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So just thought I'd update this thread. Since my post above (5/28/17) the steering clunk remained a non-issue until probably a couple months ago. Is now back just like it was before. Since I'm due to rotate tires anyway, I'll probably do the same as I did above and see if that banishes it for another couple of years.
 

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So just thought I'd update this thread. Since my post above (5/28/17) the steering clunk remained a non-issue until probably a couple months ago. Is now back just like it was before. Since I'm due to rotate tires anyway, I'll probably do the same as I did above and see if that banishes it for another couple of years.
I have a 2013 XLE and have a springing sound like a too tight wire bing plucked, that I am pretty sure is the intermediate Steering. I also took the joint off from under the steering but the sound was better for only a few minutes. I was wounding if the second attempt did anything for you.
 

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I have the exact same issue for a few years and put probably 50k kms since noticed . it is a bit more obvious now but will try Stervino's trick when I have a chance.
 

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Yes, repeating my earlier procedure did banish the clunking again. I hate that this even needs to be a thing, but it appears to work, at least thus far.
 

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To be honest, I was very sceptical about it but I just tried and it worked! It was to the point that I started to think about ordering a new steering column and now, after doing exactly the same thing (disconnecting the upper bolt and sliding the shaft several times), the clunking is totally gone. I will update when/if the clunking comes back. Thank you Steverino for sharing!
 

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You're welcome! Glad it worked for you, too.
 

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I just thought I'd post an update. Today I did an oil & filter + tire rotation service. While I had it up on jack stands to do the rotation, I thought it would be a good time to take a closer look at the intermediate shaft (higher off the ground means less contortion to get up under the dash). I carefully disconnected the upper u-joint from the steering shaft (taking care to match-mark the joint & splines, and also taking care to be sure the wheel was locked so that it would maintain position). I was then able to slide the short shaft up and down through the floor housing (it's designed to collapse in the event of an accident). I was hoping I could slide it up far enough to allow me to add grease to the splines, but this version of the assembly does not allow that. So, frustrated that I was unable to do much, I put everything back together.

The interesting part is that when I took the van on an errand later, all of the clunking / popping was gone! I don't know if the act of sliding the shaft up and down several times was enough to redistribute the factory lubricant inside the assembly, or what. But problem solved, at least temporarily. I don't really expect it to last, but will be interesting to see how long it does.

If you are interested in trying this yourself, there are at least a couple of YouTube videos - search for Toyota intermediate steering shaft... And remember, of course, that it is critically important to reinstall the pinch bolt in the u-joint and tighten it adequately - after all, this is steering we're talking about here!
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Yes, repeating my earlier procedure did banish the clunking again. I hate that this even needs to be a thing, but it appears to work, at least thus far.
I tried doing your fix just now but I was not able to remove the whole U assy off the steering column and was just able to move it up and down about less than half an inch - about 5 times. Did you remove it completely and moved it up and down?

46882
46883
 

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Sorry for the delay - I was out of town. Yes, I was able to slide it off of the splined shaft and move it up and down. Not sure why yours won't cooperate...
 

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Maybe I wasn't able to loosen up the clamp enough I guess. But your trick did work even though I was only able to move it up and down half an inch at a time. The popping noise went away for now... thank you!
 
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