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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i recently purchased my car and i am having an issue with my steering.

when i drive the car the wheel seems "floaty" around 40-45mph, if i turn the wheel i some times get a light binding clunk in as little as a 1/4 turn from straight, or even very slow just driving straight in a lot. the other day i was backing out of a space and when the wheel was returning to center it stuck for a second and needed a little push, also the wheel tends to quickly return to center kind of aggressively, don't know if that is normal? i had my mechanic drive it, he reproduced the bind, and said he didnt notice the floating feeling, but could not locate it, and said i should have the techs look at it when i go to get tires and an alignment tomorrow.

anyway in diagnosing i came up with some more info, with the car on stands, i can reproduce the noise by locking the wheel all the way to the left, and rocking the wheel a 1/4 turn, you can feel the bind in the wheel, and see the tire jump a little, and the noise is most pronounced on the driver side, this can be reproduced with the motor running or not.

i think the previous owner was chasing this as well because it has new quick struts both sides, new sway bar links, new sway bar bushings, and a new pass side control arm and ball joint.

any help would be greatly appreciated
 

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'03 Camry XLE
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Rack and pinion. Go to CarComplaints.com., and there you will see that this was a common problem for 2002. When I test drove my used 2003 in 2013 I took it into a mall parking lot and made several turns (left and right) with the door open trying to hear any noise from the suspension, but heard none. That was over 60,000 miles ago and knock-on-wood I have no problem with my steering. Sounds like the previous owner fixed everything that wasn't broke...an incentive for you to spend the cash on the rack and pinion. I was lucky enough to find a certified Toyota mechanic nearby who opened his own garage; I would look for the same and get their opinion...you will avoid dealership prices and the every day mechanic who won't have the knowledge or technology that a certified mechanic has.
 

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Besides the rack, check to see if there is corrosion on the U joint where the steering shaft meets the rack n pinon.. My dad's 2001 had this issue before where it would get 'stuck' in a U turn. You had to give it a nudge out of it and it'll return back to center. Wouldn't hurt to spray penetrating oil on it and see if it helps.

I don't have a pic of it of the Camry ( I can't find it ) but should look like this.



Pic is from an IS250 2006.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The rack and shaft is ok, may need a shaft in a few years but its ok for now.

It turned out the previous owner wasnt that smart, and forgot to fill the stabilizer links with grease and 3 of the 4 joints were locking up, they have been replaced and now it does not bind, thank you all for a great community. Now, on to the next issue...
 

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Wow, never thought the sway bar links could cause the steering blind. Thats a new one.

Thanks for reporting the fix!
 
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