Steering issues

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Old 04 Apr 2009, 03:53 pm   #1 (permalink)
HL0105
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Default Steering issues

2003 Camry SE rack and pinion steering. Mileage 80K. In the last few
weeks the steering has felt different than normal. Feels like the
power steering cuts out momentarily. It goes back and forth - from
being easy to turn the wheel, to being hard, back to being easy, etc.
etc.

There's no unusual noise to speak of, just the back and forth easy to
hard I just mentioned.

Checked the power steering fluid and it was low. With a cold engine
the fluid level was right at the base of the resevoir. With a hot
engine the fluid level rose slightly, but was still below the HOT MIN
mark. In fact with a hot engine the fluid level was at the COLD MIN
mark.

A mechanic friend of mine who last worked on this car in December '07
tells me that the low fluid level indicates a leak somewhere in the
steering system. He had topped off the fluid level back in December
'07, and tells me that since the fluid doesn't normally evaporate -
even in this 16 month time frame - that's why he thinks it's a leak.

Can this low fluid level cause the symptoms I'm having with the
steering?

Any help would be grealy appreciated. Thanks!

- Dave
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Old 04 Apr 2009, 04:31 pm   #2 (permalink)
Anumber1
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Default Re: Steering issues

HL0105 wrote:
> 2003 Camry SE rack and pinion steering. Mileage 80K. In the last few
> weeks the steering has felt different than normal. Feels like the
> power steering cuts out momentarily. It goes back and forth - from
> being easy to turn the wheel, to being hard, back to being easy, etc.
> etc.
>
> There's no unusual noise to speak of, just the back and forth easy to
> hard I just mentioned.
>
> Checked the power steering fluid and it was low. With a cold engine
> the fluid level was right at the base of the resevoir. With a hot
> engine the fluid level rose slightly, but was still below the HOT MIN
> mark. In fact with a hot engine the fluid level was at the COLD MIN
> mark.
>
> A mechanic friend of mine who last worked on this car in December '07
> tells me that the low fluid level indicates a leak somewhere in the
> steering system. He had topped off the fluid level back in December
> '07, and tells me that since the fluid doesn't normally evaporate -
> even in this 16 month time frame - that's why he thinks it's a leak.
>
> Can this low fluid level cause the symptoms I'm having with the
> steering?
>
> Any help would be grealy appreciated. Thanks!
>
> - Dave


Find the leak, Fix it.
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Old 04 Apr 2009, 06:15 pm   #3 (permalink)
anthonyzadeh@gmail.com
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Default Re: Steering issues

On Apr 4, 5:53*pm, HL0105 <tron9...@msn.com> wrote:
> 2003 Camry SE rack and pinion steering. Mileage 80K. In the last few
> weeks the steering has felt different than normal. Feels like the
> power steering cuts out momentarily. It goes back and forth - from
> being easy to turn the wheel, to being hard, back to being easy, etc.
> etc.
>
> There's no unusual noise to speak of, just the back and forth easy to
> hard I just mentioned.
>
> Checked the power steering fluid and it was low. With a cold engine
> the fluid level was right at the base of the resevoir. With a hot
> engine the fluid level rose slightly, but was still below the HOT MIN
> mark. In fact with a hot engine the fluid level was at the COLD MIN
> mark.
>
> A mechanic friend of mine who last worked on this car in December '07
> tells me that the low fluid level indicates a leak somewhere in the
> steering system. He had topped off the fluid level back in December
> '07, and tells me that since the fluid doesn't normally evaporate -
> even in this 16 month time frame - that's why he thinks it's a leak.
>
> Can this low fluid level cause the symptoms I'm having with the
> steering?
>
> Any help would be grealy appreciated. Thanks!
>
> - Dave


