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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all,
I noticed a small glob of oily residue that smelled like grease under the front passenger of my 2009 sienna.
I initially thought it was road grime after I washed the car earlier that day but the next morning noticed that residue on the garage floor.
Attached pictures show some grease/residue on that rubber boot.
1) what is that boot officially called? Steering axle boot?
2) is it known to leak at only 80K miles?
3) steering fluid level is normal and not low. Did this boot prematurely fail or is there something else above that is leaking?


I plan on jacking it up this weekend to inspect from the bottom but wanted to see what I might be facing and known issues/fixes with this van.
 

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For some reason your pictures are refusing to load larger for me.

If it's a torn boot, it's just like any other torn boot - repair depends on how much grease has been lost & how much dirt has gotten in.

If you've got fluid leaking through the boot with no tears, it's a common problem on Toyotas of this era - a seal inside the boot is leaking PSF.

I've seen a couple of posts by people who replaced the seal themselves but the usual recommended solution is a rebuilt from the Rack Doctor.

Lots of bad reports on parts store rebuilt racks, and $$$ for a Toyota rebuilt rack.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
For some reason your pictures are refusing to load larger for me.

If it's a torn boot, it's just like any other torn boot - repair depends on how much grease has been lost & how much dirt has gotten in.

If you've got fluid leaking through the boot with no tears, it's a common problem on Toyotas of this era - a seal inside the boot is leaking PSF.

I've seen a couple of posts by people who replaced the seal themselves but the usual recommended solution is a rebuilt from the Rack Doctor.

Lots of bad reports on parts store rebuilt racks, and $$$ for a Toyota rebuilt rack.
I have uploaded the pictures again and now are loading for me.
If there is a seal that is leaking inside the boot and the boot has no tears then where is it leaking from?
is it possible to replace the boot without removing the shaft assembly? I've read briefly about boots that can be installed without removing anything.
What is the criticality of this if I don't do anything what is the worst that will happen/is it better to address now versus later?
I haven't seen any further drops on the garage floor since 2 days ago and the van has been driven each day since.
 

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1) It's called a rack and pinion bellow at Rockauto.com. I call it the steering rack boot.

2) It's a common issue involving the right side boot. Although yours hasn't shredded yet. The cause is probably the seal inside the rack. Others and myself have replaced the power steering fluid and it has stopped. You could replace the boot without removing the outer tie rod by using a greased plastic bag and sliding the boot over it.

3) You should be using transmission fluid and not power steering fluid if you don’t know that already. I use Dexron 3 transmission fluid.
 

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Do a search or simply scroll thru the threads in this section, and you will find many discussions on boot and rack failures for this generation van. It starts with a very slow leakage of PS fluid from the rack seal into the boot, and a chemical reaction with the grease and boot material turn it into muck in a year or so. Replacing the boot may buy you another year, maybe not. Typically you'll end up replacing the rack. Rack Doctor, IIRC, is one of the better low priced sources of rebuilt Sienna hardware.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys.
I plan to do the following:
1. Replace the PS fluid with Dexron II/III with 2 quarts over a week and wait a few weeks to see if any further leaks develop
Current fluid is clear color and looks clean to me, perhaps it is not the correct fluid? I have a couple of quarts of sealed Toyota ATF WS (red fluid) - will that work for the PS?
2. Fibber2, I saw the other threads and also mention of rack doctor. I will explore if step 1 does not hold.

TIA.
 

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If you are looking for a thicker fluid like a true Dex II or III, Valvoline Max Life is not the right product. It's pretty thin to meet the WS standard. Brookfield of around 8,000 or so. Valvoline did make (not sure if it is still available) a true Dex-III in the blue bottle that has a Cp of over 16,000. I used the old blue bottle stuff in my 2002 Subaru Outback 4 speed auto, and it worked great.

Dex-II is crazy thick by today's standards, but I'm sure it's still available.
 

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Thanks guys.
I plan to do the following:
1. Replace the PS fluid with Dexron II/III with 2 quarts over a week and wait a few weeks to see if any further leaks develop
Current fluid is clear color and looks clean to me, perhaps it is not the correct fluid? I have a couple of quarts of sealed Toyota ATF WS (red fluid) - will that work for the PS?
2. Fibber2, I saw the other threads and also mention of rack doctor. I will explore if step 1 does not hold.

