Steering Wheel Locked up

Discussion in 'VW Mk4 Jetta, Golf, New Beetle, Passat TDI forum' started by colgym7, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. colgym7

    colgym7 New Member

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    2003 Jetta TDI

    Drove the car home, left steering wheel turned to the left, shut the car off and the steering wheel lock has engaged. Not sure if this will have any bearing but my drive way is uphill to house and car is close to the top, but is still on an incline. Tried wiggling, jiggling, moving steering wheel back/forth while trying to turn the key --- no luck. Used a small nylon brush and stuck it in the ignition slot and clean out any debris that was in there -- got a little bit of dirt, some lint. Still no luck.

    Looking for what to try next. I have taken the airbag out before, but cannot get to both clips because I cannot turn the steering wheel. Is there a way to get it off with only disengaging the clip on one side?

    Is there a way to get to the ignition steering lock without taking off the steering wheel?

    thanks for the help!
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  2. chittychittybangbang

    chittychittybangbang Administrator

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    This has happened a few times, how hard are you turning the steering wheel? Does really turning it hard while jiggling the key make any difference?
  3. colgym7

    colgym7 New Member

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    I am turning the steering wheel in the direction that the wheels are pointed (to left) and putting a lot of downward pressure on the steering wheel with 1 hand and jiggling the key with the other.
  4. colgym7

    colgym7 New Member

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    I tried again tonight, and put significant turning pressure on the steering wheel to the left and still no luck. Then I grabbed the right side of the wheel and applied upward pressure (which would force steering wheel to turn left) and tried to jiggle the key in/out while turning it and still no luck.



    any other suggestions out there?
  5. mtngoat81

    mtngoat81 Member

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    If the car is a manual, maybe try rolling it a foot or two? possibly try to use a jack to take the pressure off (not lift, since it sounds like you are on a steep incline) one or both sides of the steering rack?

    I would not think removing the airbag will get you any closer to a solution...
  6. colgym7

    colgym7 New Member

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    thanks for the suggestion. I tried rolling it back and no luck. I also chocked it up real good and jacked the front end up (probably not the safest but I'm willing to try most anything). No luck with that either.

    My reasoning behind wanting to remove the airbag is I can then remove the steering wheel and then work my way down to the ignition lock cylinder. I am leaning towards there being something mechanically incorrect at this point, as opposed to the locking pin is just stuck. With the steering wheel locked to the left, I can only get to the right side air bag clip release.

    thanks
  7. colgym7

    colgym7 New Member

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    Has anyone gone down the path of trying to remove the ignition lock cylinder with the steering wheel locked in place?

    Which is a better approach

    A) try and get the airbag removed so I can get at the bolt to remove the steering wheel completely --- all methods I have seen to remove the airbag require the steering wheel to be moved to the left and then to the right which is impossible to do in my situation.

    B) I have access to 3 of the 4 screws holding the top/bottom plastic covers for the steering column. The turned steering wheel is covering the 4th screw. I am guessing, I may be able to cut the screw but havent dug deep enough to find out.

    C) maybe there is some other approach I am not thinking about.


    Has anyone been down this path before?

    thanks!
  8. chittychittybangbang

    chittychittybangbang Administrator

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    Sorry. Every time I've had a stuck steering wheel it was freed by pulling harder while jiggling the keys.
  9. colgym7

    colgym7 New Member

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    apologies for delay -- was out of town dealing with some medical issues with my dad.

    I'll try again this morning and turn the steering wheel as hard as I can to see if I can get it to unlock itself.

    If still no luck, then I think I will need to take the plastic housing off the steering column which I suspect I will have to cut off since I cannot get to all 4 screws. Once there I can try and take out the ignition lock cylinder - which should definitely free up the steering wheel. I havent been able to find anything on whether or not it makes a difference when removing this if the steering wheel is currently locked into position or not.
  10. chittychittybangbang

    chittychittybangbang Administrator

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    The lock cylinder has 2 bolts that have to be drilled out. You can also cut an X in the heads and chisel them off. See ignition FAQ for pics.
  11. chrismk5

    chrismk5 Member

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    sounds like the ignition lock has snapped and stuck in that position, rather than removing the wheel could you not remove the trim covers? I done this on my mk5 without removing the wheel
    different issue and car though
  12. colgym7

    colgym7 New Member

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    on the MK4 there are 4 screws, 2 of them on the underside of the bottom plastic cowling and 2 of them are only accessible by turning the steering wheel -- once to the right and once to the left. Since the steering wheel is locked I cannot turn it.

