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Fabia power steering problems?


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#1 Tech1e

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 20:04

Quite a new people have complained about this since, well since the Fabia came out but I thought id complie a simple guide to what CAN cause PAS faults on the Fabia and a little background to how the system works. Please note all of this is from my head so please take it as advice and not the word of Skodagod. It is open to discussion and can and will be changed as it needs to be.

The Fabia PAS system is electro hydraulic. This means it has an electric pump the presurises the fluid rather than a mechanical pump driven by the engine. The pump is controlled by a control unit, this is mounted with the pump under the reservoir under the n/s chassis leg. Ballache is this is under the battery for most of the engine options with a few exceptions so that needs to come out to check the level sadly. The system itself is actually fairly simple, the motor have a main live and earth connection that powers the motor, three wires to a hall effect sensor and an ignition live. Add a couple of data wires to the dash insert for warning lights and thats about it.

PAS sensor

This little beauty pops up more than anything and probably these days fairly its unjustified. True the early PAS sensors were problematic, the plastic cased end ones used to get water in them and cause issues. These were replaced in service by metal ended ones. Usually logging a fault code along the lines of PAS sensor incorrect signal. The job of the sensor is simple, tell the ECU you are turning the steering wheel so the pump provides assistance. All of the vRS models and most from around 2003 onwards adpoters the latter sensor set up that uses the seperate sensor and lead and a twin pick up in the rack these very rarely give issue. The sensor can be viewed in MBV in diagnosis to see if the ECU is picking up movement, the rate of the movement and current draw etc.

Steering rack

Its a regular hydraulic power steering rack, nothing exceptionally special it just has a hall effect rotor on the pinion where the column bolts on. Two different types that I know of, single and twin, uses different sensors etc so the right one must be ordered. Watch out with pattern ones, quite often get the wrong one. Common issues the end seals leak into the rack boots, as these are sealed you dont notice the loss of oil so if its going somewhere, its a pretty good bet.

Pump



The pump as mentioned before is built in with the ECU and reservoir as one unit. Pretty much the last resort but using simple diagnosis its fairly easy to in down if the culprit of a failure. Water ingress is fairly common, was covered in a big foam jacket on earlier cars to quieten it down, however this just held a load of water in around the ECU so it was dropped (by the looks of it). Pump control unit does have a fair ammount of self diagnosis capabilities, also coding is required if replaced. Steering assistance can be altered on some pumps (vRS is normally already on the heaviest setting).

General diagnosis

First, fault code check, sounds obvious but it can save a lot of assumptions and wild goose chases changing random parts, also use MBV to see what the pump is getting voltage wise and if a signal is being picked up by the PAS sensor. They dont always log a code, but its worth checking.

Second up the really obvious one, power! Its an ELECTRO hydraulic system so requires a good healthy battery. The pump can draw up to 60amps so I was told (probably a bit less that that to be fair) but add that to the other things you might be running such as lights, heater, HRW and you can see why it may struggle. Cars fitted with the 41ah batteries will always struggle a little more, my advice would always be if you end up having to replace it at some point do yourself a favour and go a size up to something like a 60ah. Dont forget that your power supply is only as good as the earth return so these also need to be in good order. I have seen quite a few older Fabias having issues with the battery earth leads and had good results in renewing them, bonus is they are pretty cheap and will help the whole electrical system nt just the PAS. Check the charging system paying special attention to the common DFM wire fault, if the battery isnt charging the PAS wont work. DFM wire fault is easy to verify by switching your ignition on, does the battery light come on? If it doesnt, pretty good bet the wire has broken, usually at the two pin connector in front of the gearbox. So if your fuse on top of the battery is ok, you have a healthy batter and a good 12v+ at the pump, a sound earth (which goes up on to the chassis leg, very short lead and can come loose or corroded) its all pretty good here.

Fluid level is also crucial, the light in theory wont come on if the level is low, it will however come on if the pump overheats which is can do with insufficient oil so can do in a round about way.

