2009 Nissan Altima no crank push button failure

We had a 2009 Nissan Altima 2.5 4 cylinder engine towed in the other day due to a no crank no start condition. This particular Altima has the push button start with the “Intelligent Key” only. When trying to start the vehicle, we noticed the ignition did not come on at all when pushing the “start button”. None of the lights illuminated on the cluster yet all other lights worked (dome light, headlights, brake lights etc..) and the battery was checked and confirmed good.

Looking over wiring diagrams for the vehicle, I noticed that everything that would normally get powered up with the ignition “on” did not have power.  The gauges, instrument cluster lights and warning indicators did not illuminate when the push button was depressed.   Pulling a wiring diagram of the power distribution on this vehicle I noticed that this was the job of the Steering Column Lock Module or Electronic Steering Column Lock Unit (ESCLU).   It basically acts like the ignition switch and turns on or powers up the ignition system on the vehicle when the “push button” is depressed.  This feature is known as the “Intelligent Key” and the unit is mounted to the steering column under the dash on the drivers hand side.  Without this Module up and functioning (powered up and awake), the vehicle will not start and run. And if it has failed like most of them, you will be able to turn the steering wheel back and forth even with the Intelligent Key removed and away from the vehicle.  This is a very common failure of the Steering Column Lock Module or Electronic Steering Column Lock Unit.

Note: This article applies to the following vehicles. (while there may be more Nissan vehicles that use the Steering Column Lock Module or Steering Column Lock Unit/ESCLU, this article is specifically for the vehicles listed below.

Vehicle Application:
2008 Altima 2.5
2009 Altima 2.5
2009 Altima 3.5
2009 Maxima 3.5
2010 Murano 3.5

If you would like help with your Nissan Altima or Maxima or are trying to diagnose this issue, click here to speak with a Nissan Specialist.

STEERING LOCK OPERATION

The steering is locked by Electronic Steering Column Module lock when ignition switch is in the OFF position, CVT selector lever is in the P position and any of the following conditions are met.

• Opening door
• Closing door
• Door is locked with request switch
• Door is locked with Intelligent Key

PUSH-BUTTON IGNITION SWITCH OPERATION PROCEDURE

It is important to know how this Push-Button ignition system operates so that you fully understand it and know how to diagnose it.  The power supply position changing operation can be performed with the following operations.

• When an Intelligent Key is within the detection area of inside key antenna or when it is inserted to the key
slot, it is equivalent to the operations below.
• When starting the engine, the BCM monitors under the engine start conditions,
– Brake pedal operating condition (CVT models)
– CVT selector lever position (CVT models)
– Clutch pedal operating condition (M/T models)
– Vehicle speed
– Steering lock condition
– Engine status
• Unless each start condition is fulfilled, the engine will not respond regardless of how many times the engine switch is pressed. At that time, illumination repeats the position in the order of LOCK→ACC→ON→OFF.

Codes in the Computer

Our next step was to check for codes in the computer. Upon plugging into the 16 pin diagnostic obd2 diagnostic connector there were three Body Control Module codes.  Keep in mind, the Body Control Module is different from the Engine Control Module or Powertain Control Module.  Some basic code readers will not be able to scan or read codes from the Body Control Module.  Those that were indicated in the Body Control Module are as follows. B210A, code B2607, B2609, and B2612.

B210A STEERING LOCK CONDITION SWITCH

Basically, this code is set in the BCM when it detects the mismatch between the following for 1 second
• Steering lock or unlock
• Feedback of steering lock status from IPDM E/R

Description
There are 2 switches in the electronic steering column lock. IPDM E/R compares those 2 switches conditions to judge the present steering status and transmit the result to BCM via CAN communication

Possible causes

• Harness or connectors Electronic steering column lock circuit (BCM side) is open or shorted
• Harness or connectors Electronic steering column lock circuit (IPDM E/R side) is open or shorted.
•Electronic steering column lock
• IPDM E/R

B2607 STEERING LOCK RELAY

This code set in the BCM when detects that there is a difference between the following statuses.

Description
BCM requests to IPDM E/R to supply power to electronic steering column lock. IPDM E/R sends status of electronic steering column lock back to BCM.

Possible causes

• Harness or connectors (electronic steering column lock power supply circuit is open or shorted)
• Steering lock relay (in IPDM E/R)

B2609 STEERING STATUS

This code is set in the BCM when it detects the malfunction of electronic steering column lock switches for 1 second.

Description
There are 2 switches in the electronic steering column lock (steering lock/unlock switch 1 and 2). BCM compares those two switches conditions to judge the present steering status.

