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Old 10-07-2019, 01:04 PM #1
cccolin cccolin is offline
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so much steering slop even with new components

what's up fellas. been a while. so I've been back and forth on whether I was keeping this truck because it needs so much done to it, but...at the end of the day I don't want a car payment and it still starts and runs every single day, so I guess I'm going to put some money and time into it and keep it on the road a bit longer.

First three things I have to take care of are the clutch, steering, and suspension. Clutch, I'm pretty sure is a slave cylinder leak. PITA, but not that big of a deal. Suspension is just old and dead and needs to be replaced. Going to go ahead and lift it while I'm doing it. Think I'm going to pick up a better daily driver, so I'll probably bias towards offroad.

However, the steering...It's f*cking scary and I don't know what's going on with it. I've replaced all the tie rods, LBJ's, steering rack bushings, sway bar links...and the f*cker wont stay on the road. It just goes wherever it wants. any seams in the road, hell, even the painted lines, grab the front wheels and the damn thing just shoots across the lanes like I'm not even steering it. I haven't replaced the steering rack, and I don't know how to figure out if it's bad. Offroading, I can hear and feel the steering knocking back and forth really bad. Like the steering wheel stays stable in my hand but I can feel and hear something in the steering knocking side to side.

When I took it to get aligned, right after I put the brand new OEM tie rods and LBJ's on, the dingalings at the local tire shop told me they couldn't align it and that I needed new tie rods. Tried to sell me inner and outer tie rods. I'm guessing they felt the play I'm talking about and just lazily assumed it was the tie rods.

any ideas what my next move is here?
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Old 10-07-2019, 01:55 PM #2
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This is the problem " I haven't replaced the steering rack"

Stay with OEM if you plan to get the entire rack.
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Old 10-07-2019, 02:20 PM #3
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There are many posts on this issue here in the forums.
I followed all of them and it ended up being front wheel bearings on my rig.
Here are a few other things to look for (that you haven't replaced):
Steering Rack (new style w/ solid bushing not roller) - not cheap
Steering Wheel Tack-Weld - cheap
Steering column rag joint - cheap
Suspension Bushings - moderate cost
Shocks - cost depends on what you get
Wheel Bearings - moderate cost if you do it yourself


Diagnose the problem or replace everything!
Search the forums and you'll find the posts for these specific issues.
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Old 10-07-2019, 03:01 PM #4
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I second the replacement of the shocks and shock bushings. I had issues with my steering having a bit of play, and while it wasn't darting across the road on its own, I had to adjust my steering habit to over-correct and it was rather annoying on the freeway and made turning offroad feel loose and I had to turn the wheel much more to achieve the same effect.

I replaced (in order) the bushings to slight affect, inner & outer tie rods to slightly more affect, but still slight. That was about a year ago, but there was still slop and I was puzzled. I ordered a new steering rack as I noticed when I turned the steering the rack didn't only go in and out of the body, it also went up and down slightly I'm assuming due to a worn out rack guide. I bought a new steering rack about a month ago and installed it, with a noticeable improvement in steering firmness and tactility, although I still had some slop.

What the heck? So I just decided to ignore it.

But I was on a spending spree, buying major mods for my little 3rd gen for the first time, and I got some bilstein 5100s all around and new rear coils for an effective 2.5" lift. This is when I noticed the problem. On the old front shocks that had just come off, I noticed the bottom bushing was not quite bushing anymore. The center was off-center and the rubber was incredibly worn, allowing the rod that goes through the bottom of the shock mount to move up or down before encountering any resistance from the bushing. So the initial turning of the wheels wasn't hitting the resistance of the shock so instead of turning, the car just leaned to the side.

