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Slack in steering column (rattling noise)

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by tarantoga, Nov 4, 2017.

  1. tarantoga

    tarantoga Junior Member

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    My Prius (2012 Plug-In with 60k miles - I assume same steering as non-PHV) is making rattling noise in the steering when going over rough roads.

    I removed the plastic cover under the steering, and can feel play/slack in the column when moving the steering wheel, i.e. can feel one part of the joint moving with play against the other (see pic).

    I can't see an obvious way to tighten this though. Any ideas if it is fixable without replacement?

    I see a related recall for Gen2 cars, but none for Gen3.
     

    Attached Files:

    Private Prius Owner and Markzaca like this.
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i have 54,000, and haven't noticed anything yet, are your tires wearing evenly?
     
  3. tarantoga

    tarantoga Junior Member

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    I actually just went back to the car and tighten that big bolt in the picture just above the purple mark. It wasn't loose and I didn't think it would affect the joint, but I tighten it a small notch.
    And the rattling is gone!

    Instructions:
    • Remove the 2 screws holding the plastic panel in place (the panel that is above the pedals
    • Unplug the wires for tire pressure reset and the LED, and remove that panel
    • Stick your hand in there to find that joint. Wiggling the steering wheel helps to find it (see pic in my original post)
    • Use a 12mm ratchet with an extension, and tighten it hard.
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    congrats, well done!(y)
     
  5. mfradkin55

    mfradkin55 Junior Member

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    tarantoga-

    Thank you for your detailed instructions and photograph!! I followed your steps to tighten the steering linkage
    on my 2011 Prius Gen 3 that had been rattling for a while now. I did the "fix" a few days ago and so far the
    rattle seems to be gone. In a week or so, I will follow up again to let you know if it indeed is repaired.

    How did you know which bolt to tighten? Just curious...

    Again, thank you!

    Mark
     
  6. Uberfast

    Uberfast Junior Member

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    Hey folks. I'm having the same issue. I will try the solution from this post. See how it goes
     
  7. Dxta

    Dxta Senior Member

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    In some situations, if you have that joint slackened, it calls for the knuckle joint over there to be replaced. What you have just done, in my view, is to reduce the play in there.

    The knuckle joint there, has a kind of bushing, that tends to absorb all the steering forces(noise) as you steer your car. If that isn't taken care of, the play with time, would still surface!

    So, check the steering knuckle joint(intermittent shaft) bushing on that column if its cracked.
     
    #7 Dxta, Mar 8, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
  8. mohd farid

    mohd farid Junior Member

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    Dxta..i have tighten d bolt . Its pretty tough to tighten it because already tight. Anyway, when drive, the rattling still can be heard but improve tremendously. So, permanent fix it to replace the column shaft? Can you share how is it done?

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
    #8 mohd farid, Jul 27, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2018
  9. spicegirl

    spicegirl Prius shopper

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    This fix worked for me. Thanks!!
     
  10. birchy

    birchy Junior Member

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    Resurrecting an old thread here.. but I just wanted to say thanks for this!!

    I've had this clunk in the front end since we bought our 2010 Prius a year and a half ago.. I assumed the whole time it was because the brake pads have no shims. More recently I started looking into it again, and did some more specific Google searching, which led me here. Just finished tightening that bolt and going for a test drive.. no more rattling/clunking!!
     
  11. Wooward

    Wooward Junior Member

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    I also wanted to say thanks for this thread. I too had a clunk that I thought was coming from the driver suspension area. I replaced the stabilizer bar links and bushings and the noise was still there. I then spent extra care trying to pinpoint the exact location of the sound and decided it was close to the bottom of the windshield.

    I stumbled across this thread through my endless searches and decided to give it a try since it seemed very quick. No more clunking! Thanks so much!

    Also, this video helped me as well.
     
