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Rack Preload

  #1  
Old 12-17-2011, 09:12 AM
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Default Rack Preload

I have a 1995 Camry. It has 169K miles on it. I have had the front end checked by two alignment shops. All is good and the alignment went well. The problem I have is what I would call a slight tendency to wander. This is most noticeable when on a smooth highway surface with little crown to the pavement. I have noticed recently, when driving a local bypass highway, that I can move the steering wheel very slight...left and right...without affecting the steering direction. My 2000 Camry does not have this same reaction. When the steering wheel is tweeked slightly, the car starts to go in the corresponding direction right away. So, with that said, back to the '95. Could it's issue be that there is wear in the rack and pinion, specifically where the pinion and rack are engaged? I've been told that I could adjust the preload until the "slop" in the steering goes away? I checked the Toyota Service manual and see that the preload is achieved by torquing to 12 in-lbs of torque. Could it be that the wear has caused the preload to diminish slightly? Are there any problems if the preload is retorqued back to the 12 in-lbs? I see that the adjustment is kind of a pain to get at on the car. Thanks for any feedback on this topic.
 

Last edited by strausbo; 12-17-2011 at 09:14 AM.
  #2  
Old 12-17-2011, 10:03 AM
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The problem I have is what I would call a slight tendency to wander.

you need to either explain it better, or re-consider description. reason I am saying this, are you talking about vehicle wandering on a road left -right by itself, when the steering wheel is held straight, or simple loose steering wheel? so called dead center spot? when you move steering wheel left-right , without producing any directional change?
 
  #3  
Old 12-17-2011, 11:32 AM
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There is a deadband area in the steering where steering wheel movement produces no change in direction. It's hard to estimate angular rotation but I would guess it to be 10 to 15 degrees? The steering wheel moves roughly about an inch or so. Does this help make it more clear
 
  #4  
Old 12-17-2011, 11:50 AM
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The shop checked items such as the tie rod ends?
 
  #5  
Old 12-17-2011, 12:27 PM
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Both shops checked OK.
 
  #6  
Old 12-17-2011, 09:15 PM
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With the engine off how much free play is in the steering wheel. Is there some resistance from the start of turning that increases, or some free play at the start of the turn?
 
  #7  
Old 12-18-2011, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by strausbo View Post
There is a deadband area in the steering where steering wheel movement produces no change in direction. It's hard to estimate angular rotation but I would guess it to be 10 to 15 degrees? The steering wheel moves roughly about an inch or so. Does this help make it more clear
yes, as what you had described is called "snaking", that's when wheel is held straight, but vehicle wanders left-right in a zig-zag manner on the road by itself. and that's busted hub bearings and other steering geometry components.
did you check wheels for any play at 6-12 and 3-9? esp at 6-12, as they check on 3-9 before alignment. or they should. good shop will not do alignment if there's play at 3-9.
 
  #8  
Old 12-19-2011, 08:58 PM
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great!I learn a new word... "snaking" i just say there is something wrong don't know the exact term. Now I know.
 
  #9  
Old 12-20-2011, 08:14 AM
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Both alignment shops are reputable. I plan to check today or tomorrow as the weather here is still mild....and NO snow!
 
  #10  
Old 12-20-2011, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by full house View Post
great!I learn a new word... "snaking" i just say there is something wrong don't know the exact term. Now I know.
unfortunately, it real well describes the symptoms. also, car behaves like as if it was hit by a wind gust - on an perfectly still day. you go 70 and suddenly it simply rushes to the left or to the right.
then, if you let it be, it will end in death wobble. you go 70, and hit a small bump on fwy, with steering wheel off to the left or right - and entire front shakes, like in iffing scale 10 earthquake. it is not as pronounced in small cars, but in trucks - it's scary chit. I KNOW what it feels like.
strausbo, instead of checking shops reputation, check wheel play at 6 and 9. THERE SHOULD BE NONE.
 

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