It can be scary when your steering system makes unexpected noises. Drivers might be concerned about steering failure, and about getting up close and personal with an immovable object. Steering failure is right up there with brake failure when it comes to registering fear while driving.
A noisy steering scenario exists with certain Toyota® vehicles. Toyota knows about it and has issued the following technical service bulletin (TSB) to identify and correct the problem. If you see a vehicle with this condition in your shop, follow the procedures in this TSB:
Steering Intermediate Shaft Noise
Some 2008 – 2013 Toyota Highlander® and Highlander HV® vehicles may exhibit a clunk pop or knock-type noise when turning the steering wheel left or right. A new intermediate shaft has been developed to address this condition. Use the following repair procedure to remove and replace the steering intermediate shaft.
2008 – 2013 Highlander and Highlander HV
Repair Procedure Review safety procedures in ALLDATA Repair® before beginning.
Prior to removing the steering intermediate shaft, make sure the steering wheel and front wheels remain stationary. Once the intermediate shaft is removed, do NOT allow the steering wheel to spin freely.
Ensure the wheels are straight and the steering wheel is centered before removing the steering intermediate shaft by installing a steering wheel holder.
Disconnect the steering intermediate shaft.
Remove the clamp from the steering column hole shield.
Separate the steering column hole cover from the cover boot.
Place matchmarks on the steering intermediate shaft and steering gear assembly (Figure 1).
Remove the bolt and disconnect the steering intermediate shaft.
Remove the steering intermediate shaft.
Place matchmarks on the steering sliding yoke sub-assembly and steering main shaft assembly (Figure 2).
Remove the bolt and steering sliding yoke sub-assembly from the steering main shaft assembly.
Place the corresponding matchmarks on the NEW steering intermediate shaft. To place the matchmarks on the NEW steering intermediate shaft place a NEW steering intermediate shaft next to the original steering intermediate shaft (removed in the previous step) and transfer those matchmarks to the same locations on the NEW steering intermediate shaft (Figure 3).
Install the NEW steering intermediate shaft.
Align the matchmarks on the steering intermediate shaft assembly and the power steering main shaft assembly.
Install the steering sliding yoke sub-assembly with the bolt. Torque: 35 N*m (357 kgf*cm, 26 ft*lbf)
Connect the steering intermediate shaft.
Align the matchmarks on the steering intermediate shaft and the steering gear assembly.
Install the steering intermediate shaft with the bolt. Torque: 35 N*m (357 kgf*cm, 26 ft*lbf)
Install the steering column hole cover to the cover boot.
Install the clamp to the steering column cover hole shield.
Remove the steering wheel holder from the vehicle (if used).
Road test the vehicle to verify the repair and confirm that the steering wheel is centered.
NOTE: This Repair/Service Procedure is intended for use by trained, professional technicians with the knowledge, tools and equipment to do the job properly and safely. It is recommended that this procedure not be performed by “do-it-yourselfers.”
Toyota, Highlander and Highlander HV are registered trademarks of Toyota Motor Corporation and/or Toyota Motor Sales, USA. All trademark names and model designations are being used solely for reference and application purposes.