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Steering linkage "clunking" offroad

Discussion in 'Technical Chat' started by Warren Thompson, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. Aug 5, 2009 at 8:59 PM
    #1
    Warren Thompson

    Warren Thompson [OP] GeoTaco

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    Could anyone help here?? I bought a 2006 Taco with 40,000 miles of mostly highway. No if any offroad miles. I use my taco for geologic exploration in extreme offroad conditions. From the git go, I noticed a "clunking" noise that I could feel through the steering wheel. At first, I suspected a loose shock, since that is exactly what the clunking noise sounded like. After much inspection and checking tightness of all bolts, I have come to a conclusion.

    It seems the offroad clunking comes from loose steering linkage. After much investigation, I have narrowed it down to this. The key line of evidence is... When the vehicle is turned off, when I move the unlocked steering wheel left and right, the SAME clunking noise is heard. So to me, the problem is loose steering linkage.

    I have a collegue with an '09 taco. He also has some slop in the linkage, but not as much as mine. He is aware of a "metal to metal" feeling in the linkage offroad and is not comfortable with it.

    My question is this... How can I tighten my steering linkage?? Is this something I can do or do I need to take it "in$$"? Please, someone help. I need this truck for my offroad duties and want to feel comfortable with the clunking noise.
     
  2. Aug 5, 2009 at 9:09 PM
    #2
    Warren Thompson

    Warren Thompson [OP] GeoTaco

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    I have always wondered. I have a Taco 4.0 6 cylinder and do much offroad. My question is this... when I use the engine compression stroke to decelerate going down hill (foot off gas pedal), is there gas being fed through the injectors into the cylinders?? Is fuel still being consumed in the engine? Does the computer know when compression is being used to slow the engine and shut off the gas flow?

    To me, it sure makes sense that gas flow to the injectors is shut off in deceleration, but is it???

    Thanks for any help.
     
  3. Aug 6, 2009 at 5:03 AM
    #3
    Warren Thompson

    Warren Thompson [OP] GeoTaco

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    Duh, I posted a new post as a reply to this previous post. Sorry guys. Please disreguard the last post and please give any comment to tightening up the clunky steering linkage!!!
     
  4. Aug 6, 2009 at 5:55 AM
    #4
    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    The clunking is normal. Many Tacomas do it. I belive its due to the soft rubber bushings on the steering rack. I have never worried about it and have never had an issue.
     
  5. Aug 6, 2009 at 5:59 AM
    #5
    Warren Thompson

    Warren Thompson [OP] GeoTaco

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    Thanks Chris, I was hoping to hear that. Everything seems tight offroad with no problems, but the clunks made me nervous. Thanks again.
     
  6. Aug 6, 2009 at 6:16 AM
    #6
    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    Anytime. :)
     
  7. Aug 9, 2009 at 9:42 PM
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    HBMurphy

    HBMurphy Ban Pending

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  8. Aug 9, 2009 at 10:13 PM
    #8
    socal16

    socal16 Well-Known Member

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    i had a similar sound coming from my truck so i took it to the dealership and they said it was my steering columm that was broken so they replaced the broken parts and the sound was gone
     
  9. Aug 12, 2009 at 4:33 PM
    #9
    Bearskill

    Bearskill Well-Known Member

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    I have had the exact same problem for six months now Warren. Im deployed right now, but if you fix it PM me how you did it please!!!!!!
    I have already gone to the dealer, but the said they could not duplicate the clunk.
     
  10. Aug 12, 2009 at 4:47 PM
    #10
    carmellocafe

    carmellocafe Begin With The End In Mind.

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    The fuel is shut off on deceleration. The injectors do not continue to fire during deceleration so yes, the computer does know. The 4.0 is designed to do this for "engine braking." I read this somewhere here and believe Chris can attest to it as well. I don't know all of the specifics on it, but this was one of my question sometime ago too.:)
     
  11. Aug 12, 2009 at 4:57 PM
    #11
    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    Correct. Fuel injectors kick back on at 1200 rpm. ;)
     
  12. Aug 13, 2009 at 7:06 AM
    #12
    socal16

    socal16 Well-Known Member

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    they said the same thing to me so i told them i want the guy who checked out my truck and i will personally drive it where i hear it the most and bam the dude heard it and said leave your truck with me and well fix it turns out i broke my steering colunm, so tell i say tell them you want to do that. it cant hurt to try
     
  13. Aug 13, 2009 at 7:08 AM
    #13
    Warren Thompson

    Warren Thompson [OP] GeoTaco

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    Chris states that the off-road "clunk" is normal and not to worry. He believes it is due to the soft rubber bushings on the steering rack. I can duplicate the "clunk" by turning free play in the steering wheel with the engine off. That is why I believe it is in the steering linkage. Off-road, when bumps in the road make the front end clunk, I can feel it directly in the steering wheel. So the steering linkage is related to the clunking sound. It is still a concern to me.

    Any further comment from Chris on this??
     
  14. Aug 13, 2009 at 9:21 AM
    #14
    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    Being as it is hard for me to tell the severity of the clunk in your truck over the internetz, I originally figured it was the normal "clunk" people feel when offfroading. Since the sound can be re created with the truck standing still, Im thinking you may have a loose slip joint in the steering linkage.
     
  15. Aug 13, 2009 at 10:59 AM
    #15
    Warren Thompson

    Warren Thompson [OP] GeoTaco

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    Chris, is this something I can tighten? I am somewhat mechanically minded and have most tools. Or is this something I should take in to the dealership? Thanks for any comment you can make on this.
     
  16. Aug 13, 2009 at 11:04 AM
    #16
    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    Yes. There are 2 under the hood. One closest to the firewall:

    [​IMG]

    And one closer to the steering rack:

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Aug 13, 2009 at 2:35 PM
    #17
    Warren Thompson

    Warren Thompson [OP] GeoTaco

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    Chris, thanks for going the extra step with photos. A picture tells a thousand words!!! I did stop by the dealership and voiced my concern to the service manager. He too has driven Tacos off road and knew exactly what I was talking about. His comment was exactly like yours. Tacos clunk off road.

    I will check linkages you showed me and will again thank you for your diligence. THANK YOU!!!
     
  18. Aug 13, 2009 at 2:55 PM
    #18
    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    Your quite welcome. Let me know what you find. :)
     
  19. Aug 14, 2009 at 12:31 PM
    #19
    Warren Thompson

    Warren Thompson [OP] GeoTaco

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    I checked both linkages and found them both to be tight with no play. Guess I will have to get use to the "Taco Clunky" Thanks again for your help Chris.
     
  20. Aug 14, 2009 at 12:47 PM
    #20
    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    Anytime, Warren. Wish I could hear the clunk in person, to maybe better help with identification.
     
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