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Old 08-04-2023, 12:04 AM #1
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Power steering fluid reservoir

Hi,

I have a 2007 4Runner at 430,000km (260,000mile).

The power steering is starting to be difficult to turn and so I’ve looked up various posts and vids to flush and completely replace the fluid.

The question I have is - does the PS fluid reservoir have a filter located at the bottom? Is it advisable to also change this plastic reservoir if it does have a filter? It costs about $80 cdn.

Anyone have experience or advice?

Thanks.

Mjl
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Old 08-04-2023, 12:08 PM #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjlmjl View Post
Hi,

I have a 2007 4Runner at 430,000km (260,000mile).

The power steering is starting to be difficult to turn and so I’ve looked up various posts and vids to flush and completely replace the fluid.

The question I have is - does the PS fluid reservoir have a filter located at the bottom? Is it advisable to also change this plastic reservoir if it does have a filter? It costs about $80 cdn.

Anyone have experience or advice?

Thanks.

Mjl

The reservoir doesn't have a filter in it. Some have installed an inline filter when doing a fluid change, for example a Magnafine. Something unexpected that I discovered after buying my '07 is that 4th Gen 4Runners don't use power steering fluid in their PS reservoirs. Seems odd but it's true - the spec fluid is actually automatic transmission fluid - but not what you use in the 4Runner's transmission. Not weird at all, right? From the 2007 manual:
==
Check the fluid level through the reservoir. If necessary, add automatic transmission fluid DEXRON II or III.

If the vehicle has been driven around 80 km/h (50 mph) for 20 minutes (a little more in frigid temperatures), the fluid is hot (60C—80C or 140F—175F). You may also check the level when the fluid is cold (about room temperature, 10C—30C or 50F—85F) if the engine has not been run for about five hours.
==

If the fluid change doesn't help, search the forum for 4th Gen stiff steering threads. Could be an issue with the steering shaft itself.

Last edited by Bluesky 07; 08-04-2023 at 04:12 PM.
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Old 08-04-2023, 04:01 PM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluesky 07 View Post
If the fluid change doesn't help, search the forum for 4th Gen stiff steering threads. Could be an issue with the steering shaft itself.
I would focus here first as it's a common issue. Simple check, jack both front wheels off the ground and try turning the wheel with the key to on but engine off. If it's hard and notchy lock to lock then the steering shaft u-joint is most likely freezing up. It should be easy and smooth.
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Old 08-08-2023, 02:12 PM #4
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Thanks Bluesky and MikeinNH for your suggestions.

I have since partially changed the ps fluid. I pumped out the fluid from the reservoir and refilled. Started up engine, turned wheel left and right. Then pumped out fluid again and refilled. The old fluid was very dark, almost black and smelled burnt. I just replaced 2-3 cups. Used DEXTRON transmission fluid.

The initial results were not significant. Power steering was still heavy and then the turning action felt ”lumpy”. It was a struggle to turn, then it got momentarily better,then it was heavy turning again, etc..

Now after 4 more days of this, it back to normal. Works perfectly fine now. Problem has gone away.

The new reservoir has arrived, so I plan is to completely change out the ps fluid and switch out the old reservoir.

Will update…
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Old 08-15-2023, 07:12 PM #5
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UPDATE: Bad news...

Ok - so I've completely flushed the PS fluid and replaced it with DEXTRON AT fluid. The reservoir with pretty dirty and blacken inside, and since the new reservoir arrived - I decided to also replace it.

I'm totally disappointed now.

The power steering is actually hearvier and stiffer to turn the wheels. It feels "lumpy" when turning, as if it has notches in the rotation of the steering wheel. It takes a lot more effort now than ever before.

What's next? Is the U-Joint something I can "fix" or does it need to be replaced? Some threads mentioned scrapping away any rust and lubricating the joint... Would this be my next step?

Any suggestions?...
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Old 08-15-2023, 09:56 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjlmjl View Post
UPDATE: Bad news...

Ok - so I've completely flushed the PS fluid and replaced it with DEXTRON AT fluid. The reservoir with pretty dirty and blacken inside, and since the new reservoir arrived - I decided to also replace it.

I'm totally disappointed now.

The power steering is actually hearvier and stiffer to turn the wheels. It feels "lumpy" when turning, as if it has notches in the rotation of the steering wheel. It takes a lot more effort now than ever before.

What's next? Is the U-Joint something I can "fix" or does it need to be replaced? Some threads mentioned scrapping away any rust and lubricating the joint... Would this be my next step?

Any suggestions?...
No you can't "fix" the u-joint, you can however replace the intermediate steering shaft which has a new u-joint on it.

You can spray it down thoroughly with a penetrating oil/spray and see if it frees up the steering some as a test, if that frees it up then the u-joint is definitely bad and you need to replace the shaft.
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Old 08-15-2023, 10:28 PM #7
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Thanks AuSeeker for your feedback.

I found a really interesting/instructional YouTube VID about 4Runner steering shaft & U-joints:

Toyota 4 Runner Steering Problem Returns - EricTheCarGuy - YouTube

If this is what I need to do next - I'll have to bring it in to my mechanic. It's out of my skill set of "home mechanic" repairs.

I'm learning a lot though....

