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04 camry steering noise - please help!

  #1  
Old 02-19-2019, 08:52 AM
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Default 04 camry steering noise - please help!

Hi all, hope everyone is having a great day.

I have a 2004 Camry with about 132000 miles on it that I am needing some help with.

So, there are a few issues going on with the steering. This morning, (a particularly cold one), a creaking? noise was appearing when turning the wheel to the left or right. Happens primarily when turning away from dead center, not really returning back to it (if that makes sense) - and seems to be coming from the suspension area, not neccesarily the steering wheel itself. I was able to record it on video, so I will post the link, please take a listen and tell me what you think.


I do wonder, though, if it is connected to my other problem, which I have been meaning to post. There seems to be some looseness in the steering wheel - not looseness in terms of controlling the wheels, but more-so the physical steering wheel. Basically, If i hold the wheel and try to move it up, it will move (a tiny bit -but more than ive ever seen a steering wheel do) and as well as if i grab the wheel and try to pull it towards me. moves the same amount. In both cases, a small clunk emits from the steering wheel as i do it.

I also notice this as I am turning, as i feel a minor bump in the steering wheel, and when going over bumps in the road, the steering wheel rattles a bit. - I will post a video of this issue as soon as I can.

***My question is:
1. What could each of these problems be?
2. Could the be related?

I try to do most work myself on my cars, but things that I need diagnosed are difficult to figure out now, as my mechanic has recently retired. If you folks could help me figure out what is going on here, and how serious it is, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks for reading.
Sal
 
  #2  
Old 02-19-2019, 11:36 AM
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The car could have several issues related to the steering/suspension system.

The steering column intermediate shaft "U" joints can be bad or need to be lubed. This can cause a clunk or other noise when turning the wheel. This is a known problem. There was a Toyota service bulletin on this. The repair is to first try to lube the joints then if still an issue replace the intermediate shaft/joints.

An upper strut mount bearing can be bad. The bearing allows the strut to rotate when steering, The fix is to replace the bearing but most people replace the upper strut/bearing as a unit.

There are posts at this site on these issues, see related topics below. These issues being very common, the internet has lots of threads and videos on them.

For the joints use a spray lithium grease and try to get it into the bearings of the joints. For the strut being will need to remove and dissemble the strut using a spring compressor.

Otherwise check for less common issues. These being a bad tie rod joint, lower suspension arm bushings, ball joint, etc. Anything that can cause play in the suspension.
 
  #3  
Old 02-19-2019, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by toyomoho View Post
The car could have several issues related to the steering/suspension system.

The steering column intermediate shaft "U" joints can be bad or need to be lubed. This can cause a clunk or other noise when turning the wheel. This is a known problem. There was a Toyota service bulletin on this. The repair is to first try to lube the joints then if still an issue replace the intermediate shaft/joints.

An upper strut mount bearing can be bad. The bearing allows the strut to rotate when steering, The fix is to replace the bearing but most people replace the upper strut/bearing as a unit.

There are posts at this site on these issues, see related topics below. These issues being very common, the internet has lots of threads and videos on them.

For the joints use a spray lithium grease and try to get it into the bearings of the joints. For the strut being will need to remove and dissemble the strut using a spring compressor.

Otherwise check for less common issues. These being a bad tie rod joint, lower suspension arm bushings, ball joint, etc. Anything that can cause play in the suspension.

Thanks for your feedback!

So, I should have noted I have replaced tie rod ends and ball joints. I will check the lower suspension arm bushing, but if I remember correctly, they didn't seem bad.

I agree that the strut mount bearing could be a likely culprit for the noise in the video, I didn't think of that. I will inspect further.

As for the intermediate shaft issue, I have seen lots of posts on this, and am just a bit confused. How serious of an issue is this (if it is the problem). Is it something that can get worse quick? or something that can wait until spring? --- also, is it a difficult repair? I have replaced rack and pinion before on a Ford Taurus so I am pretty capable, I am just not sure exactly what component this is- and what the process is.

thanks!
 
  #4  
Old 02-19-2019, 05:39 PM
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The noises are typically from the steering shaft and or strut bearing. The other suspension parts mentioned were advised to cover the bases.

As the intermediate shaft issue. Have not seen any reports of steering failure, just complaints of noise. There is no factory recall, just a service bulletin to advise dealers. Dealers are advised to lube per the service bulletin. If this doesn't do the job then they can replace it. All under the normal warranty time period. Spring time and warmer temps should be fine here for either repair.

Below is a link to the shaft.

https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo...434115&jsn=443

Below is a link to the service bulletin to lube the shaft.

http://file.seekpart.com/keywordpdf/...1322781266.pdf

If replacing the shaft this bulletin provides enough info to do the job. There may be a bulletin to replace the shaft. If removing or replacing the shaft. Make sure the steering wheel and wheels are centered prior to installing the shaft to maintain a centered steering wheel when driving.
 
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