2003 saab 9-3 Display Error Message - Steering Lock Malfunction

I just purchased a 2003 Saab 9-3 at an auction, which was running fine during the sale. It had some minor water damage. The battery went dead
from sitting in the auction yard, and now when you put the key in the ignition, the following message displays:
STEERING LOCK MALFUNCTION - MAKE A SAFE STOP AND CONTACT SAAB DEALER.
I contacted my Saab dealer and they never heard of this message. They want me to bring the car in for diagnostics.
Does anyone know of a quick reset to get this message cleared, before I tow it to the dealer?
thanks in advance.
Tom
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Tom,
This may not be a big deal. Here is how the system works.
When a key is inserted into Ignition Switch Module (ISM), a signal is sent to the Column Integration Module (CIM). Once the CIM verifies that a valid key for this car has been inserted, the CIM sends a message to the Steering Column Lock (SCL) to disengage. Once the SCL disengages, it sends a message back to the CIM that the steering lock is disengaged. The CIM then sends a message back to ISM for the key to be able to turn.
You will get the message that you have if the SCL can not disengage. Usually, this is because the steering wheel is turned a little bit and the wheels of the car are being force back against the SCL. This action causes a binding of the SCL that it can not overcome. The fix is simple. With the key out of the ISM, move the steering wheel slightly off the SCL , by turning it a little one way or the other and hold it off the SCL.. You will feel that there some play in the steering wheel as you move the it back and forth. Try to hold it in the center of that play. Now insert the key into the ISM and all should be well.
There are also other possible problems and they would require proper, possibly extensive diagnosis to repair.
If the warning message is still on with the car running, DO NOT DRIVE THE CAR!! You run the risk of danger to you and others. Have the car towed to a repair shop.
Most likely, it will have to be a dealership, because now in addition to having a Tech II, one must also have a computer running TIS software with a registered hardware key in order to replace control modules.
Also ,be advised that this car may not be under warranty. Saab maintains a database of cars that have been totaled, flood damage etc. They will not warranty those cars.
Additionally, the 9-3SS has minimum configuration of 15 control module and can top 30 units depending on installed options. Some of the modules are mounted low in the car(SRS module comes to mind). If the car was flooded, it may have major problems in the future.
Good luck,
Steve Crowe, Master Saab Tech snipped-for-privacy@citlink.net Harpers Ferry, WV
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I got the same message and had to be towed to a Saab dealer. One of the modules you describe had to be replaced. The situation you describe displays a different message. Both messages are covered in the owner's manual.

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