It could be a series of things. my 2000 Camry LE had the same symptoms
and needed a connector joint that connected the steering wheel to the
steering box. Also if your power steering belt is loose it will do
this to. But since you don't seem to be hearing any noise, I highly
doubt it would be that. Also your rack and pinion assembly may be
defective. It will share the same symptoms. However in your situation
with the power steering fluid level being so low, I would assume that
would be the problem. Take it to your Toyota dealer and have them look
at it. Just for inspections, they don't charge anything...at my dealer
anyways. You better make sure that is the same at your dealer. Good
luck. The Camry is a great car, but can sometimes be a headache!
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Old 04 Apr 2009, 10:52 pm   #4 (permalink)
in2dadark
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Default Re: Steering issues

On Apr 4, 4:53*pm, HL0105 <tron9...@msn.com> wrote:
> 2003 Camry SE rack and pinion steering. Mileage 80K. In the last few
> weeks the steering has felt different than normal. Feels like the
> power steering cuts out momentarily. It goes back and forth - from
> being easy to turn the wheel, to being hard, back to being easy, etc.
> etc.
>
> There's no unusual noise to speak of, just the back and forth easy to
> hard I just mentioned.
>
> Checked the power steering fluid and it was low. With a cold engine
> the fluid level was right at the base of the resevoir. With a hot
> engine the fluid level rose slightly, but was still below the HOT MIN
> mark. In fact with a hot engine the fluid level was at the COLD MIN
> mark.
>
> A mechanic friend of mine who last worked on this car in December '07
> tells me that the low fluid level indicates a leak somewhere in the
> steering system. He had topped off the fluid level back in December
> '07, and tells me that since the fluid doesn't normally evaporate -
> even in this 16 month time frame - that's why he thinks it's a leak.
>
> Can this low fluid level cause the symptoms I'm having with the
> steering?
>
> Any help would be grealy appreciated. Thanks!
>
> - Dave


Most rack and pinion steering units can be damaged by hitting a large
curb hard. Did your wife drive the car? Also you shouldn't (as a
practice) crank the wheel all the way in either direction.
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Old 05 Apr 2009, 12:53 am   #5 (permalink)
Ray O
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Default Re: Steering issues


"HL0105" <tron9901@msn.com> wrote in message
news:40387061-07a4-4a38-a9fc-289cd486bd37@a7g2000yqk.googlegroups.com...
> 2003 Camry SE rack and pinion steering. Mileage 80K. In the last few
> weeks the steering has felt different than normal. Feels like the
> power steering cuts out momentarily. It goes back and forth - from
> being easy to turn the wheel, to being hard, back to being easy, etc.
> etc.
>
> There's no unusual noise to speak of, just the back and forth easy to
> hard I just mentioned.
>
> Checked the power steering fluid and it was low. With a cold engine
> the fluid level was right at the base of the resevoir. With a hot
> engine the fluid level rose slightly, but was still below the HOT MIN
> mark. In fact with a hot engine the fluid level was at the COLD MIN
> mark.
>
> A mechanic friend of mine who last worked on this car in December '07
> tells me that the low fluid level indicates a leak somewhere in the
> steering system. He had topped off the fluid level back in December
> '07, and tells me that since the fluid doesn't normally evaporate -
> even in this 16 month time frame - that's why he thinks it's a leak.
>
> Can this low fluid level cause the symptoms I'm having with the
> steering?
>
> Any help would be grealy appreciated. Thanks!
>
> - Dave


Dave,

A low PS fluid level can cause the symptoms you are describing, and as your
mechanic friend indicated, a low fluid level generally indicates a leak
somewhere. The most common locations for leaks are the PS pump, hose
fittings, and the outer ends of the steering rack. Running the system low
on fluid can cause further damage so top off the fluid and check its level
frequently until you get the source of the leak repaired. If topping off
the fluid level eliminates the problem, you have narrowed down the possible
causes.

A loose accessory drive belt can also cause the symptoms you are describing,
but the noise is generally accompanied by a squealing sound from the
accessory drive belt.

One more possible cause of the symptoms is a steering shaft universal joint
that is binding.

