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Old 09-16-2010, 08:07 PM   #1
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Sloppy steering question

Has anyone else encountered kind of a sloppy or squirrelly feeling in the steering?

I'm not just talking about the loose feeling on dirt roads. Mine has always felt terrible on any semi rough service. But for the past 5-10 thousand miles, my steering hasn't felt normal even on pavement.

About three weeks ago it started to feel really bad. Not just sloppy, but kind of pulling to the right some and in general just didn't feel right. I took it in and got an alignment. The squirrelly feeling wasn't quite as bad after, but it is still pulling to the right.

I'm at about 55k miles. Has anyone else had any of these issues? If so, were you able to find a solution?
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:09 PM   #2
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Seized caliper ?
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:10 PM   #3
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Seized caliper ?
Don't know, but I was actually just reading about that a little while ago. I kind of doubt that's the problem, but, how do I go about checking that?
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:13 PM   #4
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Just jack it up and see if the wheel spins freely.
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:27 PM   #5
The dog did it...I swear!
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Mine follows the ruts in the road. Drive close to the centerline and it pulls left...drive close the the shoulder and it pulls right. Freshly paved roads it tracks straight. Takeing the tire pressure up a bit seemed to help.
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:29 PM   #6
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Actually early in the summer or late spring I had to let the pressure down a bit. That seemed to help somewhat. But that was because I never relieved some air after winter time.
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:46 PM   #7
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my money is on a wheel bearing or a ball joint or maybe a tire rod end or a bad belt in your tire and your alignment shop should be able to find any of this. i would start with rotating my tires while i was in the process jack the front end up and try to wobble the tire in all directions any more then a little is bad.
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Old 09-16-2010, 09:12 PM   #8
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Toyotas are known for bad intermediate steering shafts. To test, sitting still, with engine running, quickly turn the wheel left and right quickly, about an eighth of a turn both directions. If the wheel turns more than the tires, the shaft is bad. They cost arount$ 150.
The other cause, from low cost to high, alignment, tie rod, wheel bearing, bad tires.
Jack up the front end and pull on the tires in all directions and have a friend look for slop in the steering. You can feel bad bearings by yourself, there will be movement in the wheel before the steering moves.
Let me know what you find.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:17 PM   #9
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There is a TSB for intermediate shaft. I got it done. It fixed the sloppy steering feeling, clunk and rattling problem that I had when going down a rough or gravel road.
http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/2nd-gen-tacomas/96634-steering-column-rattle-tsb.html
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bodete View Post
There is a TSB for intermediate shaft. I got it done. It fixed the sloppy steering feeling, clunk and rattling problem that I had when going down a rough or gravel road.
http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/2nd-gen-tacomas/96634-steering-column-rattle-tsb.html
Yeah, unfortunately I'll well out of warranty. I did considering buying that part and putting it in myself though. Still, after seeing the pictures of it, being that it looks almost exactly the same as the old one, it seems hard to believe that that could be the root of even just half the problem. But then again, I do see a lot of testimonies, such as yours, saying that it made a big difference.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:30 PM   #11
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From what it sounds like, it's not the steering shaft TSB anyway.... I'd check most what people said above...
- Tire wear
- Tire pressure
- Jack the front up (use chocks on back), then try to move each tire left right with your hands, if it moves easily you have something loose, need to investigate and repair immediatly.
- Could be worn bushings. The above may or may not reflect it... remember you can't put enough force to mimic normal driving even with your hands
- Power steering pump could be going out causing erratic pressure (thus easy/harder steering and causing it to pulse left/right)
- Suspension could be worn/going out. Check your shocks for oil leaking, push down on the truck to see if it's getting loose on a side or both, ect.


I'd start with that....
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyouto42 View Post
From what it sounds like, it's not the steering shaft TSB anyway.... I'd check most what people said above...
- Tire wear
- Tire pressure
- Jack the front up (use chocks on back), then try to move each tire left right with your hands, if it moves easily you have something loose, need to investigate and repair immediatly.
- Could be worn bushings. The above may or may not reflect it... remember you can't put enough force to mimic normal driving even with your hands
- Power steering pump could be going out causing erratic pressure (thus easy/harder steering and causing it to pulse left/right)
- Suspension could be worn/going out. Check your shocks for oil leaking, push down on the truck to see if it's getting loose on a side or both, ect.