It should in theory be fairly simple to resolve any issues, not saying it will be cheap mind if you end up having a rack and pump it can be quite a shock but it doesnt happen very often.

I will update this as I think of more and hopefully a mod will make it a sticky, hope this helps a little.
  • Bernie VRS, mikey01, rickmeister and 1 other like this

#2 vrs180

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 20:18

Thanks for taking the time to write this :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

My wifes fabia vrs has lost its power steering 3 times in the last 5 months, its under warranty but the Skoda dealership have not been able to find the fault, (low battery voltage).

The warranty runs out in 4 weeks so with the help of this guide, I'll have a look at it myself.

Cheers

Bill.

#3 pieman[vrs]

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 20:19

Nice one Tech1e :thumbup:

Wish someone had done this 3 months ago!

#4 Tech1e

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 20:21

Like i said though it aint gospel and only from my head so please dont go printing it off and waving it under peoples noses..lol.

#5 LexVRS

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 20:37

sum1 pin this very useful :) mine goes out evry once in a while going very heavy then being fine again, whats the most likely cause of that...

#6 Tech1e

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 20:45

sum1 pin this very useful :) mine goes out evry once in a while going very heavy then being fine again, whats the most likely cause of that...


Without diagnosis anyones guess, that was the point of the thread. Needs checking over.

#7 LexVRS

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 20:46

ill get it looked at

#8 paul bateman

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 10:18

My wife had a Fabia Silverline for 6 years and hers started to give power steering fault indications from year 3 on, problem was battery. This problem disappeared in the summer months when the battery was warm and fully charged and reappeared in the winter, new battery made no difference just keep old one charged in winter.

#9 ap0gee1978

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 10:27

Pinned - thanks for putting this together, Ross! :thumbup:

#10 madfaz

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 19:36

great article, helps me alot as I've had so many problems but they continue. I replaced the pump which was faulty, angle sensor AND then the steering rack which seemed to cure the problem. However, one week later and now it seems the steerings getting heavier again (no power steering light) but the pump is trying to work, but it just won't (lights dim considerably when turning)? I'm at my wits end now and just thinking of throwing the car into a local auction as I've spent too much time and effort with no end result.

could anyone point me to the right direction?

#11 Tech1e

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 19:52

Care to point you in the right direction?

Is that not what the first post was about? As I have already said and quite clearly evident above there is little point in replacing parts without propper diagnosis.

You issue could be something as simple as a loose earth on the chassis leg from the pump. But without checking it over its anyones guess.

#12 madfaz

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 19:56

I did get a full diagnostics which is why all those parts were changed, they were all faulty. The problem is that the power steering was cured but started getting heavier again until today it seems to have completely given up. I guess the battery and alternator will be the next thing to check. Thanks for the write up.

#13 orhpos

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 01:50

Hi, I had issue with steering as well.

Symptoms of my fabia 1.4 mpi 2000: power steering light on dashboard went on and off, steering become unstable and after two days steering become heavier permanently with the light on all the time. With lights on and steering, all lights were literally flashing. Fuses –ok, the liquid in the pump –ok.

I’ve removed the nearside bumper grill trims and fog light, disconnected a power steering sensor from the pump, started engine, switched on the lights and “voila” no flashing lights indicated that the PAS is faulty. It was the old plastic one, replaced it with the metal ended ones which I bought from skoda dealer for £98 (august2010). A good description how to replace PAS is on fabia-vrs.com

Hope this will help somebody to save couple of quid.

#14 Lew0-VRS

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 17:21

Sweet info


Mine comes on in the cold mornings, even thou garage have had it 7 weeks and assured it me it was caused by a duff key :dull:......If switched off and started back up it goes off.

Any ideas ?

#15 Tech1e

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 18:18

A good description how to replace PAS is on fabia-vrs.com


Thank you, did that a long time ago.