You may also have a combination of problems - a binding steering shaft
u-joint and a leak in the PS system.
--

Ray O
(correct punctuation to reply)


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Old 06 Apr 2009, 09:45 am   #6 (permalink)
HL0105
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Default Re: Steering issues

On Apr 5, 12:53*am, "Ray O" <rokig...@NOSPAMtristarassociates.com>
wrote:
> "HL0105" <tron9...@msn.com> wrote in message
>
> news:40387061-07a4-4a38-a9fc-289cd486bd37@a7g2000yqk.googlegroups.com...
>
>
>
>
>
> > 2003 Camry SE rack and pinion steering. Mileage 80K. In the last few
> > weeks the steering has felt different than normal. Feels like the
> > power steering cuts out momentarily. It goes back and forth - from
> > being easy to turn the wheel, to being hard, back to being easy, etc.
> > etc.

>
> > There's no unusual noise to speak of, just the back and forth easy to
> > hard I just mentioned.

>
> > Checked the power steering fluid and it was low. With a cold engine
> > the fluid level was right at the base of the resevoir. With a hot
> > engine the fluid level rose slightly, but was still below the HOT MIN
> > mark. In fact with a hot engine the fluid level was at the COLD MIN
> > mark.

>
> > A mechanic friend of mine who last worked on this car in December '07
> > tells me that the low fluid level indicates a leak somewhere in the
> > steering system. He had topped off the fluid level back in December
> > '07, and tells me that since the fluid doesn't normally evaporate -
> > even in this 16 month time frame - that's why he thinks it's a leak.

>
> > Can this low fluid level cause the symptoms I'm having with the
> > steering?

>
> > Any help would be grealy appreciated. Thanks!

>
> > - Dave

>
> Dave,
>
> A low PS fluid level can cause the symptoms you are describing, and as your
> mechanic friend indicated, a low fluid level generally indicates a leak
> somewhere. *The most common locations for leaks are the PS pump, hose
> fittings, and the outer ends of the steering rack. *Running the system low
> on fluid can cause further damage so top off the fluid and check its level
> frequently until you get the source of the leak repaired. *If topping off
> the fluid level eliminates the problem, you have narrowed down the possible
> causes.
>
> A loose accessory drive belt can also cause the symptoms you are describing,
> but the noise is generally accompanied by a squealing sound from the
> accessory drive belt.
>
> One more possible cause of the symptoms is a steering shaft universal joint
> that is binding.
>
> You may also have a combination of problems - a binding steering shaft
> u-joint and a leak in the PS system.
> --
>
> Ray O
> (correct punctuation to reply)- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -


Thanks Ray and everyone else for your replies.

I'm taking the car to the Toyota dealer tomorrow. I've got Toyota's
Gold warranty which covers everything in the steering system except
for the drive belt. They do have a $105 diagnostic charge; but if they
find and fix a problem that's covered under the warranty then I don't
have to pay the diagnostic charge out of pocket.

Worst case scenario would be if they see the fluid is low, pour some
fluid in to bring it up to the correct level, my steering problem goes
away, and then I'm out $105 for their diagnostic charge. And knowing
car dealers, they'd probably also charge me $50 labor for tilting the
can and pouring the fluid in.

Best case scenario would be if they check the system for leaks, and
either find a leak, and/or find something else wrong with the steering
system. In that case, the repairs would be covered under the warranty,
and then I won't have to pay the diagnostic charge.

Being that a low fluid level generally indicates a leak somewhere,
hopefully they'll find one.

