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Old 04-10-2019, 10:32 AM #1
thegame7 thegame7 is offline
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Steering wheel shimmy FIX

Iíve been reading a bit about how 2nd gen Tacomaís and 4th gen 4Runners seem to consistently have a problem with bump steer if youíre lifted, or even straight off the lot if you have a Tacoma. Tacoma owners do have it a lot worse, Iíll explain more below.

The culprit is the rag joint in the intermediate steering shaft. Coming from the rock crawling world, I know rag joints do not last and with 184k on my 4Runner, it seemed to only accentuate other issues I was seeing. I started off changing inner and outer tie rod ends and got an alignment which helped but I still wasnít satisfied. Every bump I hit the steering wheel would shimmy and it was exhausting to drive. I also believe this is more prevalent with V8 4runners since they are AWD. 2WD or V6 owners might not feel this as much. With AWD, when you step on the gas the front tires will want to pull the steering wheel straight (torque steer, like racing a Honda). Step on the gas over some bumps and hold on tight because the steering wheel is about to get wild! Doing this mod WILL help this situation.

Tacoma owners have this a lot worse because the gap between the intermediate shaft and upper column shaft is bigger than ours which amplifies the problem. A lot of people on Tacomaworld have shoved zip ties in their steering shafts and it seems to have worked for many but zip ties will wear out over time as well and the problem will come back. I tried this first and it did help a little bit but not near as much as Tacoma owners were saying.

I had one thing on my mind and wouldnít stop until it was done; the rag joint had to GO! This mod took about an hour worth of my time and it was worth every second. (Think tight sports car handling and very positive steering input)

1. Start off by parking with your steering wheel and tires straight. Makes it easier to access the bolts in the driver side fender.

2. Climb under your steering wheel and locate the cover around your steering shaft. Remove the cover (stole these pictures fair and square from TW). The 4 white clips thread off, they should only be finger tight. Or use pliers if they are tighter than that





3. Locate the 2 bolts on the steering shaft in the driver side wheel well. Loosen them and remove the top bolt (also not my picture). 12mm socket with a long extension got it done.



4. Locate the upper intermediate shaft under your driver side kick panel. Loosen and remove the pinch bolt above the u joint. Pictured here next to the yellow paint mark and just below the little cup. Also a 12mm socket or wrench, no extension.



5. Remove intermediate shaft. Your steering wheel will be free to move how it sees fit (until it locks) keep note of its rotation throughout this process, if it rotates on its own too much, you will break your clock spring and disable some features on your ride.

6. Remove the 2 nuts and 2 bolts holding the rubber rag joint in place. Youíll see the 2 nuts hold 2 studs in the u joint side of the shaft, place the assembly in a vice and hammer the studs out of their holes because they are pressed in. Now the rag joint will be free but donít throw it away just yet.

7. Youíll see how the 2 pieces need to bolt together. Either you can make a 3/8Ē steel disc with the same hole pattern as the rubber piece and bolt it all back together or bolt the 2 pieces together with a spacer in between. The second option has an extra step, noted below.

8. In my search for a bunch of washers to take up the gap, I decided to kill my rag joint for good and cut out 2 of the metal spacers in it. After finding longer Toyota bolts I had laying around, I bolted the 2 pieces together. Also note I double nutted AND used lock washers to do this. You do NOT want those bolts coming loose now. Would even recommend red Loctite to be extra sure. If these come loose you will not have a good day, trust your work Steering wheel shimmy FIXSteering wheel shimmy FIX





9. Re-assemble in the reverse order.

A few things to note:

Your steering wheel will be off 1/4 turn after re assembly (the steering shaft can only be installed one way; keyed at the steering column and flats on the lower so the clamp bolts clear). I decided to remove the steering wheel and turn it 90 degrees to keep everything happy since that is the only option to make this work. It is not required to disconnect the battery and airbag to do this (I didnít). You just have to be careful about not letting the airbag ďfallĒ and put strain on the wires in there.

Itís a 19mm socket to pull the steering wheel and once you get that off, a few tugs on the wheel itself and it will come free. No special tool necessary.

To remove the airbag, there are 2 plastic covers on the left and right side, once those are removed, you will see 2 Torx bolts, one on each side (canít remember the size). Remove these and the airbag will come out. They will not drop free as they are captured by a plastic sleeve.

I was curious if rotating the steering wheel 1/4 turn would have any affect on the clock spring and after re assembly and turning lock to lock, itís behaving as it did before. No issues at all.

Also very noteworthy! The rag joint is designed to absorb ďroad feelĒ or NVH as some call it. While this is mostly for comfort for the driver, I donít think it lends itself well to the overall handling of the vehicle, especially when you add a lift and bigger tires. Removing it will transmit more of the road (vibrations mainly) into the steering wheel BUT you will have far less bump steer than before and it will feel tight. I still have a teeny tiny bit of bump steer but I believe my steering rack is getting worn out, or the bushings in the steering rack itself. Personally, I would much rather deal with a little more vibration in the wheel than constantly have to fight bump steer every time I drive over uneven surfaces. Iím also cheap and like free, or almost free mods that significantly improve how a vehicle drives.

Perform this mod at your own risk! (as with any mods you do yourself)
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Old 08-23-2019, 04:44 PM #2
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Bump. Who wants to try it next?
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