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Hello everyone. My first post here. I recently bought a 2011 V6 Limited with 84k miles that has a few problems I was hoping to be able to fix. One of them is that since I bought it I noticed the steering wheel was not returning to center at lower speeds and at higher speeds in the highway I would have to keep correcting the steering. It feels like the steering wheel STICKS and refuse to come back to center. I have done a lot of research, tried an aftermarket Intermediate steering shaft, taken the car to a Toyota Dealership where they changed the Intermediate steering shaft and the rack and pinion but the symptoms persist. Now they told me they are thinking it might be "some kind of electrical motor". Has anyone ever experienced this or can guide me towards the possible culprit. I can provide as many details as you want. Sorry for the lengthy post but now I am desperate. I have not been able to enjoy this wonderful car and I am concerned with its safety now. Please, any help is HIGHLY appreciated.
 

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Welcome to the forum! If referring to the steering wheel not returning to center on its own, mine with our '11 V6 has never done that from new. It seems to be a property of the electric steering and its control themselves. Also with ours, when new I always seemed to have to make constant minor corrections at highway speeds especially where roads had even minor paving irregularities.. Later I decided to ignore the impulse to do so unless a comparatively major direction problem would occur if I did not. The vehicle seems to generally go straight ahead on its own without my constant steering inputs, but it does require more attention than our other vehicle, a '10 Honda CR-V which has hydraulic power steering.
 
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Get it to a competent front end shop that has a good reputation for good work and accurate wheel alignments and see what they say (not the dealer) could be an alingment issue or a worn steering or suspension component in the front end.

I have heard of similar issues when the electric power steering rack is on it's way out.

How old is the current one you said the dealer replaced?
How many miles are on this car? I suppose it could be a problem in the steering column itself, but I've never heard of that before.

My 2007 does not have those kinds of issues and drives like any other car.,at least to me. It is 14 yrs old so it's not perfect, and has some age related quirks, but it runs well.

Is your concern consistent and repeatable that you could show someone? As mentioned, could be in the system that controls the rack, but again I've not heard of that before either. Usually it's the rack. With the front end raised and on jackstands, with the column unlocked, do the wheels go through the full sweep, right, left without any binding? Is it a smooth, consistent amount of resistance for the full range, lock to lock?

Has the car been in a front end collision? Lots of questions and unknowns so it's hard to give you accurate advice. Good luck
 

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My 2006 have exactly the same behavior on the steering wheel. Not returning to center and continuously need corrections on the highway. Steering rack , steering column shaft already replaced, no difference. Sometimes after new wheel alignments felt better, but never returned to center at all. It gives the feeling that the power transfer to the steering wheel is weak. Do our cars have an electric motor for this job?
 

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Not returning to center and continuously need corrections on the highway.
Usually that's because outer (and/or inner) tire-rods are having play. Every pothole you hit, affects those steering links, mostly the outer ones, by the wheel.
If they were never replaced and you paid for the steering rack to be replaced... somebody took you for a "ride".
 

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Usually that's because outer (and/or inner) tire-rods are having play. Every pothole you hit, affects those steering links, mostly the outer ones, by the wheel.
If they were never replaced and you paid for the steering rack to be replaced... somebody took you for a "ride".
The new steering rack i replaced came with new outer tie-rods so i took out the old ones that were worn (their grease gone out from boots).
 

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Now they told me they are thinking it might be "some kind of electrical motor".
In my experience, when the car is on the lift, if you try to move the wheels (grabbing at 3 and 9 positions), you could see where it has play.
Is it in the outer tierod (most of time is there)? Inner one? Inside the rack?

If there is no play, only then I can think that the electrical assist has a problem.

The new steering rack i replaced came with new outer tie-rods so i took out the old ones that were worn (their grease gone out from boots).
Were the new ones greasable (Zerk fitting) or OE? Did they filled them in?
 

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SoNic67 said:
Were the new ones greasable (Zerk fitting) or OE? Did they filled them in?
Not OE, aftermarket ones, not greasable. Photo:
Tie Rod Ends.png
 

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Zerk would be on the back. I had bad luck with some no-OE ones that were not greasable (failed in a few months), and since then, I always get the ones with Zerk.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Get it to a competent front end shop that has a good reputation for good work and accurate wheel alignments and see what they say (not the dealer) could be an alingment issue or a worn steering or suspension component in the front end.

