Q: Dealer recommends I replace the intermediate steering shaft in 2.5 year-old rav4 on 2007 Toyota RAV4

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My 2007 Rav4 (4wd v-6) is 2.5 years old but over 36K mile warranty (mostly highway miles). Repair quoted at $1600. Will toyota help since this is an apparent problem with a # of their models (RAV4 TSB ST001-08). it was suggested by another dealer to ask for a district service manager for assistance. Any recommendations? Thanks
(4) Answers
(2) Comments
hi i have an 06 rav 4.there is a technical service bulletin from toyota stateing this is a problem but won't warranty it. i was quoted around 700 to fix i went online and bought the genuine toyota part over the net for around 130 .00 and changed it my self pretty simple took about 20 min.typical dealer markup
I also had this problem on my 2007 rav4. I couldn't get the dealer to fix it, and they wanted to charge $800 to replace the defective part with the new part. Like 'anonymous', I also found the part online for 127$ + shipping. For those interested in the DIY approach, N.B. that the part # has been updated yet again since the 2008 TSB. Now, it is: 45221-42071.

Just do a google search for 'genuine toyota parts' and it'll take you no more than 20 min's to find the cheapest part. Most of the results are normal dealers, who also have an online store on the side, where they sell the same parts for much less. Then call your local stealership, who is likely charging over $200 for the part and ask if they'll match that price. Mine did. If yours does not, order online.

Anyways, I followed the instructions in the TSB, and it took me around 4 hours to get everything replaced properly. Now, no more clunking sound. A few tips - part of the repair is done from within the cabin under the steering wheel, and part from underneath the car, so be ready to get under the car with a flashlight.

I secured the steering wheel so it didn't spin - using a bungee cord, a modification from the TSB, and when I put everything back together, I didn't re-install the interior cabin panel until test-driving to make sure the steering wheel was straight when the wheels were straight - I had to adjust the orientation of the shafts once to line up the wheels with the steering wheel properly - even though I made marks on the shafts, as in the TSB.

Also, I made sure each intermediate shaft was ALL the way down in the appropriate hole, and tightened to the TSB specs, and then double checked to make sure the shaft didn't come out slightly from its hole while I was tightening. Safety is obviously key in this repair.

Anyways, Toyota sucks for not doing a recall on this. And the stealerships way overcharge for it. But if you're able, you can save a pile of $. I saved around $650.

p.s. The dealer told me I needed to replace both intermediate shafts, which was false in my case, and also that I needed an alignment with this repair. False too, 'cause all you have to watch is the orientation of the wheels to the steering wheel, not the wheels relative to one another, etc.
I guess I got lucky..I just took mine in for this problem. When it was under warranty and I asked them to check the problem they found nothing wrong, right. So now that it is out of warranty it has only got worse. They will replace the part. Toyota will pay for the part $200 and we will have to pay labor, $200. So pretty pleased.
Where did you buy the genuine toyota parts? I have an 07 rav4 with 58K. I was quoted $700, but that is too much to pay. I will be fixing it at a local mechanic but I need to buy the parts.Thanks.
That TSB has been updated slightly to include the '08 models and a couple other revisions. T-SB-0318-08 supercedes ST001-08

It's worth a shot to ask for help, the worst they'll say is no. Typically the service manager needs to call the district manager and asks if there's anything they can do to help. Sometimes they'll knock the price down, sometimes they'll split labor and parts, there's no real pattern. It's ultimately up to the disctrict mgr.

It probably wouldn't hurt to go to the dealer you normally use for your services or where you purchased it... loyal customer and so forth.. it's not a guarantee but it can't hurt. I hope this helps