I took my 06 xB for a 30K service (even though it has 75K). The mechanic at the dealership showed me that nuts were missing on the two bolts on the right side steering rack; it explained all the cluncking noises I have been hearing. He said it was dangerous to take it on road. The estimate to fix it was $200 ($10 for parts and $190 for labor; he said he will have to take the steering assembly out and what not, ~2hr job). As far as I can tell, all that is needed is nuts for those bolts and tighten it. What do the people of CarTalk community think?
The problem is, if the threads were damaged, the threaded studs need to be replaced. With the nuts missing, for some reason, thread damage is a real possibility. $200 to fix this kind of damage is very reasonable. It’s not just as easy as slapping on a couple of nuts and tightening them down. This is a dangerous situation, because if the steering rack were to come loose, you’d lose all steering control. At highway speed, this may be fatal.
I can’t see any reason to remove the rack and pinion assembly to replace these two nuts or the bolts too for that matter. These nuts and bolts hold the saddle clamp that secures the rack and pinion to the cross member.
If you can figure out the size of the thread on these bolts, you could install the nuts yourself as they’re on the bottom side of the cross member. I get this kind of stuff from a local Fastenal store.
You didn’t indicate if the steering is power assisted or not. My experience is with non-power assisted. Your mechanic may suspect the rack is now out of alignment ad needs to be removed, checked and reinstalled with shims. I have shimed quite a few and the work is as frustrating as herding cats. Inccorrect alignment and the steering jams at various places in the turning radius, then you need a bodybuilders’ strength to move the steering wheel. Ask your mechanic why he thinks it needs to be removed. If the response sounds bogus, see about doing it yourself.
I am not familiar with the layout of that particular car but I have seen racks work loose and when repairing them felt it necessary to totally remove the stud/bolt and inspect the male and female threads and have, on occasion, over sized the mounting hole and installed an over sized bolt. It wasn’t necessary to disconnect the steering shaft, tie rods or hydraulic lines but a Scion may not allow enough clearance otherwise.
Thank you everybody.
I guess I will have to cave in since I also need to do alignment too.