Thanks again.
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Old 06 Apr 2009, 11:31 am   #7 (permalink)
Ray O
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Default Re: Steering issues


"HL0105" <tron9901@msn.com> wrote in message
news:7cdda206-4b63-4cc2-9b80-4c0b02023504@k2g2000yql.googlegroups.com...
On Apr 5, 12:53 am, "Ray O" <rokig...@NOSPAMtristarassociates.com>
wrote:
> "HL0105" <tron9...@msn.com> wrote in message
>
> news:40387061-07a4-4a38-a9fc-289cd486bd37@a7g2000yqk.googlegroups.com...
>
>
>
>
>
> > 2003 Camry SE rack and pinion steering. Mileage 80K. In the last few
> > weeks the steering has felt different than normal. Feels like the
> > power steering cuts out momentarily. It goes back and forth - from
> > being easy to turn the wheel, to being hard, back to being easy, etc.
> > etc.

>
> > There's no unusual noise to speak of, just the back and forth easy to
> > hard I just mentioned.

>
> > Checked the power steering fluid and it was low. With a cold engine
> > the fluid level was right at the base of the resevoir. With a hot
> > engine the fluid level rose slightly, but was still below the HOT MIN
> > mark. In fact with a hot engine the fluid level was at the COLD MIN
> > mark.

>
> > A mechanic friend of mine who last worked on this car in December '07
> > tells me that the low fluid level indicates a leak somewhere in the
> > steering system. He had topped off the fluid level back in December
> > '07, and tells me that since the fluid doesn't normally evaporate -
> > even in this 16 month time frame - that's why he thinks it's a leak.

>
> > Can this low fluid level cause the symptoms I'm having with the
> > steering?

>
> > Any help would be grealy appreciated. Thanks!

>
> > - Dave

>
> Dave,
>
> A low PS fluid level can cause the symptoms you are describing, and as
> your
> mechanic friend indicated, a low fluid level generally indicates a leak
> somewhere. The most common locations for leaks are the PS pump, hose
> fittings, and the outer ends of the steering rack. Running the system low
> on fluid can cause further damage so top off the fluid and check its level
> frequently until you get the source of the leak repaired. If topping off
> the fluid level eliminates the problem, you have narrowed down the
> possible
> causes.
>
> A loose accessory drive belt can also cause the symptoms you are
> describing,
> but the noise is generally accompanied by a squealing sound from the
> accessory drive belt.
>
> One more possible cause of the symptoms is a steering shaft universal
> joint
> that is binding.
>
> You may also have a combination of problems - a binding steering shaft
> u-joint and a leak in the PS system.
> --
>
> Ray O
> (correct punctuation to reply)- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -


Thanks Ray and everyone else for your replies.

I'm taking the car to the Toyota dealer tomorrow. I've got Toyota's
Gold warranty which covers everything in the steering system except
for the drive belt. They do have a $105 diagnostic charge; but if they
find and fix a problem that's covered under the warranty then I don't
have to pay the diagnostic charge out of pocket.

Worst case scenario would be if they see the fluid is low, pour some
fluid in to bring it up to the correct level, my steering problem goes
away, and then I'm out $105 for their diagnostic charge. And knowing
car dealers, they'd probably also charge me $50 labor for tilting the
can and pouring the fluid in.

Best case scenario would be if they check the system for leaks, and
either find a leak, and/or find something else wrong with the steering
system. In that case, the repairs would be covered under the warranty,
and then I won't have to pay the diagnostic charge.

Being that a low fluid level generally indicates a leak somewhere,
hopefully they'll find one.

Thanks again.

Fortunately, PS system leaks are generally pretty easy to find.

Good luck!
--

Ray O
(correct punctuation to reply)


  Reply With Quote
Old 09 Apr 2009, 01:14 pm   #8 (permalink)
HL0105
Guest
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Default Re: Steering issues

On Apr 6, 11:31*am, "Ray O" <rokig...@NOSPAMtristarassociates.com>
wrote:
> "HL0105" <tron9...@msn.com> wrote in message
>
> news:7cdda206-4b63-4cc2-9b80-4c0b02023504@k2g2000yql.googlegroups.com...
> On Apr 5, 12:53 am, "Ray O" <rokig...@NOSPAMtristarassociates.com>
> wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
> > "HL0105" <tron9...@msn.com> wrote in message

>
> >news:40387061-07a4-4a38-a9fc-289cd486bd37@a7g2000yqk.googlegroups.com...

