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Steering Wheel Help!


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Hey guys do you all know how in the 1991 early LS 400's (dont know about newer ones) when you put the key in the steering wheel comes down? Well mine has basically locked up, it wont go down anymore. It does go up and down like a half inch but after that if i try to make it go down anymore with the button it makes a grrrrrrrrr noice like a stuck motor. Has anyone had this problem? Do any of you know what i could check to fix it? Any estimate on whats wrong? It's really weird. My AC Compressor has locked up and i am getting it replaced soon - could it be related?

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This is usually caused by buildup in the runners inside the steering column. Its fairly easy to remove the cover around the column behind the steering wheel and take a look. Lexus sells grease just for these runners.

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  • 2 months later...

I just repaired the exact problem that you are relating. Mine was stuck in the up position and when I tapped the control 5 times down it would just "grrrrrrrr" at me. The problem is a bushing that sits just behind the gear. The bushing deteriorated and the gear slipped out of position.

The operation is fairly simple but a little time consuming. Here is the step by step process that I used; I took photos as I went so you can see what I am talking about. I should have them available by tonight. The pics are all in my digital camera at home.


1: You have to remove the following:

a. lower panel

b. knee panel

c. key cover (you just pull this off from the bottom. There are 4 friction fittings holding it in)

d. lower steering column shroud (2 screws in the bottom, and 1 on the flat portion facing you. The one facing you will be covered by the steering wheel, simply turn the wheel 90 degrees to allow access).

2: Make sure that the steering column is telescoped all the way out.

3: On the driver door side of the column you will see a black motor and closes to you is the gear box where the motor is attached. The box has a plate attacked to it that you have to remove.

4: Remove the gear box cover, two small screws.

5: Remove 10mm nut that hold the gear on.

6: Pull gear. Check it for damage. If it is worn on the edge you will be fine. If teeth are missing then you will have to replace it….good luck this is a junk yard part as they don’t sell it separately from the motor/gearbox assembly.

7: Clean the remnants of the bushing from the box.

8: Obtain 3 nylon washers, for the appropriate thickness. ID ½ inch, the OD doesn’t matter so long as it is smaller than the gear. (I took a photo of the parts bag that I got from Home Depot)

9: Enlarge the hole to an oval that approximates the one in the gear. Make sure to clean any burrs, you don’t want them jamming the gear. (I clamped 3 washers together and worked them all at the same time)

10: Insert the washers and the gear. (make sure to put some grease on it, white silicon gear grease should work. I just used some of the excess from the cover to re-grease the gear)

11: Reverse the disassembly process.

12: After you get everything back together you have to "retrain" the computer so it knows the upper and lower limits again. Simply tap down on the switch 5 times, each time you do this the column will move a little more towards full articulation. Do this until it is at full. Then do the same for up.

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