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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I'm driving home off highway 74 (super mountain twisties) when my steering locks up... I fought the wheel all the way to the Toyota hospital. Found out that the intermediat steering shaft, (the shaft that connects the steering column to the steering rach through a slip joint and a couple U-joints) had filled with mud and rusted out all the bearings in the U-joint. So, I am without my car untill they came get ahold of this part (backordered.)

I had to fight for days to get them to cover this under warranty, as my car is very modified.

If you drive in water or like to splash in mud puddles you need to add this to your list of things to clean when you get home.

I will post pictures later, but it is looking like I will not have my car back for some time. At least I'll same some money on gas in my Enterprise Rent-A-Car toyota corolla...
 

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Please do post up pics of the location when you can. I think this fully qualifies as "It Sux!" material. :bandit:
 

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I will not only post pictures, I will try to score the failed part so I can disect it and see if I can come up with an improvement.
It is very difficult to prevent damage from corrosion when a vehicle is taken off-road. This is a maintenance situation, IMO, where you pay to play. If you really want to be diligent (and most people are not, including me), you should inspect, tighten and clean all bolts, lube fittings and greasable parts every time you off road. If it flexes, it should be inspected and cleaned. Obviously, this would be very difficult to accomplish with your own staff, but I don't think it is a part problem...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would agree, if this was an issue more people were having. To date, Toyota has yet to replace one. I have less than 8,000 miles on my vehicle. The joint in question has no servicble parts, no lubrication points, and is, according to toyota, a sealed from the elements bearing.

It is very difficult to prevent damage from corrosion when a vehicle is taken off-road. This is a maintenance situation, IMO, where you pay to play. If you really want to be diligent (and most people are not, including me), you should inspect, tighten and clean all bolts, lube fittings and greasable parts every time you off road. If it flexes, it should be inspected and cleaned. Obviously, this would be very difficult to accomplish with your own staff, but I don't think it is a part problem...
 

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Interesting. They have to give you the failed part if you request it. They should offer it to you anyway to prove that they did indeed replace it. You'd be amazed how often shady shops charge you for a replaced part when they never even touched it.

I'm glad you're posting pics so I can check this part as I like to splash.
 

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I would agree, if this was an issue more people were having. To date, Toyota has yet to replace one. I have less than 8,000 miles on my vehicle. The joint in question has no servicble parts, no lubrication points, and is, according to toyota, a sealed from the elements bearing.
Based on that, how could Toyota refuse to warranty it? Looking forward to the pics.
 

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Based on that, how could Toyota refuse to warranty it? Looking forward to the pics.
12345. If it is in fact "sealed", no mud/muck would get in there. I'm a bit confused. Let's see those pics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Based on that, how could Toyota refuse to warranty it? Looking forward to the pics.
They ended up covering it under warranty. Before doing so, they bounced back and forth on different reasons why it was not covered... Offroad abuse, aftermarket suspension, neglect in service... All of wich I proved to them were not causes of the failure.
 

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They ended up covering it under warranty. Before doing so, they bounced back and forth on different reasons why it was not covered... Offroad abuse, aftermarket suspension, neglect in service... All of wich I proved to them were not causes of the failure.
JUst in case anyone runs into this, what was your argument?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
JUst in case anyone runs into this, what was your argument?
Well, to start with, the dealership screwed up royaly by telling me three different things were wrong with my car before confirming the actual failure. First, I was told over the phone after dropping the car off that there was trail damage to a steering linkage. I then called the service manager and asked to see my car with the diagnosing technician, as I was underneath the car earlier that morning and there was no damage to any steering or suspension components.

They backtracked with, "Oh we never siad that." The technician then startes to point out that the suspension lift is the cause, pointing out the outboard tierod angle. (mind you the truck on on a twopost lift and the wheel is hanging on the strut) I explain how the tie rod angle in not effected and the steering geometry is the same, as the upper and lower A-arms are factory, the steering knuckle is factory, therefore the suspension articulates in the same geometric pattern as before the lift.

