CLOCKSPRING (aka "rotational connector!") *FIXED* - Renault Forums :: Independent Renault forum

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post #1 of 60 (permalink) Old 26th July 2009 Thread Starter
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Angry CLOCKSPRING (aka "rotational connector!") *FIXED*

Hello again Renault buffs! While my daughter continues to possess an 03 Megane (large derriere - the car, not the daughter!), I anticipate that my name will appear regularly in this forum as the problems are mounting up faster than I can fix 'em!

Today's subject is the CLOCKSPRING but nothing to do with clocks!
Daughter reported recently a chafing noise when turning steering wheel. I thought her kids have put silver paper between steering wheel and column surround. Had a look with a torch, could not see owt. "It will clear itself", I declared, carry on driving.
Then came the bad news. "Dad, the airbag light is on and SERVICE indicator is lit....." "Curses, why did you have to buy this wretched car!
A further investigation reveals that the clockspring is probably damaged although I cannot be sure until I remove the airbag, the steering wheel and the switch module. Simples! Not quite so simple. According to Senor Manuel Haynes, the clockspring is not available on its own but as part of the column switch module. Wow, sounds expensive!
Do any of you buffs know if there is a problem with clocksprings on this model? Instead of being wound on smoothly, it seems to have "piled up" in a birds nest (anglers will recognise this description!)
Any ideas about replacing this item? (It's not really a spring but a folding tape with about 5 conducting lines running along it.) The car has done about 65,000 miles.
Loads of Renault clocksprings on Ebay but all earlier models and these appear to be separate items. It's dodgy buying a unit from a vehicle in which the airbag has been deployed as manufacturers state that ALL the airbag compontents should be renewed. (Having said that I have on my workbench a MONDEO clockspring that I removed from a written-off vehicle and the clockspring connections are as perfect as the one I have that did NOT come from a damaged car. You will probably gather I know a bit about clocksprings, but not on Renaults!)
Meanwhile the car continues to run OK but the dreaded message appears on the display "steering is not locked!!" - seen it all before!
Any suggestions anybody please? (I don't wish to sound arrogant but suggestions such as "leave well alone, do not touch airbag, take to Monsieur Renault etc will not be acceptable..........mate!
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post #2 of 60 (permalink) Old 1st August 2009 Thread Starter
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Mr Moderator, I did not receive any replies to my query but I am now in a position to report the outcome in the hope that it will help others. Being a sad old git (albeit an IT-literate one) I do not find this website user-friendly and it seems only by luck that I find targets.
Perhaps this article could be cross-referenced as it deals with clockspring (rotary connector), air bag warning light and indicator/wiper/headlamp switch unit, to help the maximum number of Renault buffs and justify the amount of time I spent working on and writing this?

Here we go then. To sum up, Megane 2, 2003 on, scratching noise from behind steering wheel during driving followed days later by airbag light on and SERVICE light glowing. "Steering is not locked" appears in the display when the engine is stopped.
I can confirm that the clockspring has broken and was looped all over the place in its housing. How did I overcome this? Read on McDuff!
Removal of the airbag, the steering wheel and the switch unit was amazingly easy taking literally a matter of minutes. DISCONNECT BATTERY FIRST AND WAIT AT LEAST 5 MINS BEFORE DISCONNECTING AIRBAG!
The clockspring is built-in to the switch unit and while it is possible to dismantle the whole issue fairly quickly, Monsewer Renault will not be able to sell you any bits. The switch stalks themselves can be removed but the "brains" are in the large circuit board on which they sit. It's all very neat and fiendishly clever - and damn expensive!!
I could see at once that the clockspring had pulled out of its connection at one end. Why this has happened is a mystery as normally the clockspring will outlast the car.
The clockspring is in the form of a seven-track ribbon as used in computers etc, although in this case only 5 of the tracks are used, four for the airbag and one for earth. I have studied the construction of this and whereas in a PC the ribbon tape can be pulled out, or inserted in a plug, the clockspring is sealed at each end. I will say without fear of contradiction that it is IMPOSSIBLE to reconnect once broken.
You have two choices. buy from a breaker or buy new. Two variations of switch unit exist, one is about 120 and the other is 150. The difference is that the dearer one is for models with auto-illuminating lights and front foglights. You can confirm by looking at button on the end of the headlamp (left hand) stalk. If it has the word AUTO on it, you need the dearer version.
The clockspring is about 20" long and gives about two turns around a drum which is a bit mean. It is absolutely imperative that you (carefully) find the central position before you attempt to fit it to your car with the wheels in the straight-ahead position. There is absolutely no room for error here. Just a little bit out and your new clockspring will break as soon as you go on lock. I doubt if Monsewer Renault would accept a warrantly claim....
Having said that, if buying new the spring will already be in central position.
If buying secondhand (my much-preferred method) you will need to find centre by turning clockspring either way, counting the turns and finding the middle. The clockspring is quite tough and will not easily be broken but do take it easy. You will be able to find each limit quite easily as you encounter resistance.
It all goes back together quite easily and when restarted your airbag light will be extinguished! You are supposed to use a new steering wheel bolt but this is up to you.
At the time of writing this several salvage firms are advertising Megane 2 parts on 'obey' and prices for the switch unit vary from 42 posted to 65 posted. Sorry, I bought the former! Avoid if possible, a car where the airbag has been deployed but you will not always know. Should still work OK.
I will just add one more little gem. The switch unit is clamped around the column and held by a torx screw. After undoing the screw I found that the unit would not simply slide up over the column. I had to hold the two sides of the clamp apart with a small screwdriver and then the unit came up and off. Watch out for the wiring for the three plugs.
Regarding the airbag itself, small screwdriver in the hole at the back, push against the spring inside and the airbag is pushed up towards the roof lining, not towards the driver. Simples! Two plugs to be removed, one on each side, after releasing the little yellow, plastic locks. Make a written note of which colour wires go to which side.
You can hang on to your old switch unit as some of the bits might come in handy. By the way, the non-auto unit will work on an AUTO vehicle but you will lose your auto illumination facility (if you use it) and you will need to swap your headlamp stalk to be able to use your front foglights.
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post #3 of 60 (permalink) Old 1st August 2009
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Sorry that you didn't get a response, but thanks for taking the time to update the thread with a fix

I've moved it to the Megane forum
post #4 of 60 (permalink) Old 6th November 2009
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i have the exact same problem, however i can't find a new one to buy? so was just wondering what you searched for on ebay ?

im a bit of a car rookie!

Also having trouble taking the steering wheel off!! any idaes?

a response would be great, cheers pal
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post #5 of 60 (permalink) Old 3rd February 2010
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Re: CLOCKSPRING (aka "rotational connector!") *FIXED*

Hi all.

I have a 2005 Renault Megane.

I found this post last night after the service light and the airbag lights came on. My steering wheel is making a "crunching" noise as well. I'm going to bring it into the dealer to have them assess the damage but I would be willing to give it a go myself if it is indeed the clock spring. I have a few concerns that if I try and dismantle the steering block that I might not get it back together. I was also wondering if the clock springs are specific per model or would any age Renault megane one work?

I'm willing to take it apart but as a novice I don't want to bite off more than I can chew. I have managed to disconnect my rear window motor when it broke and got the door back together like I was never there. That's my level of experience.

Any advice would be appreciated.
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aka , clockspring , fixed , rotational connector

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