Anyone replace the steering intermediate shaft at home? (2004 LE) - Toyota Sienna Forum - siennachat.com
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-18-2011, 06:57 AM Thread Starter
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Anyone replace the steering intermediate shaft at home? (2004 LE)

EDIT: SCROLL DOWN FOR THE HOW-TO PICTORIAL........


Got the dreaded stiff steering, '04 LE. Pump quiet, belt tight, fluid level perfect. Stiff wheel at 3 and 9 o'clock, turning either way, doesn't want to self-center after a turn, no noises. Found the part on Fleabay, 95 bucks, free shipping within Canada. More expensive at the dealer.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/110748188853...84.m1423.l2649

Found the online FSM, http://minivanclub.org.ua/info/Sienna/Sienna2005RepairManual

(RM1163U)/BUT, the page on the steering column for "overhaul" gives a 404 error, all other steering sections are available. Damn!

From the "components" section, the exploded diagram doesn't look too bad, but I have yet to stick a head under the van.

Anyone done their own shaft swap at home? Tips tricks, advice?

If you're wondering about me, swapping whole engines and transmissions don't scare me, doing seals, clutches, installing brakes or rebuilding my wrecked motorcycle from the ground up isn't a problem, nor is ripping my V-6 Ranger down to the bare engine block to swap head gaskets and all other top end gaskets.

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-18-2011, 07:14 AM
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Re: Anyone replace the steering intermediate shaft at home? (2004 LE)

this sounds like something you can handle ,have you done a search on this site ,some of our members have lubed there steering u joint with a syringe and have had great success

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-18-2011, 07:17 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone replace the steering intermediate shaft at home? (2004 LE)

Yeah, I looked in the DIY section but did not see anything on replacement.

I'm off nights Tuesday and will lay hands on the van then to see the degree of difficulty, if any.

But I'd prefer to replace rather than lube, as it's probably really corroded in there, its binding pretty bad.

Northern Alberta, nasty winters, lotsa salt, etc.

Why didn't Toyota just pur a freakin zerk fitting on there?
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-18-2011, 07:22 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone replace the steering intermediate shaft at home? (2004 LE)

Doesn't look too bad, as long as there is decent access.

Hopefully no special tools needed to separate the upper and lower shafts once removed.



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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-20-2011, 07:46 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone replace the steering intermediate shaft at home? (2004 LE)

Really, nobody has actually performed this repair themselves?
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-20-2011, 10:06 AM
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Re: Anyone replace the steering intermediate shaft at home? (2004 LE)

Doesn't look to bad based on the diagram above. I would start by removing the front seat. Take out the interior trim pieces below the steering wheel, then remove the two bolts (item 25) and the steering wheel will drop to the floor. the rest should be simple. Make sure the wheels are straight before starting, so you can try and clock the steering wheel so it is centered.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-21-2011, 03:58 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone replace the steering intermediate shaft at home? (2004 LE)

Alright, so I dropped the lower steering shaft, and it's a pain in the butt. You need small hands, good light, and patience. Being a contortionist helps too. No need to remove anything else off the van, the hood can even stay closed. Don't have to remove the LF wheel, nor any interior trim.

Steering shaft under the dash where it goes through the firewall:




First, I removed the boot where the shaft goes through the firewall, note the paint marks I made for realignment:




After jacking the van and putting Jackstands under it, I removed the bolt holding the lower steering shaft to the steering box, 12mm socket:



To get the shaft off, I had to use a LONG flathead screwdriver, and wedge it in the split where the bolt had clamped it to the shaft, and hammer upwards, spreading the end of the female split shaft and allowing it to open up and slide upwards, off the splined male shaft of the steering box. Before it came fully off, and while it was still aligned, I made another paint mark for reinstallation.

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-21-2011, 04:13 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone replace the steering intermediate shaft at home? (2004 LE)

Slide that sucker right up as far as it will go until it separates from the splined shaft.



Then, pull it back down towards you, and slide it right off the upper shaft (still connected to the steering column). It took a few hard pulls, and sliding it back up, then yanking it down again, but after about a half dozen tries, it came free.

Sure enough, the U-joint was really stiff in one plane, and turned freely in the other. I blew it off with compressed air, hit it with liberal amounts of penetrating oil, and kept working it back and forth until it freed up and was easy to rotate in every direction, right to the limits of it's travel.



