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Loose Steering (and Power Steering leak) - 2000 SR5

Discussion in '1st Gen Tundras (2000-2006)' started by fmjnax, Feb 24, 2020.

  1. Feb 24, 2020 at 12:14 PM
    #1
    fmjnax

    fmjnax [OP] New Member

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    I just purchased a 2000 SR5 for my son as his first vehicle. Truck has 152k miles on it but seems to be in very good shape. I had to drive it 50 miles home and noticed some sloppy/loose steering. It feels out of alignment, but also jumps around kinda randomly or when hitting a bump. Not super terrible though (I had an old Dodge that was so bad it was scary to drive!).

    Once home, I did some basic diagnosis. The tires move immediately with the steering wheel and there is no dead zone from lock to lock. Power steering fluid is a touch low, but I found that is due to a leak and that shouldn't be causing the loose steering. I had my wife turn the steering wheel left and right while I watched the system. The only movement I could see that should NOT be occurring is at some sort of bushing on the passenger side. Rather, the system (R&P?) is moving inside of the bushing.

    Here is a link to a very short video of the movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnQMOYEPQYM

    Below is also a picture of the part, if you don't want to watch the video. What is this part and am I correct that it should NOT be allowing the movement? Would that be causing loose/sloppy steering? I suspect that the bushing needs to be replaced and torqued down, but just pure speculation.

    If that is actually normal operation then what should I pay more attention to? Do these trucks have a common part(s) that seems to wear out and cause steering issues?

    I need to throw on some new brake pads so I'll better inspect the ball joints, tie rod ends, control arms, etc when I do that, but from the quick glance I gave them from under the truck they seem ok, albeit old.
    IMG-0609.jpg


    Bonus: The picture below is where the power steering seems to be leaking. Doesn't look like a fun or cheap part to have to replace so we may just top off the reservoir and then monitor the fluid loss to determine how bad the leak is before investing in it. I am certainly open to opinions and ideas on this one, though.
    IMG-0612.jpg
     
  2. Feb 24, 2020 at 12:19 PM
    #2
    55kcement

    55kcement New Member

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    I would do those rack bushing for sure , but how but play is in the wheel when you driving down the road ?
     
  3. Feb 24, 2020 at 12:22 PM
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    55kcement

    55kcement New Member

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    Sorry I had a typo ! How much play is in the wheel while driving ?
     
  4. Feb 24, 2020 at 12:24 PM
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    55kcement

    55kcement New Member

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    Are the tires worn unevenly ? Are the shocks blown out ??
     
  5. Feb 24, 2020 at 12:28 PM
    #5
    fmjnax

    fmjnax [OP] New Member

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    No problem 55k, I actually read it exactly as you meant. It's almost as if there isn't really any play at all in the steering wheel. A very slight amount, but nothing alarming. When I turn the wheel, the truck turns. It's NOT like I was driving straight down the road and the steering wheel was turning left and right without the truck following. Rather, it's more like the truck was tracking how I wanted it to and then any deviance in the road would send it off track and I would have to correct it. I'm going to go give it another short drive and pay extra attention to exactly what is occurring.

    As for the tires and shocks, hard to say. It has brand new tires on it and I didn't think to ask the prev owner how they wore. It does feel like it is pulling a bit to the right, but I can't tell if it's out of alignment or an artifact of the loose steering. I didn't notice anything glaringly obvious with the shocks but I also didn't look at them in detail. I'll do that as well when I get back from the drive.

    I'll report back shortly.
     
  6. Feb 24, 2020 at 1:04 PM
    #6
    artsr2002

    artsr2002 2005 Tundra DC SR5

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    Any play in the tie rods? Check inner and outer.
     
  7. Feb 24, 2020 at 1:13 PM
    #7
    fmjnax

    fmjnax [OP] New Member

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    Alright, back from another drive down some winding backroads.

    First, I was incorrect on the pull. It's pulling left, not right.

    No play in the steering wheel. Any degree of steering wheel turn translated to wheel turn (though left is different than right, as noted below).

    Right hand turns seems fine. There is a good spongy resistance turning the wheel to the right that feels normal. After a right turn, the wheel returns to center.

    Left, however, is very different. There is almost zero resistance to turn left. It also seems like it takes more steering wheel movement for the turn. The wheel will NOT return to center. It will stay at whatever degree left you put it at, unless the road bank pulls you back. I pulled in to a parking lot and gave the wheel full left lock. I completely let go of the wheel and the truck continued at full lock for 3 full circles until I turned it back right. The same procedure with a full right lock did NOT have the issue (it returned to center just fine and I wasn't able to complete even one full circle without holding the wheel right).

    The issue seems worse the higher the speed is. At 30 and under it didn't seem to be much of an issue at all. 50+, though, and it really wanted to pull left and stay left.

    Nothing obvious on the shocks. Certainly a rougher truck ride so it probably wouldn't hurt to replace them.

    I don't know how I missed it the first time, but the passenger side upper ball joint has a blown boot, so that's bad. All other ball joints are in-tact.

    Tie rod ends, seem ok, but the rubber is cracked. I'm not a pro at suspension so can you advise on how to check inner and outer TR's for play?
     
