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Steering strangeness

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by coehorn1, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. Aug 12, 2010 at 3:52 PM
    #1
    coehorn1

    coehorn1 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I picked up an 03 Taco 4x4 some months back. Never could get the feel of the steering. Wandering. Driving in crosswinds was an "adventure". Just would not track right.

    I took it to a noted mechanic and he said it needed an alignment. Had it done. The truck handled better but something was still wrong. Also, I could feel a clunking sensation in the steering wheel while driving over my rough dirt road driveway at one or two miles-an-hour.

    I dropped by a frame and front end shop today. They looked everything over, did a test drive and did not find anything. Then they had one guy get in the cab and turn the steering wheel back and forth while a second guy checked what I think was the steering box underneath.

    The minute the steering wheel moved, I could see massive movement of the steering box (I was looking down thru the open hood). The mechanic says - "That's the problem - the bushings that mount the steering box are worn out. They have given me a price of $200 + change to replace the bushings and align the beast.

    These mechanics impress me as being honest and knowing what they are talking about. Is $200 a fair price for this?
     
  2. Aug 12, 2010 at 4:15 PM
    #2
    4WD

    4WD cRaZy oLdmAn

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    I'd say thats reasonable & if it solves the problem I'm sure its worth twice that to you bro' .....:D
     
  3. Aug 12, 2010 at 4:33 PM
    #3
    humanoid

    humanoid bite me

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  4. Aug 12, 2010 at 8:22 PM
    #4
    shift96

    shift96 Well-Known Member

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    You do have worn bushings but that isn't going to fix it I bet. My guess is you will replace the bushings and feel absolutely no difference. I just went thru this. You probably need a new steering rack and the upper shaft in the column has slop in it. There is a thread on here on how to fix that.

    Summary: you need a new steering rack, new rack bushings and the steering colulmn fixed. I know, it sucks but I just went thru this entire process. If you are in NJ go see Dave Tarrantino, he'll fix you up
     
  5. Aug 13, 2010 at 7:34 AM
    #5
    coehorn1

    coehorn1 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Man, I sure don't want to do this piecemeal. Any chance that you know an honest, expert Taco mechanic in NW Florida, SE Alabama or SW Georgia?
     
  6. Aug 13, 2010 at 7:42 AM
    #6
    shift96

    shift96 Well-Known Member

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    Don't know anyone in those area's. Man I know it stinks but the steering rack on these years Tacoma's are a common problem. I got my rack from the Rackdoctor.com
    I would bet that this is your problem but might as well try the bushings first, you may get lucky. Good luck! keep us posted.
     
  7. Aug 13, 2010 at 7:44 AM
    #7
    98tacoma27

    98tacoma27 is gooder 'en chicken Moderator

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  8. Aug 13, 2010 at 8:06 AM
    #8
    pairodice

    pairodice Well-Known Member

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    not sure about your taco but my 03 and a couple of others have a rack & pinion (no steering box)mine had play like yours and needed a new rack but inspect all steering components lift it off the ground check tie rod ends, ball joints & a arm bushings then rack and pinion & steering column hope this helps
     
  9. Aug 13, 2010 at 8:16 AM
    #9
    shift96

    shift96 Well-Known Member

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    Good info. My rack boots were wet and I jacked the truck up and checked all mentioned and I still was able to rock the wheel back and forth holding it at 3 and 9 o'clock. bad rack. I had the bonus of having a bad rack, bad bushings and bad column. Oh the joy:D
     
  10. Aug 30, 2010 at 11:24 AM
    #10
    coehorn1

    coehorn1 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I went ahead and picked up a rack from the rackdoctor. I took the truck to a Toyota dealer to get it installed. The dealer charged around $260 for install and alignment.

    Thought I had the problem nailed. Boy was I wrong. The rebuilt steering rack has significantly more play than the stock unit. I'm pretty ticked.

    The dealer wants around $950 for a new rack but I think I can buy a new rack online for a little less than $500. I guess I'll have to take the hit for another install charge.

    I learned an important lesson years ago when I bought a rebuilt clutch. Guess I needed a refresher lesson........
     
  11. Aug 30, 2010 at 11:30 AM
    #11
    shift96

    shift96 Well-Known Member

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    I would bring that issue right the door of the rackdoctor. Interestingly enough my first rack I got from him was bad and leaked. I was assured it was a fluke as all his racks never fail. Definitely demaind he does good on the rack. I did and got another one for free and some money towards another install.
     
  12. Aug 30, 2010 at 4:02 PM
    #12
    coehorn1

    coehorn1 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Yet another twist in the story.

    I got a call from the Toyota dealer service department -- the manager told me that the mechanic wanted to check out something on my front end. I took it in and they immediately took the truck into a bay. About 15 minutes later, they brought it back out and said it was 'ok'.

    On the road, the handling was completely different. Radically different. Over 90% of the steering play was gone. It looks like they initially misaligned something or ??

    Man, I am really happy. I can definitely live with this!
     
  13. Aug 30, 2010 at 4:10 PM
    #13
    shift96

    shift96 Well-Known Member

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    The million doaller question is what did they do????
     
  14. Aug 30, 2010 at 4:14 PM
    #14
    Mush Mouse

    Mush Mouse Club Soda Not Seals

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    its a Toyota truck and that's all the modifications needed
    Also replace the sway bar bushings with urethane ones this will help too I did steering rack bushings with the sway bar helped alot doing both,the sway bars easy you can do it yourself dont have to jack up the vehicle or nothing.
     
  15. Aug 30, 2010 at 4:20 PM
    #15
    Manlaan

    Manlaan Well-Known Member

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    Bet they found an extra rack bolt... Cant imagine anything else, besides a missing bushing, causing even more play than the old one.
     
  16. Aug 30, 2010 at 7:25 PM
    #16
    coehorn1

    coehorn1 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Wish I knew. The mechanic was not talking. I should have persisted but at the time I really did not think there would be a difference.

    When the dealer initially quoted me the $950 part price on the rack, they told me they could install a third party rack and I could get a better price from another source. The downside, he explained, is that there would be no guarantee whatsoever. I figured a dealer would have the technical expertise necessary .... so I went for it.
     
  17. Aug 30, 2010 at 7:28 PM
    #17
    coehorn1

    coehorn1 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Is there a how-to for dummies for sway bar bushing replacement? Who is reputable for buying the sway bar urethane bushings?

    I really appreciate any help....
     
  18. Aug 30, 2010 at 11:21 PM
    #18
    humanoid

    humanoid bite me

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    Remove and replace, it's pretty straightforward and obvious what goes where.
     
  19. Aug 31, 2010 at 6:35 AM
    #19
    Mush Mouse

    Mush Mouse Club Soda Not Seals

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    its a Toyota truck and that's all the modifications needed
    I got mine www.suspension.com in the black Prothane brand for $17.00 shipping included the TRD truck kit is a 27mm bar the other is 26mm thick a good company to deal with I think. Thier in California Tele. 209-578-5101:D
     
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