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Old 10-09-2016, 03:43 PM #1
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Excessive play on drivers side steering - replace steering rack guide

Cheers,

I noticed that I am getting a bit of vibration at 25-25 mph from the front, and a clunking noise when going over bumps.

I jacked up the front end today and it seems that the tie rods are tight, but noticed that there is excess play on the driver side of the steering rack when I grab the tire and move left/right. I don't see the same play on the right side. I also grabbed the steering rack itself and yanked on it...didnt notice any play that indicates I should replace those bushings.

In searching the threads, this seems to point to the steering rack guide that needs replacing. I noticed that most seem to talk about the old style being replaced by the new style seems to fix this. As I have the 2002, it looks like I already have the new style.

I assume I can simply by the new rack guide and replace...didn't see the instructions yet.

I am also thinking about replacing the sway bar links and sway bar bushings as they look pretty worn.

Am I on the right track?
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Old 10-09-2016, 05:18 PM #2
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The guide should make it loose evenly. If it's one side I would suspect a bad inner tie rod end. To test disconnect the outer tie rod from the hub assembly. The pull in and out in that rod. If there is play it's most likely that itre. Replace with oem. Like $120 each. Well worth it. I went through 3 non oem in one year.
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Old 10-09-2016, 05:47 PM #3
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You can tighten the guide up and see if that helps. I have new inner and outer tie rods on the front but it didn't improve my handling. Upgraded to the rack guide that you have and it helps if overtightened. My rack bushings are bad though, and I run no front sway bar.

So if I were you I'd try tightening your rack guide and inspecting your bushings first
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Old 10-09-2016, 06:24 PM #4
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I'd be willing to bet inner tie rod as well. Roll the boot back and take a look while someone else moves the tire.
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Old 10-09-2016, 06:41 PM #5
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I replaced itr & otr and lbjs recently and still have a slightly "loose" steering wheel. It's like there's the slightest slack before the column engages the rack. I've watched the steering rack while someone turns the wheel and there is movement but it's minimal, more like just the rubber of the bushings flexing. I have a new set of poly bushings, putting off install.

Could the guide be at fault here? What's the experience like when the guide has gotten play?
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Old 10-09-2016, 07:41 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theesotericone View Post
I'd be willing to bet inner tie rod as well. Roll the boot back and take a look while someone else moves the tire.
Seeing as how the clamps for the boot are one time use, this isn't a great idea. However, you can pinch the boot until you're pinching the joint and you will be able to feel the play.
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Old 10-09-2016, 07:50 PM #7
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Originally Posted by Konkordmusk View Post
Seeing as how the clamps for the boot are one time use, this isn't a great idea. However, you can pinch the boot until you're pinching the joint and you will be able to feel the play.
On your rig maybe. The upper band on the rack is a one time band. The lower band on my rack it a spring band clamp. I've had it off and back on a few times. lol

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Old 10-09-2016, 07:55 PM #8
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Thanks for the info all. I wasn't aware of an inner tie rod...haven't worked on steering parts for ages. Last time was a 78 Ramcharger 4x4. Will have to check that next weekend then before I start buying parts.

If it winds being the inner, I assume it would make sense to go ahead and replace both sides if I wind up tearing things apart.

I was hoping it was just the rack guide...that looks fairly easy to replace.
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Last edited by cheeser; 10-09-2016 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 10-10-2016, 09:25 AM #9
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Question

Sorry to hijack, new owner here.

How can you tell that your steering is sloppy? To me, all Toyota steering of that era is kind of "loose".

My other car is manual steering so the difference is pretty stark. How can you tell when it's "too loose"?
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Old 10-10-2016, 11:03 AM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyngfish View Post
Sorry to hijack, new owner here.

How can you tell that your steering is sloppy? To me, all Toyota steering of that era is kind of "loose".

My other car is manual steering so the difference is pretty stark. How can you tell when it's "too loose"?
You must not have driven a new 3rd gen. I have in the last few years finished replacing entire front end including coils, shocks, brakes, LBJ's, UCA's w/poly bushings, LCA poly bushings, new steering rack w/poly bushings, ITRE's, OTRE's, sway bar links and bushings, poly sway bar bushings, rear sway bar bushings and links, panhard bar.

Steering column is solid and does not need welded which can cause loose steering. All parts OEM or performance. Thing is solid as a rock. Zero slop. Its as tight as a sports car now.
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Old 10-10-2016, 12:05 PM #11
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True!

I drove a number of 3rd Gens before driving this one, and all of them had degrees of slop in the steering, though at the price range I was paying I am not surprised. Most of it had to do with suspension.

