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What would cause Steering wheel to drift out of alignment 90 degrees while driving?

Discussion in '3rd Gen 4Runners (1996-2002)' started by 4runner2000x, Apr 15, 2021.

  1. Apr 15, 2021 at 9:53 AM
    #1
    4runner2000x

    4runner2000x [OP] New Member

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    I have a 2000 4 runner, had new tires and front end work about 6 months ago, while driving yesterday on the interstate , the steering wheel alignment, drifts from far left, about 10 oclock / to almost 2 o clock \ . It changes orentation after i make a turn. I can feel the wheels tend to slip as I steer. Is it dangerous? Is something about to break? I am going to take it to the shop, but should I have it towed?

    Its a 4 runner 2WD limited. 220K miles, supposedly, the repair shop went through and replaced a few front end parts 6 months ago. They just replaced a right rear tire before this started happening yesterday.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  2. Apr 15, 2021 at 10:09 AM
    #2
    Overlandcharlie

    Overlandcharlie Long way from home

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    Have it towed if you don’t know what you are looking at - sounds like pitman arm is loose but could be a myriad of things.
     
    LandCruiser, negusm and Moon Landing like this.
  3. Apr 15, 2021 at 10:33 AM
    #3
    4runner2000x

    4runner2000x [OP] New Member

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    I just read about what a pitman arm does. Sounds exactly like what the problem is. The guys lifted the car yesterday to put a new tire on it, I wonder if they damaged it? Anyway I am going to have it towed to a mechanic here in town and have it inspected.

    https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/symptoms-of-a-bad-or-failing-pitman-arm
     
  4. Apr 15, 2021 at 12:13 PM
    #4
    PhantomTweak

    PhantomTweak New Member

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    None. Bone Stock. EXCEPT: Brushguard, tow hitch, both welded to the frame. It's good to have friends and a fully equipped garage!
    Could be when they lifted it, the pitman arm came loose. If so, it's now a very dangerous situation!
    I wish you good fortune!
    Pat☺
     
  5. Apr 15, 2021 at 12:16 PM
    #5
    4runner2000x

    4runner2000x [OP] New Member

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    Thanks. My mechanic I normally see in Charlotte is all booked up, so I may have to take it to the dealership :/
     
  6. Apr 15, 2021 at 1:51 PM
    #6
    Overlandcharlie

    Overlandcharlie Long way from home

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    If you crawl under there you can tell if it is loose it’ll jiggle up and down
    If it is loose - center your steering wheel and tighten it up - then take it to the shop
    Its an easy job.
     
  7. Apr 16, 2021 at 1:54 PM
    #7
    4runner2000x

    4runner2000x [OP] New Member

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    Just got it back from my mechanic. Turns out the 2000 4runner does have a pitman arm, the rack & pinion bushing were basically worn out completely, allowing the whole assembly to slide from side to side, giving the steering wheel a large amount of play and causing it become freely out of alignment while driving. The whole thing to replace the bushings and alignment was about $500.
     

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