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    Thread: Steering Fault - Workshop" message - here's the cause and the solution. [TOC done]

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      07-01-2008 08:58 AM #1
      Got a message "Steering Fault - Workshop" along with the audible warning buzzer the other day while shutting down my Phaeton. Restarted the car and the warning was gone. Got the same message last night at vehicle shutdown. When returning to the car after dinner I attempted to start the car and go home prior to what looked like an approaching storm. Everything was fine except I could not start the car. I also could not open any window or close the sunroof (the roof was in the vent position not wide open fortunately). Everything in the car works except I can't open or close any windows, take the car out of park and of course start it. The steering wheel is not locked and is tunable. Got a ride home and got my voltage gauge and both batteries were OK. I did not load test them. How is a Phaeton that is stuck in park get put onto a flatbed carrier for it's visit to the "Workshop" and is there a known work around to get the car started and out of park so I can drive it to my dealer. I taped a plastic bag over the open part of the sun roof in case another storm decides to pay a visit.

      Last edited by PanEuropean; 10-07-2012 at 05:17 AM.

    2. 07-01-2008 09:10 AM #2
      I'll let the experts jump in here but it sure smells like a low battery problem to this vehicle repair idiot. Bring a trickle charger to the car and re-charge the battery to see if that clears the fault?

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      07-01-2008 09:31 AM #3
      Talked to my VW tech and explained that the car can't be dragged onto a flatbed as the car is stuck in park. My tech said that I should try disconnecting the battery (right side) making the trans lock go to sleep. That should at least let me move the gear selector into neutral allowing the car to be movable and capable of being pulled onto a flatbed. I'll of course try to start it in neutral and hopefully drive the car to my nearby dealer for repair. Hopefully I can avoid the the dragging trauma of the car being pulled onto a flatbed. If this fails my tech said he will need to come to the car and do a bit of disassembling in the parking lot.

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      07-01-2008 11:26 AM #4
      Unrelated problem source, but since we are talking about starting problems...

      Couldn't find my regular key so I fished the third key (the "valet" key) from a drawer. Approached the car, wouldn't open keyless. Hit the remote open button, wouldn't unlock. Decided the battery on the key was dead. Opened car with steel key.

      IMMOBILIZER ON ...said the display. Tried to turn on the engine, engine started for just a few seconds... died, display repeated IMMOBILIZER ON. On the ignition position, all the regular startup panel lights ligthed up... but the starter position no longer did anything.

      Couple of minutes.

      I got out of the car, locked it (turned on the alarm). Unlocked it, got in quickly... same thing. Engine died, IMMOBILIZER ON. The Phaeton must have thought I was stealing it...

      I tried a third time and then the car worked. I got a KEY BATTERY LOW. Arrived to work 5 minutes late.

      Car works fine with the other keys. Haven't had a chance yet to buy a battery for the "valet" key.


      I think the starting mechanism should not depend on the key having battery power. Imagine it had been an emergency!

      SOLD. Our Premiere Edition Phaeton 2004 with 57,500 miles and with Extended Warranty thru year-end 2014 has been sold.
      Thank you all who were interested.

    5. Moderator PanEuropean's Avatar
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      07-01-2008 01:12 PM #5
      Not sure what is causing all your problems, but to close the sunroof without electrical power, see the thread entitled "Sunroof - Manual (emergency) closing of the Sunroof" in the Phaeton Forum 'Table of Contents' (FAQ by Category).

      Michael


    6. 07-01-2008 02:07 PM #6
      I had the exact same problem on my 2004 V8 about 4 months ago at approximately 70K miles. I was able to start the car by using the steering wheel position control to move the wheel all the way to the fully retracted (toward the dash) position. At this point the ignition came back to life. I liken this to when the auto trunk gets hung up mid-cycle and you have to manually return it to a known rest position to reset the position sensor. Unfortunately for me this behavior continued intermittently until VW replaced the ENTIRE STEERING COLUMN (my final extended warranty repair, FYI) at a proported cost of $8K. My guess is that a $1.49 switch could have accomplished the same result.

