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Play in steering?

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by crashnburn, Apr 2, 2019.

  1. Apr 2, 2019 at 7:08 PM
    #1
    crashnburn

    crashnburn [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Chris
    Conroe TX
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    a couple of things
    When you jack up your truck and grab the tire at the 3 & 9 o'clock positions, how much should the tire turn (as if being steered) back and forth if the steering wheel is locked?

    Background: I have a 13 DCLB 4x4 on 35s. This is my second lifted 2nd gen Tacoma and my 4th 2nd gen Tacoma/4th gen 4Runner. I bought the truck used with 36k miles in stock form. From early on the steering seemed to have play in it that I don't remember any of my other Tacoma/4runners having. I now have roughly 70k and I'm running 35s. Even with the truck aligned it feels like I have play in the steering, but everything is tight. When I jack the truck up to do a ball joint/wheel hub check I notice that I can "steer" the tire a few inches back and forth by pushing/pulling at the 3 & 9 o'clock positions on the tire even with the steering wheel locked. Is this normal? It's been a while, but I don't remember being able to do that on any of my other vehicles.
     
  2. Apr 3, 2019 at 7:14 AM
    #2
    2015WhiteOR

    2015WhiteOR Well-Known Member

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    Does not sound normal.
     
  3. Apr 3, 2019 at 7:19 AM
    #3
    SR-71A

    SR-71A Define "Well-Known Member"

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    Zack
    Southern Maine
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    Mobtown sliders, ARB bar, Icon RXT leafs, extended & adjustable Kings, JBA UCAs, Tepui Ayer 2, dual batteries, Gen2 xrc9.5 winch, CB, GMRS, S1 ditch lights...
    A few inches? That seems like a lot. Also, not to be that guy, just covering the simple stuff first.. Are you sure the wheel is actually locked?
     
    BassAckwards likes this.
  4. Apr 3, 2019 at 7:20 AM
    #4
    Tacomax4

    Tacomax4 Well-Known Member

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    I think it’s normal. If you look inside the cab while turning the tire you’ll see your steering wheel turning. Mine does it too
     
  5. Apr 3, 2019 at 7:23 AM
    #5
    Styx586

    Styx586 Well-Known Member

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    Even with the steering locked, the wheels will turn a slight bit. The key is to make sure that the wheels are not moving independently. For example, if you’re moving the driver side wheel and the passenger side wheel moves the same, you’re good. If it moves while the other side is still, you got slop in tie rods, rack bushings, etc.
     
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  6. Apr 3, 2019 at 7:42 AM
    #6
    Muddinfun

    Muddinfun Well-Known Member

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    Here is the proper way to check all steering components. With the truck sitting on the ground, have someone else wiggle the steering wheel back and forth. While they do that, put your fingers on each joint. You will be able to feel if there is movement between 1 side of the joint and the other. For the inner tie rod ends, squeeze the boot til you feel the ball and socket. If there is looseness, you will feel the socket moving independent of the tie rod. Do the same thing with the intermediate shaft U joints. The only thing left is the backlash within the rack. That's strictly a visual thing. Watch and see how much the intermediate shaft turns without moving the tie rods. When you're doing all this, you're going to need to tell your helper, "a little more, a little less...".
     
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  7. Apr 3, 2019 at 5:16 PM
    #7
    crashnburn

    crashnburn [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Conroe TX
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    a couple of things
    Yes, it's locked. I've checked and double checked just to be sure. On all my other vehicles I don't remember being able to force the the steering wheel to rotate once it was locked. Because the truck has always seemed so twitchy on the road I've gotten into a habit of regularly checking my hubs/balljoints/tie rods
     
  8. Apr 3, 2019 at 5:19 PM
    #8
    BassAckwards

    BassAckwards Well-Known Member

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    Very good breakdown of what is required to give the front end a good once over.
    Saving this for future reference:cheers:
     
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  9. Apr 3, 2019 at 5:24 PM
    #9
    crashnburn

    crashnburn [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Conroe TX
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    2013 DCLB 4x4
    a couple of things
    I've done this more than once and couldn't locate anything out of the ordinary other than what seemed like excessive movement being allowed by the steering rack. I can see my steering rack bushings give some allowing the steering rack to shift something. At the suggestion of a friend I had a mechanic who "specialized" in toyotas look at it, and he thought it was normal. I'm still going to swap them out in a few weeks when I regear the truck
     
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