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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there, first time posting but been lurking here a long time.

I own a 2004 XT4. Since buying it in March I always felt the steering was vague. I read in many places that this was just what Toyotas felt like but I wasn’t happy. I took it for a full service at a Toyota dealer to make sure everything was good. It came back all good apart from corroded brake rotors.

Driving the car home I experienced the steering wheel losing resistance while cornering. I researched down into this and possible causes could be the rack, rack mounts, drive-belt, tie rods, wheel bearings. Everything was checked in the service bar the drive belt but I also feel they may have skipped the rack mounts.

I jacked the car to see if anything was loose and I could rock the right front wheel side to side in the 9/3 o’clock position. It made a clunking sound as it did this and the tie rods were moving when this happens. Ball joints are tight and bearings are good (no movement in 12/6o’clock position). I couldn’t see any significant movement in the rack which leads me to think it could be a loose connection on the inner tie rod.

With tyres on the floor I moved the steering wheel from side to side. The rack moved considerably more, maybe 1/2” from side to side.

When I lifted the wheels again I couldn’t get the clunking sound to come back when rocking the wheel. Everything seemed super tight.

My thoughts are rack bushings are shot or possibly inner tie rods. Any thoughts?

I can send videos of clunking and rack movement.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Actually having done a bit more research I think I could have a faulty tie rod and worn rack bushings! Is it possible to only feel movement in the tie rods occasionally?
 

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Actually having done a bit more research I think I could have a faulty tie rod and worn rack bushings! Is it possible to only feel movement in the tie rods occasionally?
How many miles on your car?
Losing resisatance while cornering? Is that the only issue you experiemce ? Steering doesn't wander?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
How many miles on your car?
Losing resisatance while cornering? Is that the only issue you experiemce ? Steering doesn't wander?
Hi, the car has 95,000 miles on it. I ended up taking out the rack and replacing the bushings and inner tie rods. I also got a wheel alignment. This helped the car on the highway where it now drives straight as an arrow but at slower speeds it still has this vague steering feel. I looked into things like bump steer and toe steer which could play a part.

With wheels on the floor and jiggling the steering wheel I can produce a click which seems to originate from the rack as it can only be felt on the tie rods but Ive replaced the inners and the outers feel solid. I'm going to replace the outers today, put a new drive belt on, put some Sea Foam Transmission additive in the power steering fluid, rotate the tyres, and check the rack guide for wear. If none of these improve it then I'll bite the bullet and replace the rack.

One other thing I feel it could be is the ECU. As the ECU controls the power steering pressure at low speeds and I've been getting the P2238 error code after replacing my O2 sensor I'm thinking I'll need an ECU reflash according to TSB EG036-04. People who have had this done always comment on how the car drives much better after.

Only other things I can think is maybe the control arm bushings but these seem solid or the rear alignment as one of the rear tyres is toed in 1.25 degrees more than the other. Need to get new camber bolts before I can fix this plus rear shocks need doing which may improve the toe.
 
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