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Old 04-26-2022, 12:29 PM #16
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Originally Posted by KauriJ View Post
Wow, thank you everyone for all the info and advice!!

The engine was off during the test, I should have written ďkey on engine offĒ. (Sorry for not saying this in my original post!)

@Bad Luck Thatís a great idea, I will try that. I have heard of some folks having issues with those bolts and getting things lined back up when disconnecting the rag joint (e.g. when doing a body lift) so Iíll need to have a plan in case something doesnít quite work right. Fortunately I have a second vehicle as backup.

@calimobber Yes the power steering fluid level is fine, Iíve been monitoring it, and itís still clean. I havenít seen any bubbles any of the times Iíve checked it.

@DenverAirport Mine had a whining noise last summer and the steering felt a little unresponsive/loose last fall, so Iíd thought it was the pump, but now with the ďkey on engine offĒ test and itís still stiff it seems like it canít be the pump. It does still whine a little on startup, though it could be something else thatís making the noise too, unrelated to steering. Hope you can figure out whatís going on with your 4Runner!

@phattyduck LBJís were replaced in July 2020 by a local well-known 4WD shop. They used Centric parts not OEM, hopefully thatíll be okay since most folks have said OEM is better.

@gamefreakgc Iíd initially thought itís the pump but given that the steering is still really hard with the front end jacked up and ďkey on engine offĒ (sorry I wasnít clear about this earlier!) then if Iím understanding correctly the pump isnít running so itís probably something else?

And thank you for the info on how to test the LBJís! No play at all top-to-bottom, and side-to-side fast or slow there was no play or clicking beyond the (normal?) play in the steering wheel.

It is unfortunately looking like it could be the rack, not what I want to hear but this 4Runner is like family so it gets what it needs.

@3bears Iíll double-check maintenance records but Iím pretty sure the two shops that have been doing the power steering fluid flushes would use the correct fluid (my error for saying power steering fluid above). Thank you for the info! And mine is a manual transmission

@Malcolm99 Almost no rust, thankfully. My 4Runner has always lived in the SF Bay Area of California. I donít think a body mount bushing is failing but good to know that can cause a steering shaft to bind up. The engine doesnít move at all when it starts. But Iíll take a look at them just in case.
Ah, I think I also misunderstood that it was with the engine running, as that'd be the pump almost every time. With it off and stiff I think you are correct in saying it's likely the steering rack. The system is very simple in that there's a mechanical pump, fluid lines, steering rack and tie rods. That's it. Before you take it to a shop to have the rack replaced (probably around $1200-$1500 for CA prices) visually inspect the hard lines going from the pump down to the rack. They are rubber off the pump but then connect to hard lines. If there's any pinches or damage it could restrict the flow. Just helped a friend diagnose pulling brakes only to find the brake line was smashed flat in the back and cutting off fluid flow. I don't know of a way to test the inner or outer tie rods for stiffness without separating it from the lower ball joint.

All that said, these racks don't last forever. Mine made it just over 200K miles and then I hit a curb on a rainy day and blew a seal internally. Had about 60 degrees of steering play after that and was practically undrivable. It was leaking into the boots prior to that though so I knew it was about to give up on me.
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Old 04-26-2022, 01:43 PM #17
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The flow valve in the rack is probably the culprit. The good news is a new toyota rack comes with inner tie rod ends and the main bushing.
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Old 04-26-2022, 05:45 PM #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KauriJ View Post
@phattyduck LBJís were replaced in July 2020 by a local well-known 4WD shop. They used Centric parts not OEM, hopefully thatíll be okay since most folks have said OEM is better.
While it is still more likely to be a pump/fluid issue, get those LBJ's replaced with OEM ASAP... The aftermarket ones seem to fail between 10k-20k miles. As you know, failure is fairly serious and takes out many other components and sometimes causes body damage.

-Charlie
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