Corvette Z06 Forum banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just bought my first Corvette yesterday! I'm so excited - I have never experience such a ride. 2002, Mil Yellow Z06, black interior with 3,850 miles - still in warranty. Perfect paint - adult owned and garaged, never been in rain and I picked it up for $33,000. When I called my dealer and asked for info on the VIN, he told me to bring it as the column lock recall was open on this car and he would fix it. As to what I understand, the factory fix is only electronic....not a true fix. Is this correct and should I purchase and installed the aftermarket fix or just remember the "turn the steering wheel hard to the right" solution?

Thanks for you reply

17,744 Posts
Welcome Aboard the Good Ship Z06 :z: :z:

On 6 speeds the dealer just re-flashes the computer and checks to see the the column lock is functioning correctly. It will wipe out any custom programing (tune) the may have been installed. There is a lot of debate on whether this dealer reprogram should be done. If your program have been modified in any way IMO I would not have it done. I have not had it done on my car because I don't trust them not mark or scratch my car up.

Steering Column Lock FAQs

This is an attempt to compile all the Column Lock Information into one place. If there are errors, please contact me so I can investigate and correct. With all the recalls going out, there is a great amount of confusion, questions, anxiety, and threads. Hopefully this will be helpful to many of our forum readers.

GM installed a Steering Column Lock mechanism on all 1997 - 2004 manual (M6) cars and on 1997 to about 2001 automatic (A4) cars
There is a GM recall for this problem on affected models and years
It is one of the most problematic issues that we deal with
It can happen to you regardless how old your C5 is or how many miles you have
Low battery voltage seems to aggravate and sometimes cause column lock failures

Q What is the symptom of failure?
A Your steering wheel will not unlock and the DIC will display an error message "Service Steering Column Lock". Your owner's manual will instruct you to have your vehicle towed to the nearest GM dealer for repair.

Q What exactly causes this failure?
A When you insert your key into the ignition and turn it to the ON position, the BCM (Body Control Module) sends a command to your Column Lock Motor to "unlock" and then checks a status line to ensure that the steering column is unlocked. If it gets the wrong status, it will display an error message as mentioned above. It can be caused by column lock mechanism failure and also occasionally by low battery voltage.

Q Can anything be done to unlock the steering column once it has locked up?
A Sometimes; turn off ignition and REMOVE the key. Shock your lock motor actuator assembly by jerking the steering wheel against the stops. Re-insert your key and try again. If your battery voltage is low, charge your battery or replace it.

Q Does this problem affect both automatics and stick shift vehicles?
A Yes

Q What years are affected?
A To be confirmed, but I think GM removed the column lock on (A4) cars after 2001, but left it in place on (M6) cars.

Q Is there any solution for this problem?
A Yes; install a Column Lock Bypass (CLB) BEFORE the problem occurs. Once it fails, you may not be able to fix without GM repair.

Q Where do I purchase a CLB?
A They are available from many of our forum vendors

Q How much will it cost?
A Typically $49.95

Q Is it difficult to install?
A No; very simple (less than an hour) by following instructions. See this link for help:

Q Can I build my own?
A Yes; see this link for info:

Q Are there other alternatives?
A Yes; there is a GM "Harness K" solution which GM installs on A4 cars; it's been said to cost about $90. This harness is installed leaving the Column Lock Motor active. However the Lock Plate inside the steering column must be removed. If installing on a M6, do NOT connect up the column lock motor harness side (C207 female receptacle).

Q I have an A4 car; what should I do if I get a recall notice from GM?
A This is a personal decision. My advice is you should have the recall implemented. They will install the "Harness K" and remove the lock plate from your steering column. After the recall is implemented, you will be able to turn your steering wheel with the key removed. The only anti-theft mechanism will be your A4 transmission will remain locked until the key is ON.

Q I have a M6 car, what will the recall do?
A IF you have a M6 car, the recall does NOT disable your column lock motor. It simply re-programs your PCM to guarantee your fuel is shut off so you cannot drive your car with the steering column locked. The column lock failure can still occur at any time and you will most likely be stranded somewhere needing to be towed to the nearest dealer for repair.