Possible causes

• Harness or connectors electronic steering column lock circuit (BCM side) is open or shorted
• Harness or connectors [electronic steering column lock circuit (IPDM E/R  side) is open or shorted.]
• Electronic steering column lock
• IPDM E/R

B2612 STEERING STATUS

This code is set in the BCM when it detects the mismatch between the following status for 1 second
• Steering lock or unlock
• Feedback of steering lock status from
IPDM E/R (CAN)

Description
There are 2 switches in the electronic steering column lock. IPDM E/R compares those 2 switches conditions to judge the present steering status and transmit the result to BCM via CAN communication.

Possible causes

• Harness or connectors electronic steering column lock circuit (BCM side) is open or shorted
• Harness or connectors
electronic steering column lock circuit (IPDM E/R side) is open or shorted.
• Electronic steering column lock
• IPDM E/R

Intelligent Power Distribution Module

The Intelligent Power Distribution Module (IPDM) is basically the power distribution center that contains all of the main fuses and distributes power to all components on the vehicle.   However, compared to older vehicles when this was just a “power distribution center”, they have now integrated a computer or module into this unit so now they call it the “Intelligent Power Distribution Module” or IPDM.

How does the IPDM affect the starting circuit or Electronic Steering Column Lock Unit?

Not only the The Intelligent Power Distribution Module supplies power to vital components on the vehicle and it is a mini computer and make desicions on various inputs.  So for exmaple, There are 2 switches in the electronic steering column lock. The Intelligent Power Distribution Module (IPDM) reads those 2 switches to be able to determine the present steering status and transmit the result to Body Control Module or BCM over the Controller Area Network or CAN communication network BUS communication wires.  If the BCM does not see the the proper steering lock status, it will not turn the ignition relay or the accessory relay on or let the engine start.  This is exactly what is happening on the vehicle.

Because this is such a common problem, Nissan has released a TSB for this condition.   It is TSB #NTB10-053. This TSB has you confirm the ignition will not turn to the ON position (also the engine will not crank/start), and the steering wheel is released/not locked (steering wheel can be moved right and left).  If this is the case, there is an updated Electronic Steering Column Lock Unit available for this condition.

Note on the IPDM:

The Intelligent Power Distribution Module (IPDM) is ONLY serviceable as an assembly.

The ONLY serviceable parts of an IPDM are the fuses.

Diagnoses

Before you can replace this Steering Column Lock Unit or Module, it is vital to check all inputs.   Just because it is not functioning does not mean it is bad.   It could be missing a vital input preventing it from working properly.   What do we know about computers?   Garbage in, Garbage out.  So, before replacing it, we need to check the inputs to diagnose it.  First, the powers and grounds need to be verified as good with the key “ON”.

The steering column lock module has 8 pin connector with 7 wires going to it. (pin number 4 is not used).  With the key on, the pink wire with blue stripe gets powered up by the steering lock relay located in the IPDM. The green wire with yellow stripe gets power from terminal 94 of the body control module with the key on.

The two black wires are ground. Look for 0.05 volts or less to be OK

The Blue orange wire going into pin 3 of the steering column lock module is the signal for the steering column lock condition #1.   It should read 0 volts in lock status and battery voltage in unlock status.

The Green wire with red stripe going into pin 8 of the Steering column lock module is for the lock condition #2.  It should read battery voltage in lock status and 0 volts in unlock status.

According to the wiring diagram, the Blue/Yellow wire  is a K-line Bus Communication wire between the Electronic Steering Column Lock Unit and the Body Control Module or BCM.  Without a proper scan tool, the only other way to check this circuit to ensure the communication is responding appropriately is to use a lab scope and compare the reading to a good known wave form of this circuit that you can get here.  From what I understand, to test the circuit, you need to verify a “B+ to 0 volt pulse” signal in lock or unlock. For 15 seconds after unlocked, then look for battery voltage. 15 seconds or later after unlocked, look for 0 volts.  This is normal operation and will ensure the circuit is working properly.   If so, there is no issue on the K-line Bus Communication Network circuit going to the Electronic Steering Column Lock Unit and you can continue moving forward with your diagnoses.   Keep in mind, it’s best to check voltage or signals on these circuits while the connector is plugged into the unit so you get an accurate reading when the circuit is under a load.

Electronic Steering Column Lock Unit for Nissan Altima is part number 48700-JK000

Electronic Steering Column Lock Unit for Nissan Maxima is part number 48700–9N00A

Here is the correct one for Nissan Altima

Here is the correct one for Nissan Maxima

After running our necessary checks and verifying that the inputs to the steering column lock module/unit are good, and our diagnoses was confirmed, we were able to replace the unit with a new one.   We ordered the ESCLU and bolted it onto the steering column fairly easy.   (it only calls for about 2.0 hours labor to install and does not require any programming) and the vehicle started right up like normal with the push button.  Customer was happy to have their “push button” vehicle back up and running.  🙂

If your having an issue with your push button start or ignition, click here to speak with a Nissan Expert.