Steering rattle fix!!!

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by sambojoho, Apr 26, 2014.

  1. sambojoho

    sambojoho Proud conservative

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    I wanted to pass this along to anyone having rattles in the steering/dash when going over bumps at low speed. First of all, I have had the steering related recalls completed on my car, so if you haven't yet, do those first.

    I decided to take a close look at the steering column because I noticed that the vibration changed frequency, and sometimes almost went away, when I changed the position of the tilt wheel.

    I started by disassembling the dash underside of the steering wheel.
    1. Remove the vent to the left of the steering wheel by pulling straight out.
    2. Remove two Philips screws on the lower dash panel
    3. Gently pull out the lower panel, unplugging multiple wire harnesses and removing the hood release lever. Be careful not to break the plastic clips for the hood release like I did (oops!)
    4. Find the Universal joint on the steering shaft just below the steering wheel lower cover. There is a bolt that secures the shaft from the wheel to the intermediate shaft. I found this bolt loose, which allowed some play in this joint. I tightened down securely on this bolt and put everything back together. I also checked the bolts near the floor of the car behind the pedals, but these were good and tight. You can access these by pulling back the carpet, removing the two white plastic nuts, and removing the round shaft cover.

    This worked for me, no more rattle!! I even tested on RR tracks and a stone parking lot.

    Hope this is helpful to someone.


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  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    well done, thanks!(y)
     
  3. talonts

    talonts VFAQman

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    Some notes to add to this:
    You don't have to remove the kick panel entirely to work on the top bolt. You can just unplug the Fob reader and the dash dimmer, and set the kick panel on the floor.

    You can work on the bottom bolts after putting the dash back together.

    The bolts may not seem loose, even testing with a ratchet. Tighten them anyways. On my 06, the dealer only inspected the intermediate shaft, replacing the bolt at most. All 3 bolts seemed tight. I tightened the top bolt, grabbed the intermediate shaft, and it still had slop. It looked like it was coming from the rack itself (worn rack or bushings), not the shaft, but I tightened the bottom 2 bolts anyways, and the slop seems to be gone now (at 168k, I'll probably replace the rack bushings sooner or later anyways).
     
  4. exstudent

    exstudent Senior Member

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  5. talonts

    talonts VFAQman

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    The recall "was done". But the recall doesn't guarantee that the intermediate shaft is REPLACED, just INSPECTED. In the case of my car, they said inspected and replacement not needed. I'd have to dig out the paperwork to see if they replaced the bolt or just tightened it.
     
    m.wynn likes this.
  6. JarvisHybrid

    JarvisHybrid New Member

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    I'm so glad I came across this post while searching for Wth ever was going on with my Prius! My 2012 Prius with 80K started having this rattle sound coming from the driver's side dash area. At first, I thought it was the front strut. After taking to a shop to inspect the suspension without results, I talked the dealership into looking at it when I brought it in for an unrelated recall (software update). I don't how I talked them into it as I declined the diagnosis that had a $150 price tag! I half suspect that they didn't even look at and just told me that I needed the steering shafts replaced because they knew about this issue from the previous generation. I took it to yet another shop, that didn't charge a diagnosis fee, but they just said that it's possible I need new shaft(s) and to take it to yet another shop that could do an alignment (it's also pulling to the right) and inspect it more closely! This is when I thought that nobody really knows exactly what's up with this vehicle. I was about to give in and just have someplace go ahead and replace the damned shafts when I found this post. After a half an hour, I had tightened the bolt on the top of the shaft up behind the steering wheel and the bottom one on the shaft near the floor and the rattling and the shaking was gone! I didn't need to take off the vent or kick panel, only the small black piece that holds the tire sensor stuff and let it hang to access the top bolt and the bottom access was easy as you described. Wow, I just saved $980!! Thank you very much!
     
  7. Keif

    Keif New Member

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    Just wanted to confirm that cranking down at 50-60 ft-lbs (1/8 - 1/4 turn for me) on the aforementioned intermediate steering column shaft upper and lower clamp bolts fixed every bit of the slop steering column rattle on my 2011 Lexus CT200h (Prius with a different emblem). Hope this helps someone!
     
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