New TN User
Join Date: Apr 2019
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Stiff steering when hot
So I bought my 2002 Toyota Highlander V6 AWD in November/2018 from Canada. It has about 200k kms on it (roughly 130k miles). The car is in fairly good condition overall but I've been having steering issues which no one has been able to solve thus far.
When I was driving it down from Canada to Tennessee, roughly 8 hours in to the drive, the steering got super stiff and would not turn with one hand. I finally made it home and took it to Toyota and they said that the intermediate shaft has seized and charged me $650 to put a new one. This fixed the steering issue somewhat but the steering was still not fully smooth (it would start off fine when cold but as I drove it to temperature the steering got progressively stiffer). Toyota blamed the aftermarket steering pump not being able to provide the right pressure and had me replace the power steering pump with the original one (another $850). This did help somewhat but the issue still remains.
-When I start the car in the morning (cold), the steering is super smooth and the car drives really well. If I am driving around, the temperature gauge reaches about 40% hot (not dead center) and the steering wheel gets stiff. If I start the car cold and leave my car sitting at idle and let the engine temperature gauge reach the center (50% mark), then the steering is even more stiff and remains so until the car has sufficiently cooled down. Toyota is making excuses that it is nothing and that's how it is supposed to be and it is probably my struts heating up form usage. But if that was the case, why would it happen at idle when I haven't driven the car around at all and only let the engine heat up? I am suspicious that it could be my rack and pinion but Toyota has confirmed multiple times that there is absolutely nothing leaking from racks and they are in good shape.
-One strange thing I noticed with my previous power steering pump was that when I drained the ps reservoir by removing the return line and then replaced the return line and refilled it with ps fluid, the steering got extremely smooth for maybe 1/2 full turns but got stiff again. Would a bad reservoir cause such symptoms? I am truly clueless
Last edited by Steward Horro; 04-07-2019 at 12:26 AM.