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Steering locked - 2008 ForTwo

3674 Views 15 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  den458
The steering on one of my two 2008 ForTwos, my Pure (81K miles) locked up this morning, engine running or not. Car definitely has power steering, historically was easy to steer, but the steering wheel felt like it was mechanically locked in place.

Running car shifted into forward & reverse, moved straight forward & backward. The steering wheel moved just a few degrees, maybe the right amount of play in a steering coupler.

26 degrees now, but the Smart has seen much colder in 12 Chicagoland winters.

I’ve read in our other threads that we have no anti-theft-purposed mechanical steering lock, & that power steering is electric-assist, & there can be no steering fluid issues.

The few posts I’ve found of locked steering behavior like mine invariably end with no resolutions posted - the OP doesn’t describe the failure mechanism or the resolution / fix.

Decided to warm the car interior on high heat for 30 minutes & then recheck. Steering was still locked. Looking under the dash, I tugged on the wheel, saw that slight steering wheel movement caused the steering shaft to rotate slightly where it disappeared through the firewall, looked outside at the tires to see any tire movement, NONE…. Another steering wheel tug…. It rotated freely.

No click, no bang, no audible hint anything had changed…. but the steering wheel was free.

Helluva thing, the steering locking up. It was about 9:45a this morning I noticed it locked. The lock cleared a few minutes ago, about 12:30p.

Not looking for speculation on the many potential locked-steering causes. Anyone here KNOW what ultimately caused any of our steering locked behaviors & what the fix entailed?
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There were not that many Pure's sold that had power steering but it was an option on 451's. If your car has power steering, you will see a steering wheel icon in the right hand cluster display when the key is turned to position @1.
To diagnose your concern with locked steering, first place I would look is the steering shaft coupler. If the coupler seems okay, I would disconnect the outer tie rod ends from the steering arms and then turn the steering wheel. If the steering wheel turns easily and the rack goes back & forth, I would look at the upper strut bearing plates but this would be a rare occurance. I have heard of steering shaft couplers coming apart and binding the steering wheel.
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Check the steering column coupler as well as all of the steering linkage and steering rack.
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