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Old 10-10-2023, 01:37 PM #1
Dragon_EX Dragon_EX is offline
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Just did the steering column play fix, but there's still a little looseness

I did the steering rack bushing replacement a couple years ago now but recently the steering column got sloppy so I took it apart and did the fix for the tilt ball and the slip joint. The column is nice and tight now and the steering feels like it did after replacing the rack bushings, but the thing is there's still some looseness in the center of the steering, which I noticed back when I did the bushings too. What's weird to me is that in this loose zone, which seems like half an inch either side, it still turns the wheels, so I don't know if that's by design or if there's something to fix. I've double checked the steering rack to make sure the new bushings aren't already bad, and checked to see if there was anything in the suspension that could be clunky, but it all checked out. Also, the steering rack itself was remanufactured a few years ago. I've seen threads about the u-joints in the column behind the firewall but can't find any info on diagnosing it specifically. But I also don't really want to go nuclear trying to get a fraction closer to 100% like new steering. Any advice?
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Old 10-10-2023, 01:45 PM #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon_EX View Post
I did the steering rack bushing replacement a couple years ago now but recently the steering column got sloppy so I took it apart and did the fix for the tilt ball and the slip joint. The column is nice and tight now and the steering feels like it did after replacing the rack bushings, but the thing is there's still some looseness in the center of the steering, which I noticed back when I did the bushings too. What's weird to me is that in this loose zone, which seems like half an inch either side, it still turns the wheels, so I don't know if that's by design or if there's something to fix. I've double checked the steering rack to make sure the new bushings aren't already bad, and checked to see if there was anything in the suspension that could be clunky, but it all checked out. Also, the steering rack itself was remanufactured a few years ago. I've seen threads about the u-joints in the column behind the firewall but can't find any info on diagnosing it specifically. But I also don't really want to go nuclear trying to get a fraction closer to 100% like new steering. Any advice?
Look up the TackWeld Mod. You might be feeling looseness in the steering shaft.

Steering Play Mod Complete
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Old 10-10-2023, 03:30 PM #3
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Originally Posted by shadow247 View Post
Look up the TackWeld Mod. You might be feeling looseness in the steering shaft.

Steering Play Mod Complete
This is the fix that I did, except instead of welding I drilled a hole and put in a small screw. Also did the fix with making a shim out of an oil bottle to put in the tilt ball mechanism. Turning the wheel and holding the shaft now it's rock solid, so the looseness has to be deeper than that.
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Old 10-10-2023, 06:10 PM #4
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Originally Posted by Dragon_EX View Post
This is the fix that I did, except instead of welding I drilled a hole and put in a small screw. Also did the fix with making a shim out of an oil bottle to put in the tilt ball mechanism. Turning the wheel and holding the shaft now it's rock solid, so the looseness has to be deeper than that.
The next places there could be play is the rag joint and in the rack itself (loose preload or worn center)...

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Old 10-11-2023, 01:18 PM #5
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Originally Posted by phattyduck View Post
The next places there could be play is the rag joint and in the rack itself (loose preload or worn center)...

-Charlie
Looks like it must be the rag joint then. I took the cover off to look and there's some distinct clunkiness to it. If I had to pick a repair to do I think I would go with what this thread suggests and double up on those wave washers. The thread lists the size of that washer but I can't find any that size anywhere. Only other thing I can think of is to buy the 3rd party kit from this thread just for the wave washer.
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Old 10-11-2023, 06:25 PM #6
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Looks like it must be the rag joint then.
I was referencing the part down in the engine bay above the rack, not the universal/CV joint there - but that looks like another possibility...

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Old 10-12-2023, 12:57 AM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phattyduck View Post
I was referencing the part down in the engine bay above the rack, not the universal/CV joint there - but that looks like another possibility...

-Charlie
My bad, it doesn't really seem to have a name other than "those U joints", although that whole piece is called the intermediate shaft.
Either way I've checked on the real rag joint now too and it's solid, which looks like that just means I need to fix the clunk in those U joints. I'm thinking it might be possible to mix and match some of the pieces from the kit mentioned in one of those threads I linked (Febest ast-lc90) with the OEM ones, whether that means just putting in the wave washer it comes with or coming up with some unholy amalgamation of the the two. OP ended up taking it all out in the end so hopefully I can come up with a good fix. Unfortunately getting an intermediate shaft from a junkyard isn't feasible for me because there aren't any near here... I wouldn't be opposed to just buying one from a wrecker off eBay but they mostly come from older models with far more miles than what mine has (mine is a 2002). Which just leaves buying a new one from Toyota for $300+, no thanks. Anyway hopefully my plan works out. If anyone has any input I'd love to hear it.
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