Q If I have a M6 car, what should I do?
A Again this is a personal decision. Advice is to install a CLB and ignore the recall. It does nothing to prevent the problem from occuring.

Q If I have a M6 car, will the GM recall re-program my PCM and affect my tuning?
A Yes; there are several horror stories related to this. Most folks with tunes do not allow the recall to be implemented.

Q Exactly how does the steering column lock mechanism work?
A The steering column lock unit consists of a 12VDC motor, a worm drive gear, a locking pin, and a micro switch which is activated by the lock pin screwing down thru a lock plate with holes in it to lock your steering column.

Q Can the steering lock up while driving my car?
A There have been a few rumors of this. The only way this is possible is if the BCM should fail sending a "lock" command to your lock motor. There are some fears that the the lock motor can partially retract but not all the way so that the lock pin could engage the locking plate later while driving. This is highly unlikely due to the mechanical micro-switch which detects when the lock pin is completely retracted before sending the "unlock" signal back to the BCM. See this thread for pictures of the lock mechanism:

Q If I install a CLB, can the steering column lock up accidentally from vibration or shock?
A Highly unlikely; the lock pin is driven by a worm gear drive on the motor which can not move without the motor turning as well.

Q What exactly does the CLB consist of?
A A small module that plugs (in place of your Column Lock Motor) into C207 (male pin side) consisting of a 4-wire harness to your BCM. The CLB consists of a 12VDC latching relay. Connections are:

Purple wire: from BCM = UNLOCK
Orange Wire: from BCM = LOCK
Black Wire: Ground
Green Wire: to BCM = OPEN is locked; CLOSED (grounded) is unlocked. This status line is pulled up to +12V thru a resistor inside the BCM

Q With a CLB installed, can I still get the "Service Steering Column Lock" message?
A Yes; this has happened to a few folks even with the CLB installed. The latching relay got out of sync with the BCM possibly by shock or vibration or relay contact bounce during switching which confused the BCM. The CLB does not physically know what state it should be in; it only switches from one state to the other when it receives a signal from the BCM.

Q What can happen then if my CLB gets out of sync?
A Your DIC will display "Service Steering Column Lock" error message; your steering wheel will not be locked; if you own an older C5 that has not had the recall implemented; you will be able to drive your car normally. You must reset your DIC each time you start your car if you are annoyed with the error message. IF you have a newer C5 (need info on which years affected) OR you had the recall implemented, you will NOT be able to drive your car because the fuel will be shut off to your engine at speeds above 2 mph.

Q If my CLB gets out of sync and I get an error message, what can I do to clear it?
A Open the access panel under the passenger foot well. Remove fuse 25 and wait for 10 seconds, then re-insert it. The error should be cleared.

Q When I purchase the CLB, what is the extra harness with the cigarette lighter used for?
A This is simply to help you unlock your steering column with the ignition key removed. It is used one-time only just before you install your CLB. It connects 12V to the purple wire on the Column Lock Motor to unlock your steering column. Another method is to turn on your ignition key, verify that your steering wheel is unlocked, then disconnect the wire harness to your lock motor. You will need to reset your BCM after doing this to clear the error that this will create.

4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
IT L GO - thanks for all of the info. You've convined me to ignore the factory recall and purchase/install the CLB myself.

1,140 Posts
I believe if you take your car in for any service at the GM dealer, they HAVE to apply to column lock fix or any other recall, reflash the computer. I have not asked any legal experts in the area of auto safety but it might be something to find out. I can certainly see why from GMs perspective that may do it in order to cover their butts legally. I know if I was a GM dealer I would be skeptical to not perform the fix or at least have the owner to sign a legal paper stating that they release GM from any liability because the customer insisted on not having it performed.

I know of a dealer that provided compensation to a guy with a custom tune in his Z06 to replace the tune after the column recall fix was performed. The dealer was more than accommodating in handling the issue.

Personally, I do not believe the recall addresses the issue. It only causes the car to become even more disabled if the mechanism goes into fail mode. The real fix would be to have it never fail.

1 - 4 of 4 Posts