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Front diff steering problems, *need help* on road trip

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by taco2uesday, Jul 15, 2020.

  1. Jul 15, 2020 at 10:29 PM
    #1
    taco2uesday

    taco2uesday [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Hey guys I need some help asap.

    Just did a road trip from Los Angeles to Utah today. About 150 miles from my destination my steering started getting heavy, but not in the way that there would be no power steering. If I were to turn to the left it would just keep going left. I would have to fight it back to center. Same thing with turning right. Through out those 150 miles it got progressively worse until I arrived. Id say pretty damn sketchy the last 30 miles. As a side note, if I were to lift off the gas while turning it would make it a little easier to come back to center.

    Today I noticed a leak on my passenger side CV (front diff). It was weepy before but nothing major. On the trip I noticed at the gas station when I having a look around that it was leaking (dripping). Maybe something to do with it being 110 degrees out.

    Would really low oil in the front diff cause this?

    I just replaced my steering rack and its been fine for 500 miles. My inner and outer tie rods are new and I just had an alignment yesterday. I went under the truck when I arrived and checked all the tie rods and nothing has moved. No odd wear on the tires either.

    I also put my hand on the front diff and it wasn't really hot to touch so I don't think its fried.

    Also if it was power steering, I would think the wheel should still return to center on its on. Not keep going the same direction.

    The only thing I can think it would be would be the diff oil being really low. It was starting to howl a bit.

    The only other thing I could think of would be the steering rack oil I used. But I doubt it.
    castrol_transmax_dex_merc__15683.1573581809.jpg



    I only have one day here so any help would be great. I still have a few thousand miles to go.


    Also, when I bought the truck a month ago the guy said he just put full synthetics in the diffs, I wonder if thats why its leaking. It has a light green tint to the oil. Does anyone know the proper weight gear oil? I think Im going to put non synthetic in it.

    Thank you
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
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  2. Jul 15, 2020 at 10:40 PM
    #2
    taco2uesday

    taco2uesday [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Also does anyone know the size for the drain and fill on the front diff? Im going to have to buy those tomorrow also.
     
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  3. Jul 15, 2020 at 10:59 PM
    #3
    Abeyancer

    Abeyancer Not so secret, secret van guy

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    Not sure on the sizes.. depending on your time frame i can check when i get to work about 630 PST am tomorrow

    I had a similar issue .. does your steering jerk or zig zag when you brake hard? That was another symptom I had and my issue is a compounding one of both worn out steering rack bushings and worn out lower control arm bushings


    I know you said you've got a new rack and tie rods but did you get new bushings for the rack?
     
    taco2uesday [OP] likes this.
  4. Jul 15, 2020 at 11:09 PM
    #4
    taco2uesday

    taco2uesday [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Ill be here all day tomorrow but Im going to try and get the oil and stuff early in cases I run into problems.

    The bushing on the rack are also good. The alignment shop doubled checked everything. The truck was fine for 500 miles since the rack. Its wired it would just progressively come out of no where. The front diff progressively leaking more and more makes sense, but IDK. I don't have much experience with this problem.

    Thanks
     
  5. Jul 15, 2020 at 11:13 PM
    #5
    taco2uesday

    taco2uesday [OP] Well-Known Member

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  6. Jul 15, 2020 at 11:15 PM
    #6
    Abeyancer

    Abeyancer Not so secret, secret van guy

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  7. Jul 15, 2020 at 11:25 PM
    #7
    taco2uesday

    taco2uesday [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Turning and merging lanes. Any input to a direction and it would just keep going that direction. I would have to force it back to center and try and keep it there. Driving straight was fine. Im stilling guess it has to be because the diff oil is low. But I would love any help if someone knows.

    Im also guessing its going to be a b and a half to change the CV seals?

    Gonna sleep. Just got in an hour ago and did the drive on 4 hours sleep so Im dead. Ill check back in the morning.

    Thanks

    As a side note. If I did fry my front diff, how hard is it to disconnect the front CV's? Do I have to pull the shafts out? I still have a few thousand miles to go.
     
  8. Jul 15, 2020 at 11:37 PM
    #8
    ROAD DOG

    ROAD DOG Well-Known Member

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    what year.........

    mileage ..........

    why did U change the steering rack ????

    ' synthetic oil ' is mostly misunderstood
    the significance underlying factor there are several types

    paraffin based........

    ester base .....

    nitrogen derived.......... new space age derivative

    blends.......... premium base oil loaded with polymers

    they ALL are very good lubricants...........
    some better than others
    some last longer than others

    the catch 22 is they all have DIFFERENT qualities
    they ALL Must Reconstitute themselves !!!!
    they are All very good lubricants YET .................. i always Caution MIXING them
    U can end up with S l i m e !!!

    most cases it better to stick with ONE 1!!! Brand
    as a shotgun approach

    synth oils dont cause leaks
    many manufacturers are requiring ' 0 ' Zero weight oils

    said all this to say i doubt synths are the root of Ur issues
    if Ur CV (constant velocity ) joints were in a bind they might effect
    steering

    if there is a void or pocket in the steering rack
    that might also cause the labored functioning

    settle down
    U will have to attack each issue straight on rather than guessing hit or miss

    i would star with the rack & steering First.....high priority could be dangerous

    good luck
     
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  9. Jul 15, 2020 at 11:41 PM
    #9
    Abeyancer

    Abeyancer Not so secret, secret van guy

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    I take it you've got limited tools with you? I've wrenched alot of types of cars and those problems sound more like steering issues... the low diff oil is definitely a problem (and you'll want 75w90, buy 3 quarts to be safe)
    But I would jack it up and wiggle stuff.. get a big screwdriver or pry bar where your LCA mount to the frame and make sure their tight, see if you can shift the rack in any side to side direction... maybe the shop that put it in didn't torque the mounts down tight enough? If you've got boots held on by zip ties cut em and check to make the inner tie rod ends haven't backed out... maybe the didn't swedge the waskers enough or forgot the blue lock tite?


