2004 Gen2 Steering is 'Stepwise'

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by baumgrenze, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. baumgrenze

    baumgrenze Junior Member

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    A little over 5.3 years ago I asked about stiff steering in our '04 Prius. Since then it has logged 6030 miles and is now at 77,305 miles total. In the last 15 months is accumulated ~500 miles.

    Power Steering is "Stiff" | PriusChat

    Recently the steering has become 'stepwise.' The sense is that there is intermittent power assist when the steering wheel is turned, as though resistance to turning might trigger power steering assistance that ends almost as soon as it is applied. The repeat rate is every second or two. It is disconcerting but otherwise seems to work OK. It is easy to stop part of one click away from 'dead ahead' so there is the sense of pulling left and/or right. Our most recent 'trip' that required 'driving range' was 90 miles from Palo Alto, CA to Half Moon Bay and then north up the coast to the Devil's Slide trail (old CA-1), a round trip of 90 miles.

    No warning lights show up on the dashboard. Are there tests using the console that would be useful in diagnosing what is going on? In the thread cited above, nh7o, Dec 1, 2013, suggested "If it is the motor, the brushes could be at fault, and maybe a judicious tap could get them to reset on the commutator. Both scenarios are met here from time to time." Where is this motor located? As I have eased into my 8th decade of life I find it easier to let others do automotive maintenance, but judiciously tapping the motor remains in the class, 'right up my alley.' My most recent 'kluge' was the refitting of the right rear tail-light fixture so that that brake light is now a socket and an inexpensive red LED 'bulb' which is almost as bright as the OEM light was.

    Thanks,
    baumgrenze
     
    bisco likes this.
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    2012 Prius Plug-in
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    are you financially incapable of having a dealer diagnose the issue?
     
  3. baumgrenze

    baumgrenze Junior Member

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    Thank you for the reply.

    I am on a limited, fixed retirement income and disinclined to spend $$$ on a car this old.

    I was influenced by the last sentence of post #5 in my earlier thread:

    Power Steering is "Stiff" | PriusChat

    I quote (in part:)

    If it is the motor, the brushes could be at fault, and maybe a judicious tap could get them to reset on the commutator.

    It can be a DIY task to repair, but you will potentially need the mini VCI tool to center the steering. Otherwise, if you give your location in your profile, there might be an independent Prius shop nearby. The dealer will be the last resort.

    #5 nh7o, Dec 1, 2013

    I gently tapped the exposed steering shaft (under the dashboard and above the black boot) with a light-weight brass hammer. The step-wise steering lessened significantly. I should also add that at 25 mph on a city street the direction of the car moves to the left with my hands off the steering wheel even though I had it pointed straight ahead when I removed my hands.

    thanks
    baumgrenze
     
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