I have heard of similar issues when the electric power steering rack is on it's way out.

How old is the current one you said the dealer replaced?
How many miles are on this car? I suppose it could be a problem in the steering column itself, but I've never heard of that before.

My 2007 does not have those kinds of issues and drives like any other car.,at least to me. It is 14 yrs old so it's not perfect, and has some age related quirks, but it runs well.

Is your concern consistent and repeatable that you could show someone? As mentioned, could be in the system that controls the rack, but again I've not heard of that before either. Usually it's the rack. With the front end raised and on jackstands, with the column unlocked, do the wheels go through the full sweep, right, left without any binding? Is it a smooth, consistent amount of resistance for the full range, lock to lock?

Has the car been in a front end collision? Lots of questions and unknowns so it's hard to give you accurate advice. Good luck
I just hung up with my local car repair shop. The owner just told me that according to the symptoms it shouldn't be an alignment issue but more like an electric power steering issue. He suggested me to take to Toyota dealership since they have the computers and diagrams to find out. The dealer replaced the Intermediate steering shaft and the rack and pinion but not the EPS. That's what they were going to check next. Waiting on the call today about that. The car is new to me and I don't know if the car was in a front end collision, at least it does not show in the Carfax report. I also changed the clockspring. The symptoms are repeatable, the service rep at the dealership is the one who is testing the car after the "mechanics" are "done" working on it and telling me that the symptoms persist. I have not personally inspected the car front end while lifted but I would guess they did at the dealership. I thought (hoped) it could be something easy like a worn ball joint but now I am thinking more towards control arms bushings or bad tie rods. Once again, I would guess they checked for that as well at the dealership.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Alignment of wheels is what returns steering to center.
I was doing some research and found out something about caster been off but then I found that caster is not adjustable in our cars. I would hope they checked for any misalignment in the dealership but no way to be sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
My 2006 have exactly the same behavior on the steering wheel. Not returning to center and continuously need corrections on the highway. Steering rack , steering column shaft already replaced, no difference. Sometimes after new wheel alignments felt better, but never returned to center at all. It gives the feeling that the power transfer to the steering wheel is weak. Do our cars have an electric motor for this job?
So I am not the only one "suffering" from this! Did you have your EPS checked? Has it better been finally fixed or you also just got used to it? There is no way I can get used to drive the car like this, specially in the highway. Besides, to me it represents a safety concern.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The new steering rack i replaced came with new outer tie-rods so i took out the old ones that were worn (their grease gone out from boots).
Did the new steering rack improved (resolved) the issue? Did you change the whole steering rack: control arms, tierods, ball joints, knuckles and the whole thing? Where did you get it from and how much was it? Thanks!
 

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Before you keep spending more money on expensive things why not go to a good alignment shop and have them check your alignment? Much cheaper than throwing money at the dealer who hasn't fixed your problem yet.

Rule out the cheapest things first!

JMHO
 

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Before you keep spending more money on expensive things why not go to a good alignment shop and have them check your alignment? Much cheaper than throwing money at the dealer who hasn't fixed your problem yet.

Rule out the cheapest things first!

JMHO
Thanks. This seems more than reasonable. I will do that next. So far the dealership has only charged me for the steering shaft that needed to be changed and an oil change I asked them to do. I will pick the car up tomorrow and then maybe take it to an alignment shop (gotta try to find a good one)
 

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Thanks. This seems more than reasonable. I will do that next. So far the dealership has only charged me for the steering shaft that needed to be changed and an oil change I asked them to do. I will pick the car up tomorrow and then maybe take it to an alignment shop (gotta try to find a good one)
Good luck.
Let us know what happens
 

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Did the new steering rack improved (resolved) the issue? Did you change the whole steering rack: control arms, tierods, ball joints, knuckles and the whole thing? Where did you get it from and how much was it? Thanks!
Hello again. No, the new steering rack did not resolved the issue. Only difference is that the steering wheel is more tight now, but not feel good, not returning to center. I have replaced: front control arms (their bushings were worn anyways) , outer tie rods & the steering shaft that attaches to the steering column. The steering rack was not OE, it was re-manufactured (around 280$). The price of OE was like 850$ so i could not afford it.
 
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