04 camry: intermediate steering shaft clunking noise

This occurs when I turn the wheel. Has anyone else experienced this? Does it require immediate action?

You can read about this problem here. http://www.justanswer.com/uploads/skyvisions/2008-03-20_173815_04highshaft.pdf

Ooops! Wrong link.


I couldn’t open tester’s link, but I am sure it is correct.
There is a TSB for the intermediate steering shaft on this model. I think the labor and parts add ton $1000+ at th dealer, so shop around at local shops. It could turn into a serious problem, ie no steering. Considering the many Camry’s from that generation I haven’t seen that many upside down.

there are a couple of U joints that go from Steering wheel to gear and they can dry and bind. Disassembly and lube or if you get lucky you can soak from outside. May need to pullthe steering wheel shaft cover to get to it…

I saw this posted while my '04 Camry was out of town. When my car got back I tested it. Naturally, I found a tiny backlash-like clunk/click in the steering.

Does anybody have an idea about how noticeable the clunk has to be before I worry about it’s being dangerous?

The TSB says it’s covered, if the owner complains, under the 3-yr, 36K mi warranty. My car has only 34K miles. Any advice on whether/how to approach a dealer or Toyota about extending the time on the warranty? (If they don’t, I’ll go to a trusted independent. It looks like it would take me two or three days to do it myself :>) )

Just an FYI update.

I did take the car ('04; 34.8K miles) to a dealer, asking what consideration I could get for extending the warranty on this TSB. (I know OK4550 thinks that this is usually an unreasonable request, but the problem was a design defect, and not just wear.) After tech’s diagnosis the Service Manager (helpful) reported that it neeeded not the intermediate shaft replacement, but rather a “grease kit” IAW a different TSB, and something about having to disassemble the steering column. $22 for parts and $218 for labor (plus shop supplies and mandatory $4 haz mat fee). But they were willing to give 50% on the labor. I was skeptical about the proposed fix AND about disassembling steering column for $218, but I figured I had to let them do it to establish a claim if the problem did turn out to be the shaft.

Well, well. For $137 the problem seems to be fixed. And I got a Free 28 Point Inspection. And a free car wash, which I needed anyway. I’m satisfied, and if the problem comes back I’ll let you know.