steering wheel on 1999 Toyota Sienna

hi, my 99' toyota sienna's steeling wheel has a big play when you turn along a curve specially when you are driving fast. Some people said it is the rack and pinion. Please advice. Thanks, Ted

by in Honolulu, HI on June 23, 2009
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2 answers 1 comment
ANSWER by , June 23, 2009
This needs to be checked and repaired as it may result in a dangerous failure. Do you notice any unusual tire wear? Excess play in the steering may be caused by a loose or steering U-joint on the shaft between the steering wheel and steering rack. The steering rack has a ball and socket joint called an inner tie rod end at each side of the steering rack ( that is similar to the joint in your shoulder or hip). Between the inner tie rod end and the wheel is an link rod with a tie rod end that attaches to the steering knuckle that the wheel attaches too. The tie rod end pivots to allow the wheels to turn when the steering wheel is turned from side to side. A worn tie rod end may cause play in the steering. Wear in the suspension can also aggravate and cause steering play.
COMMENT by , August 26, 2010
It's because you are driving a minivan.
ANSWER by , October 15, 2010
I had the exact same symptoms, and replaced the rack and pinion and the inner and outer tie rod ends. Problem went away. There was no play in the old tie rod ends, but I saw no reason not to replace them with 250,000 miles on the minivan, since it actually took less work to replace them than to put the old ones back in. Just FYI. Play was about an eighth of a revolution of the steering wheel, and it was worse at speed,