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Old 03-31-2020, 09:44 AM #1
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DIY: Steering Rack Replacement

My steering fluid ran low the other day so I topped it off and came back a couple of days later to this:






Not exactly what you want to see when walking back to your rig. With 133,000 miles on my truck with a good portion of those off road it looks like my steering rack has finally given out. I know a few folks have had their racks replaced by dealers but I’m looking for anyone who has done it themselves. It seems like a pretty intense job with the service manual calling the removal of the engine to get the job done. However, I know FJ and Tacoma guys have been able to do it using alternate methods.

UPDATED: With a Link to the DIY Article I wrote: Steering Rack Replacement Step-By-Step DIY Guide For 5th Gen 4Runner
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Old 04-01-2020, 10:38 AM #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xtremluck View Post
My steering fluid ran low the other day so I topped it off and came back a couple of days later to this:






Not exactly what you want to see when walking back to your rig. With 133,000 miles on my truck with a good portion of those off road it looks like my steering rack has finally given out. I know a few folks have had their racks replaced by dealers but I’m looking for anyone who has done it themselves. It seems like a pretty intense job with the service manual calling the removal of the engine to get the job done. However, I know FJ and Tacoma guys have been able to do it using alternate methods.

Right now this is what I have in terms of steps to actually accomplishing this:

Steps for Removing the Steering Rack
1. Unbolt tie rod ends
2. Remove inner tie rods
3. Unbolt and remove the intermediate steering shaft from the rack's spline (Making sure steering wheel is centered and tied down)
3. Unbolt front differential brackets
4. Remove oil filter
5. Loosen steering rack mounting bolts
6. Cut and remove steering rack mounting bolts from the top
7. Unplug hi pressure and low pressure steering pump lines
8. Drain fluid
9. Remove rack from the passenger side

Reverse steps above to install the new rack

For anyone who has done this have I captured everything? Is there an easier way? Once I gather info Ill be sure to document the process to make it easier for future owners. I have a feeling that anyone who wheels their rig will face this at some point.
Well I will comment on this. First off, thank you for documenting this process. As these trucks get older and with a lot of off road usage, I'm sure rack replacements will become more common. Second, im glad to see that the rack can be removed without removing the front diff. I had read that was possibly something that needs to come out before you can get the rack out. One question - why did you have to cut the mounting bolts? I'm guessing there is not enough room to remove them?
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Old 04-01-2020, 10:51 AM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphabeast View Post
Well I will comment on this. First off, thank you for documenting this process. As these trucks get older and with a lot of off road usage, I'm sure rack replacements will become more common. Second, im glad to see that the rack can be removed without removing the front diff. I had read that was possibly something that needs to come out before you can get the rack out. One question - why did you have to cut the mounting bolts? I'm guessing there is not enough room to remove them?
I believe the FJ Cruiser owners say that the bolts hit either the transmission cooler line or the A/C pump and cannot be backed out all the way. So you have to cut them and then use shorter bolts when re-assembling.
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Old 04-01-2020, 01:39 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphabeast View Post
Well I will comment on this. First off, thank you for documenting this process. As these trucks get older and with a lot of off road usage, I'm sure rack replacements will become more common. Second, im glad to see that the rack can be removed without removing the front diff. I had read that was possibly something that needs to come out before you can get the rack out. One question - why did you have to cut the mounting bolts? I'm guessing there is not enough room to remove them?
To be 100% clear this is not the official DIY yet. I was just outlining the theoretical steps. Will amend the post to reflect that. My goal is to have detailed documentation w/pics once I am able to do this myself (After gathering a lot of info). From the looks of it I don't think anyone has done this yet as a DIY. Which is surprising given how long the 5th gen has been out and how prone the 120 platform seems to be to this problem when used offroad.
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Old 04-01-2020, 01:40 PM #5
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Originally Posted by Jetboy View Post
I believe the FJ Cruiser owners say that the bolts hit either the transmission cooler line or the A/C pump and cannot be backed out all the way. So you have to cut them and then use shorter bolts when re-assembling.
Yup it would seem the same challenge exists with 3rd gen Tacoma owners. They usually cut the original bolts and reassemble the bolts in the opposite way.
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Old 04-01-2020, 02:08 PM #6
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I haven't done it myself - so this is just speculation, but sometimes it might actually be pretty easy to unbolt the engine/trans/tranfer and lift it up half an inch if you have the tools. On my old FJ40 I could pull the engine out in just a few hours. Lifting it an inch would be a minimal effort task (with the right tools like a lift). But in a 4Runner - I have no idea what sort of shit you'd have to disassemble to get it done.
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Old 04-08-2020, 01:57 PM #7
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DIY: Steering Rack Replacement