The technician then claims he needs four hours payed time to remove the shaft to ensure it is in the shaft and not a damaged steering rack, wich is a component possibly damaged by wheeling too hard. I grab a can of WD40 off his work bench and saturate the joint, turn the wheel, problem gone. It is clear the steering shaft is seized, a problem only possible by corrosion. Torque multiplication by hydraulic assist happenes inside the rack, so anything before it is only subject to human strength via the steering wheel.

The final approval was the hardest, as I have a snorkel installed on my vehicle, and claiming warranty for a part failed by rust is a tough one. The best thing to do is to wash your truck before you bring it in. Spend hours if nessesary, clean every inch of the underbody, lay on the ground with a pressure washer. Make it look like it has never been dirty in it's life.

Being a technician and talking to another technician helps too. I am sure the only reason I got it approved was because throughout the BS they were telling me, I remained very calm and respectfull, though disagreeing. And I was very clear that if they did not approve it, I would repair it myself. Dealerships are very, very slow on work right now, they will take what they can get!!!
 

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JRock, mind telling us which Toyota hospital you took your FJ to?
 

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PM sent. I don't want to advertise special service at any dealership, as this was a consideration they made for me.
Special service huh? I feel they did what they should've done. You shouldn't have had to fight them for it. Thanks for the PM.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
You are very correct. The dealership I work at we have a guy who hunts people down for their warranty parts returns. Nothing gets missed... Plastic clips and trim panels... Land Rover wants them ALL back...
And if you loose the part before it is retuned, the dealership PAYS for it...


I think this applies when YOU are paying for the part. When Toyota is payiing for the part, there are instances when they want it back to investigate the material's failure and potentially design a fix.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I definatly agree. I consider myself an honest man and would not have even brought it into the dealership if I thought I had damaged it in any way. I knew what had failed before I brought it in and knew it was something that should not have happened. I had to fight this dealership before when my pullies started sqealing, and they wanted to deny warranty work then, at 3k miles!! I no longer plan on taking my vehicle to this dealership.


Special service huh? I feel they did what they should've done. You shouldn't have had to fight them for it. Thanks for the PM.
 

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I realize this may be a response late in the discussion - but i guess anyone out there with this problem might find it useful. Two weeks ago my wife experienced this recurrent problem with stiff steering. a response as if the 4wheel is engaged. the problem was brought to the dealer who diagnosed it as steering shaft was loose and it needs replacement. upoun further investigation it was discovered that the lower steering shaft knuckle had already corroded with rust. The fj had 60,000 miles with no racing in dessert trails or trudging through muddy waters its basically a commuter vehicle that proved ever reliable this past winter. total cost was just above 500.00 ... i will post pix at a later time but for those researching this problem hopefully enough people are out there that can make this a recall issue..:
 

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I realize this may be a response late in the discussion - but i guess anyone out there with this problem might find it useful. Two weeks ago my wife experienced this recurrent problem with stiff steering. a response as if the 4wheel is engaged. the problem was brought to the dealer who diagnosed it as steering shaft was loose and it needs replacement. upoun further investigation it was discovered that the lower steering shaft knuckle had already corroded with rust. The fj had 60,000 miles with no racing in dessert trails or trudging through muddy waters its basically a commuter vehicle that proved ever reliable this past winter. total cost was just above 500.00 ... i will post pix at a later time but for those researching this problem hopefully enough people are out there that can make this a recall issue..:
Did you ever get a fix for this? Replacement? My 2007 FJ has 'stiff steering'...my independent mechanic wanted to replace the steering gear (did not make sense to me since there was no leak, no one-sided failure, etc). I brought mine to the dealership and they diagnosed a failed steering shaft coupling / binding. Mostly due to labor, this is a ~$1000 fix (I'm also in MD). Thanks
 
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