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Old 01-19-2023, 05:41 PM #1
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Power Steering feeling Stiff

Not sure whatís going on but I had this happen to me last winter. When it got extremely cold I noticed when I turn the steering wheel it felt really stiff/hard to turn the wheel. Once spring/summer come up power steering felt fine. Now here we are in winter again and now my steering is very stiff again. I checked the power steering reservoir and it was just below the cold low level. I topped it up to cold top level. Adding the fluid didnít improve anything. Any ideas on whatís going on here? Is this the start to costly repairs? Once when warm weather comes back the steering will probably go back to normal. I donít see any leaks!!
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Old 01-19-2023, 05:51 PM #2
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In case you already haven't checked make sure its ATF in there not power steering fluid.
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Old 01-19-2023, 05:51 PM #3
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Is it stiff through the whole rotation or more notchy like easier in some spots? How is it with the wheels off the ground? The steering shaft U-joints on these lock up when they get old. It is a replaceable part if that is your issue. Ton's of threads on this and videos on YT.
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Old 01-20-2023, 08:52 PM #4
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Power Steering feeling Stiff

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeinNH67 View Post
Is it stiff through the whole rotation or more notchy like easier in some spots? How is it with the wheels off the ground? The steering shaft U-joints on these lock up when they get old. It is a replaceable part if that is your issue. Ton's of threads on this and videos on YT.

Itís hard at first like it doesnít want to go and then it turns easy. But then itís the opposite turning the other way. Again hard at first and then easy. I should add that I recently had my alignment done when I put on new snow tires. I hope adding the ATF to top up the fluid didnít mess anything, I have no idea what was in it previously. The cap says to put in dexron fluid. I picked up the ATF fluid from the Toyota dealership.


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Old 01-28-2023, 11:26 AM #5
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Just an update, my power steering feels fine now!! Like it magically fixed itself. It was the coldest day yet at -18 degrees Celsius. I figured the cold had something to do with the stiffness but regardless of the cold it feels fine now. Iím really confused with what to look for now once when the warm weather comes around to work on this truck!!
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Old 01-28-2023, 01:20 PM #6
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New member. I need to flush power steering fluid due to submersion so I appreciate this post.
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Old 02-13-2023, 08:26 AM #7
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Damn, the stiffness is back and hasnít been that cold lately (-5c). It feels more stiff than ever. Anyone here have this issue in the past? Is this a common problem?
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Old 02-13-2023, 06:58 PM #8
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How old is the PS fluid in there, in years and mileage? If it's the factory fluid on a 4th gen, it's way past time for a fluid change. Consider using power steering fluid rather than ATF Dexron III, based on this:

How to make your Toyota Last Over 300k Miles without Major Repairs - YouTube (skip to 13:37 for PS fluid comments)

My '07 has 276K miles on it, with PS flushes over the years I've tried Castrol MaxLife ATF, Valvoline Dex/Merc, and finally settled on LubeGard Synthetic Power Steering Fluid. The ATFs were fine, but it had a groaning sound on cold startups below approx 40deg F. Louder as it got colder.

After viewing the guy's video linked above and seeing reasonable evidence of his claimed experience and certifications, I flushed in the Lubegard fluid and the cold groan is gone.
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Old 02-15-2023, 10:41 PM #9
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Lube your steering shaft yoke and u-joints just use some WD-40 there are 2 u-joints and that should do it.
I have done it several times on my 03 and on my 05.
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Old 03-03-2023, 10:11 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOSMECH View Post
Lube your steering shaft yoke and u-joints just use some WD-40 there are 2 u-joints and that should do it.
I have done it several times on my 03 and on my 05.
Thank you so much for your reply, I did what you suggested and now my steering feels buttery smooth!! Cheers!!
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Old 03-03-2023, 10:57 PM #11
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Thank you so much for your reply, I did what you suggested and now my steering feels buttery smooth!! Cheers!!
This is just going to be temporary fix, you need to replace that intermidiate steering shaft.
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Old 03-23-2023, 06:51 PM #12
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I'm in the process of learning that it could be your ball joints. Mine started out very gradual, sort of like "Hmm, the steering fluid must be cold...." Then noticing that after a turn, the wheel wouldn't return to center on its own. Now it's like I barely have power assist at all.

I jacked up both sides, and just on a whim squirted some oil into the ball joints, then ran the steering lock to lock a few times. It felt great for a day or two, then went back to where it was.

I've got an appointment to have both LCA's replaced on Monday... I've gotta be on someone else's borrowed time by now.
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