      Let's hope your resolution is less painful. Let us know how it turns out.

      Chris


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      07-01-2008 04:46 PM #7
      Thanks Chris,
      Unfortunately your temporary fix scored a zero with my car . VW Roadside Assistance is sending a flatbed with dollies to soupe up my wheeled computer[Phaeton]. All the people I've contacted about this "failure to proceed" issue and my cars retrieval have been very polite and have gone the extra mile to do their very best. There are still some nice people left that do business in a proper manor .
      Just a heads up. If your Phaeton ever gets stuck in Park and needs to be moved or flatbeded you will need dollies for all wheels. All four wheels lock when the car is in Park .


      Modified by Rowayton at 10:51 AM 7-2-2008

    8. Moderator PanEuropean's Avatar
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      07-04-2008 10:08 AM #8
      OK, NOW I recognize what has happened.

      There is a very small wiring harness (three wires) that enters the steering column near the base of the steering column, which happens to be very close to where the plastic cover above the footwell (the accelerator and brake pedals) is.

      If the driver has a habit of kicking (intentionally or unintentionally) the plastic cover above the footwell, or if the technician is careless when he or she re-installs this plastic cover (it inserts into a clip at the forward end, and is retained by three fasteners at the aft end), the wires in this harness will become pinched. Once they are sufficiently pinched, the current will not flow and the car will display this 'steering fault' message.

      The fix is simple: If you get stuck out in the middle of no-where, just wiggle the cover above the accelerator-brake pedals - this will probably get you going. Once you get the car to the workshop, the problem only takes about 20 minutes to fix - you clip off the damaged wires, and then fit repair wires onto the end and re-assemble the electrical connector.

      You DON'T need to replace the steering column - this is grossly un-necessary overkill. This 'pinched wire' problem has been the cause of all steering / electrical complaints ever reported by Phaeton owners.

      For Phaeton owners outside of North America (in other words, in the ROW, or Rest of World, as VW refers), Campaign 97J9, criteria 1 specifically addresses how to correct the risk of damage to these wires.

      Michael

      What the damaged wires look like

      What they look like after the wire repair is carried out

      What the fault message looks like



      Modified by PanEuropean at 7:19 AM 3-17-2010

      Last edited by PanEuropean; 10-07-2012 at 05:23 AM.

    9. Moderator PanEuropean's Avatar
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      07-04-2008 10:26 AM #9
      Here is a photo of the "footwell cover" that I am referring to in the post above. This plastic cover fits at the top of the driver footwell (or, the bottom of the instrument panel on the driver side, depending on how you want to express it).

      This cover is removed from time to time to get access to components. It is not necessary to remove it for scheduled service. When replacing this cover, you have to pay careful attention to how you fit it into the retaining clips at the front of the car - otherwise, you'll snag that little three-wire bundle that emerges from the wiring harness in the same area as the clip, and ...well... you know the rest by now.

      The picture below is not from the same car as the pictures above - I am posting from Juba, Sudan at the moment, no Phaetons in this neighborhood.

      Michael

      Footwell Cover - be careful when you re-install this, don't snag wires!



      Modified by PanEuropean at 7:20 AM 3-17-2010


    10. 07-04-2008 02:56 PM #10
      Kudos to you PanE, making a mental note of this.

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      07-06-2008 08:47 AM #11
      Thanks Michael,
      I'll have my tech view your post as work is scheduled to begin Monday on my car. Would or could this pinched wire problem trigger the vehicle immobilizer (my car was stuck in Park, no start function and no window or sun roof operation)?
      RB

    12. Moderator PanEuropean's Avatar
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      07-06-2008 03:39 PM #12
      Yes, because the wiring has to do with the ignition switch and steering wheel controller, and any fault in there is presumed to be 'foul play' and thus triggers the immobilizer.

