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Steering wheel feels too "free" at highway speed

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas' started by isu2014, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. Oct 16, 2013 at 3:12 PM
    #1
    isu2014

    isu2014 [OP] RAT Products

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    Anyone have any experience with this? The wheel only has a bit of play at lower speeds but at highway speeds it gets pretty dicey. The alignment place said they think the rack is bad.

    The truck spent its first 30k miles on rough gravel roads, now has 69k.
     
  2. Oct 16, 2013 at 3:30 PM
    #2
    StAndrew

    StAndrew Wait for it...

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    Could be your steering bushings but I don't think the "rack" is bad. Just get the bushing kit. I did mine and noticed small improvements but others claim huge improvements.

    You can also increase caster .5-1 degree for a more solid feel (less highway wander). I found 3 degrees is perfect for 33's.
     
  3. Oct 16, 2013 at 3:34 PM
    #3
    tan4x4

    tan4x4 Well-Known Member

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    Did this start all of a sudden, or come on gradually?
     
  4. Oct 16, 2013 at 3:36 PM
    #4
    4runnercaged

    4runnercaged Well-Known Member

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    can you get under your truck and move your rack side to side?
     
  5. Oct 16, 2013 at 3:38 PM
    #5
    isu2014

    isu2014 [OP] RAT Products

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    It has been around for a while. I replaced the rack bushings a a few thousand miles ago thinking that was the issue. It helped for a while but now the feeling is back with a vengeance. It has been windy lately and I find myself all over the road since the wheel won't hold still.
     
  6. Oct 16, 2013 at 3:38 PM
    #6
    4runnercaged

    4runnercaged Well-Known Member

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    i would get a go pro and put it under the truck looking at the front end/ steering components and see what you can find that way
     
  7. Oct 16, 2013 at 3:44 PM
    #7
    robssol

    robssol @$%#TW!

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    Check tire pressure. Install shop over inflated mine and it wandered a little.
     
  8. Oct 16, 2013 at 3:56 PM
    #8
    isu2014

    isu2014 [OP] RAT Products

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    Pressure is spot on what I always run. The tires might be a little out of balance but that never caused anything like this in the past, just vibrations.

    I would like to tear my dash apart to weld the steering shaft and take that out of the equation but I don't have time.
     
  9. Oct 16, 2013 at 3:59 PM
    #9
    Razgriz

    Razgriz wtf am i reading

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    hehe mine does that
     
  10. Oct 16, 2013 at 4:52 PM
    #10
    chato

    chato Member

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    have you tried adjusting the rack guide? if you have an early model (pre 2000??? i think) you can upgrade to the later guide assembly. its that giant nut with lock ring below and to the right of where the steering shaft enters the rack, facing towards the rear of the truck. adjustment is to 18lbs then back off 19 degrees.
     
  11. Oct 16, 2013 at 5:48 PM
    #11
    isu2014

    isu2014 [OP] RAT Products

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    After reading up on it I think this is a good bet. I will adjust it and see what happens.
     
  12. Oct 16, 2013 at 5:56 PM
    #12
    Toyota4x46921

    Toyota4x46921 Well-Known Member

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    mine was a little free....just installed new steering rack bushings last week....much better
     
  13. Oct 16, 2013 at 6:00 PM
    #13
    TACO TX

    TACO TX Well-Known Member

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    Mine is same way and has progressively got worse. Im gonna just bite it And replace the rack. I have replaced rack bushings, checked all components such as tie rod ends and ball joints. If i grab my wheel with the truvk weight on it i can pull it back and forth at 3 and 9 and hear the rack clanking on the inside.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  14. Oct 16, 2013 at 6:00 PM
    #14
    steve o 77

    steve o 77 braaap

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    So before doing anything, I would do some static tests.

    With the truck at a stop try doing this same movement with the steering wheel. If the front tires don't turn at all its some sort of lash either between the pinion and rack bar, or the slip joint in the column. This would also point to bad tie rods either inner or outer.

    If thats not your problem (IE the front tires turn when the steering wheel is turned just a few degrees like in the video) then your problem is probably the rack guide or low caster.
     
  15. Oct 16, 2013 at 6:06 PM
    #15
    isu2014

    isu2014 [OP] RAT Products

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    My alignment paperwork says 1.7 and 1.6 degrees caster. When stopped the wheel only has a very small amount of slop. It's at about 55 that I really start noticing it like this.
     
  16. Oct 16, 2013 at 6:07 PM
    #16
    TACO TX

    TACO TX Well-Known Member

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    Yea i have pretty much decided that mine is play in the pinion gear.
     
  17. Oct 16, 2013 at 6:09 PM
    #17
    steve o 77

    steve o 77 braaap

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    You need more caster if you want a more solid wheel at speed, simple as that. Try and get that closer to 3*.

    What makes you say that? Have you already welded the slip joint and made sure your tie rods are good?
     
  18. Oct 16, 2013 at 6:10 PM
    #18
    wolfgang123

    wolfgang123 Well-Known Member

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    awesome info!
     
  19. Oct 16, 2013 at 6:13 PM
    #19
    steve o 77

    steve o 77 braaap

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    I do this for a living, glad I could finally use my skills to help someone :D
     
  20. Oct 16, 2013 at 6:16 PM
    #20
    isu2014

    isu2014 [OP] RAT Products

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    Forcing me to spend more money! :p When I get my 33s I guess I will get another alignment and have them do 3*.
     
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