Steering wheel shifts depending on speed (video)


#1

I am hoping somebody can help me diagnose an issue with my 99 ES300, because I am stumped and can’t seem to find other posts with this issue. While I am driving, when I hit 25-45 MPH, the wheel suddenly rotates clockwise ~20 degrees while the path of the car stays pretty straight. There is some play at lower speeds too, but the the 25-45 MPH shift is the most dramatic. I have a video here where I am applying minimal grip to the wheel, so the rotations you see (especially ~9 seconds in) are not me. The sound is an item on my passenger seat, so that is unrelated.

I checked out the suspension and the front left control arm has some give at the bushing/joint, but that strikes me as a side issue. Everything else feels sturdy in the suspension. Has anybody else had experience with an issue like this? Anything else I can do to diagnose? I suspect this has something to do with the power steering which I have never dealt with before.

Thanks in advance!


#2

The left front control arm has some play and you think that is a “side issue?” No, I think that IS the issue. The bushings have all but failed. When you get to a speed that provides enough drag, the control arm is likely shifting thus throwing off the toe and the wheel as a result. Replace the arm or the bushings on the arm first, then repost if this continues. I’m betting that will fix it.


#3

Mustangman, you may be right. The reasons I thought this was a side issue was a) I haven’t seen significant steering wheel shifts as a symptom of a bad control arm, b) the path of the car does not shift significantly, just the steering wheel, and c) the bushing has no metal on metal contact yet. When I hear about control arm issues, the symptom is usually a metal-on-metal clunking. This seems beyond the issue I’m having and I’ve never seen the resulting steering wheel rotation as a symptom. Since I have to fix the control arm anyways, I might as well fix it and see if this fixes the steering issue, but I fear there is an underlying issue that will continue.


#4

Was that road in the vdo you were driving on quite bumpy? It appeared so from the video, but maybe that was just whoever was holding the camera was moving it about. If the problem is worse or more evident on bumpy roads, that would also point in the direction of loose suspension parts. In any event I concur w/the post above, get everything in the suspension system back in order first, before venturing other guesses.