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A while back, well a year or year and a half ago, there was a good deal of discussion about the replacement of the steering rack input shaft seal on a RAV4. It's a piece of cake! Open the hood & disconnect the battery. Be sure and mark or remember where all the wires and hoses go. Remove the coolant recovery bottle, the air filter and air filter box & the air box to intake manifold piping. The charcoal cannister just lifts up out of some alignment bosses. You can now see the steering shaft coming down through the firewall ahead of you and a little to your left and down. Now open the drivers door and look under the dash you will see a ujoint with bolts on both ends. You should not have to mess with the top bolt?? but take the bottom bolt out. ( At this point make sure you have the wheels and steering wheel straight ) Tie the steering wheel off if necessary to make sure it will stay straight ahead. Now go back outside and remove the bolt at the bottom of the outside ujoint. At this point you should be able to slide the outside ujoint system up and off of the steering rack input shaft, then down and out of the inside ujoint. Pull the cover up off the steering rack input shaft and you are at the snap ring and seal. Remove the snap ring and then remove the seal by whatever method you choose. Replace the seal ours was $4.80 and the snap ring sharp edge out $8.50 with our business discount from the local Toyota dealer. Put all the components back in a reverse method of the way you took it apart. R&ring the snap ring and seal and getting the steering wheel back straight is the hardest part of the job. With someone to help align the steering wheel and give moral support you should be able to do the whole job in two or three hours tops. This was on our 4.1 but the job should be about the same on all the RAV4s give or take a little time. Ours was done in a hour and a half but we had to pull it back apart to get the steering wheel centered right so it took another half to three Quarters of an hour or closer to the three hours total. Good Luck.
 

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WOW!!!! Vicco, this is EXACTLY what I've never seen before in my searches, that I was looking for!!! You mean to tell me that I bought a rack and have been stressing over changing it out, because of THAT particular seal, for no reason??!!??!! I've been expecting to have my RAV out of commission for about a week to get this job done.

*takes a deep, long breath*
Cool! I can use the rack I bought, for the seal that needs changing. I might be able to get it done before the end of the week! Now that's exciting! :)

Hopefully bringing this thread back to life will save a lot of us some serious money and time!!
 

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It worked! But not EXACTLY as described. I couldn't get the steering shaft to slid up off the steering rack input shaft. I ended up having to detach the steering wheel to get access to the input shaft. Which wasn't that bad either. Getting the steering shafts and steering wheel back in the same alignment was easy because I had marked all of the shaft parts with little pin nicks before taking it apart.
It took me about a total of 5-6 hours.

Oh, one more time consuming difficulty: it was difficult to get the seal down far enough to put the snap ring in. I ended up using a impact socket of 1 1/8" (if I remember right), and hammered it down. Expect a tight working area for hammering!

I acquired the seal from a local bearing and seal shop, for just under $5. The number on the seal is: BP2152E. It also has NOK and 53 on it. Trying to use a used seal won't work, because in order to get it out, you have to put a hole in it to pull it out. The seal in the attachments is the original one off my RAV.

I hope this thread will saves some of you do-it-yourselfers some money and time. ;)
 

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Ofcourse, pictures would have helped tremendously.
Greetz

Pim
 

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This is exactly what i was looking for, apparently my search Rav4world search didn't find it, but google did. Thanks vicco27, i'm gonna tackle this ASAP. Anyone know if this seal is available online somewhere? I'm having a hard time finding it.

Thanks
 

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Anyone know if this seal is available online somewhere? I'm having a hard time finding it.

Thanks
Hi vwvannut,
It might be cheaper to go with a local place that would sell seals. But after a brief search, I came up with the website to the seal manufacturer: NOK Corporation - Products - Oil Seals . I would suggest emailing them with the part number I gave earlier (BP2152E & 53).
I couldn't find a better internet buying option, but I didn't look into it extensively.

I have an update to add too.... A couple of months ago, after changing out the seal, the seal popped out. All the fluid drained out quickly, and thus no power steering. I immediately took off the power steering belt, and a few days later I took it all apart again to determine the problem. Sure enough, the snap ring didn't stay in place. It was a bit bent, and I'm not 100% sure it wasn't somehow bent when I put it in, thus being the reason it didn't stay.
I then reinstalled the same seal I bought, and used the snap ring from the used rack I purchased earlier. I have yet to do anything else to the system. I want to flush it before hooking up the belt, but I need an extra set of hands. And I haven't been in a hurry to get the belt back on because not having that extra load on the engine has helped RAVadoodle's mileage some. :)

So, it's an incomplete update, but something to keep in mind.
 

