2012-2018 Toyota Avalon & Camry: Intermediate Steering Shaft
Time: 1-2 hrs (plus alignment)
Difficulty: moderate - difficult
Cost: $75-200 (brand preference)
SYMPTOMS OF A BAD STEERING SHAFT
The steering shaft (or intermediate shaft) links the steering wheel to the steering gear. Overtime, the coupling between the upper and lower components of the shaft develops freeplay. This causes an audible clunk, click, or rattle that can be felt through the steering wheel.
Often the slding portion of the steering shaft can be repacked with grease and the clunk or rattle will go away. To do this, index the upper joint to the steering wheel shaft with a paint pen or marker to ensure the splines are correctly aligned on reinstallation. Next, disconnect the upper joint from the steering column. This will allow you to extend the intermediate shaft to its full stroke. Generously apply lithium grease and stroke the slip joint several times. Reassemble the upper joint to the steering shaft and apply BLUE threadlocker to the bolt threads.
A more sure fix is to replace the shaft entirely. This is requires indexing and disconnecting the upper and lower joints from the steering column and steering gear.
Watch the video below to see the steering shaft replacement on a 2012-2018 era Toyota Camry or Avalon.
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