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2002-2005 Range Rover MkIII / L322
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All, I have successfully rebuilt the solenoid now in 2 steering columns. I own a 2003 l322 and had the dreaded one-start problem. I bought a used column, tested it, and discovered it too was a one-start. Since its reach motor worked better than mine I kept it, drilled mine open and found the fix was easy. I then repeated the fix on the better column and both now work.

I can detail how to do it if folks want. Or you can feel free to ship me yours and I'll try to repair it.

Mostly an fyi for now. I'm new here and dunno the etiquette. I figure it's time to solve this as BMW are screwing us all though so I decided to stop lurking and start posting. Let me know.

--Ari
 

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It would benefit many if you could take pictures of your process and do a write up. Even if you have it mostly assembled and repaired - take pictures and describe the process.
 

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It would benefit many if you could take pictures of your process and do a write up. Even if you have it mostly assembled and repaired - take pictures and describe the process.
x2, take a time to detail a step by step process, it would be useful for the world.

tumblr_m24wfzYFMU1qlusvfo1_500.gif
 

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I'll third the above sentiments. Would love to see a well-illustrated write-up on the topic and would actually consider purchasing a used column and have it shipped to you for repair just to have it on hand for the inevitable.
 

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All, I have successfully rebuilt the solenoid now in 2 steering columns. I own a 2003 l322 and had the dreaded one-start problem. I bought a used column, tested it, and discovered it too was a one-start. Since its reach motor worked better than mine I kept it, drilled mine open and found the fix was easy. I then repeated the fix on the better column and both now work.

I can detail how to do it if folks want. Or you can feel free to ship me yours and I'll try to repair it.

Mostly an fyi for now. I'm new here and dunno the etiquette. I figure it's time to solve this as BMW are screwing us all though so I decided to stop lurking and start posting. Let me know.

--Ari
Please and thank you. So far energizing the blue wire from the steering lock ecu to the immobilizer works but another way would be awesome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
All,

I've decided to start a Youtube channel on the repairs I do. Actually, it is going to be focused on the race cars I build but I will make this step-by-step video as a first step in learning the ropes w/ video editting, etc. Anyways, I apologize for not answering or helping out more and decided to at least explain what I did in words here before I get the video done. I'll come back when I have the video done and post a link here, but for now, here's the answer:

9 times out of 10, the steering ECU IS NOT BAD. How can you tell? take off the steering column shroud and listen as you insert and remove the key. Do you hear a faint "click" sound? Then the ECU and the BCM are talking and the CAN bus is good and you just cannot actuate the solenoid. If this is so, my fix will work.

Another thing worth noting. Have you bought a new steering column? Guess what? they made some security-through-obfuscation decision at Rover to have 8 different part numbers. Your car's security will not unlock the column for the other 7 steering column types. Make sure, if you are replacing, which you needn't do, BTW, that you replace with the exact same part number.

How to get the column out:
1. remove the shroud from around the column (make sure to unclick the leather telescoping boot so you can reach inside.)
2. remove the steering wheel (airbag must come out so make sure you take off the battery and way 5 - 30 minutes for capacitors to drain down)
3. remove the dead pedal and then remove the entire dash underside cover (requires removing the wooden center console panel too).
4. Loosen the heating vent to the driver's floor
5. Now you can get a socket wrench in there with a 1 ft extension, sometimes a ujoint, and also an extra 3 inch extension as needed
6. Loosen all 4 bolts and the steering column drops and hangs on the lower half of the dash pad.
7. Pull hard and it will slip out (don't skin your knuckles or rip parts of the dash with the sharp bits on the column. Meter your pulling force carefully here.)

Now you have the column in your hand. If you are changing columns YOU SHOULD HAVE TESTED the new before this step or, like me, your car is DEAD until one arrives that works...which is what led me to cracking mine open. (I made all these mistakes so you don't have to.)

How to test? There is a Youtube from a great guy out there on how to do this. I'll dig it up too so I don't have to waste time but essentially, unplug the column ECU, rest the new column on the ground pointing up, and plug in the ECU wiring harness to the new column. Now try and start you car. Believe it or not the new column should work and lock / unlock the column right away without being otherwise installed or fully wired up. YOu can test with just the ECU harness plug connected. Good trick.

Now to hack the column here's what you do:
1. Find the serial # / part # tag. That is the cover of the ECU. Look on its side. It has 4 rivet / pins that need to be drilled out in order to open. Take your time here and drill them out with (not too large) a drill bit as you will replace with self-tapping screws later. Drill completely out if you want to avoid cracking the pot-metal cover when popping it open. Do this right and the cover will pop right off as the spring-loaded solenoid presses againts the cover to actuate.

2. Pull the solenoid (brass-looking rod + magento coil + 2 small gauge wires) off the board gently. Clean with electrical cleaner and grease the shaft with dielectric grease.

3. Temporarily duct tape the cover on (as the solenoid presses on it) after replacing the solenoid. Test the repair inside the car the same way I suggested you test a new column. Should work now.

4. If it does, then screw some self-tapping screws where you drilled out the rivets, duct tape the seams so as to keep dust out of the computer.

Reinstall the backwards way you took the wheel out.

NOTE: now you can open your column ECU and clean / grease the solenoid any time it stops working without removing the column again. So far, for me it has been working 6 months. I cannot attest to how long this repair might last, but after 1 week of pulling out the fuse, I decided to fix this way instead and will never look back again.

2nd NOTE: If you are swapping columns, make sure to take the steering angle sensor with you to the new column from the old. I personally recommend buying a new BMW X5 angle sensor if you have the computer to initialize a new one and change that while you are here. When the angle sensor fails, not only does your car become dangerous but it will throw many errors at once: brakes, air suspension, and more all shut down when SAS stops talking.
 

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So my column behaves in a slightly different way... the steering column itself never locks, but the ignition key cylinder does. So far I've just had a switch wired up to fuse #18 and that's worked, but a more permanent solution would be nice. I assume my issue is not within the column then if it's the key that doesn't turn while the column is free to turn?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So my column behaves in a slightly different way... the steering column itself never locks, but the ignition key cylinder does.
Actually that sounds like the correct version of the symptom. See. As I understand it, the key locks out the ability to start unless and until the column ECU report back that it set the pawl in place locking the column or unlocking it, as the case may be.

Since the solenoid my guide tells you how to repair is sticky, it doesnt send correct voltage to the column ECU which warns the car the steering lock status is unknown. If unknown status, then freeze key on ignition and dont start car. Otherwise driver may attempt to drive with locked column that cannot turn.

Net net: I'm 99% sure you have the exact same problem I did.

Want to attempt the fix i outline? How can i help?

--Ari
 
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