      Michael


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      07-09-2008 08:30 AM #13
      Michael,
      After this tidbit has been on page one a bit longer perhaps it should be added to FAQ. Very useful information .
      RB

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      02-05-2010 09:57 AM #14
      I received the error message "Defective Steering Wheel Workshop" when trying to start my car in the parking lot. When I insert my key into the ignition & turn to start.... nothing happens. I've read the posts where people state a similar issue has happened when they're in the process of making a U-Turn. but no one has stated a specific warning message or that it happened while stationary (it should be noted that my steering wheel is turned a bit. Would the "short" steering harness be the culprit in this situation as well?

    15. Moderator Prince Ludwig's Avatar
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      02-05-2010 10:50 AM #15
      Firstly, the car not starting could just be because the starter battery is flat. Turn the key fully clockwise, fully anti-clockwise and fully clockwise again and the "emergency start" mode should be activated which links the two batteries in parallel. If the car starts, drive it for a while to top up the batteries and then charge it overnight to make sure.

      The warning message could also be a symptom of a low battery but if it doesn't go away after the car has started and been , try driving the car in a figure of eight round a large parking lot to "adapt" the steering wheel position sensors.

      Oh, and welcome to the forum

      Harry


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      02-05-2010 03:39 PM #16
      Thanks. It's good to be on the forum. Glad to see there are other Phaeton owners out there who like the car as much as I do (present mechanical issues not withstanding).

      Unfortunately - no dice on the emergency start. the steering wheel is locked in place & the electronic tilt & telescope is not working. So I'm guessing it's an issue w/ the steering harness. I was hoping to get it out of the parking lot w/o towing (as it's cramped & not big truck friendly / hard to locate) So that'll be interesting....


    17. Moderator Prince Ludwig's Avatar
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      02-05-2010 06:22 PM #17
      I assume from your description that other things on the car are working (infortainment unit etc...)?

      Harry


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      02-08-2010 08:28 AM #18
      That is correct. The infotainment system appears to be working fine. the only issue i'm having is starting the car / shifting into neutral etc. I delayed having the car towed b/c the intitial person wanted me to sign a waiver absolving them of blame if the car was damaged. I got a diagnostic tool this weekend to see if I can get a specific error message to provide to the dealership / VW customer care.

      I'm hoping there is a way for me to at least get the car into neutral, so it's easier to tow. The initial tow truck person did try to charge the battery so it should be on full charge at the moment.


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      02-08-2010 12:31 PM #19
      I just went through this with my '04 V8 (46,000 miles on the clock). The problem was a defective steering module. The module supposedly can't be ordered as a separate part in NA which required VW to install a new steering column with the new controller attached. Besides not starting I also had no side windows or sun roof function . As your car is most likely in Park and can't be started it's time to brush up on how to get the car into neutral while not leaving the key in the ignition so it can be flat towed. Most towing companies don't know the procedure and most likely would not want to attempt it. My tech has now done this repair on two '04 Phaeton's in the last month or so .

      From my repair order:
      Part # 48145550 Upper Steering Column w/controller $1,295.00
      Remove and install new column w/module $185.00
      GFF/guided function charges for job total $302.25
      Total repair (excluding alignment after the install) $1,597.25

      My VW Real Driver Platinum policy paid for everything plus most of the tow to my dealer . Hope you are CPO'd or Real Driver insured.
      Ron


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      02-08-2010 02:58 PM #20
      Thanks Ron.
      I appreciate the detailed list of the parts / labor. I have an outside warranty (but it's not CPO'd or VW Real Driver) & if past experience is any indicator, i'll be paying out on this one as well. The Phaeton in the last month has already cost me $3,500.00 in repairs w/ various issues not covered by my warrany. But at least I have a price point to compare to if my dealer decides to shag me on labor & parts (also not out of the question - they're not very good)

      I'll see what I can find out about getting the car into neutral as i'm not really wanting to drag it up on the flat w/ the tires locked.

