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My mom's car threw code C1241, Variable Effort Steering Circuit Malfunction. :( The code description is not terribly helpful. It is an '02 Deville (or DTC, not sure when they changed).

Do any of you have any ideas where to start?

Thanks in advance for your response.

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The Variable effort steering circuit is part of the FE4 ride & handling package. On the CTS, it looks like there is a solenoid that comes off a line off the steering system that needs replacement when you get this error; may be similar on the Deville/DTS.

here is a link to a diagnostic article that might help:


hopefully someone else will chime in with more specific Deville info.


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From your FSM:


DTC C1241

Circuit Description

The variable effort steering (VES) system uses the electronic brake control module (EBCM) to command current from zero amps to positive 3 amps to an electromagnetic rotary actuator. The VES system uses the antilock brake system (ABS) wheel speed sensor inputs to determine vehicle speed. At low speeds, no current is commanded and steering is assisted by hydraulics only. At high speeds, a positive current is commanded to the VES actuator to create steering resistance. The EBCM monitors and compares commanded and feedback currents to detect malfunctions in the VES actuator or the circuits to the actuator.

Conditions for Running the DTC

The ignition voltage between 10.5-17 volts

The OFF state test -- initial ignition ON, no engine rpm, or vehicle speed present.

Then ON state test -- if off state test passes, engine rpm and vehicle speed present.

Condition for Setting the DTC

An open, short to ground, or short to voltage in the VES actuator, or the circuits to the actuator.

Action Taken When the DTC Sets

A DTC C1241 is stored in memory.

The DIC may display the SERVICE STEERING SYS warning message.

The VES system is disabled.

Conditions for Clearing the DTC

A current DTC will clear when the malfunction is no longer present.

A history DTC will clear after 100 consecutive ignition cycles with no malfunction present.

Using the scan tool.

Diagnostic Aids

The vehicle needs to be driven to view the full commanded and feedback current ranges.

Test Description

The numbers below refer to the step numbers on the diagnostic table.

Tests if the Commanded and Feedback Current parameters are in specified range in there active state.

Tests if the VES actuator resistance is within specified range.

Perform the setup procedure after EBCM replacement.


The troubleshooting chart relies heavily on the scan tool, but it may help point you in the right general direction.



EDIT: Oops! I chopped the header off the troubleshooting chart. I replaced the file with one that contains the proper header. File DTC1241.doc was replaced with file DTC1241A.doc.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks WarrenJ, I'm thinking that the diagnostic procedure is a little out of my league, since I don't have the scan tool.

I've been out of town for a couple of weeks and it didn't magically heal, so I guess I'll tell my dad to take it to a real mechanic.

Do you think it best to go to a Cadillac dealer or would other mechanics be able to diagnose and repair? Does anyone have a recommendation for a mechanic in Houston, Texas, other than David Taylor Cadillac? My experience with them has not been the best.

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