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Steering stiff and sticking

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  #1  
Old 03-05-2010, 08:19 AM
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Default Steering stiff and sticking

2003 Camry LE / 153,000 miles

Problem - Steering feels stiff and when you make a sharp turn it doesn't recenter, have to pull it back. Also seems a bit harder to turn it right than left.

History - Couple weeks back the serpentine belt broke and wife drove car home, about 10 miles. Engine overheated but seemed fine after I installed the new belt. She reported the steering was stiff a couple of days later (Not sure how bad it was, I didn't get a chance to drive it). Then the next day she said it was back to normal. Yesterday she brought it home saying it was stiff again, I drove it and found what I described above.

Checked PS fluid and it is to level and appears to be circulating in reservoir, no squealing from pump.

Lubed universal joints on steering shaft but no effect.

At this point I am assuming this is a bad steering rack, but would like some opinions and possible suggestions before I change it.

Thanks for any help.

Haze
 

Last edited by haze; 03-05-2010 at 09:44 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-05-2010, 11:03 AM
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If the broken belt also drove the PS pump try turning the steering wheel lock to lock a few times (engine running) to bleed any air out of the system.
 
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Old 03-06-2010, 02:18 PM
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Update:

Flushed PS fluid,

Extended reservoir return with plastic tubing into bucket, and cranked steering side to side while filling reservoir until fluid was changed.

Then cranked engine to verify that pump was working, and topped off reservoir.

Steering seems better but still locks up a little in tight turn.

Possibly pump is worn and not providing sufficient pressure?

-
 
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Old 03-06-2010, 11:03 PM
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Might check the U-joint at the bottom of the steering wheel shaft for binding. You should be able to see this joint when looking on engine side of the firewall.
 
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Old 05-04-2010, 12:54 PM
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Lubed and turned wheel and finally got it to lossen up.

Decided to change it so went to Toyota parts dept. The apparently not well informed guy working there tells he doesn't know, but thinks I may have to buy the entire steering column for hefty $700 dollar price tag.

Even though the Microfich is showing it as a seperate part.

So rather than continue with him I thought I would ask here. Does anyone know if the lower universal is seperate and replaceable?
 
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  #6  
Old 05-30-2010, 10:37 PM
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Found the right part at another Toyota dealer for only 286 dollars. Still a bit too high for my wallet just now.

Decided the WD-40 that got it loose wasn't adequate because it was stiffening back up after a few days.

Spent 7 bucks on a can of Tri-Flow lube with teflon and I am now a month without problem.

So far so good.
 
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:21 AM
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This is a common problem. Toyota apparently now recommends lubing the area instead of replacing the joint. Spray the material between the steering shaft and the rubber bushing at the bottom of the steering column tube.

WD-40 is mostly something like kerosene, as a long term lube it doesn't hold up. My try white lithium grease in a spray can that comes with a long tube such as WD-40.
 

Last edited by toyomoho; 05-31-2010 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:52 PM
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Update,


Been 8 months since spraying U-joint with Tri-flow lubicant.

Steering is still fine.
 

Last edited by haze; 04-19-2011 at 11:01 AM.
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  #9  
Old 08-30-2011, 11:57 AM
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Default how do i access the u-joing that you lubed?

I am new to this. Trying to help my dad with a '05 Camry that is also experiencing stiffness when turning. Figured that we can give this a shot before taking it to the mechanic. Can you please advise how you accessed the u-joint that seems to have resolved the issue for you? Thanks
 
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  #10  
Old 08-31-2011, 06:29 AM
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The Universal joint is located in the engine compartment, at the bottom of the steering column.

If you look in from the drivers side you will see the steering column exiting the fire wall, follow it down to the U-joint.

Just spray U-joint well with Tri-Flow Lube and then see if you have improvement.

Maybe take a few applications.

This is the type I used, let me know how you make out.

 
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