I cleaned the old lube off the upper part of the steering shaft, inside the van, and it had this blue plasticky coating on it. I applied some fresh lube to the male splines, and also the female splines of the lower shaft.

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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-21-2011, 04:13 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone replace the steering intermediate shaft at home? (2004 LE)

Reinstalling the lower shaft I did from inside the van, dropping it through the firewall, then pulling it back up to mate with the upper shaft.

A volunteer down below would have been helpful to push the shaft into place while you guide it home up above, but I didn't have one, and managed to get it done myself after a couple attempts.

Not having greasy hands sure helps! Make sure the match marks line up and Bob's your uncle.

Back underneath, guide the steering shaft down over the male splines, again checking to make sure the match marks line up. I had to rotate the wheel a tad to the left to get it lined up, and the steering wheel is perfectly centered, as it was before.



Make sure the shaft is fully seated downwards, as you initially found it. This took some tugging and wiggling.

Retighten the bolt and you're golden. Stiff steering begone! Actually, this is just a temporary repair, as I am ordering a NEW shaft, and I get the pleasure of doing it one more time, but it should be a charm now that I've got it all cased out!

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-21-2011, 02:35 PM
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Re: Anyone replace the steering intermediate shaft at home? (2004 LE)

sweet write up ,you may be good for a long time ,you can even start a side business.

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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-22-2011, 08:37 AM
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Re: Anyone replace the steering intermediate shaft at home? (2004 LE)

Nice repair, and well documented!

Were you getting an occasional 'clunk', or just tightness? I'm feeling/hearing a clunk transmitted to the steering wheel on some bumps.

Current: '15 Sienna Limited Premium (FWD), '14 Subaru Outback, '13 Honda CRV AWD.

Past: '08 Sienna LE (FWD), '02 Subaru Outback, '02 Honda Odyssey EX
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-23-2011, 03:30 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone replace the steering intermediate shaft at home? (2004 LE)

No clunking whatsoever, just tightness as the steering wheel rotated past 3 and 9 o'clock, going either way.

It's good now, but I have a new part coming. This was just a temp fix to get us by.

Turning the U-joint by hand, it was really stiff in one plane, fine in the other.

I still say that Toyota should have made the lower one greasable. The upper one, inside the van should be good almost forever with the factory lube, as it's never exposed to the condisions the lower one is.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-26-2011, 03:12 PM
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Re: Anyone replace the steering intermediate shaft at home? (2004 LE)

Thank you for the great write up! The Sienna is not the only Toyota with this problem. Both my 97 and 3003 Camry also suffer form a stiff steering intermediate shaft. I have been able to keep them working by spraying liberally with Tri-Flow spray lube with Teflon. The teflon seems to be the key ingredient as it has worked well where many others have failed. Most Ace Hardware stores and bicycle shops will have the Tri-Flow in stock. I vote we should make this post a "sticky" so others can find it easily.

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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 08:29 AM
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Re: Anyone replace the steering intermediate shaft at home? (2004 LE)

Great write up and thanks for the information... New to the forum... first post... I wish I had found this a week ago!! I just picked up my 04 Sienna from the dealership yesterday with this problem... except that they first replaced the steering rack, THEN (the next day) the steering shaft... a $1600+ repair (then forum searching began...) I was on the phone with the service department bright and early this morning and expect that they will be putting the old rack back in or cutting their losses and eating the new rack that they put in our sienna - Service manager comes in at 11. I don't think that the tech intentionally replaced the rack unnecessarily, but we'll see how they handle it at this point - either admit their mistake, prove to me that the rack is faulty or (and I hope that this isn't the case) just say that it was bad and the part is gone and they are very sorry... There is more to the story, but I'll see how they resolve today. While I won't get by with a $100 repair, I expect that I should get somewhere in the neighborhood of $1000 back. We'll see...
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-31-2012, 02:46 PM
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Re: Anyone replace the steering intermediate shaft at home? (2004 LE)

Thnkas for posting this procedure, this is exactly the issue we are having w/ our '05 Sienna. I did a little digging after reading this and actually found a Toyota document detailing the fix as well.
Here is the link,
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...1oEUPJayARYiKA

Then download the PDF. Or just do what I did type "toyota STEERING INTERMEDIATE SHAFT IN HIGH ROAD SALT AREAS" and it's the first link.
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