      BTW.... Nice list of Cars you've got. I've also got a 2004 Pontiac GTO & a 2005 Dodge Magnum RT. I guess I've got a soft spot for good cars no one wanted to buy. LOL


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      02-09-2010 08:01 AM #21
      Look in the frequently asked section of this site and look at towing. It's got details on how to get a Phaeton into neutral in situations like this. Take your time (wood trim is big money). With a little patience it's not too hard to do but at first look it seems a bit daunting. After your tech checks your car and can actually document a fix lets us know what caused your workshop warning. You might want to send an email to Chris (Chris is our Phaeton warrantee guru) and see what can be done about the terrible repair coverage you have. There is a good chance he will be able to find a solution to what sounds like no coverage at all. Good luck
      Ron



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      03-10-2010 07:40 AM #22
      I just got this message; however, it's not when I start the car, but when I shut it down. Everything works fine, and in fact, I got this code on Saturday and after that it hasn't thrown a code since this morning.

      I hope it's just a battery condition, as I've been only doing quick 5-minute drives twice a day this week.

      Will report more.

      -Julian

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      03-10-2010 08:09 AM #23
      Hi Julian,

      My issue materialized in much the same way. I would see the "defective steering workshop" error message as I turned off the car & my steering wheel was detracting to it's full upright position.. Initially, I thought it was a bogus warning (like the TPM issue) b/c it didn't appear to affect the car in anyway. So I ignored it. One morning the car wouldn't start but I fixed it when I manually moved the steering wheel into the upright position. Eventually, it just died on me. & believe me. You don't want to try to get this car on & off a tow truck when it's stuck in park & you can't shift into neutral. One thread that explains the whole issue in depth is:

      http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=3912590

      It explains the issue & has some nifty pictures if you're a "do it yourself" person. I even went so far as to send the pictures & explanation to my service people b/c replacing the batteries didn't do anything. Sure enough, that was the fix.


      BTW.... Thanks for everyones suggestions. This Forum is very helpful.


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      03-10-2010 11:03 AM #24
      Nice. I'll try this out today.

      Is this in the TOC? if not, it should be.

      -Julian

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      03-11-2010 06:31 AM #25
      A note to all regarding Michael's pictures of the damaged harness. From what I can see, those are aviation splicing thingies. There is no substitute for those. Although frightfully expensive, they withstand everything, are hermetically sealed and never brake. I re-did the entire wiring in my boat using aviation wire (the white stuff) and splices. Never fails.

      Whenever you need to splice, consider them!

      I get mine from a friend who does wiring at SAAB Aircraft. Michael may know where to buy them, or maybe he can start selling them to us all?


      Modified by perfrej at 3:33 AM 3-11-2010

      Member of Le Club 2P

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      03-11-2010 07:36 AM #26
      There are other (simpler ?) methods for splicing wires.

      If there are not too many of them, you can cut the wire, get a piece of heat shrink tube around the wire, solder the wire and warm the heat shrink around the solder in order to insulate it.

      Another trick that does work even though it sounds strange, is to connect the wire in a secure way (use the method / connector you want) and wrap the splice / connector with a special self-fusing rubber tape made by Scotch: Scotch 23 (type "scotch 23 tape" on Google to find the datasheet).

      The thing is magic as it will seal (and insulate) over anything permanently.

      P.


    27. Member JulianBenjamin's Avatar
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      03-11-2010 08:49 AM #27
      Running through some tests last night, it seems like it's definitely a short somewhere. When turning off the car, if I pull the key out immediately while the steering wheel is retracting, I get the message. However, if I wait until the wheel is fully retracted before pulling out the key, then no message appears. I just printed out instruction for removing the fuse panel and the footwell cover, and will work on it this weekend.
      -Julian

    28. Moderator PanEuropean's Avatar
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      03-11-2010 02:59 PM #28
      Quote, originally posted by perfrej »
      ...From what I can see, those are aviation splicing thingies. There is no substitute for those....

      Those are actually Volkswagen specification wire connectors, not aviation specification parts. They are listed in the Volkswagen parts catalog (ETKA) as 'airbag wire splices'. I did all of the work shown in the photos above at my neighborhood VW dealer (Volkswagen Richmond Hill, near Toronto, Canada), using only VW specification parts and supplies provided by the dealer.

      Every VW dealer has a special toolkit (it has a VAG number) that includes a heat gun and a selection of these self-sealing wire splices.

