• Column lock problem
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  1. #1
    Moderator Toms007's Avatar
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    Default Column lock problem

    I have a couple of questions about C5s. Apparently the column lock issue is a widespread problem.

    How many here have experienced it and what have you done to alleviate the problem? Please respond with year and transmission type.

    Also if you have had the problem and had it fixed, did you do the work yourself to fix it or did you take it somewhere?

    Going this afternoon to drive the 01 and 02.
    2007 Atomic Orange Coupe Cashmere/black interior

    2005 CruiseFest Attendee (Bowling Green, KY) 2007 CruiseFest Attendee (Colorado Springs, CO)
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    , IL)

    Formerly owned Corvettes: 1964 coupe, 1994 coupe, 2001 coupe



  2. #2
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    I have a 99 6spd, previous owner had it in for 2 recalls on the column lock issue, there are 2 under hood stickers with the recall noted on them. I have not had a problem with it. There was 6600mi. on the car when I bought it, I've put about 2000mi. on it, so far , so good..............

  3. #3
    Column lock problem Tuna's Avatar
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    We had a 1998 but sold it before the column lock recalls started and never had any problem with it. 24K miles at the time.

    Our 2003 AE with 6-sp manual was recalled twice for the column lock. The first time the only thing down was to reflash the computer program to remove the column lock programming. Guess that wasn't good enough as on the second recall, the steering wheel was removed and, I think, the lock parts were removed. Can't swear to that. We never had any problems with the column lock but had the recal work done to make sure we never did. My friend owns the '03 now and still no problems with it.
    Tuna
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  4. #4
    Member LLC5's Avatar
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    I had multiple problems with the column lock problem over many years. Local dealer did all the recalls including two harness's and 4 relays, including removing the lock plate, and it still acted up ocassionaly. Replacing the lock actuator finally repaired my column lock problem, but GM would not replace it (even though my vehicle was stuck at the dealer after performing the latest recall), I had to use my aftermarket warranty to get it done. Before you purchase the vehicle, have your local dealer run a vin check and make sure all the recalls have been done because GM is no longer honoring the column lock recall warranty. You may want to consider and aftermarket warranty if the vehicle is new enough, as repairs can get expensive fast.
    Master Technician

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  5. #5
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    Default column lock problem

    Tom, i had my 2003 taken care of at the dealer about a year ago, no problems at all since then,.............................................................Billy

  6. #6
    Column lock problem vett boy's Avatar
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    I had an 03 ---6sp manual. I installed a column lock by-pass the first week I had the car.No problem.

  7. #7
    Moderator Toms007's Avatar
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    Well, I just got back from driving the two cars. Honestly I liked the auto car better. The six speed is nice, and I can surely see where they can get 32MPG going down the road (1600rpm @ 75mph), but, maybe I'm getting old, but driving that 6 speed in city traffic got old pretty fast.

    I will say that driving a C5 is way different than the C4. It's a very comfortable ride, very stable, and much quicker than the 94. I could easily get used to driving it.

    I'm waiting to hear back from them, I told them where I thought we ought to be, we'll wait and see. If we get much further I'll have them run the VIN for recalls. Thanks guys.

  8. #8
    Column lock problem Red Vette's Avatar
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    Tom, I have the 02 6 speed (took it to Cleveland last year); the dealer supposedly fixed the problem when I took it in for service one time. Then, about 8 months later, I got in the car in the garage to go somewhere and the column was locked. Flat bed took the 02 back to the dealer and the service tech said there was a second recall on the column lock, so GM ate the $180 flat bed fee plus fixed the lock (still under warranty). I was really concerned about it, so I purchased the CLB from Corvettes of Houston, and installed the by-pass myself. No problems since then. I believe that the CLB also takes care of the fuel cut off problem. I forget what year the CLB was not a problem for the auto, but Bud (Yoda) has an 03 auto and does not have the problem.
    If you are going to purchase a C5, you might really want to consider the 02 over an 01. Both great cars, but the improvements of 02 are worth it. Also, the tire pressure sensors are much cheaper.
    I prefer 6 speed over the automatic, but I agree that traffic and parades are better handled with the auto, but my corvettes are manual trannys and I enjoy driving them with the shifting. My 91 was an auto, and while I liked the car, the 94 and 02 six speeds make the driving more pleasurable. Just my opinion.
    Barrett

  9. #9
    Moderator Toms007's Avatar
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    Hey Barrett, thanks for the reply. I think the smart thing to do would be to install the CLB as soon as possible.

