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Old 07-21-2008, 06:12 PM   #1
lone ranger
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Default replace steering wheel motion sensor


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Well I finally replaced the sensor. It makes a difference. For those that wrote about the sensor on this forum I say thanks for pointing me in the right direction. It took me longer than expected since I was working alone and didn't have the use of a shop manual and I had to get up and down to get the tools I needed. Always nice to have a helper.

Before I did anything I moved the seat as far back as it would go. You will want to do this if you have power seats. I then disconnected the battery. The nut on the lower column that goes thru the wall is the one that comes off. It is behind the bracket holding the steering wheel and is the one that you have to loosen to pull the shaft towards the firewall. I used a 15mm box wrench, as the space is too confining to get a socket in there. Once the nut is off just pull the bolt out. It comes out rather easy and goes back the same. Realizing that the sensor sits in a case, gray in color, with about 4 retention clips, I inserted a small screwdriver behind each clip and pulled on the clip as I worked the sensor forward towards the firewall. On a couple clips I used a bent wire to move the sensor forward as I worked the clip, as they are buried on top. Don't break the clips, they are plastic tension release types and retain the sensor in the proper position. Break the clips and you might have a bigger problem than the replacement of the sensor. The connection for the sensor was located on top of the column and wrapped in foam. I had to peal the foam away. To disconnect the sensor I removed the green retaining clip by sliding it back out of the connector and once that was done the connection came apart pretty easy. Don't pull on the wires to disconnect. I might add that the wiring does not seem long enough to remove the sensor first by sliding it down the shaft prior to disconnecting the connector. Once disconnected you need to slide the connector thru the bracket and the steering column. It will get thru. You could cut the wires but I chose to leave them intact. Cutting would make the job easy. Once I got the connector thru I slide the sensor down the shaft and off.

The sensor goes back on the column with the metal bushing facing the driver. There is a notch at the top of the sensor housing that the sensor wiring fits into. You can feel this but I also used a mirror to see, with the help of a shop light, exactly what was there and how it fit. After fitting the sensor I connected the wires on the top side of the steering column. You have to fiddle with the connection but it will go thru the small opening that you previously removed it from. Someone else said to connect the connector first but this worked just a easy. Once connected I then pushed the green retaining clip back in, take notice how it comes out and replace the same way. I then slid the column up onto the shaft and aligned the holes, dropped the bolt thru the opening and then put the nut on and tightened it. I once again made sure the connection was good and that the sensor was seated proper in the housing and retained by the clips.

I took it for a test ride and all is good with the world.

You can buy the sensor thru GM, any auto store, or on-line. Mine was the "Help" brand part #31025 and fits '94 to '04 models. I mine purchased on-line, but I probably could have gone to my local auto store too.

Thanks again to all that posted information about the sensor.
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Old 11-12-2008, 03:00 PM   #2
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Thanks! Is this the EVO sensor that jerks the steering wheel when bad?
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Old 11-12-2008, 04:52 PM   #3
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Don't know if it is called EVO. But what I have read here, when it goes bad it affects the wheel. The other comments have been about the steering box I believe. Sorry it took so long to respond, I've been away.
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Old 11-19-2008, 01:46 PM   #4
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Just to clarify... I think what I understand now is that the EVO is at the steering box (under the hood) and the Steering wheel position sensor is the one on the column (thanks Lone Ranger).

The EVO is what somehow "adjusts" steering feel... and the position sensor is what gives it the information it needs, so if the position sensor goes bad, then the EVO gets "jerky" and scared the jeebus outta you.

This is what i got so far from some of the other posts (from searching)... but If this is inaccurate, please feel free to elaborate.
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Old 11-19-2008, 07:56 PM   #5
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Ok... I finally got off my lazy arse and actually worked on my truck. I changed the steering sensor at lunch time. here's some pics.

Lone Ranger's write up was on the ball. Some extra tips:
-Turn the steering left about 9 O'clock. Then the 15mm nut will be facing straight down and you can use a socket wrench to speed things up.

-Also, the bolt is like a carriage bolt, so you'll have to press down on it while wrenching so it won't spin.

-The wire and connector can be pulled down to the right of the steering shaft, where it's easy to work on.

-When the steering wheel is straight, there is a slot in the plastic housing that the sensor snaps into... I stuck a flat blade screw driver w/ gently pulling the tab to push the sensor out. I only felt 3 tabs total (i could be wrong on this)... but I still pushed the sensor out through this slot, and it was easy.

Now that I know how to do this (thanks for the info!~) it seems like a 5-10 min job. Pretty simple.

**I changed my sensor becuase it jerked w/ me a few weeks ago when I was making a sharp right turn on an off camber corner. It totally caught me off guard and baffled me. It never did that again, but I don't plan to wait for symptoms. Once was enough. Also, a few drives before this incident, my power steering felt weak at low rpm/idle situations... but only when the steering was turned a bit. I thought my power steering pump or fluid was the culprit.

Result: The steering feels normal... no big difference... but the steering feel actually feels a bit more firm. With the old sensor, the steering was very loose and easy, and almost felt overboosted. Now it feels more solid, and seems to return back to center better too (If the sensor has nothing to do w/ this... then just play along) Overall, not bad for $35 (original AC Delco part... online)

Anyway, hope this helps~
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Old 11-20-2008, 01:51 PM   #6
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OK... something just occurred to me.

What position should the sensor be rotated to when the steering wheel is straight? I'm not talking about the sensor housing, because that will only fit one way... but the rotating part that w/ the brass tabs that actually touch the steering shaft. I didn't "clock" mine when I installed it... does anyone know what it's supposed to be at when straight?

I figured this out last night when I took apart the old sensor out of curiousity... and saw that it might need to be clocked right. It works fine right now.. but I'd like to get it right.

Damn.
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Old 11-20-2008, 09:20 PM   #7
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I have a 1998 GMC Z71 4x4 and my steering is doing exactly what yall are saying!
My question is the sensor behind the steering wheel or is it under the dash like in the excellent pics that were posted?
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Old 11-20-2008, 09:28 PM   #8
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Default 1998 z 71

this message board helped me out alot thanks for all the great info
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Old 11-21-2008, 01:23 PM   #9
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slide your drivers seat back ... and look under the knee area... you'll see it. Easy.
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Old 11-23-2008, 06:29 PM   #10
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I just wanted say thanks for all of the information i just changed mine and it was as easy as yall said it would be.
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