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Old 07-28-2021, 05:23 PM #1
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Slow speed "clunk" in steering wheel

Hoping to get some feedback on this because I'm stumped. 2018 SR5P with 78k miles. Start vehicle, put it in reverse, let off of brakes, and feel a 'thump' in the steering wheel as soon as vehicle moves. Then every so often while driving, at low speeds over small bumps I get the same sensation. I've replace both outer tie rod ends (inners seemed nice and tight) I've checked every bolt and nut under the vehicle and all are tight to spec. Bushings and ball joints all look good. I just don't get it. Only mods are 5100s (.85) and stock size C load KO2s. Anyone ever experience anything like this and where I might start looking?
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Old 07-28-2021, 07:20 PM #2
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Check you axle and you wheel bearing and your hub because my was damage and I had the same issue as you.

Last edited by garc1809; 07-28-2021 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 07-28-2021, 08:30 PM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garc1809 View Post
Check you axle and you wheel bearing and your hub because my was damage and I had the same issue as you.
Thanks for the reply. Axel and hub all good. Wheel bearing tight as a drum, no play at all. I should add that my 4runner is a street queen and has never been off road. All 78K miles.
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Old 07-28-2021, 08:34 PM #4
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Yeah I thought my was too until you went into reverse. One way I check my was when I put on reverse holding the brake and accelerate a little I heard the thump or pop sound. Anyways best of luck I keep an eye to what you found out what was the cause.
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Old 07-28-2021, 08:40 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garc1809 View Post
Yeah I thought my was too until you went into reverse. One way I check my was when I put on reverse holding the brake and accelerate a little I heard the thump or pop sound. Anyways best of luck I keep an eye to what you found out what was the cause.
Thanks. I should add that I have never heard a sound from the issue. Just a 'thump' in the steering wheel. I might try that tomorrow to see if I can get a sound out of it. I'll keep you posted. It is a head scratcher.
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Old 07-28-2021, 09:33 PM #6
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I have this whenever I go from reverse to drive, others have said that it's the brake pads clicking inside the calipers. Mine make an audible sound too though
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Old 07-28-2021, 09:40 PM #7
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prolly intermediate steering shaft its a toyota problem
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Old 07-28-2021, 10:06 PM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 97BlackAckCL View Post
I have this whenever I go from reverse to drive, others have said that it's the brake pads clicking inside the calipers. Mine make an audible sound too though
More than once I have felt it while coming to a stop, with the brakes applied. I would think pressure from the calipers on the pads on the rotors wouldn't allow any kind of thump to happen? Caliper bolts are tight, having never been touched from the factory. Braking is smooth, no warping.
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Old 07-28-2021, 10:13 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokingtoysupra View Post
prolly intermediate steering shaft its a toyota problem
I noticed that on different forums. Especially Tacoma. I checked the upper and lower part of the steering shaft with no play. U joints on shafts seemed tight. Is there a certain way to diagnose it as a problem?
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Old 07-30-2021, 06:06 AM #10
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In my experience, combinations of low speed backing (or forward) or turning and braking sounds:

Light thump or click=brake pads shifting in caliper.

Heaving thump/pop=lower control arm bolts loose.
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Old 07-30-2021, 08:49 AM #11
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I've been chasing this issue for a while now. It doesn't happen all the time, and mostly at slower speeds, sometimes when braking and sometimes not. Then sometimes it is so noticeable it feels like something is seriously broken. It's not very audible, but you can feel it in the steering wheel and floor pan. I've removed the skid plate and sway bar and it still persists.

I hope someone can figure it out because it's driving me nuts. My mechanic thinks I'm crazy when I can't duplicate the issue during his ride-alongs. He tells me to deal with it
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Old 07-30-2021, 10:23 AM #12
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I know your pain, I went through and chased this thing on my 17 runner for 2 years before figuring out what it was.

Intermediate shaft replaced by toyota - no change
Swapped out cv axles - no change
New tie rod ends - no change
New steering rack from toyota - no change
New coilovers and upper control arms - no change

I was going to drive my truck off a cliff, until I decided to check out my lower control arms. I wanted to pull them off to inspect the bushings, but ran into a seized cam bolt. Out comes the sawzall and after a dozen blades I cut out the seized bolt. What I found out is the rust had filled in the thread grooves on the cam bolt. It was so bad because it never got tightened to spec after alignments and as a result there was slop in the lower control arm which caused the bushings to fail.

So, thousands of dollars in toyota warranty bucks, hours of my time, and new gray hairs all for a $30 cam bolt essentially. The torque spec for those are 129 ft/lb, most shops only do 100 ft/lbs. See where this is heading? Have someone look at those lower control arm bolts and bushings. But be prepared to spend $320ish an arm if that is the case. A seized bolt or even a bad bushing is a death sentence and the whole thing will need to be replaced.

Good luck!
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Old 07-30-2021, 10:32 AM #13
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OP, double check the torque on the lower control arms, if you haven't already. They should be at 129 ft lbs. Mine clunked in reverse after alignment shop didn't torque them to spec.
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Old 07-30-2021, 05:26 PM #14
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^^ came here to say what ahtoxa11 did. I've had to go back at least twice, maybe more that I don't remember, after getting it back from a shop and torque the LCAs to spec.
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Old 07-31-2021, 10:30 AM #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarrotJuice View Post
I noticed that on different forums. Especially Tacoma. I checked the upper and lower part of the steering shaft with no play. U joints on shafts seemed tight. Is there a certain way to diagnose it as a problem?
the way we diagnose them is sitting still with the steering wheel turned about 45 degrees and giving moderate throttle. if its the shaft it will make a noise when the slip is not the joints.
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