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DIY Write Up: Steering Lock Fix


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#1 Davin

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 09:17 AM

SUMMARY:

Early USDM and JDM GT-Rs have an issue where the steering lock unit will fail to unlock. Because the GT-R's security system locks the steering wheel when the car's locked, and a successful unlock is required to start the car, this could (and did) lead to owners being stranded with cars that would not start. Here I will walk you through the basics of fixing this issue by replacing the steering lock unit. See this master thread for discussion pertaining to the issue here.

I've done this writeup because (1) I do not live near a dealer (2) there may be others who do not live near a dealer and may need to do this (3) being an enthusiast community, some may be curious to learn more about one of the few issues that's affected the overall reliability of whats otherwise been an extremely reliable car.

Note that if you live in the US or Japan, this is a voluntary recall and will be done for free. You are strongly encouraged to make an appointment with the nearest GT-R authorized service center and get this fix done ASAP. In the mean time, if you're at a gas station or somewhere like that, you can limit your risk by quickly hitting the start/stop button two times (instead of once) when shutting off the car. This will turn the engine off but put the car into accessory mode, and leave the steering lock unit unarmed. The car should start with no issue. Note that once failed, the lock will need to be replaced and the above technique won't work.



THE ISSUE:

The GT-R has a somewhat complex security system. Although the security system's full feature set seems to vary by region, one of its components that appears to be global is the steering lock unit. Not found in the service manual, this unit locks the steering wheel of the car each and every time the car is turned off and locked. When the driver unlocks the car and get's inside, the steering lock unit is unlocked when either (1) the car is started or (2) the start button is pressed.

One of the checks involved before the ECU starts the engine is the status of the steering lock unit. If the unit will not unlock, the ECU will not start the car. In a way, this makes sense because even if the car did start, you wouldnt be able to turn the steering wheel. According to Nissan, improper oiling at the factory has led to failures of the steering lock unit. This has lead to owners being stranded because their cars couldnt start.

In response, Nissan announced a voluntary recall for the car to have this issue addressed.



THE FIX:

Disclaimer: Do this at your own risk. I'm documenting this to give you an idea of what's involved. While I'm doing my best to document based on the pictures I took and my own memory, I am not guaranteeing the accuracy of these directions. Do not read this as a definitive guide and I'm not responsible for damage you do to your car. Completely read Nissan's directions and these directions before attempting work. Where my instructions differ from Nissan's, follow Nissan's directions. If you can, take your car to Nissan to have them do this for you for free.

Step 0: Print Nissan's isntructions (pdf link), or put them on a device to have with you.

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Parts wise, of course you'll need the new parts (48700–JF00C & 2x 48703–06F0A) as well as basic tools such as ratchet, screwdrivers, etc. You'll also need a special tool to remove tamper resistant bolts (more on that later). If memory serves, 8mm and 10mm heads were used.

The directions arent bad and together with this write up, you'll be all set. To begin, turn off the car (!) and open the door...

Optional: It may help to give yourself space. I found it was good to pull the left lever under the steering wheel to move it to its highest position and at the same time, move the driver's seat backward.


Step 1: Remove the driver's side side trim:

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To remove this, you want something thats thin, flat, and not too sharp so as to damage anything. Use it to pry the piece off. Look at the pic above and below to see how the two parts come together and where the clips are. Once you get one of them off you can work your way around to get the others off. It's not on too tight.

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Step 2: Remove the two screws around the OBD2 connector. Note that there really are two. In this pic I've already removed one.

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Step 3: Remove the two bolts for the hood release handle. Position your hand under your tools in such a way that the bolts cant fall into that gap(!) See the above pic. The two bolts to be removed are to the left of the OBD2 connector.


Step 4: Unsnap the panel and pull it down a little: Don't pull it down too hard/far because there are still cables connected! It should just snap out and come downward. Peaking ahead, this is a view of it removed so you can see where the clip locations are:

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Anyway, as you pull down slowly, it will stay attached and look like this:

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For the first time you will get a glimpse of the lock unit:

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Where you're at:

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Step 5: Now you need to remove the wire harness plugs:

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On the right side you need to back out a screw. This isnt in the recall directions, but you'll need to do it. Be sure not to damage anything!