>
> > > 2003 Camry SE rack and pinion steering. Mileage 80K. In the last few
> > > weeks the steering has felt different than normal. Feels like the
> > > power steering cuts out momentarily. It goes back and forth - from
> > > being easy to turn the wheel, to being hard, back to being easy, etc.
> > > etc.

>
> > > There's no unusual noise to speak of, just the back and forth easy to
> > > hard I just mentioned.

>
> > > Checked the power steering fluid and it was low. With a cold engine
> > > the fluid level was right at the base of the resevoir. With a hot
> > > engine the fluid level rose slightly, but was still below the HOT MIN
> > > mark. In fact with a hot engine the fluid level was at the COLD MIN
> > > mark.

>
> > > A mechanic friend of mine who last worked on this car in December '07
> > > tells me that the low fluid level indicates a leak somewhere in the
> > > steering system. He had topped off the fluid level back in December
> > > '07, and tells me that since the fluid doesn't normally evaporate -
> > > even in this 16 month time frame - that's why he thinks it's a leak.

>
> > > Can this low fluid level cause the symptoms I'm having with the
> > > steering?

>
> > > Any help would be grealy appreciated. Thanks!

>
> > > - Dave

>
> > Dave,

>
> > A low PS fluid level can cause the symptoms you are describing, and as
> > your
> > mechanic friend indicated, a low fluid level generally indicates a leak
> > somewhere. The most common locations for leaks are the PS pump, hose
> > fittings, and the outer ends of the steering rack. Running the system low
> > on fluid can cause further damage so top off the fluid and check its level
> > frequently until you get the source of the leak repaired. If topping off
> > the fluid level eliminates the problem, you have narrowed down the
> > possible
> > causes.

>
> > A loose accessory drive belt can also cause the symptoms you are
> > describing,
> > but the noise is generally accompanied by a squealing sound from the
> > accessory drive belt.

>
> > One more possible cause of the symptoms is a steering shaft universal
> > joint
> > that is binding.

>
> > You may also have a combination of problems - a binding steering shaft
> > u-joint and a leak in the PS system.
> > --

>
> > Ray O
> > (correct punctuation to reply)- Hide quoted text -

>
> > - Show quoted text -

>
> Thanks Ray and everyone else for your replies.
>
> I'm taking the car to the Toyota dealer tomorrow. I've got Toyota's
> Gold warranty which covers everything in the steering system except
> for the drive belt. They do have a $105 diagnostic charge; but if they
> find and fix a problem that's covered under the warranty then I don't
> have to pay the diagnostic charge out of pocket.
>
> Worst case scenario would be if they see the fluid is low, pour some
> fluid in to bring it up to the correct level, my steering problem goes
> away, and then I'm out $105 for their diagnostic charge. And knowing
> car dealers, they'd probably also charge me $50 labor for tilting the
> can and pouring the fluid in.
>
> Best case scenario would be if they check the system for leaks, and
> either find a leak, and/or find something else wrong with the steering
> system. In that case, the repairs would be covered under the warranty,
> and then I won't have to pay the diagnostic charge.
>
> Being that a low fluid level generally indicates a leak somewhere,
> hopefully they'll find one.
>
> Thanks again.
>
> Fortunately, PS system leaks are generally pretty easy to find.
>
> Good luck!
> --
>
> Ray O
> (correct punctuation to reply)- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -


Ray - your diagnostic guess was spot on. It turned out that the
steering shaft u-joint was binding. They replaced the u-joint and it
was covered under my extended warranty. $0 out of my pocket, so I'm a
happy camper.

One thing that did bother me was something the service rep told me. He
said they had checked for leaks, and didn't find any. The only problem
they found was the bad u-joint. When I then asked him how the power
steering fluid could be low if there were no leaks, his reply was "Oh
that's just due to attrition. There's a certain amount of evaporation
that takes place with these fluids."