    Right now I'm just looking, not getting in any hurry. I really liked the 02 but I'm not sold on the first one I drive. If they want to go for my offer, I'd have some contingencies like a new set of tires as well, but I think that I can probably do just as well with a newer one (03 or 04). These are not the only
    Corvettes on the market. We'll see how it all works out. But I really did like the automatic.

  10. #10
    Gone but not forgotten XLR8's Avatar
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    Hey Tom... I didn't realize you were looking at C5s. Cool!! Enjoy the hunt. Although I haven't been paying attention to prices lately, I'd bet they're really good right now.

    My '98 auto had the recall done on it before I purchased her and I haven't had any issues.

    As for myself, everytime I think how much I'd love to own a Z16 Z06, I just remind myself that a manual transmission is NOT what I want for my daily driver. And my knees would surely revolt.

    Jane Ann

  11. #11
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    1999 C5 coupe with A4 - purchased new. Never damaged or wrecked.

    Column lock malfunctioned while car parked in the summer under the hot sun, while out-of-state on vacation. Car would start, but stall when transmission lever placed in drive or reverse. Steering wheel would not unlock.

    Called Chevrolet Roadside Assistance (car was under the new-car warranty). When I told the operator my new Corvette needed towing to a dealer, she asked me if the steering wheel was locked-up (think Chevrolet knew about this problem?).

    Car towed to a Chevrolet dealer and vacation ruined - stranded for several days in a strange town. Dealer did not know how to repair the problem and had to call Technical Assistance.

    Car repaired and driven home. I installed the column lock bypass, fearing being stranded again. I later removed it on advice from a Corvette mechanic.

    Had the Chevrolet "Satisfaction Campaign" done by a Chevrolet dealer to disable the locking steering column featurre. I was amazed that Chevrolet's solution to fix a defect was to disconnect a safety / anti-theft feature that the owner had paid for with the new car. Imagine disconnectiing other features of the car that you paid for instead of fixing them.

    Later, had the Safety Recall performed. Now, with 50,000 miles on the car, I have not had any more problems.

    Chevrolet should be required to install a reliable locking steering column lock feature on all C5's that had this unreliable system installed, instead of disconnecting it. They should also have to reimburse owner's for any expenses relating to being stranded after a break down (while under the new car warranty).

    Chevrolet screwed its C5 customers on this one.

    Good luck.

  12. #12
    Moderator Toms007's Avatar
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    JA, I ran across a 92 ZR-1, and was getting serious about it. Then after some long talks with Rosie, we decided that instead of buying an older (even though less miles, it had 28K) we decided that I should start looking for a newer one, hence the search for a C5.

    My left knee is by far the worse of the two, and now a day later, it's no worse for the wear. My search will continue.

  13. #13
    Column lock problem Tuna's Avatar
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    If you're wondering, the C6 does not have a column lock. You can turn the steering wheel anytime whether the car is running, off, locked (window down) or unlocked.
    Tuna
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  14. #14
    Column lock problem Red Vette's Avatar
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    Tom, I know you really wanted that ZR-1, but Rosie is a smart lady and she will really like the ride in a C5. I know my wife loves riding in our C5 and while the C4 is okay, she only wants one ride per year with the top down, and that's it. She always wants to ride in the C5. I'll second your lady's advice, find a great C5 and enjoy. Maybe you'll have one by the time we get together in BG.
    Barrett

  15. #15
    Moderator Toms007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuna View Post
    If you're wondering, the C6 does not have a column lock. You can turn the steering wheel anytime whether the car is running, off, locked (window down) or unlocked.
    Actually, I have considered a C6, the 05s are getting down near my price range. I guess the engineers figured out that the column lock was more a pain in the rear.

    Barrett, I'm still not sure whether or not we are going. Things are still up in the air.

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