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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings - I've a 1985 Toyota X-tra Cab, 5 sp, 2wd, 22R, factory throughout, with about 190k on it.

It has terribly stiff steering - it's past irritating and is dangerous in tight quarters if you're not careful - it takes both arms and a lot of twisting to execute maneuvers that in most vehicles are quite routine. when I got it four years ago, it had overwidth tires and chrome wheels. I wore those tires out, and went back to stock wheels and proper tires - and the steering improved a lot. But it's still pretty bad.

It feels like a vehicle with broken PS - but unless I'm embarrassingly mistaken, there is no PS. If there is, it's well hidden.

The steering has also become sloppy, so I'm soon to be replacing various tie-rod ends and such - is there some component that, when worn, makes it hard to steer? I'm going to set the thing up on stands in the shop and do the tie-rods (or whatever - haven't torn in yet to see), the helper springs, and my u-joints....

Thanks, in advance, for any ideas.
 

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It sounds to me like PS not working, but the pump is on the driver's side at the top front of the engine, so you'd see it if you had it. Also, try jacking it up to see how easily it turns when the wheels are off the ground.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, the steering rotates much easier with the tires off the ground - with the frame up on jackstands. It's harder than one might expect, but not by much (and how to measure?). So...what does that prove or disprove? Resistance felt consistent in both directions, with no hard spots or soft spots (but read on!).

All the ball joints and tie-rod ends appear in superb health (I LOVE Toyota). No split boots, nothing - it's even clean. No sign of trouble, at all.

However, I relaxed upon my shop floor and rotated the steering system by pulling and pushing the tires to and fro. There's a definite inconsistency to be felt in the resistance - it'd be tough for a few degrees, then give way, then stiffen up again.

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My main repair was supposedly shocks - it takes a thousand oscillations to settle out a hard downward push on the bumper.

I suspect two things - first, the dampener, like the shocks, is worn out - inconsistent resistance being a sign of a worn shock. Second, as I should've known, the play in the steering may very well be due only to the worn-out shock absorbers....I have vague memories of having a similar problem on a 1975 Chevy Monza, years ago.

I suspect a set of shocks and one dampener replacement, and it'll drive like a new truck. I do admire Toyota - but I still have the deep and abiding vibration to sort out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
PS - I also looked for a power steering pump, or signs of one having been removed. No pump, no sign of removal. There is an unused belt-gallery on the crank pulley, but that's fairly common, I guess.
 
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