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Power steering surges when cold

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by faller, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. Dec 10, 2011 at 11:40 AM
    #1
    faller

    faller [OP] Active Member

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    I think this is my first post. I've been a lurker for quite some time though. Did some searching around and couldn't find much on my problem.

    Last winter, and again this winter, the power steering has been acting funny on my 2005 tacoma (4x4 4.0L 85,000 miles). When it gets to around freezing temperatures the power steering gets stiff and when I'm turning it won't be a consistent resistance: as I turn the wheel it will seem stiff then move a little easier, then stiffen up then move a little easier. It doesn't seem to do this at certain points (i.e. if you look at the wheel as a clock it wont' always be at say 2 o'clock etc).

    I briefly asked one of the heavy mechanics in camp and they said the pump was probably fine but the fluid had either gone bad or had moisture in it. Do you folks agree that this sounds right? To change out the fluid I would guess it would be best to disconnect the lowest hose connection and drain it out. Should I flush it with some fresh fluid too? Will the pump have to be on to pump out whatever fluid is still in it? I'm not too familiar with this type of repair work.

    Thanks a lot.
     
  2. Dec 11, 2011 at 10:01 AM
    #2
    faller

    faller [OP] Active Member

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    Haha anyone?
     
  3. Dec 11, 2011 at 11:24 AM
    #3
    LUSETACO

    LUSETACO Here for the Taco Pron

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    Yes
    I had a POS Dodge Omni back in the day that had the same problem. Only when turning right at about the 2 o'clock position it would have alot of resistance, then it would let go and you would be fighting for control. I never had it fixed because it was my winter beater and only paid $800 for it, but I bought it from a friend who was a mechanic and he said the rack on the rack and pinion steering was clogged. Sorry that's all the help I can give you.
     
  4. Dec 12, 2011 at 10:31 PM
    #4
    faller

    faller [OP] Active Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to reply. When I get a spare minute I'm going to try putting new fluid in it (dexron 2 or 3 tranny fluid if i remember right?) and I'll post if that fixes it.
     
  5. Dec 30, 2011 at 9:45 AM
    #5
    faller

    faller [OP] Active Member

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    The fluid looked fine on the dipstick and in the reservoir, but once I flushed it out into a clear container it looked like crap. I disconnected the return line, jacked up the front tires and got my wife to turn the wheels from lock to lock with the engine off while I kept topping it up with fresh fluid. Haven't had a cold morning yet, but a few cooler ones and it seems fine so far. I think that may have solved it.
     
  6. Dec 30, 2011 at 12:59 PM
    #6
    pataco

    pataco Well-Known Member

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    that sounds good,let us know.
     
  7. Dec 30, 2011 at 1:01 PM
    #7
    BUZZCUT

    BUZZCUT Well-Known Member

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    Does it only do this when cold?

    Take off the return line at the reservoir and put a container under it. Water bottle worked good. Plug the fitting on the reservoir. Fill the reservoir up with clean fluid. If you have a jack lift the front end a bit to take the load off the tires. Move your steering lock to lock (without starting engine) check fluid level in reservoir. Continue this process until fluid is clear.

    Install return line. Top off the fluid level. Start engine and leak check everything.
     
  8. Jan 2, 2012 at 9:03 PM
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    faller

    faller [OP] Active Member

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    -13* celsius today and it seems to be working just fine still. Maybe there was moisture mixed in with the fluid? Anyways, its fixed so I'm happy!
     
  9. Jan 3, 2012 at 5:20 AM
    #9
    Gregman

    Gregman Well-Known Member

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    Try oiling the little universal joint in the lower part of the steering column. If that fixes the problem they you know it is wearing out, if not then no harm done. Mine was worn out and was binding and my local Toyota shop oiled it up as a temporary fix and told me that eventually it would need to be replaced. It was binding enough that it made the steering feel inconsistently difficult to turn and the problem would come and go.
     
  10. Apr 17, 2012 at 4:17 PM
    #10
    faller

    faller [OP] Active Member

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    BTW, I put some grease on the lower steering column u-joint and I think that helped too. It looked pretty dry and dirty. Thanks a lot for the tip.
     
  11. Apr 17, 2012 at 6:56 PM
    #11
    landphil

    landphil Wishin' I was Fishin'

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    X2. This is becoming a fairly common issue.
     
  12. Mar 18, 2016 at 4:28 AM
    #12
    00PowderSpecial

    00PowderSpecial Well-Known Member

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    I'm having the exact same issue. I'm going to change the fluid and see how that is, if it's no better I'll grease that ball joint and see if it's better then.
     
  13. Mar 18, 2016 at 7:16 AM
    #13
    Gregman

    Gregman Well-Known Member

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    I replaced the lower steering shaft, including the universal joint, last year and that solved the problem. It is kind of a pain to get at the splined clamp, and even more of a pain to get the old shaft off. I used an air hammer with a chisel bit to get the old shaft off. Super important to make sure you don't let the steering wheel move when you are doing this - mine moved and quickly trashed the clock spring wire harness that connects the cruise control and airbag to the truck. The replacement clock spring was really expensive! I would do the same job over again if I had to, but I would be a lot more careful with the steering wheel so that I wouldn't trash the clock spring. My steering feels like a new truck after the shaft was replaced.

    EDIT:
    Oh, there are videos on youtube for this job. EricTheCarGuy shows you how to do it on a 4Runner here, which is pretty much the same as the Tacoma:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqPF_SNueyg
     
  14. Mar 18, 2016 at 7:17 AM
    #14
    Biscuits

    Biscuits Slow going & dirt free.

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    How would/could you isolate the clock spring? Just immobilize the steering wheel?
     
  15. Mar 18, 2016 at 7:18 AM
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    ABA180

    ABA180 It burns when I pee....

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    Years ago a lot of GM cars had this issue. Ended up being the rack. I learned to drive on my dad's Chevy Citation and it was interesting to say the least
     
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  16. Mar 18, 2016 at 7:24 AM
    #16
    Gregman

    Gregman Well-Known Member

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    Yes, immobilizing the steering wheel is exactly what you need to do. Take this part seriously or it will cost hundreds of dollars to replace that miserable thing. You can use the seat belt, or some ratchet straps between the steering wheel and the seat. It is important to get the replacement lower shaft lined up to the correct orientation on the splines so that your steering wheel will be straight when you are done, so pay attention to the orientation of the old one when you take it apart. Maybe use a paint pen or something to be sure you get the clamp in the right position.

    Alternatively, and somewhat risky move: you could also remove the steering wheel and clock spring before changing the shaft but you would want to make sure you mark the steering wheel and upper shaft splines to be sure you get the steering wheel back in the right orientation.

    I'm no expert, just did it the wrong way so I know what doesn't work.
     
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  17. Mar 21, 2016 at 9:58 AM
    #17
    00PowderSpecial

    00PowderSpecial Well-Known Member

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    Greg, do you remember how expensive that lower shaft was?
     
  18. Mar 21, 2016 at 6:14 PM
    #18
    Gregman

    Gregman Well-Known Member

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    I can't remember exactly, but I believe it was less than a couple hundred bucks. Nobody makes it aftermarket - you have to get it from Toyota.
     
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