ClubLexus - Lexus Forum Discussion

ClubLexus - Lexus Forum Discussion (
-   GS - 2nd Gen (1998-2005) (
-   -   First time lexus owner, possible problem with steering wheel has free play/movement (

airestonia 11-21-09 10:32 AM

First time lexus owner, possible problem with steering wheel has free play/movement

I'm driving my gs only for a week and having following problem.
GS is a 3.0 liter 2001 and was bought from a dealer with full history.

So here is the problem, when driving or not, when motor is turned on or not, steering wheel has this "free-play or movement" less than half an inch, meaning that if a turn my wheel left or right just a little I will not feel any resistance neither a car would change it course.
Even when the motor is turned off, I can still feel this free movement.

I've been to the dealer, but they haven't found any problem, but I'm still concerned with this "movement"... :sad:

I have taken two videos, so that you could see what I'm talking about.

Motor turned on:

Motor turned off:

Please help me diagnose if this even a problem, has any of you experienced this and most importantly how can this be cured.
Thank you!!!

airestonia 11-22-09 02:48 AM

Up! Please help, I'm really desperate on this one :sad:

vwynn 11-22-09 09:12 AM

i like your steering wheel :)

have you tried taking apart the steering wheel?

JiBBeL 11-22-09 09:19 AM

Honestly, I don't think it's much of a problem. I just went out to the garage and checked my '01 with the engine off. It has a 1/4 inch of play I guess, but it still has some resistance. does it bother you much while driving? The lexus steering racks aren't gonna feel BMW-esque that's for sure.

silos5 11-22-09 11:16 AM

airestonia is a friend of mine. today we took an aibag off and checked the bolt that folds the wheel, it's OK. Tomorrow he's going to visit some repair shop for deeper investigation.
This "free play" doesnt bother at all, and you cant feel it while driving and turning, but you can feel it when you are on a straight and want to move the wheel just a little bit. The wheel has a play of about 1/4 inch (0,5 cm). Personnally I dont think it's OK to have this "play" on a Lexus.

timgs300 11-23-09 04:34 AM

A little play in the steering wheel is normal. DOT specs require no more than 2" play to be considered safe. That said, it's always good to check out suspension/steering parts for wear.

airestonia 11-23-09 05:29 AM

I'm more than sure even this small "play" isn't OK on a lexus. If this play would have been with resistance than I'm pretty much sure I wouldn't have spotted it at all, but my "play" is with no resistance at all, it's like it suddenly lost connection with something... It feels really awkward and not comfortable when driving straight.

The thing I've tried: I have reached the steering wheel column with my hand near the pedals, and grabbed it tightly, then with the other hand moved my steering wheel left and right just a little, and haven't felt the column move at all, but when I passed this "moment" of resist-freeness :) I felt the column moving. I hope the description is understandable :sad:
Well considering the above, it's logical that the problem is somewhere lower than the bolt that holds the steering wheel but higher than the column place I could grab near the pedals.

Check out the link below, maybe somebody can point out parts that might have gone bad and need replacing or adjusting.


Infamous 1 11-23-09 07:18 AM

I have that little bit of play on mine as well. I think its normal.

timgs300 11-23-09 06:58 PM

All right. Here goes. 45260 looks like an intermediate shaft that connects the upper and lower shaft. 45209 is the u-joint connected to the steering rack. Those u-joints are a potential source for wear (the part where the bolt goes through to hold it onto each shaft is the u-joint). The rack itself is a potential source for wear as there are gears in there. The tie rods connected to the rack (inner and outer) have potential for wear. This is probably where it would end, but of course if you want to go further, the ball joints attached to the steering knuckles could be worn as well, but I wouldn't think likely to cause steering play feel.

airestonia 10-04-10 01:00 AM

Hello everyone!

Been searching all morning and found quite a few threads regarding following problem but none had a solution.
Since I have my own thread decided to update it with my recent problem.

About a week ago I had both lower ball joints replaced.
After that I told my mechanic about the "steering wheel free play movement" (The problem that made me create this thread).
He then said that there is a bolt on the steering rack that can be tightened/loosened up and he thought he'd give it a try to see if it fixes my free play problem.

Here is the place I'm talking about:

Once he tightened it up a bit I drove out and right away sensed that my steering wheel feels hard to turn and stuff.
I haven't driven my car right after the ball joints have been changed so I can't tell that steering wheel feels that way only due to tightening that bolt on the rack.

Well after a day I came back to the shop and they loosened that bolt to where it was originally (at least they said so).
But the problem is it still feels hard to turn and following stuff is also observed:
* fist of all wheel is harder to turn
* steering wheel doesn't come back after turning as fast or as easy as it used to before (it does come back but not all the way and very slowly as if there is some tension or something simalr)
* once I reverse with my steering wheel turned to one of the sides at a max I cannot turn to the other side without driving a little forward. I feel that the steering wheel is blocked by something :( But once I drive a little I can turn it to the opposite direction.

At the moment I'm thinking two things:
Should the alignment be done after changing out lower ball joints?
Or that bolt on the rack is to be blamed?

My PS fluid is dark but the level is fine.

And I forgot to mention that tightening that bolt on the rack didn't fix my free-play problem it's still there... :sad:

Please help, I'm ready to provide you guys with any info on request regarding this problem, pics, videos, info. I really want to fix this problem and make it drive as Lexus should once again!

Thank you!

gsjason300 10-04-10 08:37 AM

probably blown shocks.

airestonia 10-04-10 11:53 AM


Originally Posted by gsjason300 (Post 5836979)
probably blown shocks.

Thank you for a reply, but what do you mean blown shocks?
As related to what?

gs-ireland 10-05-10 08:39 AM


Does the steering wheel shake when you drive over a rough surface (eg gravel)???

airestonia 10-05-10 10:21 AM


Originally Posted by gs-ireland (Post 5839935)

Does the steering wheel shake when you drive over a rough surface (eg gravel)???

Yes it does!
My mechanic says this is most probably related to the driver side caster arm (lower control arm #2) bushing, which is already ordered and should be replaced pretty soon.

Knowing that what do you think is the problem of the free steering wheel play?
Thank you for your input!

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:29 PM.

Copyright © 2000-2017 Internet Brands, Inc. All Rights Reserved