My 05 Cobalt started having problems with the power steering at about 50k miles. It was pretty random, sometimes I wouldn't make it to the end of the block with it working an sometimes it would go 100+ miles of smooth operation. I decided that I wasn't going to pay the Chevy dealer the ridiculous prices I had heard being quoted ($1500 in some cases.) I bought a used column off Ebay for $100 and switched it out myself. It was an easy and straight forward procedure. Its been a month or 2 since i did this but I think I got everything in the right order. Oh and BTW, use this guide at your own risk. I assume no responsibility for damages.
Make sure when searching for a replacement unit that you check the seller's feedback and return policy. A great place to start is by searching Schram Auto Parts here Schram Auto Parts They often have these units in stock at great prices and with a 30 day return policy.
- 7mm socket
- 10mm socket
- 13mm socket
First, make sure your vehicle is parked with the wheels perfectly straight. I failed to do this and had to pull the column back out and reinsert it because the wheel was a little crooked when driving straight.
At this point it would be a good idea to unplug the battery because you will be unplugging the connectors to the column which include the airbag. I believe it is possible to do this without unplugging them, but I didnt want to risk damaging them by pulling on them too much.
Start off by removing the lower dash piece by your knees. It is held on by metal clips that are pretty strong, so you have to pull kinda hard. Make sure to unplug the connector for the trunk release. You can see the locations of the clips in the following pic.
Next, remove the metal bar in the next picture by undoing the two 7mm bolts.
After removing that, remove the plastic cover on the column. It should be 3 7mm bolts. Unhook all the electrical connectors to the column. Unbolt the 2 13mm bolts Holding the column up and it should drop down. You should be able to access the 3 10mm bolts that attach the column to the power steering unit. They are in a triangle shape. Here is a pic that shows the bolt locations.
You should now be able to pull the column out of the vehicle by pulling straight out on it. Undo the electrical connections to the power steering unit. Next, undo the bolt that connects the power steering unit to the steering shaft. The final bolt is a very long 13mm that is accessed through the left side(where the storage cubby thing normally is.) It is a bit tricky to remove. Support the power steering unit as you remove this bolt because it will fall when the bolt is slid out. After lowering it you should be able to slide it out of the steering shaft, If not you might have to pry a little in between the "U" shaped attachment. Be careful not to pull too much on the shaft as this might dislodge the rubber boot where it passes through the firewall and its kind of hard to pop back in. Here is a pic of the connection to the steering shaft.
Putting the new unit in is the reverse of removing it, just make sure you take a break because holding the new power steering unit up while you slide the long 13mm bolt in through the side is no fun. It gets heavy pretty fast. After that everything goes together very easily. Make sure you have everything plugged in well before reconnecting the battery. Also make sure not to overtighten the bolts that hold the steering column cover on, as this will make it hard to turn the key on and off.
I apologize if I forgot anything and for any spelling errors I may have made. I didn't really go through and proof read it. Feel free to email me with any questions you might have or if you need any further pictures or explanation. Good luck!