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Thanks, i'll post the source of the part when i find it. Also for anyone else looking at this thread in the future...the shaft sticking out of the power steering rack will most likely be hard to remove from the U-Joint, I ended up having to use some penetrating oil and then a hammer and large screwdriver to spread the splined clamp shaft enough to break it free of the shaft. so far this has been the toughest part. The seal was easily removed with a small flat screwdriver and some gentile (i was surprised) prying.
 

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Alright I've completed it, BP2152E is correct and current. My local store could get it for 7 or 8 dollars but they said there would be a freight charge blah blah blah. Went to the dealer and paid 11 for it and 11 for the dust cover and was there the next day. Toyotal Seal part number is 90311-19007, dust cover number is 45222-42010. The above description on procedures is correct, I'll add some tricks and tools I used...

The hardest part of this job was removing and installing the splined steering column shaft from the power steering rack. I used a mid-length craftsman prybar and a hammer to spread the shaft's collar from above, using the wedge shape of prybar tip to spread the collar, being very careful to make sure the tip didn't damage anything. With the prybar wedged in collar you can carefully pull up on the prybar while grabbing the collar with your hand and the collar and shaft will pull off to rack.

Now remove the snap ring with snap ring pliers and the old oil seal (mine was very old and brittle, a small flat blade screwdriver on the inside of the ring worked well)

Install new oil seal using some Dexron to grease it up. I put the old seal on the new seal and used a 19mm deep 3/8 craftsman socket to drive the seal in with a small hammer. This didn't seat the seal all the way down, so i removed the socket and used seal and put a cleaned old axle nut directly on the new seal and hit the axle nut with screwdriver and hammer. This did the trick. Then put the snap ring back in and the dust cover on top of that.

This would also be a good time to do the fuel filter as well since it is very exposed.

Good luck to any future DIYers
 

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Success....

So I encountered the leaking rack issue with the 97 I just bought. I tried the Lucas stuff, hoping it would cure the problem, but it didn't work. I was ready replace the rack, when I found this thread. Inspection and monitoring seemed to indicate that the only leak was from the input shaft seal, so I began to call auto parts suppliers to buy a seal. I phoned every supplier I could access, and all of them told me the same story - it was on their system, but they couldn't order it. Just not available. One of them found a replacement seal, after much discussion, but the cost with shipping was too high. On a whim, I decided to try calling dealerships. Not sure why, but I called a GM dealership first (the part crossed over to a GM number), and the parts guy told me that the seal had been used on some abortive GM orphan car from the 80s or 90s (Epica, I think), but was NLA. Hey, wait a minute.....how about the Toyota dealership.....They not only had it available (had to order it), but it was the same price as online. Geez, I guess I should have gone with the obvious right off the bat.

I figured I'd better get a rack and pinion unit in as well, and ordered one of those from the jobbers for $335, which I thought was a lot for a reman'ed unit - until I asked the Toyota guy for a quote......$1600. Whoa - guess I won't be buying one of those from the dealer.

The job went pretty well as the OP described, with a few hiccups. I found that the steering shaft had to be disconnected from both the box and from the inside below the column - and I had to use a fair amount of persuasion to free it enough to remove it. Removal of the components was as described (thats a lot of hoses and wires to put back on when done). I'd like to know how one gets that seal out with a small screwdriver - cause I tried and tried - with screwdrivers, seal pullers - and wound up screwing a wood screw through it and pulling it with pliers. Putting it back in wasn't too bad - except there's almost no room to tap the new one down - and I wound up removing the u jointed section completely, to get enough room. The seal seated relatively easily, as did the snap ring, and everything went back in with no trouble at all.

Now the moment of truth.....filled the fluid up, and flashed up the engine. No leak. Drove it for a short time. No leak. Drove it for a highway trip. No leak.

Success!

Thanks to the OP, and to these forums, for the info. Saved myself nearly $350, and a LOT of time and hassle, by replacing the seal and not the rack.

