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I‘ve had this issue for as long as I can remember on my 2011 CTT. It’s never been more than a nuisance, but it persists.

Intermittently, when I unlock the car, I open the door and immediately get hit with a DING and a red “Relieve Steering” warning. About 2/3s of the time the car clears it on its own and starts normally. The remaining ⅓ of the time I end up cycling the locks using the fob while sitting in the driver’s seat, then I can start the car normally.

The issue isn’t real: the steering isn’t locked. I think there’s an issue with the electronics. Cycling the locks seems to reset it. It happens in my driveway, which is perfectly level, even when I have the parking brake engaged.

@deilenberger I seem to recall you posting about this issue (somewhere?? where could it be? ;))… were you able to diagnose it?
 

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I think I've seen it a time or two with my 2012 CTT. I have no idea what would cause this.
 

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It's headed to a shop Wednesday for this and the intermittent loss of low speed boosted steering assist (servotronic) which at least sets a fault code (which when cleared the steering returns to normal.) The shop has a genuine PIWIS and contacts with the Porsche techs at the local dealer (the shop sometimes does engine work for the dealer and does all their body work..)

I'm hoping to get to the bottom of this. The real puzzle to me is HOW the steering is supposed to be locked. I bought an entire steering column assembly off ebay, it was unreal cheap ($125 shipped) and I wanted to look at one without ripping mine apart. There is a module bolted to the top of the column, right below the instrument cluster. I thought that the module perhaps has a locking mechanism that goes into the column to lock it, but when I removed it - there is nothing like that. It's simply a sealed module, molded to fit around the top of the steering column. From the wiring I could track down, it is partly used for the motorized column movement control. There is nothing physical in it that could lock the column.

So - still a mystery. It did it again tonight, refusing to start until I started playing with things..

The CTT is starting to cost a car payment a month in repairs. That's dangerous territory for a car to be in when owned by me because that typically means it is going away soon. We'll see what this months bill is. So far the past 3 months it's averaged $600-800 per month, and for less than 1,000 miles - that's getting expensive. Might be time for something new.
 
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Don, did you ever get the the bottom of this?
 

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Don, did you ever get the the bottom of this?
The "Relieve Steering" - if your Cayenne is doing it - try replacing your key battery with a brand new battery. I did - and for several days it didn't happen. I did this due to an error code stored in that module (read it with my Foxwell NT530) of 881202 - "key battery flat"

Now it started happening again, but it makes the "bong" noise and then goes away before I can even start to move my butt into the seat. My WAG is it's supposed to unlock the steering as soon as the car sees the key, or perhaps as soon as you pull on the outside door handle. With a weak key battery it wasn't recognizing the key quickly enough (sometimes indicated by the message on the dash of "Key not recognized"). As long as it doesn't stop me from starting the car I'm ignoring it.

The loss of low-speed steering boost hasn't reappeared since they R&R'd the connector (and cleaned it.) Fixed? Dunno - that happened rather infrequently. I've been meaning to throw the Foxwell on it and see if any codes have been stored recently.

BTW - followup on the shop visit (highly-regarded independent does 95% Porsche)

- Steering boost
- cleaned the contacts going to the steering rack and used some dielectric grease on them. Charged 1 hour diagnostics, 1 hour labor and somehow that came to around $300.

- Relieve steering message - diagnostics (which I think consists of reading the notes I brought with me and then browsing the web for an hour hoping someplace else determined what was happening) - 1 hour diagnostics, $165. Conclusion (they admitted it was a guess) was it needed a new locking module which is mounted to the steering column. Module $300 (retail on-line $225, but can't bring parts to this place..) and somehow enough labor to make it a $1,000 repair. In reading the factory service manual (PDF copy) - replacing the module requires reprogramming all the anti-theft coding throughout the car - about 4 modules in total, and have to have all the keys present. They didn't mention this...

- Loss of brake vacuum - they "looked" at all the fittings and thought they looked OK (guess it's hard to see vacuum leaking since it would be air leaking into the vacuum).. and then they smoke tested the plumbing between the vacuum pump and the booster and saw no smoke get out. They theorize there is a check valve in the plumbing going between the 2 end points (pump-booster) and it's not checking. They want to replace all this plumbing. This somehow also came up to a $1,000 repair. Diagnostics cost - 1 hour again - $165. Mentioned if this wasn't it - then the booster is next at around $900 (on-line price about $400) + installation. I am still suspicious of a bad connection somewhere since it seems to be losing vacuum more quickly since they looked at it..