#16 nigelcm

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 23:10

Thanks for the helpful guide on the power steering problems. My poor Fabia (2000 W reg 1.SDi with 115k on the clock) is having power steering problems. Well it has had no power steering for the last 3000 miles. I had a power steering light that came on permanently for about 2 weeks, now it is off, but still no power steering. Got a VAG.com cable from China and it came up with a sensor fault. Need to change it, but it's quite a pricey component. On balance it sounds like this is faulty, but why has the light now gone out on the dashboard? A few other questions:

1. Anywhere can you source a cheap steering angle sensor, apart from the stealers?

2. Could I have damaged anything else?

3. Will it make it through the MOT?

I have to say no power steering on a 1.9 diesel is certainly good for upper body exercise. You do need to plan your manoeurves!

Was also going to say that I heard it mentioned the seal on these old sensors lets water in, in the past they are usually fully of water, would removing the seal let the water drain out and let it work? Reminds me of fiddling with my brake switch which after fiddling about worked! Eventually replaced the stupid thing.

Saw a cheap LHD sensor on ebay, but the loom is apparently too short? How do you lengthen the loom or am I looking at soldering and all that business which is putting the connections at risk?

Hope someone with some time can help me out with this!

#17 orhpos

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 10:49

to nigelcm:
A light on dashboard for PAS wont pass MOT, that’s what I was told in garage (independent) when I was having issue with PAS on my fabia. If you need to replace steering angle sensor, try ebay, I bought used one (unfortunately wrong one) for £35. I have thought there are just 2 specific sensors for either koyo or trw steering system used in fabias, so bought trw sensor from fabia vrs but it didn’t fit my fabia mpi. Better look for a spare part of the same car model as yours. Buy only from UK, EU models have shorter cable as they are left hand driving cars.
Running car with faulty steering sensor might flat your battery pretty soon. Other than that it should not harm anything else (but I am car electrician, maybe someone else will react to my statement).
As far as drying the water out of the sensor and using it again, I read on other forums that this might be successful sometimes but the sensor wont work for long.

#18 AndyPandy

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 12:27

Excellent writeup ,I wish it was around when I had problems a couple of years ago. How nice to see a well written article,containing a lot of useful information.

#19 greg_vrs

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 13:00

i have had problems with my power steering, I’m not a techie. i drive my car, i look after it by getting all servicing done on time and wash/ clean regular while doing so checking oil, washer, tyres and coolant and now power steering levels too.
when i got power steering problems, i did what most people do and took it to the garage.
id just had my turbo changed a few days before (but power steering problem was evident before the turbo blew) but awesome had my car and diagnosed it as the pump being faulty.
ive since had the problem again (3 times), since they replaced the pump, and just drove the car with no power steering, it always comes back within half a mile or so. I can’t do anything now to prove it might not be the pump and get my money back for false diagnosis and fitting of a part there was no problem with when they took it off.

my point being, ive spent over 300 pounds at awesome getting this fixed and it is still not fixed! they are suppose to diagnose it, not me, else what is the point in taking it there?. I know, Ill take it back, and it will cost me more money and still not be fixed!

Having read this post im now well fed up, it seems cars can have so many problems with any single part even specialists cant find the faults (or are not willing to do a proper diagnosis) or know they exists in the first place?

i think that now i have not started my car for only a week and it has trouble starting now that it could have been the battery all along, and ive had a 300 pound bill i didn’t need to pay for. :@

#20 peter3197

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 19:49

I have 2 Fabia diesels, an 03 SDI and a 55 TDI. Both have problems from time to time with the PAS.
The O3 has the light come on and the PAS partly work if the temperature is around freezing or just above at other temps it works fine. Start up, light's on, switch off, start up again, everything works properly.
The 55, light does not come on but PAS not working when starting after overnight cold temperature, rev the engine, PAS works fine.

Just thought this may help people with similar symptoms, it might work for you.

On the subject of the MOT, just having the light on is not a fail, the PAS not working at all is but if the light is on and there is some assistance it should pass.