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The removed piece:

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Step 6: Now you need to remove the 4 bolts holding the metal panel that protects the steering column assembly:

You will go from this:
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To this:
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Step 7: Now the steering lock unit is very visible. All you need to do is take out two bolts and it will come out of the steering column assembly. The only issue is that it's retained with tamper resistant bolts. These bolts have a separate hex piece that breaks off when torqued, leaving a surface that you can't put a (normal) bit on. To complicate things, the bolts are recessed in metal and there isn't a lot of space to work with. This is what it looks like:

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There are a number of tools that could probably get to them. The solution will depend on what you have available to you. From what I've heard, the tool dealers use is a socket that tightens on the bolt as you apply pressure. I didn't have something like that, but luckily (thanks to the wifey who makes jewelry) I had access to something else that worked very well. It's a sort of needle nose pliers thats curved. It allows you to get on the sides of the bolt and untorque them which works because they arent tightened with a lot of torque. It took maybe 10 mins with this tool.

This is what the bolt looks like that you've got to take out:

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This is what the tool looks like that I used, and how it can grab the bolt:

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(note you can see the hexes that break off in this pic as well)

The old steering lock unit as well as the new one (not in focus):

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The old unit:

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Step 8: Once the old unit has been unbolted, disconnect it and reconnect the new one. Be careful not too rub off any of the oil that was applied from the factory. Be careful not to drop it either. Once remounted, finger tighten the new bolts. Start the car. Then turn off the car and roll the window down. Lock the car with the remote. You should hear it lock and be able to verify that by trying to turn the steering wheel. Then unlock the car and turn it on/start it. When you turn it on, the steering wheel should unlock and it should start OK.


Step 9: Once you verify that the car is working fine, torque down the new bolts until the hexes break off. Then go back through all the steps in reverse order to put everything back together.

Note- Don't worry if the phase of the locks is different. It will correct itself.

Note2- I can confirm the new unit sounds very different and for me, louder. It's a bit more quiet when installed but not much. It will still sound noticeably different. I've confirmed the part numbers I have so I'm not sure why they sound different. I can only think that the different sound is normal.

Questions/Comments/Corrections? Post away. Good luck to all and thanks again to Nissan for doing the right thing on this issue.

#2 [email protected]

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 09:21 AM

Great writeup! We keep a spare on the trailer just in case. It would really suck to drive 2500miles to an event, and have this fail on us.


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#3 Davin

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 09:36 AM

Great writeup! We keep a spare on the trailer just in case. It would really suck to drive 2500miles to an event, and have this fail on us.


thanks! yea definitely a good idea...

#4 STI2EVO2GTR

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 09:37 AM

That is one hell of a write up. Best diy instructions I have ever seen.

#5 k3vkoh

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 09:46 AM

Awesome! This what I really needed when my replacement unit is arriving soon, you're my saviour!
This weekend gonna be a DIY weekend, and it'll be a good one.
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#6 janz

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 10:23 AM

Thank you very much tekknikal, this writeup is incredibly useful. All GT-Rs in Hong Kong are imports, we are praying for our luck....

#7 2dcurb

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 10:37 AM

thanks for the write up!

#8 dukestar

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 04:48 PM

Great DIY post.

To remove the bolts could you drill the center and use an easy-out? Are they designed this way to defeat car thieves?

Edited by dukestar, 05 May 2010 - 04:49 PM.


#9 Martin Donnon

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 03:38 PM

Fantastic work, really enjoy reading threads like this :irock:

#10 AutoXGTR

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 05:03 PM

This should be a sticky for DIY

Great work. :irock:

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#11 Davin

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 06:51 PM

Great DIY post.

