if you can get at the clamp nut or not; you may have to lift out entire boot plastic cover, needs a 10mm longish socket in the 4 corners, and lift. The 2 battery terminal cover holes make an excellent grab point! Take the Earth lead off the battery, and wait 5 minutes. Then put it back & tighten. That's the reset procedure. While you're there, measure the 12V battery, needs to be over 12V or that suggests the 12V is dying - a very bad thing you do not want. If the battery has a GM part number on it, then that's the Delco original - deffo change at once. If not sooner.

If this and the Fuse trick don't fix it, it may be a flatbed job sadly.
 

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Joe, have you been parking with the steering absolutely 100% straight ahead? I believe this reduces the forces on the locking pin, and may help reduce the number of times you see this error message. But the message still comes up occasionally, despite this!
 

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I also have an Ampera with the updated Steering column lock and its usually when it gets knocked or loaded under stress the error message appears. HandyAndy a challange for you is to build a Defeat device that will fool the car into thinking the lock is in place. so we can all unplug our units and avoid the dreaded steering column locking. I suspect you wold get a number of buyers for such tech , me definatly.
 

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Take the thing off, hacksaw off the short bar sticking out, and then tape the unit somewhere up out of the way. But whether bypassing a security device in this way will invalidate your insurance if the car's nicked, I have no idea.

I still don't know why his message happens, as I'm rigorous about leaving the steering column in a position where there should be zero force stopping the bolt moving freely. I still get the msg randomly, maybe every 4 months on average. I heard a mention ages ago that an AA man thought there was a timing clash or somesuch on the canbus? Or maybe there's a slight race-condition error in the software, if the car's trying to unlock at precisely the same instant that the cpu's busy doing something else, and the unlock code times out disastrously? Who knows. But touch wood, I haven't been bricked, and that should only happen if the car thinks the bolt is stuck in place & cannot be withdrawn. So best not to leave it in such a position with any pressure on it.
 

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The corvette C5 or C6 steering lock simulator may work on the Ampera, The US Volt did not have a steering lock so no one tried fitting one. As a lot of the normal Ampera parts came out of the GM parts bin its probable one of these kits fits.
Sold on Amazon.com
 

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Typical of our recall system that in the US GM removed the offending lock and installed a simulator on the Corvette. I can't see any way that the Volt/Ampera could be stolen with the gear shift in Park and the electronics immobilised but I guess we have an old regulation somewhere that requires a steering lock.
Easier to just steal or clone the fob.
I may take a look at simulating the lock as it just seems to be a cheap Scalextric motor which is reversed to unlock/lock. The software must look for an increase in current to show when it is at end of travel but high amps from the start flags the alarm.
Since buying a spare and putting it in the glove box, I've not seen the alarm (touching wood).
My plan is to just plug it in and tape it under the dash to act as though it is in position, leaving the other unlocked unless I can get the bolts out.
 

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Just had exactly the same problem an hour ago. Turned car on - steering wheel wobbled quite a bit - then got steering fault message. Unable to turn car off or move out of park or take handbrake off - so was completely stuffed. Took said fuse out and was able to turn car off. Put fuse back in - all working again. I've had car 5 months now and covered 5k miles - and never seen issue before. (I don't think previous owner saw error in the 20k he did). I will be due a service in January and will change 12v battery as routine. I think I parked with steering wheel slightly off centre - so will re if I can reproduce doing this. As a software engineer, I can see how the system may have crashed, if the steering wheel took longer to release, timing issue with message to processor that controls good to go. From what I have read seem to occur if new battery or new steering column. So, I guess it requires a software update to fix it.
 
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