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Old 08-12-2021, 05:17 PM #1
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Loose steering and wobbly steering wheel even after steering rack bushing replacement

Recently purchased a 98 that had some play in the steering wheel. Could move the wheel about 1 inch in either direction without any movement in the car. General consensus from my research was worn steering rack bushings. They were in fact worn and I have since replaced them, and my sway bar bushings with Energy Suspension bushings. However, the wobble is still there. It must be something that is directly connected to the steering wheel. Anyone have any other suggestions? It's hard to make micro-adjustments while driving on the highway when there is so much play in the steering.
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Old 08-12-2021, 05:38 PM #2
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Originally Posted by psyduck View Post
Recently purchased a 98 that had some play in the steering wheel. Could move the wheel about 1 inch in either direction without any movement in the car. General consensus from my research was worn steering rack bushings. They were in fact worn and I have since replaced them, and my sway bar bushings with Energy Suspension bushings. However, the wobble is still there. It must be something that is directly connected to the steering wheel. Anyone have any other suggestions? It's hard to make micro-adjustments while driving on the highway when there is so much play in the steering.
Steering Play Fix - YouTube For your educational and viewing pleasure. You probably have play in the slip joint in the steering shaft. Most people place a small tack weld at the slip joint so that it doesn't have any rotational play, but can still in theory allow the steering column to collapse as designed in the event of a collision.

EDIT- I assumed that you already checked all the other rack components including inner/outer tie rod ends and joints. Phattyduck has good things to check below as well.
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Last edited by Bad Luck; 08-12-2021 at 05:43 PM.
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Old 08-12-2021, 05:41 PM #3
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You'll also want to check for play in the inner and outer tie rods while you are at it, along with the rag joint and steering u-joints.

-Charlie
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Old 08-12-2021, 05:44 PM #4
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Could also be the Steering Rack Guide.
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Old 08-12-2021, 05:45 PM #5
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Toyota steering racks and boxes all have an adjustment bolt/screw on them. Basically, loosen the nut, then use a flat head to tighten the screw a bit. I would do 1/4 turn at a time and check the wheel after each one.

Adjustment bolt looks like this: Steering Box: Steering Box Adjustment on a Toyota 4Runner - YouTube

I have a FJ60 box on my 4runner and had about 3 inches of steering wheel play until I figured this out.
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Old 08-12-2021, 05:49 PM #6
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Could also be the Steering Rack Guide.
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Old 08-12-2021, 05:55 PM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phattyduck View Post
You'll also want to check for play in the inner and outer tie rods while you are at it, along with the rag joint and steering u-joints.

-Charlie
How do I look for play in the tie rods? The bushings on them are definitely worn but I don't know if that would affect it.
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Old 08-12-2021, 07:52 PM #8
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How do I look for play in the tie rods? The bushings on them are definitely worn but I don't know if that would affect it.
If there is major play, you can feel it if you jack up the front end, move the wheel back and forth and feel each joint. You'll be able to check the outer directly (where it attaches to the knuckle/ball joint), the inner you will just have to kinda guess by comparing the movement of the arm vs. the steering shaft. Same way up the shaft - wiggle either the steering wheel or the wheel/tire and feel for play by grabbing each joint location.

As others have said, it could also be the rack guide - though if that is worn out, it might be better to consider a whole new rack (seals, etc. might be close to failing at that point).

-Charlie
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Old 08-12-2021, 09:04 PM #9
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Loose steering and wobbly steering wheel even after steering rack bushing replacement

Check the steering column slip joint... they wear out and will allow substantial play in the wheel... some tack weld or pin the joint. Do this at your own risk

Edit... just realizing this is a redundant suggestion... was what finally fixed mine after replacing everything else first

Steering Play Fix - YouTube

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Old 08-12-2021, 09:25 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegask View Post
Toyota steering racks and boxes all have an adjustment bolt/screw on them. Basically, loosen the nut, then use a flat head to tighten the screw a bit. I would do 1/4 turn at a time and check the wheel after each one.

Adjustment bolt looks like this: Steering Box: Steering Box Adjustment on a Toyota 4Runner - YouTube

I have a FJ60 box on my 4runner and had about 3 inches of steering wheel play until I figured this out.
Are you sure this applies to 3rd gen's with rack and pinion?
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Old 08-16-2021, 02:33 PM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alumarine View Post
Are you sure this applies to 3rd gen's with rack and pinion?
Sorry. Does not look like the 3rd gen rack has this adjustment.
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Old 08-16-2021, 03:58 PM #12
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Quote:
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Are you sure this applies to 3rd gen's with rack and pinion?
The rack guide can get loose (worn), but it is a different procedure.

-Charlie
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Old 08-16-2021, 10:48 PM #13
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Old 08-24-2021, 02:08 PM #14
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Question for you. I have some vibration in my wheel and did some investigating. I hacked up one front tire at a time and notice what I believe to be the problem. The front right side when jacked up and moving the tire manually like I am trying to turn it is very tight and there is no movement. The drivers side however is not. When I jacked up the drivers side and moved the tire like I was turning left and right there was some play. My question is, do you think this could be the inner tie rod. I visually looked for movement in the outer tire rod joint and did not witness any but I did not take the boot off to see if the inner tie rod have any play. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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Old 07-03-2022, 01:44 PM #15
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Hey everyone, hope I dont get flamed too much for resurrecting an older thread, but the amount of threads on this topic is up there.

On my 98 I have a vibration in the steering wheel that's always there but more noticeable at higher speeds. I've replaced the front strut assemblies, brakes, steering rack bushings, inner and outer tie rods, tires balanced 3 times, alignment, sway bar end links and LBJ replaced, greased every zerk I could find, and rotated the front tires to the back and vice versa. No change at all. Tires are about a year old, thunderer ranger at, 265/75/16 on stock split spoke wheels. No lift.

Before I throw more parts and money, what could I narrow down the issue to? Steering rack? Bad tires? Every shop tells me "everything is tight".

I've searched and read through what seems like hours of threads and have done most of what was suggested. Just looking for some direction. Thanks in advance!
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