I'd start with that....
How would I check the power steering pump? I do occasionally get a sort of pulsing feeling. A fault in the power steering system has crossed my mind before.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:35 PM   #13
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Take the plastic cover off that covers the intermediate shaft and wiggle it around. If it has a lot of play in it that maybe your problem. My had a lot of slop in it and if I wiggled it pretty hard as if I was going down a rough road I could get it to make the same clunk that I have been feeling.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA452 View Post
How would I check the power steering pump? I do occasionally get a sort of pulsing feeling. A fault in the power steering system has crossed my mind before.
Eh that's a good one. The only way I can think of off hand would be to disconnect the pump and go 'old skool' for a test without the belt on a short drive (not sure if it's on the serph belt on this truck or not... so I'd look into that first. If it is, you wouldn't have an alternator going so you'd need to be conscious of the fact you're running pure battery). There may be a better way, just I don't know of it.

Of course, before even that it wouldn't hurt to inspect the oil level and look around for leaks. Also you might want to get your hand on it and try to violently shake it back and forth and see if it moves. If it does, those bushings on the rack could be shot.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bodete View Post
Take the plastic cover off that covers the intermediate shaft and wiggle it around. If it has a lot of play in it that maybe your problem. My had a lot of slop in it and if I wiggled it pretty hard as if I was going down a rough road I could get it to make the same clunk that I have been feeling.
I actually tried the zip tie thing that was suggested here. It did seem to make a slight difference at the time. I don't think I get a "clunk" like many describe here, but on even slightly rough surface roads the steering feels bad, almost like the wheels are running wild on bad bumps and holes.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:44 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by PA452 View Post
I actually tried the zip tie thing that was suggested here. It did seem to make a slight difference at the time. I don't think I get a "clunk" like many describe here, but on even slightly rough surface roads the steering feels bad, almost like the wheels are running wild on bad bumps and holes.

Does the steering vibrate really bad?
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:48 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Bodete View Post
Does the steering vibrate really bad?
Not really. On rough surfaces, it feels very loose. But other than the "clunk", my experiences on rough surfaces pretty much mirror others. And I know at least a few others have said they don't really notice a "clunk" either.

I don't get a vibration on pavement typically. I have once or twice in the past. It was typically fixed with a wheel balancing.

I do sometimes get kind of a "pulse" feeling in the steering wheel. That's the best word I can use to describe it I think. I can feel it in the wheel, but it's not so bad that it moves the wheel.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:57 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by PA452 View Post
Not really. On rough surfaces, it feels very loose. But other than the "clunk", my experiences on rough surfaces pretty much mirror others. And I know at least a few others have said they don't really notice a "clunk" either.

I don't get a vibration on pavement typically. I have once or twice in the past. It was typically fixed with a wheel balancing.

I do sometimes get kind of a "pulse" feeling in the steering wheel. That's the best word I can use to describe it I think. I can feel it in the wheel, but it's not so bad that it moves the wheel.

On rough roads mine steering wheel would vibrate or rattle really bad and if I hit a big hole it would make a loud clunk. I had the problem since day one since I live down a gravel road. I thought something was loose or broken. It drove me nuts but toyota said everything was fine until I found out about the TSB.
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Old 09-16-2010, 11:23 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA452 View Post
Not really. On rough surfaces, it feels very loose. But other than the "clunk", my experiences on rough surfaces pretty much mirror others. And I know at least a few others have said they don't really notice a "clunk" either.

I don't get a vibration on pavement typically. I have once or twice in the past. It was typically fixed with a wheel balancing.

I do sometimes get kind of a "pulse" feeling in the steering wheel. That's the best word I can use to describe it I think. I can feel it in the wheel, but it's not so bad that it moves the wheel.
Oh, well after that description it sounds exactly like the TSB....
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Old 09-16-2010, 11:27 PM   #20
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Oh, well after that description it sounds exactly like the TSB....
Well, I just about guarantee that intermediate shaft is a small portion of my problem, yes. But there is something else in play. That intermediate shaft isn't causing the truck to want to pull to the right.

There are other minor symptoms that I notice, but I really have a hard time describing them.

But anyway, this weekend I'll try to check over everything. I am due to rotate my tires anyway.
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