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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This was from an alignment 2 weeks ago.
I've got a problem with keeping my alignment. I've had it aligned 3x in the past 6 months. I JUST had it done 2 days ago, and I can tell since (steering wheel) it is going back to where it was. It's the toe that keeps going out. everything else is fine. I had them look at the suspension and they said everything looked fine. What would cause the toe to keep going out? I watched him do the alignment, so I know he's tightening everything.
Here is the report:


This is TODAY:

I stopped by Firestone again today. Manager came out and had a look. We measured the front tires and it's over an inch difference between the front and back of the front wheels. Definetly a TOE ONLY problem. That eliminates the control arms. The tie rods were still tight and rock solid so it can't be them. Only thing left is the steering rack. With the motor off, we wiggled the steering back and forth. You can feel that there is a bit of play and a slight "notchiness" can be felt with your hands on the tire while wiggling the steering. He is guessing a problem with the steering gear inside the rack. Has anyone seen this problem before? The rack bushings are not torn at all and look good, but still move around a bit when rocking the steering. He did tell me that it has to be the rack or the tie rods to only affect toe. Anything else screws up camber/caster at the same time. From what I saw at a WAT a while back, they look to be a bitch to change out. Also, "ballpark", what does a rack cost?

Anything you can tell me is greatly appreciated.
 

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Considering the toe spec is out the exact same L/R indicates the rack is moving or is skipping teeth. Have you hit a curb or any other object with a good force recently? That could mess up the teeth.

Another thing to check is the bushings. Do you still have the stock bushings? If so, replace them with poly bushings. I'm guessing this is your problem.
 

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i hate to say it but the cost of replacing a rack is very expensive. i had to do it awhile back and it a lil over a 1000. the part itself is a couple hundred. i advise gettin a remanufactered one. save some money. mine was wearing the outsides of my tires real bad. i mean i ended up buyin new tires b/c the old ones were that bad off. i ended up gettin a new lift and got 34's out of it so it was a plus.:D
 

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you really wanted to make a point with giant red fonts.

Let's save forum space...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Considering the toe spec is out the exact same L/R indicates the rack is moving or is skipping teeth. Have you hit a curb or any other object with a good force recently? That could mess up the teeth.

Another thing to check is the bushings. Do you still have the stock bushings? If so, replace them with poly bushings. I'm guessing this is your problem.
They are the stock bushings (83k on them). That "notchiness" is begining to make me think that it just might be the rack itself. The manager said he thought there was a recall on the racks but couldn't remember what years. Anyone know anything about this? So......if I have to replace it, where is a good place to get a reman? also, if I replace it, should I put in poly bushings while I'm at it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Dam...found it....doesn't include me.

AFFECTED VEHICLES

Make / Models : Model/Build Years:
TOYOTA / 4 RUNNER 1989-1995

TOYOTA / PICKUP 1989-1995

TOYOTA / T100 1993-1998
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Considering the toe spec is out the exact same L/R indicates the rack is moving or is skipping teeth. Have you hit a curb or any other object with a good force recently? That could mess up the teeth.
I haven't, but then wouldn't wheelin' mess up the rack? Are the racks a high failure item?

I just went outside and had the wife rock the steering back and forth. There IS ALOT of play in the stock bushings. I can see where that would make the steering loose while driving, but would it cause it not to keep an alignment? I just don't want to replace the whole rack if a $15 bushing kit will keep it aligned.
 

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I've replaced mine once in 320,000 miles not due to the rack going out but due to the inner tie-rod ends wearing out. Cheaper to put in a new rack than to replace the inners with yota parts. I believe the rack has proven it self to be rather stout IMHO. :2cents:
 

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So, wiggling the steering while the truck is not rolling puts a lot of force on the bushings. It is to be expected that they would squish around some under that condition. If I understand your readings right, it is indicating that your steering rack + tie rods combination is getting shorter. Both wheels end up pointing outwards?

Two possibilities spring to mind. The first is that you've lost some of the attachment bolts for your rack. There should be one long bolt & nut on the drivers side, running lengthwise down the truck, passing through the crossmember and rack, and torqued to 141 ft-lb. There should be one bolt in the middle, pointing vertically down from above. You will probably have to feel for it rather than see it, it is a 17mm or 19mm head and should be torqued to 123 ft-lbs. There is a horseshoe bracket around the rack in the passenger side, it has nuts/bolts/studs top and bottom, both should be torqued to 123 ft-lbs. If you try to pry the rack away from the crossmember (not hard enough to break the aluminum casing) it should not budge.

The other thought is that you maybe have damaged threads on a tie rod adjuster. They may be tight enough to feel solid, but road bumps make it skip threads. I've never heard of this before, but it would explain your problem.

I'm assuming you or your alignment guys have checked for worn tie rod ends. Just in case, jack just one wheel off the ground and try to wobble the wheel gripping the tire at the sides (as opposed to top and bottom). (While you're there, you may as well check for play top & bottom, in & out, and up & down; but those would be other problems). Repeat on other side. There should be very little movement. While you're at it, just take a look and feel the cam adjusters and bushings at the front and back of the lower control arms. Its unlikely that they would affect toe without affecting camber, but take a look anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
So, wiggling the steering while the truck is not rolling puts a lot of force on the bushings. It is to be expected that they would squish around some under that condition. If I understand your readings right, it is indicating that your steering rack + tie rods combination is getting shorter. Both wheels end up pointing outwards?