So to get the connector cleaned on the steering rack and some "diagnostics", I left about $650 poorer (with 10% PCA discount). Mostly for diagnostics they admit are a guess (no guarantee of success, just keep throwing money and parts at it and hope the issues are resolved.)

I think I'll be talking to Max at Provost Motorsports when he's back from racing and see if he thinks he can fix it. Every time I've been to see him his actual charges are less than his estimate, he charges strictly by the hour and is perfectly happy if I bring my own parts.
 

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Are you using the stock key cover? Or do you have an aftermarket cover?
 

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Are you using the stock key cover? Or do you have an aftermarket cover?
Interesting question. My key has white key covers I bought off eBay. But it's been wearing these for at least 4 years and there wasn't an issue before except a very occasional BONG and message that quickly disappeared. They are plastic and if I put a bright light behind them I can see light so there isn't anything metal in them that might block a signal. SWMBO's* key is the original black plastic key covers. But it's sitting in her purse somewhere wrapped in aluminum foil to keep from confusing the car when both keys are in it. FWIW - I changed her battery also (both checked lowish with my battery tester) and she's never actually used her key I think, maybe once..

* SWMBO = "She Who Must Be Obeyed" - Rumple of Bailey Street.
 

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Don I'm going for the low hanging fruit. Any electrical problem should first be diagnosed by checking the car's battery wth the engine off. My low battery did a lot of little strange things right before it went dead.

Next, your vacuum pump could be going out. It's a super easy DIY and the pump is only $149. There is also a t fitting right at the top rear of the engine that breaks. I know that the smoke test didn't reveal it, but ya never know. Worth a check. Let me see if I have that picture.

You said, "Key not recognized" showed up on your dash. Were you outside the car or inside? if you're inside, then t could be your auto open doors shorting out due to inclimate weather getting thru the handle and shorting out the system. Mine went bad one door at a time and now I can't lock the car with any exterior door button, only the key fob. Drove me crazy thinking what was causing the ding ding ding and key not recognized light while I was driving. Yea Amy son crawl around the car and placing the key on each outside door handle, yes the dinging stopped.
 

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I remember when you broke that thing, did you find a stainless steel tee to replace it?
 

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Hey Ed - thanks! Comments interspersed..

Don I'm going for the low hanging fruit. Any electrical problem should first be diagnosed by checking the car's battery wth the engine off. My low battery did a lot of little strange things right before it went dead.
The battery was new in September - Interstate, probably the same one as you got. It's still a possibility since the car sometimes sits for a week or more between being used, so the battery isn't 100% when the car is unlocked.
Next, your vacuum pump could be going out. It's a super easy DIY and the pump is only $149. There is also a t fitting right at the top rear of the engine that breaks. I know that the smoke test didn't reveal it, but ya never know. Worth a check. Let me see if I have that picture.
The shop claims there is a check valve in that vacuum line going to the booster, and they checked up to the line and saw no leaks. They feel that means the check valve is leaking and the check valve is part of the line.

I can't find any reference to the check valve - wonder if you've seen one or not in the line to the booster.
You said, "Key not recognized" showed up on your dash. Were you outside the car or inside? if you're inside, then t could be your auto open doors shorting out due to inclimate weather getting thru the handle and shorting out the system. Mine went bad one door at a time and now I can't lock the car with any exterior door button, only the key fob. Drove me crazy thinking what was causing the ding ding ding and key not recognized light while I was driving. Yea Amy son crawl around the car and placing the key on each outside door handle, yes the dinging stopped.
The "Key not recognized" actually is pretty rare, and has been seen on and off for a few years - but usually weeks apart. I've only seen it once since the "Relieve Steering" message appeared.

The shop claims if the key battery is weak there should be a dash message about it. I've never seen one.... what I saw was on a scan my Foxwell NT530 did, and it said "Key battery flat". That's what inspired me to change the battery. So far I haven't seen the "relieve steering" message again - but I have gotten BONG BONG once or twice when I open the door, but either there wasn't a message or it disappeared quickly enough I didn't get to see it. I'm trying to determine if there is a pattern if I unlock the door using the button on the key, or if I unlock it by touching the door handle.

I remember someone (wasn't it you?) who found snipping the green wire (in movies - it's always the RED wire or the bomb goes off..) going to the handle button cleared up a lot of lock problems, at the expense of the button no longer working to lock the door. I also seem to recall someone mentioning if this happens it can be seen looking at the active state of the handle buttons using a diagnostics tool. I'll have to see if that's happening. We do tend to have a bit more inclement weather along the NJ coast than you might see in LA.. and to some extent these seem to happen after we have a northeaster (bastardized by the news into "nor-easter" I'm surprised that don't go "arggg" before saying it.. but I've digressed..)