I now have a theory - I think that the reason the auto parts places "can't" get the seal is that they want to sell reman'ed racks which have a MUCH higher profit margin. The seals are so easily available online - its strange that suppliers can't get them. The Toyota price is lower than online prices - because they don't charge shipping.

Considering how difficult it is to replace the rack, I would suggest that anyone with a leak do a little investigation to figure out if it's coming from that seal (clean it off, and observe - if its the seal, the leak will cover the body of the rack ABOVE the boots. Try the seal first - the job is much less work than doing the rack, and if it doesn't succeed, you're only out $10 and a few hours time.

Tools required - Phillips screwdriver, 10 and 12mm sockets and ratchet, pliers (for removing hose clamps), flathead screwdriver (for prying tab to get charcoal canister off), snap ring pliers, wood screw and vice grips, large socket (to push down seal) and a hammer.
 

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You folks are life savers. I've had this leak for a while and have been dreading replacing the rack. I ordered the seal from Toyota and the instructions on this thread worked like a charm. Thanks for saving me a lot of time and money.
 

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If the seal is leaking, I should see PS fluid running down the shaft, right?

My passenger side boot is wet on the bottom. Not sure if it is this seal or maybe the pump is leaking internally.
 

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When my seal went, it went completely. I was leaving a puddles. On my 97 awd manual it's difficult to see where the steering input shaft enters the steering rack, but it is possible with a flashlight from the top of the firewall. good luck
 

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Is this seal the one that is on top of the rack? If the car sits for longer than a day, I'm seeing a couple drops from this area. I've already had this rack replaced once because it was leaving multiple puddles and would run through ALL of its fluid in one day....that was two years ago. It is now leaking again, but very slightly right now. Is this another common issue with this gen of the RAV4?? I'm getting very discouraged with this car lately...5th gear recently gave out, the clutch is probably on its last leg since it is getting hard to shift into 1st or 2nd when I stop at a light, both side drive axle boots are showing cracks and will have to be replaced soon, rear shocks are making that "bumping" sound over bumps again, and front brake pads are over 50% worn in less than a year/20,000 miles. Frustrating...
 

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I just ordered the parts for this repair. Should be in Friday. Hopefully I'll be able to get to it on Saturday. Will update with results. Unfortunately, the mechanic I took it to for diagnosis said he couldn't do this job, only replace the whole unit and do alignment for $750. Found the assembly at autopartswarehouse for $150, so if this doesn't work I'll be replacing it myself, take it to an alignment shop and save myself $500. Did a rack on a rwd Aerostar about a year ago, hopefully this job isn't much more difficult.
 

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Does anyone have DIY of replacing Steering Rack for RAV4?

My problem: steering is stiff and Also steering wheel does not return to center when turning and it gets worse when its cold(below 40f, ~7c)
What I did:
-installed new/remanufactured steering pump(from A-1 CARDONE) & new fluid + new steering pump belt(tension is good)
-steering pump reservoir filter is clean
-alignment is good(they gave me printout)
-new upper strut mounts

-Steering Rack does not leak & PS fluid level is good

Steering rack? ball joints?

Thanks
 

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Before you remove the rack, remove both front wheels, remove the tie road ends from the front hubs, now see if the rack feels any better, if so the fault lies within the front uprights, either the bottom swivel joint or the top plates. If not then check and see if the inner tie rods move freely, they are mounted in ball joints in the end of the rack and should move with a little resistance, if they are very tight you may have found your problem and you may then need to remove/replace the rack. Also check the ties rod ends, make sure they are not seized, I've never come across one but there's always a first I guess.
 

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Before you remove the rack, remove both front wheels, remove the tie road ends from the front hubs, now see if the rack feels any better, if so the fault lies within the front uprights, either the bottom swivel joint or the top plates. If not then check and see if the inner tie rods move freely, they are mounted in ball joints in the end of the rack and should move with a little resistance, if they are very tight you may have found your problem and you may then need to remove/replace the rack. Also check the ties rod ends, make sure they are not seized, I've never come across one but there's always a first I guess.
Good idea, I'll check that..
 

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Steering knuckle is rusted.
Spray it with some lube, work it back and forth.

This has happened to me with my rav and an older celica.
The best solution (which sounds crazy) was to pour some brake fluid on the knuckle.
It soaks in and eats the rust, a day later the steering is light and perfect.
 
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