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I know this is an old thread but I just finally did this today. It appears to have fixed the steering slop and the rattles (I had no idea the rattle was even related to this problem).

Thanks so much to the original poster. I followed your instructions step by step and it took all of 1.5 hours (excluding time taking it to get welded). I didn't disconnect the air bag and it gave me no issues. I will say getting those tilt wheel springs off was a b*tch even with my needle nose vice grips! Everything else went pretty much as described.

I just got my Tacoma this January. It's a 2003 with 160k, it was a 1 owner truck. I can't believe some people had this start at 30k! Who knows how long the original owner drove mine with the steering like that.

Highly reccomend this to anyone. So long as you have basic mechanical skills and tools, you should be alright.
 

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came back on my tundra....
what are the chances of the weld braking??
 

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came back on my tundra....
what are the chances of the weld braking??
Pretty good depending on the tack welds :p
Probably what it is though, but be sure to check the steering tie-rods and inner ball joints, both inner and outer (in the accordian boots). They can be corroded due to a torn accordian boot, which will eff up your rack if water is getting in there.
 

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Very good right-up!!! Very detailed and straight forward :). I actually investigated this on my 04 Tacoma and actually just found this article today. I do believe i will be venturing into this modification this weekend, have a friend that does welding on the side. i do have one question tho... What keeps the slip shaft (the two pieces being welded together) from sliding apart or falling out? Are the two halves press fitted together tightly to prevent in and out travel?

When you guys welded the two halves together, did you have to adjust the length before tacking? or are the two pieces unable to slid in and out from one another unless hit with a big impact (collision)?
 

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Very good right-up!!! Very detailed and straight forward :). I actually investigated this on my 04 Tacoma and actually just found this article today. I do believe i will be venturing into this modification this weekend, have a friend that does welding on the side. i do have one question tho... What keeps the slip shaft (the two pieces being welded together) from sliding apart or falling out? Are the two halves press fitted together tightly to prevent in and out travel?

When you guys welded the two halves together, did you have to adjust the length before tacking? or are the two pieces unable to slid in and out from one another unless hit with a big impact (collision)?
Anyone??:dunno:
 

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The telescoping action is "fixed" to some level of strength and at some other point in the column.
Just pull the column, tack it as it sits and put it back in.
 

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Fixed

I followed the OP's instructions and got this done in an hour.

No more steering wheel wobble at higher speeds, no more wandering, no need to make slight but very annoying steering corrections every three seconds.

Perfect steering now, I couldn't be happier.



I was previously trying to chase the problem with alignment and toe adjustment. That was clearly not the issue.
 

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+1 for this thread and thanks to all who contributed to the end result. took about an hour for me, even with those pesky springs kicking my ass. i just redid my front end and put an OME lift on thinking it would make the pop go away, but the problem persisted. it still seems to occasionally make a little pop, but not over every little bump i encounter, so i assume that wasn't the only steering slop i had. haven't done a highway test because i'm waiting to go get an alignment, but the steering seems to be tighter than it was.
 

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Has anyone successfully done this mod on an older style tilt column? My 1997 has the pressed in studs instead of the two bolts at the tilt column like terryj5 outlined in post #43. I didn't have a puller that would fit so I tried a ball joint fork and a large washer behind the nut. I got the stud to move a 1/16" and then realized that with the dash in the way there was no way I could press the stud back in. I then took the whole column out. FYI the earlier shafts don't have a flat spot on the spline at the firewall, it is splined all the way around so it needs to be marked. I wanted to see if I could reassemble everything before I tore it apart so I attempted to press the stud back in. I don't have a commercial press, but tried a C clamp and a huge bar clamp and couldn't get the stud to press back in. So I gave up for now and put the column back in the truck.

It appears that the plastic bushing in the column lower tube is totally shot. I noticed a ton of play between the column tube and the steering shaft. It also seems that the only way to get this bushing out is after the steering shaft is out of the tube.

Looks like my options are A) buy a real shop press or B) pull the studs out and then hope that I can come up with a bolt solution to put back in its place.
 

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Has anyone successfully done this mod on an older style tilt column? My 1997 has the pressed in studs instead of the two bolts at the tilt column like terryj5 outlined in post #43. I didn't have a puller that would fit so I tried a ball joint fork and a large washer behind the nut. I got the stud to move a 1/16" and then realized that with the dash in the way there was no way I could press the stud back in. I then took the whole column out. FYI the earlier shafts don't have a flat spot on the spline at the firewall, it is splined all the way around so it needs to be marked. I wanted to see if I could reassemble everything before I tore it apart so I attempted to press the stud back in. I don't have a commercial press, but tried a C clamp and a huge bar clamp and couldn't get the stud to press back in. So I gave up for now and put the column back in the truck.

It appears that the plastic bushing in the column lower tube is totally shot. I noticed a ton of play between the column tube and the steering shaft. It also seems that the only way to get this bushing out is after the steering shaft is out of the tube.

Looks like my options are A) buy a real shop press or B) pull the studs out and then hope that I can come up with a bolt solution to put back in its place.
Thanks, I added your info about the splines and access for a slide hammer to "post 42". Also added some pics of a possible slide hammer attachment that should work.
I would think "driving" the stud back in with a hammer and a small piece of pipe should work, with care. Size the pipe to just fit over the threaded stud and against the flanged portion.