That statement bothers me. When I had talked with my mechanic friend
about this he told me that in a closed system, there's nowhere for the
fluid to go if there are no leaks - and that in the 30 years he's been
a mechanic he has never heard of power steering fluid evaporating.

Toyota did top off the fluid for me, no charge. It probably took about
a cup or two.

Anyway thanks again to everyone for your replies!

- Dave
  Reply With Quote
Old 09 Apr 2009, 03:19 pm   #9 (permalink)
Ray O
Guest
  • Posts: n/a
  • User Status:


Default Re: Steering issues


"HL0105" <tron9901@msn.com> wrote in message
news:cf97427e-c508-4a56-8ca6-115b093221ec@z19g2000yqe.googlegroups.com...
On Apr 6, 11:31 am, "Ray O" <rokig...@NOSPAMtristarassociates.com>
wrote:
> "HL0105" <tron9...@msn.com> wrote in message
>
> news:7cdda206-4b63-4cc2-9b80-4c0b02023504@k2g2000yql.googlegroups.com...
> On Apr 5, 12:53 am, "Ray O" <rokig...@NOSPAMtristarassociates.com>
> wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
> > "HL0105" <tron9...@msn.com> wrote in message

>
> >news:40387061-07a4-4a38-a9fc-289cd486bd37@a7g2000yqk.googlegroups.com...

>
> > > 2003 Camry SE rack and pinion steering. Mileage 80K. In the last few
> > > weeks the steering has felt different than normal. Feels like the
> > > power steering cuts out momentarily. It goes back and forth - from
> > > being easy to turn the wheel, to being hard, back to being easy, etc.
> > > etc.

>
> > > There's no unusual noise to speak of, just the back and forth easy to
> > > hard I just mentioned.

>
> > > Checked the power steering fluid and it was low. With a cold engine
> > > the fluid level was right at the base of the resevoir. With a hot
> > > engine the fluid level rose slightly, but was still below the HOT MIN
> > > mark. In fact with a hot engine the fluid level was at the COLD MIN
> > > mark.

>
> > > A mechanic friend of mine who last worked on this car in December '07
> > > tells me that the low fluid level indicates a leak somewhere in the
> > > steering system. He had topped off the fluid level back in December
> > > '07, and tells me that since the fluid doesn't normally evaporate -
> > > even in this 16 month time frame - that's why he thinks it's a leak.

>
> > > Can this low fluid level cause the symptoms I'm having with the
> > > steering?

>
> > > Any help would be grealy appreciated. Thanks!

>
> > > - Dave

>
> > Dave,

>
> > A low PS fluid level can cause the symptoms you are describing, and as
> > your
> > mechanic friend indicated, a low fluid level generally indicates a leak
> > somewhere. The most common locations for leaks are the PS pump, hose
> > fittings, and the outer ends of the steering rack. Running the system
> > low
> > on fluid can cause further damage so top off the fluid and check its
> > level
> > frequently until you get the source of the leak repaired. If topping off
> > the fluid level eliminates the problem, you have narrowed down the
> > possible
> > causes.

>
> > A loose accessory drive belt can also cause the symptoms you are
> > describing,
> > but the noise is generally accompanied by a squealing sound from the
> > accessory drive belt.

>
> > One more possible cause of the symptoms is a steering shaft universal
> > joint
> > that is binding.

