Question: I replaced the rack and pinion in my 2002
Chevrolet Silverado myself. While the steering column was disconnected, I turned the steering wheel and heard a click noise. After finishing the job, the Service Airbag light came on. What happened?
Answer: The part is known as a clockspring, cable real, steering wheel module coil, etc. The assembly is located behind the steering wheel, and it loops wires together in a coil in order to maintain the electrical connections to the steering wheel (airbag) while turning left and right. The clockspring must be centered with the steering wheel straight, and both front wheels pointed straight ahead. The length of wire in the coil only allows for a couple of turns left and right. Going past that point will break the wires.
When you disconnect the steering column from the steering rack, do so with the front wheels pointed straight ahead, and reinstall it in the same position. When replacing a steering rack, lock the steering wheel in the centered position before disconnecting from the rack, to avoid accidental rotation. Then center the steering rack before reattaching to the steering column coupler. You turned the steering wheel too far with the steering rack detached and snapped the clockspring wires. You can scan the supplemental restraint system for DTCs to confirm, but you'll need to replace the clockspring, following the service manual procedure on installation.
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