Actually longer. He has been adjusting the rods out to push the back of the tires out. They are tracking like this.... \ /

Two possibilities spring to mind. The first is that you've lost some of the attachment bolts for your rack. There should be one long bolt & nut on the drivers side, running lengthwise down the truck, passing through the crossmember and rack, and torqued to 141 ft-lb. There should be one bolt in the middle, pointing vertically down from above. You will probably have to feel for it rather than see it, it is a 17mm or 19mm head and should be torqued to 123 ft-lbs. There is a horseshoe bracket around the rack in the passenger side, it has nuts/bolts/studs top and bottom, both should be torqued to 123 ft-lbs. If you try to pry the rack away from the crossmember (not hard enough to break the aluminum casing) it should not budge.

We checked all that and it is there and tight.

The other thought is that you maybe have damaged threads on a tie rod adjuster. They may be tight enough to feel solid, but road bumps make it skip threads. I've never heard of this before, but it would explain your problem.

Checked that too. He ran the threads out.

I'm assuming you or your alignment guys have checked for worn tie rod ends. Just in case, jack just one wheel off the ground and try to wobble the wheel gripping the tire at the sides (as opposed to top and bottom). (While you're there, you may as well check for play top & bottom, in & out, and up & down; but those would be other problems). Repeat on other side. There should be very little movement. While you're at it, just take a look and feel the cam adjusters and bushings at the front and back of the lower control arms. Its unlikely that they would affect toe without affecting camber, but take a look anyway.

Everything was on the ground when we checked stuff. I just ran out and jacked each side up. The drivers side feels like it has ALOT of play (side-to-side) before the rack actually starts giving resistance. The passenger side feels like the rack is giving resistance the whole way thru. Am I explaining it right? There is no movement up/down.
 

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the only way toe could go out that far and be a rack problem is for the rack to be broken in half, knowing thats not the case it must be the sleeve for the tierod slipping but that should be obvious to.

firestone guys are missing something, don't just put a rack in it unless you can be sure thats the problem. thats a costly guess!

i have replaced inner TRE's before, sounds like you may have found the problem, if so go get your money back from firestone, they should've seen that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
the only way toe could go out that far and be a rack problem is for the rack to be broken in half, knowing thats not the case it must be the sleeve for the tierod slipping but that should be obvious to.

firestone guys are missing something, don't just put a rack in it unless you can be sure thats the problem. thats a costly guess!

i have replaced inner TRE's before, sounds like you may have found the problem, if so go get your money back from firestone, they should've seen that.
Lifetime alignment!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
sweet, but still.... missing a bad ft end part..... not good!
I think you understood me wrong. I have a lifetime alignment (nice) no money out= no money back , but still don't like my tires wearing out so fast. So.....I'm going to figure out what the hell is wrong and fix it. Before I drop any coin on a rebuilt rack, i just want to make absolutely sure it is the rack and not something easier/cheaper.
 

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Sounds like the rack "ends" are worn,
When they have the truck on the alignment rack, push the tires away from each other :toe out, then pull the tires "in" you will see the amount of slop in the inner tie rods/rack ends.
I would replace both sides at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all the input you guys. From where I see it, it looks like I need a new (rebuilt) rack. If I'm going to be tearin' stuff apart, I might as well replace the whole thing and be done with it. Chances are that if the ends are bad but the rack is still good, It's prolly only a matter of time before the rack itself goes out. I might as well get some polly bushings in there while it's out.
 

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also, if I replace it, should I put in poly bushings while I'm at it?
Yes, install the poly bushings.

My stock rack lasted me 250k miles before the guide bushing worn down so much that the rack had enough play to cause both the left and right seals to leak. Never had a problem with the teeth on the rack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
That says it all. Take it to some other place. They are ripping your off.
They aren't ripping me off. When I bought the truck 2 years ago, I paid $140 for a lifetime alignment. It's a one-time fee. I could bring it there weekly and it doesn't cost me another dime. They are doing everything correctly as the alignment goes. I've always been right there watching/talking to the (same) guy. He knows my truck. We were both under there trying to figure out whats going on. It's just kind of hard because it's not being very obvious of a problem.
 

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I would disagree about it not being obvious. A keyboard jockey 2000 miles away figured it out without even being able to see the truck. Someone who does this professionally should have checked this even before getting the wrenches out. Even if they skipped that the first time to save time or by accident, as soon as you came back it should have been obvious to check for wear. It would seem like the guys working there may be practiced at turning adjusters and reading the computer screen, but are unsure of how steering systems work. The fact that the manager didn't figure it out could be that he is an invoices kind of guy rather than technical, but the fact that he doesnt realise that the people working for him don't know about what they are working should be disturbing. Unless you are only taking it there because you know you are frequently beating the adjustment out of whack, and would prefer them too be too dumb to know.

(Or maybe they did figure it out but you don't trust them enough and had to have some random person on the internet tell you).
 
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