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Old 01-08-2023, 08:26 PM #1
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Steering frustrations

I have a 2006 V6 4wd with roughly 225k miles. Last year I brought it in to a shop for a stiff steering issue and long story short they changed the rack, both front axles (boots torn) and the intermediate shaft. None of those were particularly bad so a total waste if money.

The fluid was changed numerous times because the shop didn't purge the air correctly and it was like strawberry milk. One year later and absolutely nothing has changed. When I take a left or right turn the steering won't fully return to center like my Sienna does and I have to manually correct it so I don't wind up in a ditch.

Doing my own testing, I put the entire front in the air and turned the wheel with the engine off. It definitely has a bind somewhere.

The Toyota dealer couldn't find anything wrong.

I'm at my wits end with this truck. Combine this with the cracked evaporator and Xreas needing changed, it's making my hair grey. The only thing I haven't changed yet is the PS pump but both shops said it's fine.
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Old 01-08-2023, 10:31 PM #2
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Hmm yea - that is frustrating. Very strange that if it feels like it is binding and had the rack replaced recently that a new rack didnt fix it.

Presumably youre not running huge oversized tires.

Youve replaced the whole steering system and so unless you got another bad part, thats very odd.

Presumably, youre not leaking power steering fluid/ have low pressure.

I believe the 4runner is supposed to use ATF fluid in the power steering set up. I guess if at some point someone was using too high a viscosity fluid in the power steering pump that it would make it more stiff and less responsive.

Have you checked the power steering lines to make sure there is no corrosion?

Otherwise youre left with the tie rods or a bad wheel hub assembly

Good luck
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Old 01-08-2023, 11:09 PM #3
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Could be bad lower ball joints. I have had that problem in the past. Lay under the truck and have someone turn the wheel and feel for rough binding on all moving parts
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Old 01-08-2023, 11:23 PM #4
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See, that's what I thought too maybe the ball joints but the shops said they were fine. I'm almost thinking it's something in the steering column at this point.
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Old 01-09-2023, 11:56 AM #5
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There are 2 sets of u-joints in the steering column. One is inside of the rig and the other is outside. Which "intermediate " shaft did they swap out? I'm assuming it's the one that is outside... could be worth spending a little time under the dash to unbolt 2 bolts that secure the shaft inside the rig and just feeling what the interior U-joint is doing..

I have 0 faith in shop work or the troubleshooting they can do, be it at toyota or elsewhere, so what I would suggest.. if you don't find an issue with the interior u-joint on the shaft, is to disconnect both outter tie rods, get the front end in the air, and just manually turn each wheel left/right to see if you can feel any binding/resistance in either the upper or lower balljoint.

With the outer tie rods disconnected you can also give the steering rack a check by steering lock-to-lock left/right and see if you feel any sort of hard steering/binding. In the air with no tie rods connected you should be able to steer with your pinky with next to no resistance.
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Old 01-09-2023, 04:58 PM #6
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^^^ That is what I was thinking. Gotta narrow it down. Easy to pop the tie-rod ends off to isolate.

So it didn't get any better after those parts were replaced? The only time I've felt this issue it was that steering shaft right on the engine side of the firewall. PIA to swap so do make sure it looks new at least. I trust no mechanics including myself which is why I check all my own work at least twice.
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Old 01-12-2023, 09:19 AM #7
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Check the power steering hoses. It's just like brake hoses. If they are collapsed inside you are getting fluid in one direction but not another. That could cause the binding feeling and stiffness.
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Old 01-13-2023, 07:07 AM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syr4RinNC View Post
Hmm yea - that is frustrating. Very strange that if it feels like it is binding and had the rack replaced recently that a new rack didnt fix it.

Presumably youre not running huge oversized tires.

Youve replaced the whole steering system and so unless you got another bad part, thats very odd.


Good luck
recently switched to new from end tyres, that are somewhat thicker and heavier than normal tires, so they are about 160% the weight of the normal tires that they replaced, my 05 runner recently developed similar symptoms, the technician suspects its the steering pump, but i dont think so...as the steering has tight spots even with both wheels jack up.

anyway to t/shoot the rack or pinpoint the problem to the rack?
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