Question:

The steering right now is really difficult to turn. In fact - to make a turn at an intersection - I have to use both hands to grab the steering wheel and actually "pull" it in the direction of the turn.

The steering system doesn't make any noise. It just feels lumpy and very difficult to turn.

Are these the signs and symptoms of a problem with the steering shaft?

TBH - I'm just worried it would be a bad steering rack and more expensive.
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Old 08-15-2023, 10:45 PM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjlmjl View Post
Thanks AuSeeker for your feedback.

I found a really interesting/instructional YouTube VID about 4Runner steering shaft & U-joints:

Toyota 4 Runner Steering Problem Returns - EricTheCarGuy - YouTube

If this is what I need to do next - I'll have to bring it in to my mechanic. It's out of my skill set of "home mechanic" repairs.

I'm learning a lot though....

Question:

The steering right now is really difficult to turn. In fact - to make a turn at an intersection - I have to use both hands to grab the steering wheel and actually "pull" it in the direction of the turn.

The steering system doesn't make any noise. It just feels lumpy and very difficult to turn.

Are these the signs and symptoms of a problem with the steering shaft?

TBH - I'm just worried it would be a bad steering rack and more expensive.
Yes that is a symptom of a problem with the steering shaft u-joint, it's a common problem in the snow/rust belt, spray it down real good as I suggested and see if it gets better, if it does then replace it, if not then worry about the rack.
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Old 08-16-2023, 03:47 PM #9
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Don’t get discouraged, there’s always an answer, and the longer it takes you to get there, the better it will feel when you do. The thread linked below should be helpful as it describes where to find the U joint you need to spray down as @AuSeeker suggested. It also has some other information on this problem.

Greasing steering intermediate shaft U joints

Last edited by Bluesky 07; 08-20-2023 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 08-16-2023, 04:28 PM #10
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The notchyness is a pointer to the steering shaft u-joint seizing up. The easiest way to prove it is to do what I said in post #3 but I bet that is your issue. You can soak the joint with penetrant to prove that is the issue but it will happen again. Eventually, because the needle bearing are most likely rusty, it will get loose instead and feel sloppy. My truck has had a cheap ebay shaft in it for a few years now and it's still good.
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Old 08-19-2023, 09:11 PM #11
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I had this happen on my 03 in Boston due the wicked pisser winters and weather and lubed my steering shaft and u-joints and worked great.
Now when I change my oil and filter and lube my 05 I also spray the u-joints and steering shaft.
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Old 09-28-2023, 11:22 AM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjlmjl View Post
The reservoir with pretty dirty and blacken inside, and since the new reservoir arrived - I decided to also replace it.
@mjlmjl : I am planning on a PS flush as well and would like to remove and clean my reservoir at same time. Did you use any write-up or manual or Youtube video or whatever to help you remove and then re-install the reservoir? Or is it so easy, i.e. just the three bolts, that a how-to was not needed?

Thanks...
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Old 09-28-2023, 11:55 AM #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOSMECH View Post
Now when I change my oil and filter and lube my 05 I also spray the u-joints and steering shaft.
@BOSMECH : I'd like to add this to my maintenance routine as well...can you help me understand specifically where I should be looking, inspecting, and/or spraying? I think you are talking about what this guy is doing here...right?:

Toyota 4Runner Steering Shaft & U-joint

Questions:
------------------
1) is it one spot or two that needs to be addressed? The U-joints or the whole steering shaft itself?
2) what lubricant spray?
3) is it appropriate to actually grease these U-joints?
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Old 09-28-2023, 02:58 PM #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aa040371 View Post
@BOSMECH : I'd like to add this to my maintenance routine as well...can you help me understand specifically where I should be looking, inspecting, and/or spraying? I think you are talking about what this guy is doing here...right?:

Toyota 4Runner Steering Shaft & U-joint

Questions:
------------------
1) is it one spot or two that needs to be addressed? The U-joints or the whole steering shaft itself?
2) what lubricant spray?
3) is it appropriate to actually grease these U-joints?
That's the one in the video.

1) It's just the u-joint that goes bad.
2) It's a tough spot to get to, if you can get a spray lube/grease in there then that would be cool. Anything too watery will not last and may wash out any grease left in there.
3) Again no easy way to get in there, there's no zerks and you'd probably have to try and grease each cup individually with some sort of needle type greaser.
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Old 09-29-2023, 08:47 AM #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aa040371 View Post
@mjlmjl : I am planning on a PS flush as well and would like to remove and clean my reservoir at same time. Did you use any write-up or manual or Youtube video or whatever to help you remove and then re-install the reservoir? Or is it so easy, i.e. just the three bolts, that a how-to was not needed?

Thanks...
Hey,

This is one of the videos I used for the procedure. My PS reservoir was not exactly the same size and in the exact location as in the video. But it was close and the car in the vid is a Toyota. I used it as a guide for the steps required to empty and flush the old PS fluid out.

Just for the record, replacing the fluid and reservoir did not resolve the original problem with the stiff steering. I followed other vids suggested by other users and had to spray the rusted U-joints. This eliminated the hard steering problem.

In fact the problem returned a few weeks later and so I had to spray it again. Lubricating it was only meant as a temporary measure. I am planning to get the intermediate steering shaft/U-joint replaced by my mechanic.

Hope this helps.
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