Damaged Steering Rack Boot

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by AzWxGuy, Jun 19, 2021.

  1. AzWxGuy

    AzWxGuy Weather Guy

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    A couple weeks have gone by now since I discovered the damage and brought it to the attention of my Toyota service advisor. He has documented the damage with photographs and submitted the package to Toyota for a decision on warranty coverage or not. It could be rodent damage, which would not be covered, or a manufacturing defect or some other kind of "covered" damage. I am pretty certain that after I took possession of the vehicle I thoroughly inspected it and didn't find anything amiss. It was only later during a deeper inspection with a bright light that I noticed a missing section of rubber on the first pleat of the passenger side tie rod boot. It's about 5/8 inch or so and clearly exposes the bright metal of the tie rod inside. I can't get close enough to it to determine for myself if the cut is uniform or jagged, like if it had been chewed. I might be able to get closer if I remove the right front tire, which I might do. My question to the forum, do you suppose the black rubber parts of current model year Toyota vehicles have that attractiveness to rodents that certain parts on previous model years had?
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i don't recall reading anything about toyota switching to plant based rubber, but nothing would surprise me.
    if it's a manufacturing defect, is it something that would be obvious in the assembly process?

    any chance of road hazard damage?
     
  3. AzWxGuy

    AzWxGuy Weather Guy

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    Road hazard would be hard to substantiate based on its well protected location. My service writer did say that the boot is part of the rack assembly, which lists for around $400.
     
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  4. Valiant V

    Valiant V Member

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    SURELY a rubber boot is available without having to buy the whole rack!

    Not intimately familiar with the Prius' R&P, but every other one I've seen, the boot gets replaced when you replace the inner tie rod - which screw onto the ends of the rack.
     
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  5. AzWxGuy

    AzWxGuy Weather Guy

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    Let's hope. Have heard nothing from Toyota corporate yet. Took a picture of the damage before wrapping it in plastic wrap and zip ties. Monsoon rain storms on the way and it needed some protection.

    2021 Prius.jpg
     
  6. Tande

    Tande Active Member

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    Is this the boot we're talking about?? .......
     
  7. krmcg

    krmcg Lowered Blizzard Pearl Beauty

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    $17.00?
     
  8. AzWxGuy

    AzWxGuy Weather Guy

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    Can't see the picture? It's not linked, more like embedded. Odd, I can scroll up to my post and see it. I can even click view attachment in post #6 and see it. What am I missing?

    EDIT: Whoops... I see what happened. There was a link to a Toyota parts website that failed. Never mind...
     
  9. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    tie rod or steering rack?
     
  10. AzWxGuy

    AzWxGuy Weather Guy

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    In the limited discussion I had with my service writer, he indicated if it was a warranty replacement it would be the entire rack assembly. And that would also be true if it was not covered under warranty and I had to pay for them to do the replacement. The price on that was parts $400, no labor estimate calculated. Just today I looked up the tie rod boot on one of the Toyota parts websites I shop at (AutoNation Toyota) and found the tie rod boot for $16.89 + shipping. The description indicates it is the left boot, but they look identical to me. Still waiting out the decision. The more I look at the latest picture I took, the more it looks like it was chewed on. And that will probably be how Toyota decides, or has decided. I have a 20K service coming up soon where I'll find out the decision. I certainly wouldn't be springing for the $400+labor option. I'll explore other options when I have the first answer. It is likely that I could coerce the service department into replacing just the boot and have the warranty for the remainder of the unit continue. My DIY capabilities are not what they used to be, so I would find an outfit to do the work. The vehicle would probably need an alignment afterward anyway.
     
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  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i wonder if it would be possible to repair it.

    i hope toyota isn't making the boots out of vegetables too now
     
  12. AzWxGuy

    AzWxGuy Weather Guy

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    Toyota has decided that the damage was caused by something "external" and won't warranty replace. My service writer didn't seem very forthcoming about any options, explaining once again that the rack would have to be replaced as an assembly. I found a Toyota OEM boot for $17 that I'm going to order. Not sure how to then proceed. Maybe I'll subscribe to TIS and see what is involved in a DIY. I don't know if my service writer had specific experience with a replacement such as this, but his comments alluded to some difficulty and required special tools. I won't be taking it to the corner gas station for a grease monkey special. Can't find any of those anymore anyway.
     
  13. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    Very simply,

    Raise the car and place it on jack stands to unload the wheel.

    Loosen the bolts on the adjustment sleeve that adjusts the length of the tie rod.

    Unscrew the sleeve in the direction that lengthens the distance between the rack and the tie rod. Count the number of turns until the end of the rod on the rack is free.

    Clean the rod on the rack fully. Unfasten the clamps that hold the boot onto the rod and the housing of the rack. Pull the boot off the rod shaft. A new clamp for the boot on the housing might be required. On some cars, a clamp tensioning tool might be required.

    Replace the boot and reassemble the parts in the reverse order.

    As soon as possible, get a front end alignment.
     
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  14. BellevilleMXZ

    BellevilleMXZ Junior Member

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    Personally on a hole that small Id get some good automotive black silicone, clean up boot by chewed spot with brake clean, and seal it up. Do it with wheels straight ahead and let sit for 24hrs. Done it a few times over the years and never had an issue
     
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  15. xliderider

    xliderider Senior Member

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    In addition, I'd probably use a small "patch" of drywall repair tape that consists of fiberglass mesh. First lay down the silicone, lay the mesh patch on, then apply more silicone over the patch material.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  16. AzWxGuy

    AzWxGuy Weather Guy

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    I had a friend recommend building up several layers of Shoe Goo which he said would seal the wound, stand up to weathering, and provide a semi-rigid yet flexible patch. I'm still thinking about the best option.

    In other news, I haven't seen Mr. Squirrel, the prime suspect in this case, for a couple of weeks now. I hope that one of the various large raptors that patrol the area has scored.
     
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  17. AzWxGuy

    AzWxGuy Weather Guy

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    I may have closure soon on this topic. I was able finally to acquire a Toyota OEM replacement tie rod boot and clamps. I have my 30,000 mile service coming up this Saturday and spoke recently with another service writer at the dealership where I get my ToyotaCare done. I asked for an estimate on the replacement job, and after some work he determined that the standard pricing guidance was in error. The repair will be around $250 including an alignment.
     
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  18. AzWxGuy

    AzWxGuy Weather Guy

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    Closing this one out. Steering rack all sealed up again. The alignment zeroed the steering wheel, which was noted after several hundred miles corrected the tire wear. Car isn't as twitchy in the lane now. I can relax and just cruise. Oh, and the cost? Well, my Toyota Care expired at 25K so I was paying for the whole 30K service. Let's just say it was <$1K.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  19. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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  20. AzWxGuy

    AzWxGuy Weather Guy

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    Yeah. Funny, that. I had tried to acquire one through a reseller (AutoNation Toyota) but it was on backorder and eventually cancelled. Weeks went by and I checked the internet again and found a way to order online with the parts department at the dealership where I get my service done. Had the part in less than a week.
     
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