TIA.
Clear fluid is probably power steering fluid and the wrong fluid. You will probably need more than two quarts. Walmart Supertech Dexron III is $13 for a gallon. That's what I use.

I would just monitor it and see if it works. It worked for me and I eventually replaced the boot without replacing the rack.

Here is a faster way to flush the fluid without using the turkey baster.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Thanks guys.
O'Reilly auto had the blue Valvoline ATF Dexron III but I bought the max life since it was synthetic. I guess synthetic tends to be thinner.
This is the blue bottle valvoline ATF they have - is that the one you refer to fibber2?
https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/...474444/valvoline-transmission-fluid/d/4773319


Which one would be better/thicker: valvoline blue bottle dex 3 or the Walmart super tech?
Thanks for the video that method seems easy enough for me to do... it is nice to have some elbow room in the sienna around the PS reservoir compared to other cars...
 

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In most cases, a fluid listed as single replacement application such as Dex-III or Merc-Dex where they pretty much merged on a common weight spec will be a heavier weight fluid. Brookfield of around 16k (cold spec). The "Universal" 'replaces all products' tend to be super thin at low temps, but converge on commonality at higher temps.

So if you are looking for heavier, either the Dex-III or Merc-Dex would be a better choice than Max, IMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
In most cases, a fluid listed as single replacement application such as Dex-III or Merc-Dex where they pretty much merged on a common weight spec will be a heavier weight fluid. Brookfield of around 16k (cold spec). The "Universal" 'replaces all products' tend to be super thin at low temps, but converge on commonality at higher temps.

So if you are looking for heavier, either the Dex-III or Merc-Dex would be a better choice than Max, IMHO.
Thanks.
Returned the max and bought a gallon of the regular dex 3 Valvoline ATF from Walmart for $14.
Will be doing this weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
1) It's called a rack and pinion bellow at Rockauto.com. I call it the steering rack boot.

2) It's a common issue involving the right side boot. Although yours hasn't shredded yet. The cause is probably the seal inside the rack. Others and myself have replaced the power steering fluid and it has stopped. You could replace the boot without removing the outer tie rod by using a greased plastic bag and sliding the boot over it.

3) You should be using transmission fluid and not power steering fluid if you don’t know that already. I use Dexron 3 transmission fluid.
Dumb question:
If the seal inside the rack is failing and replacing the fluid helps it "heal", then why would there be a hole in the rack and pinion bellow? I ordered a new rack and pinion bellow from rockauto in case it does have a tear in it after cleaning and inspecting it this coming weekend but not clear on why and how the inner seal leak would cause a tear in it?
 

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The leaking fluid over time probably caused the boot to deteriorate and tear plus the movement of the tie rods moving in and out(stretching the boot) of the steering rack when you turn the steering wheel. Who knows how long it's been leaking inside the boot. You probably only noticed once the boot tore and leaked.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The leaking fluid over time probably caused the boot to deteriorate and tear plus the movement of the tie rods moving in and out(stretching the boot) of the steering rack when you turn the steering wheel. Who knows how long it's been leaking inside the boot. You probably only noticed once the boot tore and leaked.
Thanks!
I will try the freezer bag method I saw one guy on YouTube showing that method on the drivers side but read somewhere that the passenger side is harder but not sure why guess will soon find out.
 

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Good luck and hopefully it fixes the leak. By the way you must live in a southern state because your underside has no rust.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Good luck and hopefully it fixes the leak. By the way you must live in a southern state because your underside has no rust.
I am in central California.
Vehicle has been in the Tahoe area but only during the summer months.
How long should I wait after cleaning the boot and changing the ATF to see if the leak has stopped? (weeks or months)?
Boot arrives next week.
I figure it would make sense to ensure this before changing the boot? And I guess if it doesn't stop leaking then it would not make sense to just replace the boot at that stage unless to buy more time before deciding to replace the whole rack?
 

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I would monitor it and wait until spring. Maybe do two flushes of the fluid. If it stops then replace the boot. Looking at my notes it stopped within 3k miles but your outcome maybe different.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I would monitor it and wait until spring. Maybe do two flushes of the fluid. If it stops then replace the boot. Looking at my notes it stopped within 3k miles but your outcome maybe different.
Thank you sir.
Any recommendation on interval/time between the flushes?
 
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