We recently (in the past 6-months) had a remanufactured Manual Rack & Pinion installed in my 1997 Toyota Tamaraw FX AUV here in the Philippines.  When we first had this installed, I said it felt like I was driving an older truck.  Within the past month, I complained to my son that the steering was getting awfully hard to turn (right and left).  He thought it might be because I am old (68).  However, as he has been driving the vehicle, he also stated to me today that he also noticed that the steering wheel was getting hard to turn (right or left).  Can you possibly tell me what you might believe to be the problem, as I thought the steering box might need oiling but, after reading about U.S. Made Vehicles that have Manual Rack & Pinion Steering Boxes, I read that they don't.  According to my son, he took it to a mechanic about a month ago when I was complaining about the steering problem and, he said the mechanic greased the Rack & Pinion Mechanism (which I don't understand).  When I was several years younger and, had a '41 Chevy Street Rod with a Manual Rack and Pinion, I don't remember if there was fluid that came in the Manual Rack or, not.  Now, that I am much older, I can't get down on my hands and knees do my own automotive work myself).  Any help that I can get to solve this problem would be extremely helpful as living here in the Philippines, mechanics are taught by others, as there isn't any schooling to learn how to do anything.  In fact, whenever an item goes bad, you need to physically remove the item that is suspected of going bad and, take it to a parts store (show and tell) to see if they have the correct part available, as there aren't any computers and, sales ladies have to look around the parts store to find whatever they are looking for.  (NOTE:  Type of vehicle for my vehicle isn't listed as this is a vehicle that is made specifically for overseas. Hence, I arbitrarily selected what I know from U.S. Vehicles made in Japan.)


Sorry to hear about your steering problem. That is a nice truck btw. You are correct, there is no fluid in a mechanical rack and pinion setup. I think he meant that they greased the rack itself. While I can see why they tried that, that alone will not make it easier to steer. 

My guess is that the reman unit is calibrated in a way that excessive friction existis between the rack and pinion. Is the steering a lot harder than before installing this unit? Also do you notice the steering get easier/lighter as the car starts to move? 

Thanks for your reply.

By the way, this is a "Car" and, NOT a truck.  It's similar to an SUV (such as a Honda CR-V) but here in the Phlippines, all vehicles that we would refer to as SUVs are called AUVs (All Utility Vehicles).  They are all used in this part of the world and, were originally sold by Toyota  and Izuzu and, still are sold by Mitsubishi.  The former rack and pinion was tossed in favor of the re-manufactured unit, as the steering wheel had a lot of play in it.  Also, the Steel Belted Tires also showed uneven wear on the outsides of each tire.

Since we had this re-manufactured unit installed, it has been hard to steer from the very beginning.  The mechanic said that this was normal and, would ease up after a month of operation.  However, it didn't ease up and, seems to be getting tighter and, of course is hard to steer when backing into or pulling out of a parking space.

Last night, I came across another website that seems to point to a Bad Serpentine Belt that could cause this problem and, we'll have the mechanic check this out today as, I don't care to drive this vehicle when I have to drive downtown and, attempt to perform parallel parking.  Otherwise, the vehicle steers ok when driving down the road.

Hope to hear back from yourselves.

Paul Vollmer



Please disregard my earlier comment as when we took the vehicle into the shop, it turns out that when the Rack and Pinion was constructed, no one bothered to put any grease into the rack or, if they did, it was very little.  So, our new mechanic (not the same one who installed the Rack and Pinion last year), removed the cover and, inserted grease into the rack and now (according to my son), the steering has vastly improved.  I will take it out today for a test run when we have to go shopping downtown for groceries to see if it has improved or not and, will let you know what the results are.

Paul Vollmer

I am glad to hear that it is working better now that it got some grease. It makes sense because it did sound like a high friction issue. It would have been worse if it was rebuild with the wrong tolerances. 

Let us know how it drives. 

Well, I just got back from downtown and, am happy to say that the vehicle's steering wheel operated as it should have from the beginning, all because of the large amount of grease that was added to the Rack & Pinion.  Seems that the former mechanic or, whoever he assigned to do the installation, overlooked putting a sufficient amount of grease into the rack and, according to my son (actually my unofficial stepson, he said that when the mechanic looked at it this morning, it looked bone dry on the inside with a very small film of grease on the gears.  

So, please consider this matter closed and, thanks again for everything!

Paul Vollmer

Retired U.S. Air Force / Disabled Vietnam Era Veteran

Hi Paul,

That's great news. That was an easy and cheap fix I guess.

You may want to keep greasing that rack and pinon once a year. It will eventually start to get looser and looser as it wear some, but grease will help it last longer.

Thanks for asking the question here. Since you know a lot about cars, please consider helping other members who need help. You can find the most recent questions here.


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