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Discussion Starter #1
I thought I had a bad balljoint. My front left wheel flops around (so it feels) under light steering to the right, such as normal speed interstate onramps...

And, the car floats around, will go from wanting to go left, to wanting to go right when the weight shifts, sorta, hard to describe.

My garage moved the tire up/down, determined from the verticle wobble in my front left wheel that I had a bad steering column, and then moved my front right wheel up and down, and determined I need a strut mount on that side.

My question is, does that sound like a proper diagonostic, and if so, How difficult is it to replace a steering rack and strut mount? :)

thanks
-dan
 

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when i found that my steering rack was bad, my tire would move laterally; swiveling from left to right around the hub. not up/down. does your wheel swivel left/right as well as up/down? if so, it's more likely to be wheel bearings, from what i've heard. as to the strut mount, i'm not knowledgeable enough in that field to determine that.

but, to your second question, no, it's not hard to change a steering rack. there's a writeup on this board if you look, and there's a more detailed write-up that can be found by googling. (sorry, i forgot the name of the website that has it.) i changed my steering rack in about and hour and a half with the help of an old friend. neither of us had done it before. but you WILL need an alignment afterwards. :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My wheel on swivels up/down, not left or right (AT ALL). I bought a balljoint from twosrus, i think I'm going to have that put on and see how things feel.

It's not the vibrating that bothers me, as it's not an everyday thing... but the car swaying left and right is enough to transfer weight between the sides of the car, which can be deadly in the snow, both to the mr2 and myself
 

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As far as a blind-diagnosis goes, it sounds a lot like the outer tie rod ends. They have a ball joint on them, and if the boot has disintegrated around it (which, most of them have by now) they'll get all sorts of gunk up into the ball and cause scratches, which allows the lubricant that used to be sealed to leak out. This, in turn, causes the ball joint on the tie rod ends to rust and seize.

What you might try in order to test it is to get two jacks. I'd just use your scissors jack to jack up the side of the car, then take off the wheel so you can better see what's going on in there. Then, use a hydraulic jack to jack up the suspension to see if that ball joint's actually moving like it's supposed to. My guess is that once it gets to a certain point, it'll "jump" into place, rather than smoothly move throughout the entire process of raising up the suspension.

Now, consider what that will do on the highway... If you are going down the road, and you switch lanes at 60mph to pass, you've shifted the weight enough to the left and back to the right when you straighten out that the ball joint will have moved, then stuck back in a different place, causing pressure in a different direction on your wheel, as if it's attempting to steer you in a different direction.

The reason I suggest a jack to lift the suspension is because there's no way a human is strong enough to compress the shock enough to make the ball joint budge if it's rusted and seized. Highway driving and the weight of the car is, though, but if the serviceman at the shop you took it to just moved it up and down with his arms, there's no way he could diagnose this issue.

Also, I'm not sure which side you should start on, left or right, because it could be either side.

If this does happen to be the problem, you'll be able to get the parts from ebay for about 1/2 the price you will get it from Autozone/Advance Auto/etc, and either route you go, you'll be waiting on the parts because nobody has them in stock. Also, don't forget to get replacement boots, and to get your car realigned if you do have to replace this part.

Just my $.02. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Anybody who cares... the official diagnosis by toyota for my steering issues...

Bad front left inner tie rod, bad front right strut mount, bad rear left and right ball joint.

Steering rack appears to be fine.
Thank god... Parts in the mail.

Installing them wednesday, we'll see how it goes.
 

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I have a similiar problem, but I know for sure its not my ball joints because I changed them less than a year ago. I got new outer tie rods from twosrus but somehow I think I should also change the inner ones for piece of mind. I'm going through the order of whats cheaper and easier to change to fix my problem. Even if I replace something that isn't the problem, at least I'll know I did some preventative maintenence.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well man, if you're still following this, this is what I did.

It was time for an inspection, and I knew I wasn't going to pass due to problems in my steering system. I was hearing different things from different people, and was sick of it. I took my car to toyota for an inspection. I figured their diagnostic fee is 75 bucks, but they'll tell me what's wrong for 20 if I do an inspection there, and they did.

They said i Needed 2 rear ball joints, front left inner tie rod, front right strut mount.

I got a full inspection of my steering system from toyota, went home, called up david hawkins (www.twosrus.com) for the ball joints and (www.irontoad.com) for the mount and tie rod.

Toyota quoted me 1300 dollars for parts/labor, I got the parts for about 250 and labor was 300, best money I ever spent.

Had my local mechanic put them on because I don't know how to, nor do I have the patience really.

CAR DRIVES LIKE FREAKING NEW.

I was getting bored with my mr2, it wasn't fun to drive anymore. Holy crap. I feel like a traitor for not fully believing my car was still the quickest thing on 4 wheels.

Get a proper diagnosis of your problem man, before you go replacing stuff. Knowing what the problem is, is by far the easiest way to fix it properly and cheaply, especially with suspension components which usually require an alignment every time you upgrade something.
 
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