Rack and Pinion-2000 4runner


I have a 2000 4runner that I brought to a mechanic for an alignment, they said they could not guarantee the alignment because the rack and pinion has “excessive gear lash in rack” Which would require $800 for a new rack and pinion system. There is no leak, but there is play on the steering wheel. Should this be fixed?


There may be another cause of the play in the steering. It could be a worm joint in the steering shaft, etc. Some places tell their customers that any play is unacceptable. This is what Mark Twain would call, “a damn lie”. You decide. Get a second opinion from another shop.


There are 3 places that could cause sloppiness in the steering system in regards to being unable to align it.

  1. Excessive lash between the rack and the pinion gear. On many racks this is adjustable, but if it has a lot of slop in it then I don’t know that adjustment would help that much.
  2. Excessive looseness in the inner tie rod ball sockets. There is one on each end of the rack and looseness here is a very common problem. Often these inner tie rods are available separately and can be replaced without replacing the entire rack.
  3. Worn outer tie rod ends; also one on each side and replaceable.

About all I could suggest is get some more opinions as No. 2 and No. 3 are much more likely than a loose rack/pinion gear.
Here’s what the inner looks like.

Here’s the outer.

Something for consideration anyway; hope it helps.


thanks for the help I will get 2nd opinion at the dealership


Just FYI I took it to the dealership they said the front stabilizer links and retainers with cushions needed to be replaced.They did and total repair cost $380


Thank you for keeping us informed. Generally we never know what has happened with a problem vehicle.

I wonder how in the world they could confuse a steering rack problem with a stabilizer link problem? They’re separate assemblies altogether.