    I found this in a post from 2016 for you

    islanti said:
    Simple.

    Remove the fill plug (24mm on driver side of transmission).

    Get an oil pan ready and remove the drain plug (24mm on passenger side of transmission)

    Refasten drain plug with new gasket once all fluid has drained. Torque to 27 ft lbs.

    Add ~2.3 quarts of SAE 75W-90 GL-4 gear oil (I use Redline MT-90). Refasten fill plug per drain plug intructions.
     
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  10. Jul 16, 2020 at 12:09 AM
    #10
    taco2uesday

    taco2uesday [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Hard to be settled down when Im on the other side of the country from where I live and am only here a day. Im not trying to blow thousands of dollars on this unreliable money pit buying hotel rooms and paying some shop to do it. It would probably be easier to set fire to it and buy a place ticket at this rate.

    Well usually when cars speed 200k miles of their life with regular oil you're supposed to keep doing the same thing. If the just put full synthetic in, it means he did it at around 220k. No idea what kind so I sort of have to figure out what to do.


    As far as the steering rack goes. I put it in because the old one was leaking. I also put the brand new Moog inner and outer on.

    What do you mean by void or pocket in the rack? Like not bleed correctly? It drove fine for 500 miles. Nothing was unusual. What do I need to look for?

    Thanks
     
  11. Jul 16, 2020 at 12:16 AM
    #11
    taco2uesday

    taco2uesday [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I have a decent kit on me. With the way this truck has been going I have a full setup permanently in there.

    I know the LCA mounts are slightly worn. I looked yesterday. But they weren't majorly gone. I guess Ill have to look again.

    The rack bushings and stuff should be fine. I was the one that installed it all. I swedged them on both sides. No locktite but they are torqued pretty good. When I got back I went under and tried to feel thought the boot and I didn't feel a gap, but Ill have another look. Ill cut the zips and look. I have 1/2 break bar so Ill go under and check all that too.

    Thanks
     
  12. Jul 16, 2020 at 9:28 AM
    #12
    taco2uesday

    taco2uesday [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Quick question. Does the front diff fill through the transmisson too?
     
  13. Jul 16, 2020 at 10:27 AM
    #13
    Abeyancer

    Abeyancer Not so secret, secret van guy

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    No, there's a plug higher up that you take out.. fill up to that hole until it just starts to dribble out
     
  14. Jul 16, 2020 at 10:42 AM
    #14
    SR-71A

    SR-71A Define "Well-Known Member"

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    Just read through this really quick.. I cant imagine how being low on front diff oil would cause a pull one way or the other. It seems like all the work done to the steering (new rack, alignment, etc) might be the place to start looking.. Not sure what, maybe a loose input shaft? Loose boot around one on the inner tie rods allowing dirt to have gotten into the new rack??

    As far as the leak around the CV, as you sure its actually gear oil from the diff? Sure its not from somewhere else? Not grease?

    Hope this give you some ideas at least
     
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  15. Jul 16, 2020 at 10:44 AM
    #15
    BillsSR5

    BillsSR5 Looking out for #1

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    #1 Power steering pump/fluid
    #2 Steering rack
     
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  16. Jul 16, 2020 at 10:48 AM
    #16
    0xDEADBEEF

    0xDEADBEEF Where are we going? Why am I in this handbasket?

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    Which Dex version is that ATF? The steering on these is very specific about wanting Dex III.

    I think low front diff fluid is a red herring, this is something steering specific.
     
  17. Jul 16, 2020 at 10:59 AM
    #17
    Rockbaron1

    Rockbaron1 Well-Known Member

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    Your diff oil has absolutely nothing to do with your steering. Your problem is either the rack and pinion, power steering pump, or binding in some part of the steering linkage.
     
  18. Jul 16, 2020 at 10:59 AM
    #18
    0xDEADBEEF

    0xDEADBEEF Where are we going? Why am I in this handbasket?

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    Ok so I googled that particular product and it looks OK to me.

    How much fluid is in the power steering reservoir? It could be that its leaking and spraying to where it looks like you've got a diff leak.
     
  19. Jul 16, 2020 at 12:05 PM
    #19
    Jimmyrace

    Jimmyrace Active Member

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  20. Jul 16, 2020 at 1:55 PM
    #20
    ROAD DOG

    ROAD DOG Well-Known Member

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    not tryin to put U down while Ur back is against the wall

    yet matters can still get worse............... cant keep goin down same path hoping to get to a better place

    standing in walmart / auto zone/ pepboys is ALWAYS better to deal with a brand name

    than the regional or store brand..................i travel a lot across country so name brands like
    mobil 1 ........ Lucas....... redline are not only at or near the top
    they dont throw many surprises

    U started with a truck that had several issues on the list
    then attempted to patch them PLus drive mega miles

    U called it ' a unreliable $$$ pit ' !!!

    fixing things on the run cant be all good
    hope U get home soon where U can Start work Ur way thru things

    good luck
     
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