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95.5-2004 Tacomas & 96-2002 4Runners 4th gen pickups and 3rd gen 4Runners

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Old 05-09-2006, 07:17 AM   #1
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steering rack has excessive play

ok, I just got a call from a good import shop and they told me my 4runner has excessive play in the steering rack and I also have play in my left inner tie rod and one of my front wheel bearings needs to be replaced. The recommneded me to go to a 4WD shop, but i dont know of any in the area that is reputable. Has anyone had similiar problems?

any suggestions as what to do?
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Old 05-09-2006, 07:51 AM   #2
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When I first put my OME lift on, the guys at one alignment shop said the same thing: Innter tie-rod having too much play, and the wheel bearing is shot.

Went to another place, and he said that he had no problems aligning it, and the other shop was just trying to get money.

Seems weird that they are actually just sending you to another place? Just get a second opinion. Getting the inner tierod fixed/replaced is a pretty hard thing to do so I've heard.

Do you notice excessive steering rack play?
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Old 05-09-2006, 08:05 AM   #3
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Matt,

I have a similar issue w/ "play" in the steering. It's kinda funny that this happened after I just got an alignment. The weird thing is that it starts w/ a lot of play when the truck is cold but stiffens up while driving.

I think I'm going to take mine back to the alignment shop.
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Old 05-09-2006, 08:25 AM   #4
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i had too much front end play, so i did all the inner control arm bushings (uppers and half the lowers were shot), ball joints(all were worn out bad) and ti rods(boots were missing) , and a new rack (had no power when turning right and a ton of freeplay). i could seriously turn the wheel about a half a turn on the highway and the truck not move at all. now the steering is super tight and feels just like it might have new. i did the poly bushings in the rack also, because it seems that the rubber ones wear out quickly, i dont know, but it is no joke that there is a ton of road feel. it doesnt bother me 99% of the time, but sometimes on rough roads it gets annoying. the caster on my alignment is not correct though, which should help with the road feel issue. took me about 3 weeks to get that stuff done and the TRD OEM front lift on. I had to have the bushings pressed in my a mechanic as they are in there with a ton of force and a regular press would not work, took a special adapter thing.
I gave up after that and paid a friend of mine at work that is a landrover tech to do my rear lift. took him a lazy afternoon to do that. the right tools help a ton.

if you do replace the rack, be very very careful not to turn the steering wheel. mine binds as the cables are wrapped too tight. when the alignment gets redone, hes gonna turn it back where it should be.
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Old 05-09-2006, 08:28 AM   #5
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i do feel play..ill have to get my alignement done (thank god I have lifetime alignement) and ill post readings on yt!
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Old 05-09-2006, 08:42 AM   #6
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what are the symptoms to look for when you have excessive play in the steering rack? The steering seems normal, but I tend to feel a lot more bumps
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:25 AM   #7
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I'm getting ready to replace my rack again (I installed a rebuilt rack about 2-3 months ago). The problem that I had with my original and also this rebuilt is that the bushings/seals that are inside where the rack moves in and out on the left side moves up and down when rocking the steering wheel. Have someone rock the steering wheel (engine off) and watch and listen for play. If you hear/see some play put your hand on it and you may silence the noise and you should be able to feel it. After I pinpointed it tho the left side of the rack/inner tierod I cut the strap that holds the boot on and pulled it back (a tie wrap will close it up again) Have someone rock the steering wheel and watch the rack and the inner tierod. If you have play you should see it. The rack should only move in and out not up and down (mine moves up and down also.

Also read these...
/f2/97-runner-steering-rack-84545/
/f2/new-steering-rack-85156/
/f2/steering-rack-problem-70966/
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:28 AM   #8
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yea I would tackle the steering rack, but I am mechanically challenged when it comes to things like that. I have the tendency to second guess myself and think it is easier just to pay to have it done.

What is the avg price to get a front wheel bearing replaced?