  8. Feb 24, 2020 at 1:17 PM
    #8
    artsr2002

    artsr2002 2005 Tundra DC SR5

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    Lift front end until tires are just off the ground. Grab tires at 3 and 9 and press inward at 3 while pulling outward at 9 and vice versa. Because the weight is off the tires you will be able to turn both wheels from one side at a time but as long as the travel is smooth through, they should be fine. Short quick pulls and push will help you feel for any slack in the joints. Too much slop means bad joints in the tie rods. Do the same at 12 and 6 to check ball joints.

    This can also help you feel for any roughness in the wheel bearings which can also contribute to bad steering. They usually groan too when they are done.

    Helps to have another set of arms/eyes to assist .
     
    chugs and Whothefat like this.
  9. Feb 24, 2020 at 1:20 PM
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    55kcement

    55kcement New Member

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    Could not have said it better art!
     
  10. Feb 24, 2020 at 1:24 PM
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    fmjnax

    fmjnax [OP] New Member

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    Thanks art. I will have to check that tomorrow and see what comes of it. No sound that I can hear. I had windows down and radio off. No popping, grinding, squealing, groaning, etc. I know that doesn't automatically rule it out, though.
     
  11. Feb 24, 2020 at 1:52 PM
    #11
    Johnsonman

    Johnsonman New Member

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    LED headlamps/fogs; interior footlamps.
  12. Feb 24, 2020 at 1:59 PM
    #12
    fmjnax

    fmjnax [OP] New Member

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    Thanks Johnsonman. That is pretty much my thought and plan so far as well. I HAVE to do the brakes, so why not do all that other suspension work while I am there, right?! That way I KNOW the state of things and like you said, given the age and mileage those components are probably past their prime anyway. I was mostly concerned with that bushing.

    I'm always open to any other thoughts and opinions, but for now I'll plan on replacing all of those parts while I am doing the brakes, then have an alignment done. I'll report back after all that work has been completed.
     
  13. Feb 24, 2020 at 2:00 PM
    #13
    55kcement

    55kcement New Member

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    Just buy quality parts it cost a little more but it will last another 100k
     
  14. Feb 24, 2020 at 2:01 PM
    #14
    seth419

    seth419 New Member

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    That mount doesn't really hold the rack from moving. There are two other mounts (a and b in below image) which really hold the rack in place, what do those look like? Something must be going on with those for the rack to move like that. I also think that little bit of rack movement is giving you the sloppy/loose steering. Some poly steering rack bushings are probably a good idea.

    It also looks like you might have a coolant leak in your Bonus photo or is that some sort of light giving the pink reflection?




    [​IMG]
     
  15. Feb 24, 2020 at 2:06 PM
    #15
    JohnLakeman

    JohnLakeman Burning Internet Daylight

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    Since you know the PS is leaking, I assume that you have checked the fluid level and that it is full. There is a procedure for bleeding air out of the PS system after it has been emptied and refilled (fluid leak with no history of service). I don't know what Toyota's recommendation is, but GM calls for turning the wheel lock to lock several times while idling stationary. Maybe someone with a Gen1 service manual can provide the procedure. I would try bleeding the system and rechecking the fluid level before trying anything else.

    Because the steering system behaves differently between right and left turns, I suspect a problem with the steering rack. I would probably have someone local look at it before committing to rack replacement. If the steering rack is finished, then it will be bad news, but good news in a way...then you can change the rack when you change the bushings, PS hose, etc.
     
  16. Feb 24, 2020 at 2:12 PM
    #16
    Professional Hand Model

    Professional Hand Model A.K.A ‘Golden Hands’

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    Check my build page for answers and pictures to most of your questions. I’ve shaken down my 2002 V8 and you can use my page for short cuts.

    https://www.tundras.com/threads/the...vestment-‘build’-a-chronological-story.46816/

    1) PS Fluid may be coming from the worn out hose spring clamps. Remove and install new stainless snake clamps from big box store. There are 3 total. 2 at the rez and one lower down above axle.

    2) I’d go with a harder plastic type Steering Rack Bushing Kit versus the squishy type. Just my opinion. You can read more on the build site. The job takes about 4 hours. Tundra Solutions has a good DIY thread. I just went through this one.

    3) Your brakes. Just check my build page pics. You may need a total rebuild at your trucks age.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020
  17. Feb 24, 2020 at 2:22 PM
    #17
    fmjnax

    fmjnax [OP] New Member

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    Thanks for all of the new/additional information! A lot to check out.

    Oh, and the pink hue in the bonus photo is just lighting. No coolant leak (but I will definitely double check).
     
  18. Feb 24, 2020 at 2:31 PM
    #18
    Professional Hand Model

    Professional Hand Model A.K.A ‘Golden Hands’

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    Report back on how it goes. One last thing. Most of our power steering bellows (on each side of the power steering rack) usually show a small leak. Its usually a few drops and nothing to be concerned about. Most of us have the leak and its never enough to drain/lose the fluid. Maybe you could pull those bellows back and clean the shafts. Reinstall using zip ties as clamps.


