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C5 Column Lock Bypass Install

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Table of contents

- Tools/Supplies needed
- Preface
- Part1: Removing the Knee Panel
- Part2: Bypass Installation
- Part3: Reinstalling the Knee Panel
Tools Needed:
- Flathead screwdriver
- Needle Nose Pliars
- Torx T-15 tool (included in CLB kit Available Here)
Parts/supplies you will need:
- Column Lock Bypass (Available Here)


One of the most common and annoying problems with the C5 model Corvette is the steering column lock getting stuck! There is nothing like walking out to your car after a hard day's work only to find your $45k sports car is immobile due to a faulty lock. Fortunatly, there is a way around this. A column lock bypass will disable the factory locking mechanism, while allowing the car's computer to still beleive everything is working problem free. All year C5's with a 6 speed transmission, and all pre-2001 model C5's with an automatic can use this device. 2001 and later model automatic cars do not have a column lock at all.

Part 1: Removing the knee panel

Time To Complete: 5-15 minutes

Lets get started. Using a flat head screwdriver, pry in the center bottom of the fog lamp/trunk release panel and pry it out. Once it pops out, pull it out a couple of inches and disconnect the wiring harness going to it.

Inside the hole, you'll see a T-15 torx headed screw. Remove that.
Next, pry off the panel on the other side of the steering wheel the exact same way. This houses the temperature sensor for some cars. Once it pops off, remove the T-15 torx screw from behind it.
Now down at the very bottom of the knee panel, towards the pedals, there are 2 T-15 screws that go up into the dash. Unscrew these.
Now that we have removed 4 T-15 screws total, the knee panel is now totally unscrewed. First, pull with your left hand at the bottom left edge of the panel, where near the door meets up when closed. It may take some effort and then it'll "pop" free.
Now move your hand up some and pull from the leftmost part of the front face of the knee panel. Again, this will take some effort and will "pop" free.
Now we need to get the right side of the knee panel free....this side is tricky. Pull back the trim that goes around the temperature sensor/key hole about 3 inches, or as much as possible with your left hand. With your right hand, try to work the knee panel downwards. If you have the temperature sensor, it sticks back about 3 inches and will get caught on stuff, so you need to pull the knee panel out towards you as much as possible to move it down.
Finally, it will drop down with enough pulling and budging. If you have the temperature sensor, unplug the wiring harness on the back of it and then set the whole knee panel assembly aside.

Now, put the key and and turn the car ignition to the ACC or ON position, but do not start the car. This should unlock the steering wheel. If it did, go on to PART 2, otherwise do the following: Turn the key off, remove the key, violently turn the wheel back and forth as much as you can, and try the key again. Repeat the process, and eventually the wheel will un-stick. Physical shock will nearly always unstick the motor temporarily.

Part 2: Installing the Column Lock Bypass

Time To Complete: 10 minutes

Now that the steering wheel turns free, leave the key in the ON position and pull the passenger's side floor matt back. Under the floor matt you should see a panel held down by 2 black plastic latches. Unsnap the latches, push the panel upwards and outwards and you'll find a black plastic fuse box underneath. Unplug fuse #25 using a pair of needle nose pliers (The fuse diagram is inside the box lid.) Do not turn the key off yet.
Now back on the drivers side, we need to disconnect the column lock wiring plug from the car's wiring harness. If you look up in the dash, you should see a 4 wire bundle plugged in near a big yellow connector. The 4 wires will be purple, orange, green, and black. If you see that connector, disconnect it by prying up on the plastic lock tab and pulling the plug downwards. The lock tab is on the passengers side of the plug.

Once it is unplugged it should look like this.
Now plug in your column lock simulator module into the socket where we unplugged the stock column lock. The bumps on the side of the plug should go towards the passenger side as they lock into the female plug.

On the passengers side floor board fuse box, reinstall fuse #25 and then turn the car off and remove the key. Pause a few seconds and then reinsert the key and turn it to the ON position. Check the Drivers Information Console (DIC) for any abnormal error messages.

If you are getting a msg stating "SERVICE COLUMN LOCK" or "PULL KEY AND WAIT 10 SECONDS", shut the car off and once again pull fuse #25 and leave it unplugged for 10 minutes. Reinstall it and all error messages should be cleared and should not return. If the error messages are recurring, contact ME or the place you bought the bypass from.

Part 3: Reinstalling the interior panels

Time To Complete: 5-15 minutes

This step is probably the most difficult of the whole install. Getting the right side of the drivers knee panel in is quite a chore. First, plug your wiring back into the temperature sensor. Now, much like the removal, pull back the key hole trim with your left hand, while trying to work the panel back up and into place with your right hand, remembering that the temperature sensor needs to clear all the stuff up in the dash so you don't break it off. Do not worry at all about the drivers side of the panel just yet.

Also note, when working the knee panel up into place, the METAL tab of the panel where the screw goes through goes behind the plastic part of the key hole trim. You'll see what I mean when you get to this step. After you see the screw holes all line up (the one in the dash, the one in the knee panel, and the one in the keyhole trim panel) then we can move on.
On the drivers side of the panel, before we snap it up into place, we need to pull the wires through the hole for the fog light/trunk latch assembly. Just pry things back a bit and run the wires through the hole, plug them into the switch, and then press the whole knee panel up and into place until it snaps.

Now put all 4 of your T-15 torx screws back into place. The bottom two may be tricky as the threaded metal clips they screw into can sometimes move around. You can usually wedge your fingers behind the knee panel to move the metal clip until it is aligned with the hole in the knee panel.

Reinsert your switch panel and temperature cover panel, and you're all done. Test the install by turning the key to the on position, then off, and then removing it.

Finally, close up the fuse box on the passengers floor board and reinstall the floor panel and floor matt and you're done!

Frequently Asked Questions

1) My Steering Column is currently locked. Will a Column Lock Bypass unlock this for me?

Nope. First and foremost, you must have a working column lock before you can install the bypass. During the install of the bypass, you'll actually be using the column lock motor like normal to unlock the steering wheel.

2) Why did my kit come with a Cigarette plug adapter?

Some kits come with a cigarette lighter plug adapter with a column lock plug on the other end. This harness is setup to send the exact same 12 volt signal the car sends when you turn the key, and thus, is unneeded. You can use it if you wish and skip the steps messing with the fuse box, however I now prefer the method where the car/key do the unlocking like normal. There is no greater chance of a cigarette adapter unlocking a stuck lock over just using the key.

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Feedback and hearing people's experiences when using my instructions is very important to me. If you used these instructions, drop me a line and let me know how it all went.

- jmX

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