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Disclaimer: I did this to my car and was successful. I also did it on a 2005 Ion-1 and it was successful. If it works for you, great. If it doesn't, don't yell at me.

OK, so I got tired of the PWR STR message coming on about every 5-10 minutes while driving, losing power, having to strong arm into parking spots etc. Having spent an hour on the phone with Saturn begging them to add our Redlines to the Cobalt/G5 Power Steering Recall, I pretty much figured we’re screwed. So, I followed the advice of several of the posts here on the power steering issue. It took me about 2 hours, but that’s because I had a massive fail (when I put the motor back in I had NO power steering period), so I had to take it BACK off to find out what happened—see below). So, if you do it right the first time, it’ll probably take 45 minutes to an hour to fix.
Since I’ve done this, I haven’t had a PWR STR message come on at all, and I’ve had power the entire time.

I put this post here because it will not let me make a How-To for some reason.

So… here’s what you will need:
Flashlight
8mm wrench for battery
7mm driver to remove trim panel screws
Ratchet (I used 3/8” drive)
Small extension for ratchet
12mm and 13mm socket (it’s one or the other, I can’t remember which)
Crescent wrench
Philips screwdriver
Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol), make sure it’s 70% (standard concentration) and not 91%
Good hi-temp grease
Canned air (the kind you use on computers to blow dust off)
q-tips, paper towels, old rags, etc

1. Unplug the negative terminal of the battery

2. Pop the side panel off by the driver door

3. Take off the 3 screws/bolts holding the kick panel on, then pop off the kick panel

4. You will see the motor when you look up under the dash (have a flashlight handy). It’s the big round thing with a black cover

5. Take off the (2) bolts holding the motor on (they are either 12mm or 13mm I can’t remember). (Do not take off the screws holding the black cover onto the motor yet)

6. Unplug the motor and remove it (it’ll pull straight out off of the spline).

7. Take off the (2) screws holding the black cover onto the motor. I used a Crescent wrench to loosen them up first as a socket will not fit because the screws are too close to the case.

8. Pull hard to get the cover off (the magnets are pretty strong). And here’s what you should have: a motor with the cover and a bunch of black crap all over inside the cover and around the contacts

9. Here’s where the fun starts. Take the rubbing alcohol and clean the inside of the cover as best as you can. Get all of the old crappy grease out of there (you’ll replace it later).

10. Set the cover aside open end down and allow it to dry

11. For the motor part, (I should have taken more pictures of this because this is the important part), take the canned air and blow as much of the black crap out from the inside of the housing. Then take the rubbing alcohol and dump some in there to flush the crap out. (do this 2-3 times to flush thoroughly).

12. There are (4) black connections that sit around the copper shaft. Take the q-tips, dip them in rubbing alcohol and scrub the copper shaft as best as you can to get it all shiny again.

13. Then flush the area again with rubbing alcohol. Set it aside and let it dry.

14. Find the cover (it should be dry) and the hi temp grease. I used a bic pen to do this, but you have to put a small amount of grease at the end of the case where the bearing for the motor sits.

15. Make sure the motor is dry

16. Put the motor and cover back together. For this, you can see where the cover and motor only go together one way (there are grooves in the plastic part in the cover that have to meet up with the aluminum on the motor casing)

16a. THIS IS IMPORTANT PLEASE READ. So, I must have forced the cover down to hard when I was putting it together the first time because one of the little black plastic pillars that holds the brass contact away from the aluminum casing wall was broken. This caused that electrode to ground out, and by that I mean when the car was all put back together, I had absolutely no power steering. I took it all apart again, found the electrode touching the wall, put a piece of plastic between it and the wall, put it all back together, and my car works wonderfully now with power steering. So be careful when you put the cover back on!

17. Tighten the (2) screws for the casing. Get them snug with a screw driver, then tighten them up with the crescent wrench.

18. You’re ready to put the motor back in the car. Fit it up under the dash, put the (2) bolts back in, and tighten. Plug in the connector.