    The 3 hose clamps already mentioned above in post #16 are the areas most of our trucks will lose fluid.
     
  19. Feb 24, 2020 at 2:41 PM
    #19
    JohnLakeman

    JohnLakeman Burning Internet Daylight

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    Good eye. I would definite check yellow circled areas below for pink stain.

    I believe the PS leak is from a brazed joint (circled red) on the PS metal hose end...fatigue failure from too many vibratory stress cycles. Only way to fix that is to replace the hose assembly.

    InkedIMG-0612_LI.jpg .
     
  20. Feb 24, 2020 at 3:03 PM
    #20
    fmjnax

    fmjnax [OP] New Member

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    Definitely not a coolant leak. I went to double-check and what we're seeing the pink hue from is my red truck parked next to the Tundra. If I shield the light/reflection with my hand, the pink hue goes away. I tried to take a picture to show, but I couldn't hold the camera and my hand in a position to clearly show the silhouette of my hand. :)
     
  21. Feb 24, 2020 at 3:31 PM
    #21
    Professional Hand Model

    Professional Hand Model A.K.A ‘Golden Hands’

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    I’ve not seen one picture ever of a Coolant Leak in those areas circled above. You’ll notice Pink Crust around the Water Pump and thats about the only place I’ve ever seen in person on my truck or online pics.
     
  22. Feb 24, 2020 at 3:43 PM
    #22
    BubbaW

    BubbaW Saw it right off

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    Due to lack of proper eyes on things since I've owned it, I found some coolant had seeped/crusted out of the water by-pass hose @ the throttle body when I cleaned it a number months back.
    Moral of my story, take care of my damn Tundra better !
     
  23. Feb 24, 2020 at 3:47 PM
    #23
    Professional Hand Model

    Professional Hand Model A.K.A ‘Golden Hands’

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    Thats a new one for me. I’ll log it in the data bank.
     
    BubbaW likes this.
  24. Feb 27, 2020 at 5:41 AM
    #24
    Dale86

    Dale86 New Member

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    What brands do you believe are quality parts?
     
  25. Feb 28, 2020 at 3:16 AM
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    artsr2002

    artsr2002 2005 Tundra DC SR5

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    OP, here's some video help for your rack bushings. Its a little long but very descriptive and easy to follow.

    https://youtu.be/JafzubwihDM
     
  26. Feb 28, 2020 at 3:23 AM
    #26
    artsr2002

    artsr2002 2005 Tundra DC SR5

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    I've had good luck with Toyota parts as well as Moog, AC Delco, Timken. Basically stay away from those "suspension kits" that include 30 pieces for $99 shipped. I guarantee you some of those will fail and fail hard. Suspension pieces that keep your vehicle on the road are not where you want to cheap out on.
     
  27. Jun 3, 2020 at 7:02 PM
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    fmjnax

    fmjnax [OP] New Member

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    Well it's been a while with all this covid stuff but I am back with a follow-up. I replaced all of the mentioned front-end components (brakes, TRE's, sway bar links, UBJ's, LBJ's, strut/coil's, and rack bushing). We took it in for its alignment a couple of weeks ago, with a surprise that the alignment shop noticed. I don't know how I didn't notice this when we purchased it, but all 4 tires are different sizes! I still had them do the alignment and we have new/proper tires ordered and on their way (yes, I will be paying for an alignment twice, but that's ok).

    With that said, we're still seeing the issue with the steering wheel not wanting to return to center after a left turn (right turns are fine). It feels like maybe it's not turning as sharp as it should be, too, but this is just a gut feeling having never known what its turn radius was when new. I still think this is a symptom of a faulty steering rack but I'm not sure. If the rack is bad then I want to replace it before we put on the new tires and another alignment. However, I don't want to replace it if it is the mismatched tire sizes causing the problem.

    What are your thoughts for why steering won't center after a left turn, even after new suspension parts and alignment? Bad rack or mismatched tire size (or something entirely different)?
     
  28. Jun 4, 2020 at 5:23 AM
    #28
    Professional Hand Model

    Professional Hand Model A.K.A ‘Golden Hands’

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    Replace the tires. Wait on alignment (maybe you don’t need a second alignment anyway because tires don’t effect that?).

    Replace tires and see if the condition improves. If not, then change your rack and then get an alignment. Get some new rack bushings, too.
     
  29. Jun 4, 2020 at 10:16 AM
    #29
    fmjnax

    fmjnax [OP] New Member

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    Thanks 'Golden Hands'. The logic makes sense. I probably jumped the gun on making the follow-up post yesterday. I realized I hadn't really tested it out it since the wife took it in for the alignment so I went for a spin today and paid close attention. The steering issue is 80%+ corrected. Almost what I would expect it to be, actually. The truck does have a VERY wide turn radius, though. The new tires will be here early next week so we'll get those mounted and balanced and then see what we're dealing with afterwards.
     
  30. Jun 8, 2020 at 4:45 PM
    #30
    Professional Hand Model

    Professional Hand Model A.K.A ‘Golden Hands’

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    Our trucks have the turning radius of a battleship. Add bigger tires and its much worse. Sounds like your problem is the tires and should correct itself once the new ones go on.
     

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