The Limited I ended up buying has new suspension so that isn't a likely culprit, but the steering just feels much tighter than the others but still kind of vague. I learned to drive on a 1996 Toyota Hilux 2.8D way back in 1997, but I can't remember what that steering felt like.

That said, going from a Carrera to a Truck is always going to be a pretty wide difference.

Where do you start first to check where it might need tightening?
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Old 10-10-2016, 02:02 PM #12
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Originally Posted by cheeser View Post
Cheers,

I noticed that I am getting a bit of vibration at 25-25 mph from the front, and a clunking noise when going over bumps.

I jacked up the front end today and it seems that the tie rods are tight, but noticed that there is excess play on the driver side of the steering rack when I grab the tire and move left/right. I don't see the same play on the right side. I also grabbed the steering rack itself and yanked on it...didnt notice any play that indicates I should replace those bushings.

In searching the threads, this seems to point to the steering rack guide that needs replacing. I noticed that most seem to talk about the old style being replaced by the new style seems to fix this. As I have the 2002, it looks like I already have the new style.

I assume I can simply by the new rack guide and replace...didn't see the instructions yet.

I am also thinking about replacing the sway bar links and sway bar bushings as they look pretty worn.

Am I on the right track?
I've also fought every vibration and wobble these 4Runners have to offer. The only Achilles heel as they age.

That play is not your steering rack guide. If your guide was bad (or in my case, tightened down by a gorilla, permanently damaging the steering rack) then you'd notice the wheel wobble all the time and the wheel would be very, very easy to turn. Also if it's very hard to turn the rack guide is too tight.

Most likely your tie rods are going bad, they do not last forever on 4WD vehicles. I've replaced all at this point, both outers and inners.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hour View Post
You can tighten the guide up and see if that helps. I have new inner and outer tie rods on the front but it didn't improve my handling. Upgraded to the rack guide that you have and it helps if overtightened. My rack bushings are bad though, and I run no front sway bar.

So if I were you I'd try tightening your rack guide and inspecting your bushings first
Careful on over tightening the rack guide. Mine was over tightened when purchased to try and reduce the steering wheel wobble and it pushed the steering rod so hard it broke the seal and leaked. The guide is only there to apply mild pressure and "guide" the the steering rod, it's actually supposed to be quite loose. It's the locking ring/nut that keeps it from falling out or moving.
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Old 10-10-2016, 05:41 PM #13
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In looking at it again, looks like the outer tie rods are fine, but there is some movement on the drivers side inner tie rod. As this vehicle has 128k on it, it looks like it is time to freshen the front suspension. This is on my list for now:

- New inner tie rods
- New outer tie rods
- New front sway bar bushings
- New steering rack bushing kit (Urethane from Wheeler)

It looks like I am missing the spring clip from an inner rod boot. In looking at the Toyota parts site, I only noticed new boots for the inners, not the spring clip and the band...do they come with the new boot?

Just want to make sure I have all of the correct parts if I am going to tear into it and then have an alignment done.


thanks
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Old 10-10-2016, 05:48 PM #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheeser View Post
In looking at it again, looks like the outer tie rods are fine, but there is some movement on the drivers side inner tie rod. As this vehicle has 128k on it, it looks like it is time to freshen the front suspension. This is on my list for now:

- New inner tie rods
- New outer tie rods
- New front sway bar bushings
- New steering rack bushing kit (Urethane from Wheeler)

It looks like I am missing the spring clip from an inner rod boot. In looking at the Toyota parts site, I only noticed new boots for the inners, not the spring clip and the band...do they come with the new boot?

Just want to make sure I have all of the correct parts if I am going to tear into it and then have an alignment done.


thanks
I do not recommend the urethane steering rack bushings unless you absolutely need it. I switched mine out thinking my rack bushing were loose and hated how it change the feel of the steering. I felt every single bump in the road through the steering column until my hand started getting numb on long drives. My rack eventually failed and I put the new stock bushings back in and it felt much better.

Not to mention it's extremely difficult to get them in.
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Old 10-10-2016, 06:01 PM #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gamefreakgc View Post
I do not recommend the urethane steering rack bushings unless you absolutely need it. I switched mine out thinking my rack bushing were loose and hated how it change the feel of the steering. I felt every single bump in the road through the steering column until my hand started getting numb on long drives. My rack eventually failed and I put the new stock bushings back in and it felt much better.

Not to mention it's extremely difficult to get them in.
Thats pretty insane explanation of how your polys changed your steering. I have everything poly up front and never noticed anything like this. Even my wife didnt notice a change after the poly bushings. I only have noticed a very tight steering.

Sounds like the tires and or shocks/coils are not absorbing the bumps. That should not feed back into the steering so bad.
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