>
> > You may also have a combination of problems - a binding steering shaft
> > u-joint and a leak in the PS system.
> > --

>
> > Ray O
> > (correct punctuation to reply)- Hide quoted text -

>
> > - Show quoted text -

>
> Thanks Ray and everyone else for your replies.
>
> I'm taking the car to the Toyota dealer tomorrow. I've got Toyota's
> Gold warranty which covers everything in the steering system except
> for the drive belt. They do have a $105 diagnostic charge; but if they
> find and fix a problem that's covered under the warranty then I don't
> have to pay the diagnostic charge out of pocket.
>
> Worst case scenario would be if they see the fluid is low, pour some
> fluid in to bring it up to the correct level, my steering problem goes
> away, and then I'm out $105 for their diagnostic charge. And knowing
> car dealers, they'd probably also charge me $50 labor for tilting the
> can and pouring the fluid in.
>
> Best case scenario would be if they check the system for leaks, and
> either find a leak, and/or find something else wrong with the steering
> system. In that case, the repairs would be covered under the warranty,
> and then I won't have to pay the diagnostic charge.
>
> Being that a low fluid level generally indicates a leak somewhere,
> hopefully they'll find one.
>
> Thanks again.
>
> Fortunately, PS system leaks are generally pretty easy to find.
>
> Good luck!
> --
>
> Ray O
> (correct punctuation to reply)- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -


Ray - your diagnostic guess was spot on. It turned out that the
steering shaft u-joint was binding. They replaced the u-joint and it
was covered under my extended warranty. $0 out of my pocket, so I'm a
happy camper.

One thing that did bother me was something the service rep told me. He
said they had checked for leaks, and didn't find any. The only problem
they found was the bad u-joint. When I then asked him how the power
steering fluid could be low if there were no leaks, his reply was "Oh
that's just due to attrition. There's a certain amount of evaporation
that takes place with these fluids."

That statement bothers me. When I had talked with my mechanic friend
about this he told me that in a closed system, there's nowhere for the
fluid to go if there are no leaks - and that in the 30 years he's been
a mechanic he has never heard of power steering fluid evaporating.

Toyota did top off the fluid for me, no charge. It probably took about
a cup or two.

Anyway thanks again to everyone for your replies!

- Dave

********
It is good to know that all that time I spent calling on dealer service
departments comes in handy once in a while.

Dealership service reps (also known as Assistant Service Mangers, ASM's,
Service Advisors, Service Consultants, and Team Managers) are not always as
knowledgeable about cars as the technicians who work on them, so they
sometimes come up with implausible explanations.

The fluid used in the power steering system in your car is automatic
transmission fluid ("ATF"). If the ATF did indeed evaporate from the power
steering system, then it would evaporate at the same or higher rate (due to
higher temperatures) from the automatic transmission. I'd bet that the ATF
in your automatic transmission has not evaporated at the same rate,
therefore...

If the PS fluid level is low, either someone sucked the fluid out of the
reservoir (ATF does make a good but messy lubricant for door hinges and is a
good rust preventative) or it leaked out of the system. If you don't have
red ATF dripping from your door hinges all over the ground, then it leaked.

A typical PS system is pretty simple, with a pump, rack, and hoses in
between. Some early 1990's vintage Camrys had a hydraulically driven
cooling fan that was powered by the PS pump but I believe that was
discontinued in favor of the simpler electric cooling fan.

Look at the PS pump and see if there is ATF weeping from the hose
connections or where the pulley shaft passes through the pump body. A more
likely place for the PS fluid to leak, particularly if you drive on bumpy
roads, is the rack ends. There are rubber accordion boots at the outer ends
of the rack. Carefully peel the boots back and check to see if it is bone
dry. If it is oily/greasy, then the fluid is weeping past the rack ends.

The good news is that the PS system will function normally for a long time
with this condition if you remember to check the fluid once in a while.
--

Ray O
(correct punctuation to reply)


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Old 10 Apr 2009, 08:42 am   #10 (permalink)
HLS
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Default Re: Steering issues

"Attrition" is not a very good answer.

In a closed system, for sure, and even in one that is not tightly closed,
power steering fluid
should not appreciably evaporate. There could be minor leaks or drips or
misting that
could cause you to lose a little fluid over a long period of time, and this
unidentified loss
is probably what he is lumping under "attrition".

The very conscientious motorist will check all his fluids, or have them
checked, fairly
often.

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