I remember my wheel moving up and down when I hit bumps...even minor ones.
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyleT
if you do replace the rack, be very very careful not to turn the steering wheel. mine binds as the cables are wrapped too tight. when the alignment gets redone, hes gonna turn it back where it should be.
Where are these cables you mention, in the rack? And how is he going to turn it back exactly?
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Localmotion
one of my front wheel bearings needs to be replaced. ?
Shoot dude, so was I right when I mentioned this in your other thread about the "whomp, whomp, whomp" sound?

As for the steering rack, just replace the bushings. They are cheap, but a serious pain to install, primarily the top one.

EVERY 4Runner/Tacoma I have looked under has had this "problem" with their rack. The bushings help.
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by <96 Runner>
Shoot dude, so was I right when I mentioned this in your other thread about the "whomp, whomp, whomp" sound?

As for the steering rack, just replace the bushings. They are cheap, but a serious pain to install, primarily the top one.

EVERY 4Runner/Tacoma I have looked under has had this "problem" with their rack. The bushings help.
yes you were! I had no doubt in you Christian! Hes working on an estimate for the wheel bearing replacement right now. I would imagine replacing the bushings on the steering rack would cost a fortune..LOL

What is the avg price to replace the front wheel bearing? I need to get this done asap, Im headed to SC in a couple of weeks and wouldnt want it to seize
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:43 AM   #12
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The cables/wires are in the steering column. When you disconect the steering shaft from the rack DO NOT SPIN THE STEERING WHEEL Tie it off straight. Damage can occur to the wiring for the air bag.
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:44 AM   #13
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psssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssst:

/f2/steering-rack-movement-sound-can-you-help-me-out-46028/

Big thread, lotso good information and links to parts suppliers, bushing numbers, pics, etc.
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:46 AM   #14
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yea I saw that thread.....like I said, I dont have too much confidence in my wrenching abilities nor do I have a wide variety of tools.
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:48 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerdo
The cables/wires are in the steering column. When you disconect the steering shaft from the rack DO NOT SPIN THE STEERING WHEEL Tie it off straight. Damage can occur to the wiring for the air bag.
Thanks, that might explain why the steering wheel sometimes binds.
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:49 AM   #16
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Surely someone would help a nice guy like you Matt! Just post a thread asking for help in your area. It only took me 4 hours on my friends 4R

:pat:
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:49 AM   #17
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There are mount bushings that hold the rack in place. Replace them with poly, they are a pain to get out. I have had poly mounts for years, love them. I pressed out the rubber mounts when I had the new rack out before installation. The bushings/seals that went out on mine are inside, around the actual rack shaft (the in/out thing)
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:51 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by <96 Runner>
Surely someone would help a nice guy like you Matt! Just post a thread asking for help in your area. It only took me 4 hours on my friends 4R

:pat:
LOL...it seems as if most of the people are out on the right coast!!! I guess its a good reason to move? LOL

If someone could help/guide/teach me how to do it, Id be willing to buy the beer and pizza
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:51 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Localmotion
yea I saw that thread.....like I said, I dont have too much confidence in my wrenching abilities nor do I have a wide variety of tools.
'k... well, the answers to a couple of your questions are in there, like "what are the symptoms to look for when you have excessive play in the steering rack?", "Has anyone had similiar problems?" and "any suggestions as what to do?".
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:53 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midiwall
'k... well, the answers to a couple of your questions are in there, like "what are the symptoms to look for when you have excessive play in the steering rack?", "Has anyone had similiar problems?" and "any suggestions as what to do?".
I was referring to the 4wd shop. I thought it was unusual for a reputable shop where the owner has been working on toyotas for 20+ years to recommend me to go to a 4wd specalist. He said he does not know the exact problem for sure...there are multiple things that it could be such as the inner tie rod, wheel bearing, steering rack. I mean crap, I mind as well pay soemone to sas the thing too!
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