Before you get further involved, maybe check if the lower plastic bushing is available. The list of "NLA' OEM Taco parts is growing.
 

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I would think "driving" the stud back in with a hammer and a small piece of pipe should work, with care. Size the pipe to just fit over the threaded stud and against the flanged portion.
I actually tried to use an appropriately sized socket and hammer and had no luck. Eventually force outweighed care and it looked like it was going to go in crooked so I stopped.

Before you get further involved, maybe check if the lower plastic bushing is available. The list of "NLA' OEM Taco parts is growing.
Looks like the part is 4527316010 and is available through Camelback Toyota.
 

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Just did this and it eliminated all rattle in the steering. I did notice however that my steering seems much stiffer at slow speeds the further I crank the wheel. I for sure did not screw up on the tac welds but wondering If maybe I could have pushed the splined portion of the shaft to far in (I did have to push pretty hard to get it to seat back in again)?

Any input would be great
I know this is an old post, but I recently bought an 04 DC and stumbled onto this site while trying to resolve loose steering. I completed the tack weld and when I put it all back together, I noticed that I could not get the spline to fully seat into the joint near the firewall (the bolt is definitely not going through the notch but rather the spline is resting on top of the bolt), but everything else lined up. Additionally, my steering became super tight just like the poster quoted above indicated. Has anyone else had similar experiences and found a cause?
 

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I know this is an old post, but I recently bought an 04 DC and stumbled onto this site while trying to resolve loose steering. I completed the tack weld and when I put it all back together, I noticed that I could not get the spline to fully seat into the joint near the firewall (the bolt is definitely not going through the notch but rather the spline is resting on top of the bolt), but everything else lined up. Additionally, my steering became super tight just like the poster quoted above indicated. Has anyone else had similar experiences and found a cause?
Mine is a 2000 2.7 4Runner and I had this same thing happen and can't find a fix. I did disconnect the rag joint during my re-installation of everything and thought the position of the rag joint at the steering box might be the culprit?!? I've tried taking the shaft out and re-installing several times and it is still binding. DRIVING ME NUTS! It seems like there is binding somewhere and I can't locate it. U-Joints in firewall perhaps? You really can't screw up the spline placement because the splines will only go in one way except at the rag joint at the steering box.

:(
 

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Mine is a 2000 2.7 4Runner and I had this same thing happen and can't find a fix. I did disconnect the rag joint during my re-installation of everything and thought the position of the rag joint at the steering box might be the culprit?!? I've tried taking the shaft out and re-installing several times and it is still binding. DRIVING ME NUTS! It seems like there is binding somewhere and I can't locate it. U-Joints in firewall perhaps? You really can't screw up the spline placement because the splines will only go in one way except at the rag joint at the steering box.
Are you guys getting binding from the weld against the tube? Maybe try grinding the weld a bit flatter. I just did this fix myself with a pin and then ground it flat. My steering is smooth as new.
 

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Thanks for the great information. Just purchased my 1998 4Runner Limited and sure enough I had a bit of play. Used the information about pulling the bare minimum of parts off to get the shaft out. Perfect. Exactly 15 minutes to get shaft out. I had to find a local welder. I used 3 spot welds as the part is 6 sided so I skipped every other side. I greased up the plastic ball and the intermediate shaft that appears to be a bearing surface then slide the whole assembly back in.

1. Remove 3 screws from plastic around steering column.
2. Removed 12 mm bolt by firewall on floor.
3. Remove 2 springs for tilt column after moving tilt up.
4. Remove 2 bolts with 6 mm allen wrench.
5. Disconnect battery negative lead.
6. Disconnect 4 connectors.
7. Move key to acc position to allow column to remain unlocked.
8. Pull out steering wheel and shaft.
9. Do not let wheel turn too much. Clock Spring.
 

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Another Solution...Shims!

First of all, thank you to everyone that has contributed to this post!! I have an '04 that I bought new, and this problem sorta crept up until one day it became annoying and that was a few years ago... Like most, I thought it was ball joints and/or tie-rods because I've got 240K on the clock and have only replaced the lowers once...

Although I have a welder, like many others I was a bit hesitant to weld the slip joint so I came up with another idea...shims.

I used brass because that's what I had laying around in the garage, but you may want to get some steel ones...I'll find out over time as I just did this last weekend.

It's simple...I just took a feeler gauge and slipped it in the various sides to get an idea of what I needed for thickness and how far I might be able to push them in. I then cut a few pieces and started shoving them in. In the process I just jiggled the joint and crammed on the shims to wedge them in there good and tight. Once I got everything as tight as I could I took some electricians tape ('cause that's permanent, right..) and wrapped it a few times in case anything tried to back out.

I went ahead and replaced all the ball joints and tie-rod ends as the upper ones were "popping" and after I put everything back together the steering's good and tight.

Another thought I had that I'd like to throw out there is sticking that slip-joint-shaft assembly in a press and just smushing it down a little. I tried beating on it a little with Thor's hammer but decided that wasn't the way...may work but I didn't have a press to try it.

Anyway, just wanted to throw these out there as an option to welding things. I'm planning on keeping this thing for a while, so I'll find out if the shims stay or if they loosen up over time. I figure if they do, it's so easy to take the thing apart that I can just wedge a few more in there and I'm good to go.

Thanks everyone!
-Rob
 
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