Edited by peter3197, 23 January 2011 - 13:11.


#21 Lew0-VRS

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 22:16

Mine is coming on from cold start up, beginning to think the battery on it is the wrong one.

096 but 510 amps

#22 nigelcm

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 22:10

Hi,

Looks like the power steering problem seems to happen in lots of Fabia's. I'm hoping to change the sensor. If it helps regarding the battery, I managed to get a cheap Bosch S5 one from Costco, wasn't exactly the same fit, a bit lower in height, but it was 750amps :) No problems starting in the cold I guess again! Made no difference to my power steering though :( If anyone knows of where to get a new cheap sensor please post it on the forum or message me. Thanks.

#23 angusfourpaws

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 09:42

Hi there Techie1!.

Thanks for the article. I started a thread about this problem but this looks a great place to start.

I am having problems with my Fabia power steering and my car battery died on Saturday! So there may be a link.

Can you possibly advise how to find out what battery we should put in as I have never done this.

Thanks!

#24 ap0gee1978

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 10:26

I would recommend a Bosch S4 - your supplier will be able to tell you which one is right for your car. The bolt that holds them in is a bit tricky to get at, so if you don't have a socket with a LONG extension and a pick-up tool on standby, you are probably better off getting your local garage to do supply + fit.

HTH

#25 Lew0-VRS

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 11:51

Had the car in Skoda for keys to be programmed to it yesterday, and they have been adamant that due to one of the keys failing back in November was causing the PAS light on start up.

Anyway had the codes cleared yesterday (Non of them PAS related) only related to the faulty key, and the PAS light has come on again this morning, switch it off and back on and it goes out, then it's ok for the rest of the day.

getting fed up of it tbh :(

#26 Tech1e

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 21:12

Hi there Techie1!.

Thanks for the article. I started a thread about this problem but this looks a great place to start.

I am having problems with my Fabia power steering and my car battery died on Saturday! So there may be a link.

Can you possibly advise how to find out what battery we should put in as I have never done this.

Thanks!


A dealer can tell you from the PR codes.

#27 Wynnie

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 01:07

Hi Guys, I have a 2001 Fabia 1.9 SDI..last winter I had the PAS warning light come on. On restarting the engine the light went out and Power Steering was restored, it only occured over a couple of the worst weeks of the weather last year and was fine from spring up until this winter. This winter the exact same has happend but this time the light has stayed on, and I have no PAS. I have plugged in VAG-Com / VDS Lite and I get the following fault codes:

Address 44: Steering Assist Labels: 6q0-423-156.LBL
Controller 6q0 423 156 H
Component LenkhilfeTRW
Coding 00110
1 Fault found:

00566 - Steering assistance operation
27-00 Implausible Signal.

Can anyone help with fixing this? I had an error on the airbag too that said Supply Voltage B+ Signal too low but this error cleared, could it be the alternator has been dicky and has fried the PAS control module?

Any suggestions, help much appreciated.

Mark.

#28 MathiasS

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 11:32

My findings on this topic are posted here: http://briskoda.net/...th-code-01290/. Will update as the problem is (hopefully) fixed next week.

Edited by MathiasS, 30 January 2011 - 19:56.


#29 geostorm

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 09:56

I have 2 Fabia diesels, an 03 SDI and a 55 TDI. Both have problems from time to time with the PAS.
The O3 has the light come on and the PAS partly work if the temperature is around freezing or just above at other temps it works fine. Start up, light's on, switch off, start up again, everything works properly.
The 55, light does not come on but PAS not working when starting after overnight cold temperature, rev the engine, PAS works fine.

Just thought this may help people with similar symptoms, it might work for you.

On the subject of the MOT, just having the light on is not a fail, the PAS not working at all is but if the light is on and there is some assistance it should pass.



#30 geostorm

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 10:00

Peter right about MOT i am tester also i have similar problem, switch on light stays on switch off and usualy light stays off i suspect sensor many a cause of warning lights but best to check if not sure.