19. Put the negative terminal back on the battery

20. Start the car and make sure you’re good to go before putting the panels back on.

I hope this helps. It's working great for me so far.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. After zooming in and looking at the pics, it looks like the "black stuff" is actually small shredded filings of plastic. That's what must be causing the problems. I'm kind of surprised... the motor is made by Denso and they usually make good stuff.
 

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I'm bi-winning
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I would say this is sticky worthy since we're never gonna get a recall. What do you think mods?
 

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Moderator/Internet Fight Champion
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Enough people have this problem that I agree on sticky. I'd like to wait until admin can fix the how-to section first though so we can place it appropriately. I'll let Nadeem know we're still down on that.

Ben

Edit: Well I'll put it in the problems/troubleshooting area for now.
 

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the HepKitty
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Enough people have this problem that I agree on sticky. I'd like to wait until admin can fix the how-to section first though so we can place it appropriately. I'll let Nadeem know we're still down on that.

Ben
may want to sticky this in the meantime, as the fix to the how to section may take awhile. but, your our stickydude......your call..........

OP, most excellent thread....
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks guys, I feel kinda honored, haha. I've been on this forum for a while and have gotten a TON of helpful info, so I thought it was my turn to contribute.

I do have a word document put together with the pictures in the right spots (couldn't figure out how to do it in a post). However, the word doc is 1.77MB so I can't post it here... any ideas? I'm willing to upload it somewhere if someone wants to host.
 

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Just wanted to confirm this method FIXED the problem for me. I just finished test driving my saturn ion about 5 minutes ago and no problems. PROBLEM GONE!!!

Important to note...it did not work right-away! After I installed the motor I still had the PWR STR message come on, it was only after about the 15th time that it stopped giving me the error. I guess it takes time for the motor to "settle in."

Also, instead of alcohol I used something called an electrical cleaner the can had an image of a alternator and starter on it. Worked really good and is made for cleaning electric motors.

One more thing to note...I went into the fusebox (under the hood, NOT cabin!) and changed the 2 pink fuses (42 & 43 I believe) with other ones that were nearby.

And that pretty much fixed it. Thank you to the person who posted the instructions, it saved me $145 for which I will now go out and buy a pair of oakley sun glasses!!!
 

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I've been avoiding my RL because of the power steer, unwillingness to pay someone to fix it and sheer laziness to do it myself. But I gotta say this took me only about 20 mins to do and it worked the first time. I already drove the car about 30miles without an issue. Hopefully this'll be a permanent fix. Thanks for the info!
 

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Thanksafs...

Thanks guys, I feel kinda honored, haha. I've been on this forum for a while and have gotten a TON of helpful info, so I thought it was my turn to contribute.

I do have a word document put together with the pictures in the right spots (couldn't figure out how to do it in a post). However, the word doc is 1.77MB so I can't post it here... any ideas? I'm willing to upload it somewhere if someone wants to host.
Thanks for all the hard work and effort that went into this...and since yes...I have EXACTLY the same problem...you wouldnt by any chance know how much a reputable mechanic might charge for this? PS: Thanks for posting this...I was thinking it was either something only I did...or just bad frikkin luck. Good to know it was neither!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for all the hard work and effort that went into this...and since yes...I have EXACTLY the same problem...you wouldnt by any chance know how much a reputable mechanic might charge for this? PS: Thanks for posting this...I was thinking it was either something only I did...or just bad frikkin luck. Good to know it was neither!
Thanks man. Like the other posts were saying, it's ridiculously expensive to get it fixed at the dealer. And because of the nature of the problem it's a "dealer only" problem, ie: smaller places will look at it and attempt to diagnose the problem for you but ultimately refer you to the dealer, like NTB, Tires Plus, Sears, Firestone Auto, etc.

That said, one dealer quoted me $880, and another said, "at least $1,000 but we don't know until we get started."

Yikes.

What they want to do is replace the ENTIRE steering column which includes the defective motor. I think it's a racket and they're trying to rip us off.
 

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I'm Awesome
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So I just bought and got together all of the tools and all needed...doing this tomorrow afternoon...any advice? or anyone else do this how-to and have some results?
I could need some inspiration...these past few days have been hot, hot, hot.
 
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