To remove the bolts could you drill the center and use an easy-out? Are they designed this way to defeat car thieves?


thanks,
the thought did occur to me but if you look closely in this pic:
http://i160.photobuc...ck/IMG_1071.jpg

youll see that to the left of the steering lock unit there's a bracket. that bracket is not bolted and is welded in.. so no moving it.
with limited space, maybe a right angle drill could work, im not sure. youd have to be careful then to not damage the threads or anything else though. some have also mentioned that chiseling is one way to get the bolts out, but you dont want to risk damage to the steering column and again, space makes it difficult. i really believe that a tool, either like the one pictured or like the one described, would be the way to go. it really wasnt bad for me and i would think it wouldnt be too hard to find.

to answer your other question yes i believe this is to help deter theft. when i looked, i didnt really see anything about this module in the esm...

#12 stormcrow

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 08:15 PM

Incredibly detailed write-up, Davin. Wonderful job. I second the nomination for sticky. This will serve a lot of people well.
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#13 k3vkoh

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 02:21 AM

Awesome! This what I really needed when my replacement unit is arriving soon, you're my saviour!
This weekend gonna be a DIY weekend, and it'll be a good one.

I tried using the tools you mentioned above (angled pliers) to remove the bolt with no luck. Reason for that is mine is a RHD, the bolt is facing towards the the center console instead of the door like LHD, so very limited space.

Is there any other tools that's designed to remove this kind of bolts? If so, how does it look like and where can I get it online?

Thanks in advance, if my steering lock decide to die and left me stranded, without any warranty/dealer around to help, I'll be doomed.
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#14 Davin

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 09:53 AM

hey k3vkoh sorry i missed your post
i dont know if youve fixed the issue yet, but if you havent:

the tool grabs onto the bolt just as it looks in this pic
while im not sure how much space you're working with, usdm cars definitely dont have a lot of space either. hence the odd way of grabbing the bolt.
so if you have a small pliers with the right angle to them, it should work.. just take your time.

also if you havent fixed it yet, and you stop somewhere that may not be safe, dont lock the car. i believe that's when the mechanism will arm and may fail to disarm. i think that if you get gas or something you should hit the start/stop button twice fast so the car kills the engine but doesnt completely turn off. iirc that will help minimize the odds of an issue if you need to turn off the engine in a public place.

#15 Cr8zGTR

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 05:30 PM

Thanks for the info! You happen to know if the 2010's have had any problems with this?
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#16 Davin

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 06:24 PM

maybe someone can confirm but i believe its fixed on the 2010s

#17 enshiu

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 07:16 PM

I am new on this forum I moved to this forum because www.gtr.co.uk does not have enough info about this issue.

:rolf2: Mine did also lock me up when the car was on a flatbed because of a tyre puncture.

I have a 2008 JDM R35 Black premium.

After plugging out and in several times to clean the corrosion off the contact plugs it works but, didn't lock anymore but I am still happy without this lock. I got no lamps of 'KEY' on my dash ever since this plug in and out. To be safe I plug out this when I have parked somewhere.

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#18 ccldb

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 08:45 AM

Sorry to bring up such an old post, but I thought this may help others in the future.

Thanks to the OP but I wasn't as lucky with the pliers route.

Instead, I used a 11mm short socket and lightly hammered it in. The socket grabbed on to the bolt really well.

Hope this solves some headaches.



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#19 nec

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Posted 29 June 2014 - 08:51 PM

great write up!

#20 elp_jc

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 09:40 AM

Great write-up indeed. Have a related question. Noticed my 2015 locks the steering every time the engine is turned off, rather than when car is locked (rather idiotic IMO), as it seemed to be the case with older GTRs. This will cause more wear and tear on the part, that could cause reliability issues down the road. But my specific question is this: Is it possible the lock unit might fail to unlock the steering wheel (and start the engine) if we don't jiggle the steering wheel to relieve pressure on the locking pawl, like the old days? None of my cars with keyless ignition lock (or had locked) the steering wheel anymore; this is the first one. Just want to make sure if that's a possibility or not. And yes, mine makes a lot of racket too. Thx.


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