Making some progress, pulled the inner and outer tie rods out and there is significant leaking at the rack seals on both sides. It also looks like I will need to remove the oil filter bracket to give me enough clearance to remove the rack from the front of the first crossmember.

Also ordered a new OEM rack with new mounting bolts. Phew, glad we’re in lockdown here in CA because this is going to take a while.




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Old 04-20-2020, 08:04 PM #8
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any update??? I may have to do this soon.
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Old 04-20-2020, 10:36 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Okusputokus View Post
any update??? I may have to do this soon.

Great question! Getting tired of seeing my rig sit like this in the garage:




After three weekends I have the new rack in. Most of the time was spent figuring things out and running into new challenges. The good news is you can pull a rack out and install a new one without removing the engine or dropping your front differential assembly. Should be able to button everything back up by next weekend when I have a few more hours to spare.

I’ve been capturing pictures and full scale diagrams along the way and will have that write up available soon. Will post the link to it here once done. It’s not an easy job by any means but now that I have outlined clear step by step instructions it should be much easier for others.


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Old 04-20-2020, 10:39 PM #10
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Wow. Nice work and thanks for the update. Looking forward to the write-up.

Did you have to remove the oil filter assembly or anything else to get it out without lifting engine or dropping front diff? I imagine the biggest challenge was working that steering rack out of there.

Thanks
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Old 04-21-2020, 09:36 AM #11
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Thanks for taking the time and effort to detail out the steps for this, cant wait to see what was involved. Hopefully wont need it but my steering rack started seeping right under 50k miles, lets hope it doesnt go this far!
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Old 04-21-2020, 09:40 AM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Okusputokus View Post
Wow. Nice work and thanks for the update. Looking forward to the write-up.

Did you have to remove the oil filter assembly or anything else to get it out without lifting engine or dropping front diff? I imagine the biggest challenge was working that steering rack out of there.

Thanks

I had to:
•Loosen the Oil filter bracket
•Loosen the AC compressor
•Loosen the lines to the AC compressor
•Loosen the Oil cooler lines
•Remove the swaybar
•Remove the front suspension frame reinforcements

There isn’t really much room in there. It’s definitely a tighter space than what you see on a 4th gen or Tacoma. May be similar to a FJ Cruiser but I don’t know. Most of those guys dropped the front diff to get this damn thing out.


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Old 04-22-2020, 03:47 AM #13
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Save yourself some time and either cut the bolt on driver's side, or loosen the AC compressor. I replaced my rack a few weeks ago on the 2008 4Runner and fought with that dang bolt for quite a while before loosening the compressor. Other than that, pretty much straight forward as you have it documented. I did get my rack from Rack Doctor.
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Old 04-22-2020, 12:59 PM #14
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Save yourself some time and either cut the bolt on driver's side, or loosen the AC compressor. I replaced my rack a few weeks ago on the 2008 4Runner and fought with that dang bolt for quite a while before loosening the compressor. Other than that, pretty much straight forward as you have it documented. I did get my rack from Rack Doctor.
Yup I did both. Cut the driver side bolt and also unbolted the AC compressor. Reinstalled the mounting bolts in reverse so it should be much easier to get out if I ever need to do this again (Hopefully not for a very long time)

I believe the 4th gens have a bit more space than what we have judging by the video (Unless this is a V8 model which I can't tell). Our oil cooler is in a much worse place. Which makes prying it out much more challenging.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSFLIt05YBU&t=9s
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Old 04-22-2020, 02:21 PM #15
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I don’t know maybe it’s just me, but I took a look at it and it doesn’t seem like it’ll be that hard to take out. There’s always a shortcut to everything.
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