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wheel moves left and right?

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Old 03-15-2010, 04:55 AM   #1
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wheel moves left and right?

i bought new tires the other day and they were mounted and balanced but i was driving down the freeway at about 65mph and the steering wheel will shake left to right. so i figured they must have balanced the tires wrong, so i took it back and had them balance it out again and installed. after installing the driver wheel the guy that worked there said "check this out, i think you might have some suspension problem or something?" and he grabbed the wheel and moved it left to right as if something wasn't tightened??? it was lifted in the air when he did that. anybody know what the problem can be? my 97 4runner has 214k miles and i dont think anything has been changed from the previous owner. i just bought this truck last month. a girl had owned it for over 3 years. any input is appreciated. thanks in advance.
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Old 03-15-2010, 05:32 AM   #2
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How much was it moving? my guess would just be the inner an outer tie rods are worn.
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Old 03-15-2010, 05:54 AM   #3
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Deal with that now, don't just keep driving it. Are you hearing any growling when you're rolling? The first thing that comes to my mind is wheel bearing, but you need to pursue it for yourself instead of us doing some guessing. At best you'll ruin your tire, at worst....well, let's just not have an at worst, ok?

Don't forget to update.

Last edited by habanero; 03-15-2010 at 05:58 AM.
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:48 AM   #4
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Hmm,

Thoguht it was wheel bearings when I saw the topic, but your saying it moves like Inches or mm's?

But if he was moving the Steering wheel while th tires were in the air, there will be a little bit of play in it before they start turning, especially if the key is off as the power steering pump isn't on. Now, with taht being said, check your tie rods and ball jjoints - both of those are FATAL if they go out at the wrong time, possibly the most important thing on your vehicle - right up there with Brakes
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:30 AM   #5
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The tech doing your alignment should be able to diagnose the problem. Sounds like a crappy shop to me.
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brian2sun View Post
The tech doing your alignment should be able to diagnose the problem. Sounds like a crappy shop to me.
Agreed, if they cant diagnose something like that, take it somewhere else and have them look at it, the shop I used to work at would check things out for free, and of course try to get you to buy something... but at least you will know the real problem.
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:29 AM   #7
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You might also try to jack the whole front end up and move the passenger side tire in and out to see if there is any play in your idler arm. My friends truck used to shake real bad on the highway until we changed the tie rods and idler arm. Make a visual inspection of your bushings on the upper and lower arms,and replace as necessary.
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Old 03-16-2010, 01:52 AM   #8
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thanks for all the replies guys. what does a tie rod look like? sorry yeah i know, im a noob, but this is my 1st toyota and im new to this forum. a picture would really help. it does move like 5-7mm when i move it back and fourth with engine off and lifted up on a jack. i can hear it hitting against something but very at a very low tone. the passenger is fine, it doesn't move. but i can feel it through the steering wheel when driving and yes i do hear a growling when driving the 4runner. sort of like i have mud tires on or whatever you want to call it. i dont know if its coming from the tires but the thing is i dont have mud tires on, only regular street tires and they are all season tires. anybody have an idea if its the wheel bearing or tie rod?


later on the day i had a friend with me when i jacked it up again. he was moving the wheel back and fourth while i was under the 4runner looking at what it can be, but i all i can see is the power steering rod going in and out. is that the tie rod? there is some bushing that is cracking and looks old and it looks like its from a sway bar?? or is that the tie rod? the ball joint looks fine and none of the rubber boots on any of the joints under there looks ripped or anything.....
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Old 03-16-2010, 05:40 AM   #9
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Now we know what the play is like side to side.....what's it like top to bottom of the wheel?
You are seeing the tie rods going in and out of the power steering rack...inner at the rack, outer at the wheel end. Google up images of these things to see what you're looking at, do some searches here to find more, too. Compare the passenger side to the driver side. Are there discrepancies? Do you know anyone who's more familiar with this stuff to guide you along on this one?
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Old 03-16-2010, 06:30 AM   #10
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Typically a side to side looseness indicates a tie rod issue with a rack and pinion setup. the rule of thumb is to grab the tire a 9 and 3 o'clock and shake side to side to check for looseness. for wheel bearings and sometimes ball joints you would grab at 12 and 6 o'clock. not always the case, but a reliable method non the less. I dont have a picture of this setup, but im sure you can find some on google. also, i would suggest taking your runner to a front end suspension shop and have a steering evaluation done if you are unsure. i believe most shops will do that for free.
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Old 03-16-2010, 07:01 AM   #11
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Yes, look up your local FRONT END shop, which specializes in none other than FRONT END's! They are the best for alignments, and diagnosing problems like this. ie...not a tire shop, not a brake shop......

From my experience, I would also say its your inner tie rods. Which sort of suck, because they are somewhat of a PIA to replace. But, you might get lucky and it might be something easier.

Last edited by BajaRunner; 03-16-2010 at 07:02 AM.
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:20 AM   #12
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i finally got some pics today check them out and let me know whats up. once again thanks for all the input!!







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Old 03-17-2010, 03:29 AM   #13
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214K on it..only immediate worn thing you show in the picture is the sway bar connect bushings...if those are worn more than likely the tie rod ends, wheel bearings, ball joints are worn too..

if it is as bad as you say get this thing fixed..
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:45 AM   #14
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well got an update on this for ya. took my 4runner in to get the timing belt and water pump replaced and had the mechanic check it out but he said everything looked good and there wasn't nothing wrong. he test drove the 4runner and he said it might be a wheel balance problem but just 2 weeks ago when i bought new tires i had them balanced and then re-balanced again after 3 days of feeling that so i have no more ideas on what it can be. i guess im just gonna drive it til it gets worst then take it to different mechanic to get another opinion and get it fixed. btw, is $728 for a timing belt, water pump, valve cover gasket, and an intake gasket job really cost that much? i live in sacramento ca. i dont know but i really needed to get that timing belt and water pump replaced cause it was cracking. but all parts were replaced from napa........
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:49 PM   #15
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That price is about right for that work. You may have been able to get it done cheaper, but that isn't ridiculous or anything. BTW, if you have both of the front tires in the air, there is going to be a little side-to-side play in the steering. That's just the play between the teeth on the rack and pinion. If it is just that, the opposite tire should move when you shake it too.
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