Those bushings combined with the worn out shocks led to the slop and slushy-ness of my steering. With all new components, My steering is now sensitive to touch and starts turning the car when touched. I'm actually having a difficult time trying to re-adjust so that I don't overcompensate and swerve out of my lane on accident. But that's a good problem, cuz now my steering works.
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Old 10-07-2019, 04:36 PM #5
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my first steering issue that was hard to diagnose was the steering column collapse joint. 2 square pieces of metal in the steering column where one fits inside the other, they are peened at the factory to lock them together but if you have an accident where the steering column get pushed towards the driver they will collapse one into the other and not take your head off. other people including me who have encountered this removed the steering column and had our buddy spot weld the pieces together, no more play and also no more collapse feature, these pieces are very expensive to buy new and I suppose every one has their own way of weighing out cost versus risk. make your own decision. somewhere in the posts should be photos that will make more sense. BTW you can isolate this to confirm it , get a hold of lower shaft in the cabin and move steering wheel back and forth slowly and you can feel the play. I tried squeezing the outside shaft together to take the play out but it is really hard steel , it would probably take a hydraulic press otherwise
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Old 10-07-2019, 04:56 PM #6
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Grab the drivers side inner tie rod and see if it has up and down play.

They may have wanted to replace the inner and outer tie rods because they couldnít get them to move to adjust the toe.

If you get things up front to the point that a wheel alignment can be done and it is put on the numbers and your stability is still bad over bumps and road groves itís time to replace the bushings in the track bar and rear upper and lower control arms.

The 97 Puppy Hauler had dead bushings in the rear for everything.


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Old 10-07-2019, 05:04 PM #7
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got it, thanks. i'm trying to spend as little money as possible on keeping this thing on the road right now, so I'll have a look at the shock bushings and the steering column thing. I've already replaced the steering rack bushings, the sway bar bushings, as well as the other stuff I mentioned. It all made it a little better originally but is now worse and seems to be getting worse by the day.
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Old 10-07-2019, 05:58 PM #8
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A note on the steering rack, when it goes bad it will start to leak past the seals usually into the boots. Complete failure will cause you have a massive dead zone of about 60 degrees of rotation. If your steering does react to small movement of the steering wheel (easiest way to tell is at highway speeds) then your steering rack is still ok. It's an expensive part and more expensive when you add labor so don't replace this one unless you absolutely have to.
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Old 10-07-2019, 08:04 PM #9
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Get under your rig and check your LCA bushings. Just have someone turn the wheel lock to lock while you look. I'd put money in those being your issue. When worn they allow the LCA to move. Which in turn moves your camber and caster. It also prevents being able to align the rig properly for the exact same reason. Whiteline bushings are pretty cheap and if your pulling your front end apart to lift that would be a great time to replace them. Everything will already be out of the way. If that is the issue start spraying your eccentric bolts with penetrating oil now.
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Old 10-07-2019, 09:38 PM #10
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Dunno if this would fix "slop" but it fixed "shimmy" at least. I replaced the rack guide on mine a few years ago, and tweaked it to how I like it (heavy steering). I went from the roller type to the newer wear pad thing. There was a TSB for the gx470s about this, the guide spring was too weak. Cant remember if I changed the spring or not. Anyway I put match marks where the old one was and tightened to that, then drive around the block and tightened again until I liked it. Then match marked again and blue loctited it there. Finding a wtench for the lock ring was pain in the ass though. It still blows around in heavy wind but they all do.
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Old 10-07-2019, 10:03 PM #11
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Free play can develop in the steering rack at the pinion and gear when the slip yoke wears out or fails.
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Old 10-08-2019, 06:42 AM #12
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only replace LCA bushings with new toyota ones, I had a nightmare when I used aftermarket ones there was no play but they were soft which resulted in directional changes when accelerating or de accelerating, see other postings on this subject I REPEAT DO NO REPLACE LOWER CONTROL ARM BUSHINGS WITH ANYTHING BUT NEW TOYOTA. I've had much better luck with other components
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Old 10-10-2019, 12:56 PM #13
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thanks for the info guys. cheers. I'm running into other issues now and I'm starting to think the amount of work this thing needs to stay on the road isn't worth it. Might be time to either turn it into a project second car or sell it to someone else to be their project.
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