Front End Shimmy


Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 09:34:24 -0800
From: "Roger Brown P.E." 
Subject: some front end problems

Todd wrote:
- ->
Next, my problem.  I have a '84 PU.  I have been getting a pretty bad
shimmy from the front end.  It only happens at around 45mph.  Anyhting
over that and it's gone.  I have also started noticing my steering getting
really sensitive.  At slow speeds you can crank the wheel and the truck
barely turns. But at freeway speeds, any little movment of the steering
wheel makes the truck want to do a u-turn.  All suspension is stock.  I am
planning on replacing the bicycle air pump Toyota calls a steering
stabilizer soon.  Can the steering box be adjusted?  I have not been able
to find the bolt/screw. Any help would be great. Thanks!

Have you checked for play in the drag link?  After replacing mine I had very
sloppy steering until I figured out how to tighten it properly.  Your's may
have worn over time and needs to be re-adjusted or replaced if its too far

- -- 
    Roger Brown, P.E.
    +1.650.933.1898 (vmail)  +1.650.932.1898 (fax)
    Check out the SGI EuroDev Forum:


Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 16:40:12 -0700
From: "Jay Kopycinski" 
Subject: 3.0 H/G and some front end problems
To: Toyota 4x4 List 

Go ahead and replace the steering stabilizer, but it will not cure other
problems you may have in the front end. Check the wheel bearing
play and also check for excessive steering box play. 

I assume you have crawled under and checked the tie rod and draglink
ends for any play. If those are fine....check the box play. I usually like
to watch the front movement while I stand outside the truck and wiggle
the steering wheel back and forth. This is best done standing still ;-)

If you seem to have excessive play, you can adjust the steering box.
There is a worm adjustment screw and jam nut on the box. As I recall, 
it is on the top side of the box. I usually wiggle the steering shaft back
and forth while I tighten the adjust screw. Once, I feel a slight tension
in the movement, I back it back out a bit and tighten the jam nut.

A sloppy (unadjusted) box will cause the truck to wander due to the

You may also want to check for play in the knuckle bearings by jacking
up the front and tugging on the tires to check for play.

Since your suspension is stock, I'll assume your caster angle is ok.
I would check toe-in though as it may not casue shimmy but could 
cause wander.

Tire balance wouldn't affect the turning problem, but could cause the

Jay Kopycinski    '85 Toylet  (ROKTOY)



Date: Wed, 28 Jan 1998 13:48:33 -0500
From: "Eli Madden" 
Subject: How to keep your toyota alive, steering problems, losing oil

Sorry to put three subjects in one message, but I'm in a hurry.

*How To Keep Your Toyota Alive* is a great book for beginners. Even if 
you have worked on your Toy before, it's still funny and informative 
to read. It has probably the best descriptions of routine maintenance 
that I've sseen. It does not go into the engine hardly at all.

*Steering*. Is there slop in the steering wheel? When I bought my '83 
it had a good amount of slop. Most of the slop was from where the 
drag-link connects to the axle (the drag link is the rod that goes 
from the steering box to the axle). I took apart the junction, cleaned 
it out, filled it with grease and put a couple extra washers in or 
something. I can't remember what I put in there to take up the space, 
but it should be obvious once you get it apart. At this point there 
was still a little slop at the wheel. There is a nut on the side of 
the steering box that tightens the steering. It has a screw in the 
middle of the nut that locks the nut. Loosen the screw, tighten the 
nut a little, check the wheel for slop (this presumes that the 
remaining slop is coming from the box), tighten or loosen the nut 
a little more, then tighten the lock screw. Actually, the nut might 
lock the screw, I forget. It'll be obvious once you play with it. 
Anyways, now go for a drive. I loosened the box up a little after 
going for a drive because it was tightened enough that the wheels 
would stick slightly, ie I could let go of the wheel while turning 
and the vehicle would keep turning instead of straightening out. 
Takes a little fiddling and tuning, but man is it worth it! You 
don't realize how loose steering is until you tighten it up! 
You shouldn't need a steering stabilizer on the road. If tightening 
the steering wheel dosn't solve your problem, check your tires for 
uneven wear. Check alignment. Rotate your tires.

*Losing Oil* If the truck is BURNING oil you'll see blue-ish smoke 
coming out the exhaust when you accelerate or just rev the engine. 
If it is LEAKING oil you should see it on the engine somewhere. 
You might need to wash the engine (wait for the engine to cool first!) 
to see where the oil is coming from. 

This brings up a question that I've pondered for a while -
 How come washing your hot engine at the car wash can crack it, but 
plunging into water or mud dosn't?

Eli Madden
'83 Toyota SR5 Shortbed


Back to the top of this thread
Back to the top of the Tips - Techniques group
Back to the top of the Toy Thread Tree