It's supposed to be 55F tomorrow - so it's a decision. Do I go drive the Boxster around with the top down or do diagnostics on the Cayenne.. let's see... :ROFLMAO: Any suggestions?
 

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I vote take advantage of the weather and drive the boxter. The cayenne can wait.
 

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I vote take advantage of the weather and drive the boxter. The cayenne can wait.
This sounds like a plan coming together.. wonder what excuse I can make up for disappearing for a while...
 

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Provost Motorsports...wow. Thanks for mentioning this Don. I work down in Bordentown and this place is not too far away. I'll need to contact them about doing an alignment when I get new tires in the spring time.
 

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Provost Motorsports...wow. Thanks for mentioning this Don. I work down in Bordentown and this place is not too far away. I'll need to contact them about doing an alignment when I get new tires in the spring time.
Speak to Max and tell him I said HI!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Don and Ed - This problem has continued to dog me for the last 12 months or so. Snipping the green wires fixed the KESSY thinking it's being given a "lock" signal by the door handle. That helps 80% of the symptoms, mostly the "Key Not Recognized" red dings mid-highway.

Unfortunately, it doesn't fix the KESSY thinking it's being given an "unlock" signal by the proximity sensor. I'm not sure how this works, but I believe it's built into the cylinder being tugged on by the handle, combined with the key being near. So you still get some intermittent weird symptoms, like the car pausing on start, or (I suspect perhaps??) the "Relieve Steering" message upon entry.

SO I think I might be one step closer after this weekend.

I finally found some door handles on eBay off wreckers with the keyless entry on them in my color. Since you can swap out the outward-facing trim on the handles, a $300-per-handle fix is now $80. Swapped out both the FR (passenger) and FL (driver) handles last week and have had no issues since. Car now feels totally normal. Like, oddly so. I've had a quick delay for the starter to kick in as long as I've had it. No longer.

Thing is: if the handle is disconnected from the electronics, it's essentially a dead handle. Why would replacing it with a live, working handle fix that? I have no idea. But now I'm looking to source rear handles to see if I can get rid of all the gremlins for good.
 

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Don and Ed - This problem has continued to dog me for the last 12 months or so. Snipping the green wires fixed the KESSY thinking it's being given a "lock" signal by the door handle. That helps 80% of the symptoms, mostly the "Key Not Recognized" red dings mid-highway.

Unfortunately, it doesn't fix the KESSY thinking it's being given an "unlock" signal by the proximity sensor. I'm not sure how this works, but I believe it's built into the cylinder being tugged on by the handle, combined with the key being near. So you still get some intermittent weird symptoms, like the car pausing on start, or (I suspect perhaps??) the "Relieve Steering" message upon entry.

SO I think I might be one step closer after this weekend.

I finally found some door handles on eBay off wreckers with the keyless entry on them in my color. Since you can swap out the outward-facing trim on the handles, a $300-per-handle fix is now $80. Swapped out both the FR (passenger) and FL (driver) handles last week and have had no issues since. Car now feels totally normal. Like, oddly so. I've had a quick delay for the starter to kick in as long as I've had it. No longer.

Thing is: if the handle is disconnected from the electronics, it's essentially a dead handle. Why would replacing it with a live, working handle fix that? I have no idea. But now I'm looking to source rear handles to see if I can get rid of all the gremlins for good.
This is GREAT info. My drivers side button sometimes fails to lock the car and I have to use the rear-door button. So I know that one is going bad. It seems related to weather conditions - wet it rarely works. Dry it usually works. I guess I have to start searching eBay - care to share the search term you used?
 

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This is GREAT info. My drivers side button sometimes fails to lock the car and I have to use the rear-door button. So I know that one is going bad. It seems related to weather conditions - wet it rarely works. Dry it usually works. I guess I have to start searching eBay - care to share the search term you used?
I can do you one better. Just search the part number: 95853120501

Don, your CTT is white, right? I believe I remembered seeing a white handle on WolfAuto's site today. I can see if I can find it again if you want. Wolf is the seller I got my handles from on eBay.
 

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I can do you one better. Just search the part number: 95853120501

Don, your CTT is white, right? I believe I remembered seeing a white handle on WolfAuto's site today. I can see if I can find it again if you want. Wolf is the seller I got my handles from on eBay.
Sand White - the standard white for 2011 Cayennes. Great stuff! Thanks!
 

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