Defective new OEM steering rack? (1 Viewer)

Joined
May 1, 2019
Messages
6
Location
Ohio
Hi All,

First post here, though I have been lurking for a long time.

I went through the pain of replacing the steering rack on my ’99 LX, but now I have an issue.

I have ZERO play in the wheel, which is awesome. However, now it is like I have manual steering…

With the front wheels off the ground, there is no difference in feel between the engine running or not. I did bleed the system without the engine running, and get flow when I turn the wheel. I also did the flush method by putting a clear hose on the return line to the reservoir to flush the system. Just for giggles, I started up the engine and I had my 11 year old daughter stand by with two quarts of ATF to fill the reservoir.

She.
Got.
Sprayed.

I don’t mean she got sprayed when I turned the wheel, I mean, before I even touched the wheel, the reservoir emptied in about three seconds and sucked air into the system. I shut the engine off immediately (due to my girl’s yelping), and realized she did not get to add any additional fluid (understandable).

Now, I re-bled the system with the engine off. I am pretty sure I do not have any air in the system since I went from stop-to-stop about 20 times and saw no air. With everything put back together and the wheels in the air, there is still no difference between engine off vs engine running: it feels like I have ZERO power assist.

Did I just spend two days installing a defective OEM rack..? I bought it from McGeorge Toyota online.


TLDR: Installed new steering rack. Ended up with no power steering.
 
Joined
Aug 15, 2016
Messages
1,680
Location
Plant City, FL
Pull the hose connections at the rack and the pump, let whatever is in there drain out. See if you can blow air through the hoses, rack, and the cooler, you might have a blockage. I'd be looking at the connections to the PS pump if it has suction, and daughter got sprayed with fluid. Fluid should not be coming out anywhere but the return hose.
 
Joined
May 1, 2019
Messages
6
Location
Ohio
More detail --> Part of my troubleshooting was to pull the reservoir return line, hook up a six foot hose to it, and lay the end of that hose in a five gallon bucket. My girl was topping off the reservoir during the engine-off flush. It appeared that I was getting flow into the bucket when I turned the wheel. Then I had my temporary moment of stupid and started the engine. That is when she got sprayed (she was standing next to that bucket). The end of the extension hose started flopping around like a loose fire hose…

I was under the impression that, with the engine running, the flow out of the return hose should only be moderate (at best) when not turning the wheel? Am I missing something? This is what is leading me to believe that the rack is bad. Maybe a bad seal and the fluid is blowing by in the rack?
 

abuck99

SILVER Star
Joined
Nov 8, 2015
Messages
4,712
Location
ATL
I have a high degree of confidence the rack you purchased is not defective ( I suppose anything is possible though). Something didn't go right with the install or bleeding process. Following the repair manual retrace your install steps. As Gatormark called it, its possible a plastic line plug wasn't removed. Did you clean the reservoir?

The fill and bleed process can be performed with out the engine running, in fact its probably easier on the pump. Safely raise the front wheels off the ground ( use some stands to support the front end), use the extension on the return line to dump excess fluid into a container, add fluid to your reservoir and simply turn the wheel lock-to-lock left & right and this will cycle fluid through the system. Do this until you get clear fresh fluid with no air bubbles. Have 2 L of ATF on hand for the procedure.
 
Joined
May 1, 2019
Messages
6
Location
Ohio
I cleaned the reservoir and did a full system flush about six months ago when I replace the loud PS pump.

When I got the new rack, it came with two black plugs that went into the female hardline connectors for the PS pump lines. I made sure to remove them and check that the holes were clear.

When I initially bled the system, I essentially did a flush procedure. I drained the reservoir return to a bucket and went stop to stop, topped off the reservoir, and went stop to stop again. I did this about 20 times, watching the clear hose to the bucket to see if there were any bubbles. Each time I turned the wheel, I had flow to the bucket. Then, I reconnected the reservoir return hose, made sure there was enough fluid in the reservoir, rested the lid on the reservoir, and then started the engine. Everything seemed fine, so I went stop to stop, making sure the reservoir was topped off.

The next day, I took it for a test drive, and the steering progressively got stiffer. After I got an alignment, I essentially had manual steering. Later that night (yesterday) is when I lifted the front wheels again and sprayed my girl.

Do you guys think I maybe have air in the system somehow? A stuck air bubble?

Thanks for the help, BTW… :)
 
Joined
Feb 9, 2013
Messages
2,940
Location
Colorado
Is it possible the steering column shaft is binding? Maybe it got knocked around during install? I had to replace part of steering shaft on my 4runner when steering became very stiff.
 
Joined
May 1, 2019
Messages
6
Location
Ohio
That is a good thought... When I pulled the rack, I could not disconnect the column at the rack and had to pull the whole column out by disconnecting the upper shaft link. The thing is, the column u-joint is not part of the column shaft I pulled...

What part do you think may be binding?
 

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