    I have looked at the ignition FAQ and it all makes sense.

    First step is to get the top/bottom plastic housing off.
  13. colgym7

    colgym7 New Member

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    moving forward ....

    I now have the top and bottom plastic covers off. I had to cut through the bottom one with a dremel to get it off.

    I can pretty clearly see the lock cylinder bolts. I also looked at the ignition FAQ. In there it says the turn signal/wiper stalks need to come off. Hopefully this is not the case, because it looks like the screw that I could not get to because of my locked steering wheel goes all the way through into the signal stalk.
  14. colgym7

    colgym7 New Member

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    continuing to move forward ....

    much better to be working in the daylight.

    removed the connectors and strapped them out of the way.

    I used a dremel with 1.5 inch diameter metal cutting disk to cut slots into the top of the security bolts. Using a good metal cutting disk made this rather easy. It took about 8-10 minutes to get a slot cut in. Then I used a 3/16 inch wide cold chisel (measured at tip of chisel) and pounded on the side to get the bolt to turn counter clockwise. It took several good wacks with my hammer to get them moving but once they started to turn, they went pretty easy from there. NOTE: for anyone reading this in the future, I planned the orientation of my slot cuts to make it easier for the chisel step.

    It was a pretty tight working space, but it can all be done with the steering wheel locked. Fingers crossed I can get the immobilizer part off with the clip trick. Next its a matter of finding a good source for a new lock cylinder/bottom plastic cover for steering column and putting it back together.

    Although i am not done with my repair, I want to say thanks for the info/admins on this site. It is invaluable and very useful!!!
  15. colgym7

    colgym7 New Member

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    Question:

    I got the new lock housing.

    On the new one, there is some kind of a port on the back of it (when installed this would be the side facing the fire wall). Looking it, is seems there is some type of cap that goes over it. Never got a cap. Doe this need to be covered?

    thanks
  16. chrismk5

    chrismk5 Member

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    Since its surrounded by the shroud anyways I wouldnt imagin it been too exposed to dirt etc
    So after all this did you find the faulty part ?
    Pictures would be great,good luck
  17. gt4494

    gt4494 Member

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    Hate to come to the party late but, My '05 Beetle has had that problem since I bought it. It feels like the pin that locks the steering wheel in place will not move when you stick the key in and try to turn it. The problem is worse when it is hot outside.

    It locked up so bad one time that I had to pull the column covers off and use a rubber mallet on the top of the locking mechanism to get the pin to drop so the key would turn.

    My solution (since I did not want to replace the switch) is to keep the lock clean with carburetor or brake cleaner (spray the whole mechanism and catch the run off in a pan of some sort) and then spray the inside of the lock with a good lubricant.

    This has worked for me so far.

    I am very curious what you found when you took the lock out.
  18. colgym7

    colgym7 New Member

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    when your laptop hard disk crashes it makes it really hard to respond. Apologies for the delay.

    As soon as I figure out how to post pics, I will show a pic of the old part along with the new part.

    the lock cylinder assembly seems to be a fairly complicated part with lots of moving pieces on the inside. I removed the plastic ignition switch and stuck a flat head screw driver into it and it turns pretty easily and smoothly. Nothing appeared to be broken on the inside of that. When I stick the key into the lock cylinder itself, it does not turn easily. With the lock cylinder assembly itself, there are parts that move horizontally and others that move vertically. In particular there is a pin that retracts into the cylinder as you turn the key. Interesting though, if I push the pin down first and then turn the key it turns with a lot more ease. The pin moving is what 'unlocks' the steering column. The pin does not move freely up and down and it catches about 2/3rds of the way down. My guess is that a burr has formed on the inside that is blocking the movement. Since I bought a new part, my plan is to cut the old lock assembly open and dissect it some more.

    From the experimenting I have done with the old part, the pin does not drop on its own until the key is turned.
  19. chittychittybangbang

    chittychittybangbang Administrator

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