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Discussion Starter #1
'04 LE, 2AZ-FE, auto. On left-hand turns only, and only sometimes, the steering will hang up just short of returning to center and requires steering input to get it past the binding point. There is no noise associated with the binding and it appears to be a "soft" bind, in that it feels like some part of the steering is forcing its way past a high-durometer rubber part. Since it's always at the same spot in the steering travel, I'm thinking that something in the rack is hanging up, rather than something in the column. Any of you guys heard of this problem?
 

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2019 Camry LE
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858 Posts
it could be the rack seals are bad on that left side. see if you can pull back some of the rack bellows on that left side and look for fluid. if fluid is present, then you got a bad rack seal, and the rack is about to crap out on you. there are plenty of rebuilt units you can buy, either from toyota, or Moog, or another name brand from the parts store..

now, i have had bad ball joints or tie rods do this as well. they bind due to lack of lubrication. check to see if the ball joints at the end of the strut show signs of rust. check the tie rod ends for rust, all meaning bad joints.

to really diagnose bad ball joints you would have to disconnect the tie rod ends from the steering arm. then you would hold the tire at the 3 and 9 o'clock position and turn the wheel in then out. and binding or noise, or stiffness would indicate a bad joint. if nothing is binding here, then put the tie rods back on (on at a time) and do this again, if binding occurs, you have your bad tie rod end. replace parts in pairs, as the other one would soon let go as well.
 

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06 camry se
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my 06 camry does the exact same thing...... but ive never thought much of it
 

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Discussion Starter #4
it could be the rack seals are bad on that left side. see if you can pull back some of the rack bellows on that left side and look for fluid. if fluid is present, then you got a bad rack seal, and the rack is about to crap out on you.
I've got evidence of fluid on the outside of the bellows on both sides, plus on top of the rack at the pinion seal, and the fluid in the reservoir is black, so maybe it's about time to just change out the whole thing, from the pump to the tie rods, and be done with it. It has only 70k miles on it, though, which seems early for steering failure. I will say that everything moves back and forth cleanly when pushing on the wheels with the front end in the air, so I'm not noticing any binding with no road load. Maybe I'll let a shop get their hands on it and see what they think, but I just don't trust anyone.
 

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2019 Camry LE
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as long as the pump isn't making any noises, to replace that right now wouldn't be a good idea. but do as you wish.
 

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I had the exact same symptoms with a Dodge Shadow a few years back....rack and pinion assembly. You can buy remanufactured assemblies at the parts stores. I replaced mine myself, but you'll need an alignment after. If you do it yourself, just be sure to put your steering wheel in the horizontal position with the steering rack centered and the front wheels pointed forward before you bolt everything up to take to alignment shop.
 
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