How To: Replace your Upper Steering Column Shaft (1 Viewer)

Ayune

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Feb 12, 2017
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Portland, OR
My steering was ratting over bumps and had annoying rotational play, or a "dead spot". Wandering while driving too. The cause was wear of the collapsible slip joint within the upper steering shaft. Turning the wheels with the engine off stresses the joint and can loosen it over time, in my case 290k miles and two previous owners. Others have posted about it and from what I've read it's an issue with other Toyota models.

I replaced the upper steering shaft and related small parts and the issue is totally gone. Steering feels tight now with no play or clunking anymore. Parts cost was $214 total. "Shoulda done it a long time ago" is an understatement...

It's super simple to check the shaft for play: Reach under the dash above the brake pedal and feel for the shaft junction circled below. When you wiggle the steering wheel the small shaft should mimic the movements exactly. If there's any play between the steering wheel movement and this shaft it'll be very obvious.

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Here's a step-by-step procedure if anyone wants to tackle the job themselves. Took me about 4 hours including taking pics & notes along the way. Parts listed are for a 1998 LC, so check your vehicle's year/model for correct P/Ns. Enjoy!

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Attachments

  • Upper Steering Shaft Installation.pdf
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Joined
Feb 24, 2014
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Home of the Rat, FL
@Ayune ... Jim... your pdf is a work of art. Doesn't it make you wanna do another steering rack so we can take picts of all fifty some steps???? ;) Just throwing it out there.... Ill be in Oregon on the 25th of July :) LOL

Looks awesome bro!!!! Kudos
 

Ayune

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Feb 12, 2017
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Portland, OR
@Ayune ... Jim... your pdf is a work of art. Doesn't it make you wanna do another steering rack so we can take picts of all fifty some steps???? ;) Just throwing it out there.... Ill be in Oregon on the 25th of July :) LOL

Looks awesome bro!!!! Kudos
Thanks. I did my steering rack at a pay-by-the-hour DIY garage with a lift, so I wasn't taking the time for pics! Plus there was ATF fluid absolutely everywhere, my phone would've gotten completely jacked up. The column was a much cleaner process.
 
Joined
Aug 6, 2015
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20
Location
SF, CA
Bumping this awesome DIY! Clear instructions and great pictures. I just followed it to do mine this morning in about 2.5hrs. A couple of things I noticed:

Diagnosis for this issue:
Lie down underneath the steering wheel and grab the universal joint (at the firewall) by hand and turn the wheel with the other hand. You should feel the dead spot between your two hands. If so, it is the upper steering shaft issue. I've also heard of the intermediate shaft being the issue so its good to isolate before buying the parts.

1. (PAGE 3) Steering wheel puller thread. Mine was M8x1.25 instead of 5/16-18. No big deal. The loaner set from O'Reilly had both.

2. (PAGE 13) Removing switch assembly. I found it difficult to access the two 10MM hex. It was easier to remove the 3x philip screw from the sides.
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3. (PAGE 15) Pressing on new retainer clip. 18MM socket was not big enough for me. It bottomed out on the taper before being able to press the clip in all the way. 19MM work well. This might be down to differences in socket design. I would test your socket on the old shaft to make sure it slips down all the way.

4. (PAGE 17) Pressing in new plastic bushing. I separated the flange from the tube to get better access for knocking in the bushing. Not really necessary but easier get a dead-blow hammer to evenly press it in.
IMG_2786.jpg


Other than that, again great instructions. This is what makes IH8MUD great. Thanks again.
 
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TLCPNW

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Jan 19, 2017
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34
Location
Oregon
Thanks Ayune for the easy to follow directions. My steering is noticeably tighter now. The extra information @dy9213 provided was super helpful as well.

I ended up breaking the little Tilt Lever Link because as I was trying to put it into place I moved the Tilt Steering Lever which applied pressure and snapped one of the ends off. @Ayune wasn't lying when he said to "finagle and wiggle it out". Just spin it between your fingers and it should be able to pop right in. Luckily I was able to get the part the next day from the local Toyota dealer (only $3, and $0.90 if you order it from partsouq.com which is where I ordered all of my parts from for this project - might as well add it to the list at that price. If anyone in Portland, OR is doing this I have an extra one I ordered just in case, hehe).
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Joined
Sep 23, 2013
Messages
249
Location
Baton Rouge, LA
Great write up, much appreciated. I followed them and replaced all components. It helped a ton, especially on just normal steering feel and tightness.

Question though, when I hit bumps, I still get a real "loose" feedback, what's the other major wear component in this line down to the steering rack that people have found to help?
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2019
Messages
29
Location
Benton,La
Excellent write up. Solved my “click” or “rattle” when turning that was driving me crazy. Took me about 4 hours total.
 

Eyedaho

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Sep 24, 2019
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686
Location
Boise, Idaho
@Ayune thanks so much for this amazing write-up! It made it so much easier for me to get this done. It took me about three hours today, and eliminated a huge amount of play from my steering ('99 w/300+k).

The only thing that I might add that I found easier, is that I used a ratchet clamp
Screenshot_20210214-165357.png

to press the bearing/spring onto the shaft. I broke off a piece of wooden chopstick and used that between the clamp jaw and fork ends. I still used the 18mm socket. This just seemed easier than pushing the socket with my body weight, and a couple squeezes seated the snap ring.
 

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