Steering Shaft Clunk Possible Fix - Toyota RAV4 Forums
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#1 (permalink) Old 12-16-2011, 11:37 AM
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Steering Shaft Clunk Possible Fix

I have had this problem for several years in my 2007 V6 steering. I heard and felt the "slight clunk" every time I drove the RAV4. It was out of warranty when I saw the service bulletin. Two weeks ago I decided to try my own fix. I have driven regularly for 2 weeks and not heard or felt a clunk. It is wonderful. Here is my fix, I removed the "Steering Intermediate Shaft", inspected it and found no specific problems, no looseness or binding. I thought the problem might be that the lubricant in the sliding connection had worked out. I pushed as much of the original lubricant back into the splined area as practical and then added a limited amount of WD40 spray lubricant to reach into the splined section and also soften the original grease. (the 2 sections of the "Steering Intermediate Shaft" could not be readily separated) In order to best get the lubricant into the sliding section I removed the steel cup which contains a seal at the top of the tubular sliding member. I put a screw driver against the edge of the cap and tapped it with a hammer to slide the seal cup off of the tube. At the end I gently tapped the seal cup back in place.

A possible short cut on this procedure that might work is to spray WD40 or something similar into the sliding section without removing the steering shaft. I believe for this to be successful you would have to remove the seal cup so lubricant can be added at the upper end of the sliding section.

To remove the steering shaft I followed the procedure given in the service bulletin at first. I was not able get to the bolts to remove the shaft with the steering wheel in one position straight ahead. I then very carefully used a marker to index each of the joints that I was removing to the shaft it was on so I could put each back in the exact same angular position. I do not know what problems are caused if you don't get them back exactly as they were. After marking the pieces I then rotated the steering shaft to a place where I could remove the bolt from the coupling. It must be removed not just loosened as it fits in a groove on the inner shaft to locate the coupling position lengthwise. Other than the lower plastic shield I removed only 1 bolt from each end of the steering shaft couplings and then was able to pry off the couplings and remove the shaft assembly. Before starting I removed the small dashboard panel immediately under the steering column, 2 screws and then just pull off from friction pins.

This has gotten long so I will stop. I will check back for a few days if there are questions. I do not have photos or any means to get them.

A couple of days ago I posted on the TSB thread for steering shaft clunk, details of a fix I completed on my RAV4 two weeks ago. For that two weeks the clunk has been completely eliminated. Because that post has not gotten any attention I mention it here hoping those with the problem will see it. I hope the link below will take you to that thread, provided you are signed in.

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/106-...0-08-a-15.html

Last edited by JuneBug; 12-16-2011 at 01:48 PM.
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#2 (permalink) Old 12-16-2011, 01:50 PM
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Thanks, oldguy, yes I read your earlier post and even copied and pasted it onto the UK forum where a similar discussion came up. We appreciate your efforts and keep us posted!

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#3 (permalink) Old 12-18-2011, 06:00 PM
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The only problem with packing the worn part with lubricant is that it is unlikely to last.

There 3 possible problems associated with this noise.

The intermediate shaft can be felt through the steering wheel and sometimes in the floor by your feet.

The second is due to loose steering rack bolts but was rare.

The third is the next common to the intermediate shaft. It occurs mainly at low speed just as you turn the wheel at a road junction. It sounds like a creaking noise and can come from either side. The fix is a pair of simple plastic washers at the top of the suspension struts. The parts are cheap but there is quite a bit of labour involved. You could do it yourself with a decent pair of spring compressors but you would need to have the tracking checked after.

I have a TSB if somebody can tell me how to attach a pdf???
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#4 (permalink) Old 12-18-2011, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anchorman View Post
I have a TSB if somebody can tell me how to attach a pdf???
Click on POST REPLY or QUOTE, and you will be in the Advanced editor. Scroll down to Attach Files, and click on Manage Attachments. You can't do this from Quick Reply.

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#5 (permalink) Old 12-27-2011, 05:28 PM
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We lucked out thanks to the wife. Thinking Toyotas are so reliable I didn't opt for an extended warranty. She insisted so we got one just in case. Of course she was right again.

Got the clunk in the steering after the manufacturers warranty was up. Cost me the $100 deductible to have $1800 worth of work done to correct it. They changed the steering gear and intermediate shaft. While doing that they discovered the water pump was leaking. Add another $350 saved. My wife had a smile from ear to ear. The warranty has paid for itself twice over.
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#6 (permalink) Old 12-28-2011, 12:45 AM
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[QUOTE=IZZY;900006]
Got the clunk in the steering after the manufacturers warranty was up. Cost me the $100 deductible to have $1800 worth of work done to correct it. They changed the steering gear and intermediate shaft....QUOTE]

The steering gear (rack) is yet ANOTHER TSB for this model. It is unrelated to the steering 'clunk' and more defined by a 'rattle' over bumps. It addresses a clearance issue in the rack and steering column. My car was diag'd with needing one too, but there is just no way I'm paying that for a slight rattle. It is just incredible to me the amount of TSBs and $'s associated with them for the 4.3 RAVs.