    Private Prius Owner likes this.
  12. Bert Roulinson

    Bert Roulinson New Member

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    I changed my struts, tie rod ends, and sway bar linkage. Took the car to the dealership and they told me I needed a new intermediate steering shaft. Found your post and within 10 minutes the clunking was gone and the ride is quiet. Thank you very much!!!!
     
  13. Private Prius Owner

    Private Prius Owner New Member

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    Can anyone please tell me if this is what the rattling sounded like? I have a 2012 Prius Two. It is intermittent. I edited this video so that the rattling is more constant.
     
  14. Private Prius Owner

    Private Prius Owner New Member

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    FANTASTIC! Thanks for posting. I am hoping that this solves my noise issue:
     
  15. Silver_Bullet_2012

    Silver_Bullet_2012 New Member

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    I too have this problem. Tightening this bolt did not work as it was already very tight. Knock is coming from about 1 inch north of the bolt in the same piece.
     
  16. adonturia

    adonturia Junior Member

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  17. Gourockian

    Gourockian Junior Member

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    This is what I'm getting when driving my 2013 Prius. It's more of a metallic rattle than a clunking noise. Towards the end of the video, I deliberately drove over a manhole cover and it produced a louder brief rattle. There doen't seem to be any play in the steering so not sure if tightening that bolt will help. I haven't been able to check it out yet but hope to do so soon.
     
  18. Gourockian

    Gourockian Junior Member

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    I managed to fix the rattling noise by replacing the whole upper steering assembly with one from a wrecked car' which only cost $50. It took me a good few hours to complete the job but was well worth the time and effort.

    This is what I replaced. Important: although the three cable harnesses are shown cut here, they obviously need to remain intact on your vehicle if attempting to replace this unit. Because of limited access and time constraints, I was forced to cut them on the junk car but utilized my existing ones when replacing. The yellow harness can not be removed directly. The two small bolts on each side of the black plastic molding need to first be removed then the two 12mm bolts on either side of this. This allows the shaft to be slid off carefully from the main body and the torque sensor ring can be demounted and remounted on the replacement item.

    There doesn't seem to be much information available online regarding this procedure so if anyone needs further help, I'd be happy to try and assist with further details of how I did it.

    upload_2023-5-18_13-43-22.jpeg
     
  19. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    It's interesting that there are three cables on this one: the yellow-jacketed one from the torque sensor, the heavy blue-wrapped one for power to the motor, and then the four lighter-gauge yellow, blue, black, pink coming from the motor,

    I don't know about 2013, but in 2010 there were two versions of the steering, for car trims that came with the 15 inch or 17 inch wheels.

    15-inchers got a simple DC motor with carbon brushes, and 17-inchers got a brushless three-phase motor with a rotor resolver (and a different ECU containing an inverter to drive it). I'm thinking this picture has to be the brushless one, with the extra wires being for the resolver. (The 2010 wiring diagram shows 5 wires there, but one is called RZG and one SRZG and I think they mean a four-wire shielded cable, SRZG being the shield.)

    Maybe by 2013 they used only the brushless one in all models? Or is this car a 17" version?

    Anyway, for some Gen 3 years, anyway, it's good to remember there were two motor flavors, to go with different wiring and different ECUs. Picking up the wrong flavor at a salvage yard would be frustrating.
     
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  20. alltherightpills

    alltherightpills Junior Member

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    This thread helped me find & fix the rattle in my own steering!

    For anyone that finds this in the future - there is another 12mm bolt at the bottom of the steering column that serves the same function as the one mentioned by tarantoga. My steering rattle went away when I tightened the bottom bolt - pretty sure it just clamps down that connection a little bit harder.

    In order to access the bottom one, I had to remove the 2 plastic nuts and plastic column guard/flange that sits just behind the carpet by the floor behind the pedals. So pull those off (mine were only finger tight), pull the guard up out of the way, and tighten the 12mm bolt you see underneath.

    Good find, Tarantonga!
     
    ASRDogman likes this.