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Thread: I really should leave my car alone...

  1. #1
    Regular Member Penfold101's Avatar
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    Default I really should leave my car alone...

    While swapping over my steering wheel to the VXR one last week, a task i've done a thousand times on my old Vectra for MoT's etc, I heard something to snap inside the mechanism. It sounded vaguely plasticy, and everything seemed to be working fine, so I didn't worry too much about it...

    Then, a few days later, my steering started making a ratcheting sound, and the traction control light and AFL movement failure light came on. Now, there's no issue with driving the car like this, but the flashing headlight warning does start to get annoying after a while...

    I quick bit of research pointed to the Steering Angle Sensor, and I decided it was possibly the plug for it or something which had gotten caught.

    We all know how much a new CIM costs, so I braved sorting it myself...

    Today, I stripped down the column to get to the CIM, and took the front off it. it's a fairly simple setup, with the steering angle sensor consisting of a few gears driven off a larger one attatched to the squib itself. Looking at the sensor, and the way it was mounted, I decided that it was possibly as simple as the gearing becoming detached, as the sensor gear is sprung loaded to keep positive contact with the steering column. With there being no electrical contact between the two, and no plugs to speak of, there msut be a microswitch to activate the warnings when the sprung loaded gear isn't loaded, ie not in contact with the larger gear.

    Ok, says me, all I need to do is put it back together ensuring the gear is in contact, and it should work... This proved a bit trickier than I thought. With the sensor in place (it doesn't physically attach to anything which locks solid) it has a tendency to move back and forth when you push the front of the CIM back on it. I have no idea how they do it in the factory, but my initial attempts ended in failure, with the gearing refusing to stay together when i pushed everything together.

    I quick bit of lateral thinging deduced that as there was no plug or anything which could be setting the warnings off, I should be able to test everything by manually making the (hypothetical) microswitch on the steering sensor and turnign the ignition on. This obviously means connecting up the airbag so the light for that doesn't come on, and if you've ever seen the ribbon cable that attaches the airbag and steering controls to the steering wheel you'll know it's a bit sprung loaded and tends to unwind itself at the slightest opportunity...

    You can probably see where I'm going with this, as with everythign connected I jumped out of the car to reconnect the battery, and managed to catch the unravelled ribbbon with my leg, snapping the end off the electrical connect which was plugged in to the CIM...

    No option now, I need a new CIM to canabalise parts from. Got one coming from ebay, but in the mean time my car is unable to be driven...

    Still, should cheaper than going to VX, and hopefully whatever snapped initially is what is causing the gearing bits to move around so much and not line up properly...

    How do I get myself into these messes...

  2. #2
    Regular Member Big Sig's Avatar
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    what a tale of woe. Thats the sort of thing I do!

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    Regular Member Penfold101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Sig View Post
    what a tale of woe. Thats the sort of thing I do!
    Makes me feel so much better...

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    Regular Member danBoy's Avatar
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    Whoops lol.......

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    Regular Member Big Sig's Avatar
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    Sorry Its one of the reasons I don't do jobs like that on my own car, sod's law says I will mess it up.

  6. #6
    Regular Member Penfold101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Sig View Post
    Sorry Its one of the reasons I don't do jobs like that on my own car, sod's law says I will mess it up.
    Have you seen the cost of a new CIM...?

    Especially as mine will be the most expensive one out of them all, purely because it's me...

  7. #7
    Regular Member Big Sig's Avatar
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    Yeah I have, another reason to try the diy route, however knowing me I would have damaged the wheel as well

  8. #8
    Regular Member Penfold101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Sig View Post
    Yeah I have, another reason to try the diy route, however knowing me I would have damaged the wheel as well
    The wheel was the first thing to come off, then all the steering cowls to reveal the CIM itself. A few screws and some careful manual encouragement and off came the cover...

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    Regular Member Tadpole's Avatar
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    Reminds me of this when the Stanley Knife slipped ..................



  10. #10
    Regular Member Penfold101's Avatar
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    Ahh yes - another one of 'those' accidents... Always a risk when you do your own work on a car, but it's still cheaper than going to the garage and gives enormous satisfaction when it's fixed... I also love finding out how these things work, in this case the Steering Angle Sensor...

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