2007 Red Limited V6 4WD
w/ Tow package
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#7 (permalink) Old 02-01-2012, 08:24 AM
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Oldguy - how is your steering working now that it has been a while since your fix? Any clunking?

You also mentioned that it might be possible to lubricate the shaft without removing it. Do you or anybody else have any instructions regarding how to remove the seal cup without removing the shaft from the car?

Update,- browsing the web i found a page describing the lubing of intermediate steering shaft on GM cars

http://www.colinkraft.com/shaft.php

In this procedure the shaft needs to be removed to lube it properly.

Last edited by Legion; 02-02-2012 at 07:24 AM.
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#8 (permalink) Old 02-02-2012, 05:19 PM
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It is now 2 months since I made the fix and there has not been a single clunk from the steering shaft. I am surprized how good the simple fix has worked.
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#9 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 05:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldguy View Post
It is now 2 months since I made the fix and there has not been a single clunk from the steering shaft. I am surprized how good the simple fix has worked.
Glad to hear this. Based on some web searches clunking of the intermediate steering shaft is a frequent problem in many brands and makes of cars. In addition, replacing the shaft is often an excessive (in terms of costs) way to fix the problem as after a good lubrication the shaft is virtually as good as new.

For example according to the following thread on Toyota Nation - the official fix for the problem in 3rd gen Toyota Avalon is to inject grease into the shaft - not to replace it.

Steering Intermediate Shaft (TSB) - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums

To me, it seems likely that several RAV4 owners may have paid to have their intermediate steering shafts replaced even if they could have been fixed by lubricating them. I understand that lubricated is not as good as new - but I believe that in many cases it can good enough to make the annoying clunking go away for a long time.
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#10 (permalink) Old 03-08-2012, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldguy View Post
I have had this problem for several years in my 2007 V6 steering. I heard and felt the "slight clunk" every time I drove the RAV4. It was out of warranty when I saw the service bulletin. Two weeks ago I decided to try my own fix. I have driven regularly for 2 weeks and not heard or felt a clunk. It is wonderful. Here is my fix, I removed the "Steering Intermediate Shaft", inspected it and found no specific problems, no looseness or binding. I thought the problem might be that the lubricant in the sliding connection had worked out. I pushed as much of the original lubricant back into the splined area as practical and then added a limited amount of WD40 spray lubricant to reach into the splined section and also soften the original grease. (the 2 sections of the "Steering Intermediate Shaft" could not be readily separated) In order to best get the lubricant into the sliding section I removed the steel cup which contains a seal at the top of the tubular sliding member. I put a screw driver against the edge of the cap and tapped it with a hammer to slide the seal cup off of the tube. At the end I gently tapped the seal cup back in place.

A possible short cut on this procedure that might work is to spray WD40 or something similar into the sliding section without removing the steering shaft. I believe for this to be successful you would have to remove the seal cup so lubricant can be added at the upper end of the sliding section.

To remove the steering shaft I followed the procedure given in the service bulletin at first. I was not able get to the bolts to remove the shaft with the steering wheel in one position straight ahead. I then very carefully used a marker to index each of the joints that I was removing to the shaft it was on so I could put each back in the exact same angular position. I do not know what problems are caused if you don't get them back exactly as they were. After marking the pieces I then rotated the steering shaft to a place where I could remove the bolt from the coupling. It must be removed not just loosened as it fits in a groove on the inner shaft to locate the coupling position lengthwise. Other than the lower plastic shield I removed only 1 bolt from each end of the steering shaft couplings and then was able to pry off the couplings and remove the shaft assembly. Before starting I removed the small dashboard panel immediately under the steering column, 2 screws and then just pull off from friction pins.

This has gotten long so I will stop. I will check back for a few days if there are questions. I do not have photos or any means to get them.

A couple of days ago I posted on the TSB thread for steering shaft clunk, details of a fix I completed on my RAV4 two weeks ago. For that two weeks the clunk has been completely eliminated. Because that post has not gotten any attention I mention it here hoping those with the problem will see it. I hope the link below will take you to that thread, provided you are signed in.

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/106-...0-08-a-15.html
One concern I have for your fix is the considerable use of WD40. This light lubricant is very good at removing grease. Because of this you may have completely removed the original grease to a point that when pushing new grease - if that is what you did - into the joint that you may not get far enough in to properly lubricate the entire joint. If you only used the WD40 to lubricate then I don't think this will hold up for the long run. I see your Feb 2012 update says everything is fine so far, but I wonder for how much longer. Also, how does one get a copy of the service bulletin?
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