Fiat Punto ELX - Punto steering problem fixed! -
My wife's 2000 (W) Punto has had a problem with the power steering over the last couple of years. The power steering light wouldn't go out on start up and PAS wouldn't work, very typical of Puntos of similar age.
To begin with it happened occasionally, for short periods, then started becoming more frequent, for longer periods, and more recently has been more off than on, only working infrequently. When it works, it works fine.
I had tried all of the suggestions such as connections, fuses, new battery, battery connections, made sure the alternator was charging OK, earth connections, cleaned out the steering ECU, no improvement.
Picked up on a couple of posts on different forums where people had solved the problem by re-soldering some of the joints on a circuit board inside the steering motor, so eventually took the plunge and had a look.
Removed motor (marked position of shaft for re-assembly), removed rubber gasket, unsoldered 6 heavy wires to relays on the circuit board. This allows the board to be removed (4 x T8 TORX screws). On the reverse found 4 small soldered connections to the relay coils were "dry" - could see the cracks with a magnifying glass.
Resoldered the dry joints, reassembled, fitted to the car and VOILA! It works! - for the first time in months!
So if you have similar symptoms what you may need is either a new motor or if you have the confidence and resources to attempt it and know what you are doing, it may be fixable at minimum cost.
Hope a few people find this helpful!
What surprises me somewhat is why Fiat don't seem to have completely stripped a few of the many "failed" steering column assemblies to get to the bottom of this and at least started to sell motors at a knock-down price to get some customer good-will back! Perhaps because they rely so heavily on expensive diagnostic equipment instead of working logically through the symptoms and components to get to the bottom of this?