      Quote, originally posted by Zaphh »
      There are other (simpler ?) methods for splicing wires. ...you can ... solder the wire and warm the heat shrink around the solder in order to insulate it...

      SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) and Volkswagen both strictly forbid soldering as a method of joining wires anywhere in the vehicle, either during new vehicle construction or during repairs. Soldered connections are vulnerable to breakage due to the vibrations and g loads encountered during vehicle operations. The solder connection itself won't break, instead, the wire will break at the point where the solder ends.

      Only crimp connections provide the reliability required. Only crimp connections that have an oxygen barrier provided by an integral shrink with a special coating on the inside of the shrink provide the corrosion resistance required. Shrink-tubing that is not integral to the crimp connection is not acceptable.

      Michael


    29. 03-11-2010 03:55 PM #29
      As a point of reference - if, for some reason, one cannot obtain the VW connectors, most marine supply stores will carry similar fittings (Ancor [no 'H'] is one brand in the US) - the metal portions are tinned to avoid corrosion and the 'plastic' portions are marine grade heat shrink (3:1 ratio shrink vs. 2:1 for standard radio shack type stuff) and lined with a heat-flowable sealing adhesive. They aren't rock-bottom inexpensive, but are well worth the additional expense for their performance. I'm sure they would be substantially less expensive than any FAA certified aviation product.

    30. Member
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      03-11-2010 04:18 PM #30
      Quote, originally posted by PanEuropean »

      SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) and Volkswagen both strictly forbid soldering as a method of joining wires anywhere in the vehicle, either during new vehicle construction or during repairs. Soldered connections are vulnerable to breakage due to the vibrations and g loads encountered during vehicle operations. The solder connection itself won't break, instead, the wire will break at the point where the solder ends.

      Very good point that I will remember. Thanks for your comment.
      Quote »

      Only crimp connections provide the reliability required. Only crimp connections that have an oxygen barrier provided by an integral shrink with a special coating on the inside of the shrink provide the corrosion resistance required. Shrink-tubing that is not integral to the crimp connection is not acceptable.

      Michael


      As for corrosion, Scotch 23 tape is wonderful. It is used (among other uses) to splice cables that run in the ground to contain a robotic mower. It is one of the rare reliable methods to get splices that don't corrode.

      P.


    31. 03-11-2010 04:31 PM #31
      We are still talking about non-critical, internal wires here aren't we??? Or has this moved on to a discussion about critical wires for the braking system that are routed on the outside of the vehicle and come into daily contact with moisture, salt and escape-velocity g loadings????

    32. Member
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      03-11-2010 05:37 PM #32
      Corrosion is very often a problem in contacts. If a splice can survive in a hostile environment (like damp soil), then it will probably survive in the cosy environment of Phaeton internal wires.

    33. Moderator PanEuropean's Avatar
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      03-11-2010 09:31 PM #33
      Quote, originally posted by Zaphh »
      Corrosion is very often a problem in contacts. If a splice can survive in a hostile environment (like damp soil), then it will probably survive in the cosy environment of Phaeton internal wires.

      Not necessarily. Wires buried in damp soil are not subject to any movement, vibration, or g loading (unless they are buried in, for example, Chile or Haiti).

      Wires installed in a moving vehicle are subject to all of the above three stresses.

      Michael


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      03-12-2010 01:09 AM #34
      Quote, originally posted by PanEuropean »

      Not necessarily. Wires buried in damp soil are not subject to any movement, vibration, or g loading (unless they are buried in, for example, Chile or Haiti).

      Wires installed in a moving vehicle are subject to all of the above three stresses.

      Michael


      You are right on mechanical constraints. I was talking corrosion. Soil is a very corrosive environment.

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      03-12-2010 09:15 AM #35
      Fascinating discussion on corrosion.

      Michael, do you know how to disconnect the actuation release cable for the fuse panel cover from the footwell cover? Do I just pull it out or are there clips? I'm trying to get that piece out, but it's not moving, and the repair manual doesn't specify how to remove it, just that it needs to be disconnected.

      -Julian

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