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Vague steering, worn shaft? Stronger shaft upgrade?


New Member
Aug 18, 2020
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I'm trying to cure the vague steering on my 80 which appears to be caused by play in the box itself, box is otherwise fine with no leaks. Is just changing the shaft likely to rectify this or are there other parts in the box that would need changing too?
I understand that its worth upgrading to the stronger shaft and arm from a 105. I think Chapel Gate on here sells the required parts, could you PM me please (apparently I don't have enough posts to PM)
@chapel gate

There's an adjustment on the steering box that can reduce play. Also if you have a lift you may find some caster correction improves things. Worth checking the tracking as well, that can make it vague too.
also check tie rod and track rod ends for play.
Thanks for the replies, running standard suspension and can't find any play at all in track rod ends etc. I'm certain the play is in play is in the box which I have adjusted but still there.
Looking like a rebuild, anyone know if the stronger shaft and arm are still available?
Thanks for the replies, running standard suspension and can't find any play at all in track rod ends etc. I'm certain the play is in play is in the box which I have adjusted but still there.
Looking like a rebuild, anyone know if the stronger shaft and arm are still available?
Stronger shaft and arm are available but not needed unless running bigger tyres. I believe roughtrax do fully rebuilt steering boxes on an exchange basis
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I did contact Roughtrax as it happens, they were very helpful and honest. They told me their boxes are rebuilt with new seals and tested but the shaft definitely wouldn't be replaced so I would likely end up with same issue. I had a similar scenario with my Defender as it happens, had a couple of 'reconditioned' boxes which both had faults before eventually splashing out on a brand new one which did cure the play and vagueness.
Got a quote from Toyota for a new box yesterday £4500!!! with no delivery date!
Yes I think you're right, the issues with broken or twisted shafts always seem to be a result of running larger tyres or suspension lifts. I'll probably have a go at rebuilding mine in the future so thought I may as well upgrade the shaft.
I wonder if roughtrax would rebuild a box with a new shaft supplied by you…? Shafts can be got from chapel gate
I went where you think you need to go.
It takes more than just the reseal kit - 04445-60050 - Steering box reseal kit
To completely take care of it you also need the following:

2* - 44154-30020 - Power piston plunger guide nut - Partsouq - $5 - I required 2 of these because I went just with the reseal kit at first, then did 44120-60180 below. These are very shallow hex-head bolts and the heads are prone to stripping out easily.

1 - 18-32-7-DL - Input shaft seal part number (not Toyota) - Ebay - $8 - This part may or may not come in 04445-60050 above, it did not come in my kit. This is the P/N in case you need to order it separately. This is the bottom seal for the shaft, iirc.

1 - 44120-60180 - VALVE ASSY, W/BALL NUT - TPD - $433 - This is the part that resolves the play in the steering. It replaces the valve assy (for which there are no replacement seals available), the ball set, the 'worm screw', and the power piston. The 7 - 10 degrees of play comes from the wear between the balls and screw. Some places can replace the balls with larger ones, but total cost is about the same between a DIY with these parts and sending it off somewhere.

Oh and don't forget a few quarts of Toyota ATF. Think I burned through about 3 quarts trying the cheaper fix first approach. So messy and a waste of time until you get 44120-60180 replaced.
Hi, thanks so much for that information, its incredibly useful! I've just been out for a test drive after fitting a second hand box which has if anything made things worse! The steering is now very tight and won't return to centre, I might try adjusting the box it but it is looking like I'll have to attempt a rebuild.
Would I still be looking at replacing the shaft along with the other parts you've listed or do you think this may be unnecessary?
Another option? I have found two new boxes (44110-60410 and 44110-60220 from Aanyama Parts approx £1550 GBP delivered) although I've no idea why there are two options, is one the superseded version which would require a different pitman arm? The arm is showing as no longer available?
Either way I need to get this sorted ASAP before our European trip in July!
If the splines on the shaft where the pitman arm connects are still straight, then the shaft should still be good and no need replace.
This second hand box you installed...try adjusting the nut on top. The default setting is about 3 to 4 threads showing above the nut. Fewer threads showing tightens the box, more threads showing loosens it.

The two part #s for new boxes... 44110-60220 looks to be the RHD version. The other is an old p/n for LHD I believe.
44110-60210 - 91 - 92 80- series LHD

44110-60211 - 93 - 97 80 series LHD
Yes loosen the nut and turn the slotted screw clockwise (looking down) to pull the screw slightly out of the box. Then jack the front axle of the ground and try and turn the steering assy by moving the wheels full left and full right. They should move feely. If stiff there is still stiffness in the box. If free you can adjust the screw by feel until you feel it bottom out, no force, just feel. Then check the wheels again. If free you could turn the screw into the box by increments until the wheels go stiff. Back off the screw slightly and you should be about there.

I think when new the boxes bed in and cause play quickly. I adjusted mine about 80K miles. It's now done 160K and there is 7mm play at the steering wheel rim. Never had stiffness except on purpose in the adjustment phase.
Thanks for your replies. definitely something wrong here I've slackened off the replacement box (in increments) and now have around 11 threads visible. Although steering is now lighter it still won't return to centre. For reference the play is 55mm at the steering wheel rim. I am running stock tyres and no lift.
Just in the process of refitting the original box.
Original box now refitted and re-adjusted steering does return to centre once again so replacement box definitely faulty. Still have play in the steering somewhere between 40 and 45mm at the steering wheel rim. According to the workshop manual the play shouldn't exceed 30mm
Wow, ok 11 threads is a non-starter.
Sounds like drive line bushes since you aren't far off from nominal.
Do all the FCA bushes first and re-eval.
Move to panhard bushes after that.
Guessing your suspension (springs/shocks) is vintage?
Hi, There's definitely some issue with the replacement box, it feels really tight on the bench, possibly preload incorrectly set?
I can't understand how it can be the control arm/panhard bushes when the vehicle is stationary on the drive and there is still 45mm play in the steering before any movement of the pitman arm. I do plan to change the bushes next, I've checked and rechecked with a pry bar and there's no obvious movement.
All four springs, shocks and steering damper were replaced last year with Pedders (standard height)
I'm now considering a new box 44110-60220, according to Toyota this has been superseded to 44110-60410 (presumably with the stronger shaft) and would therefore require the corresponding pitman arm 45411-60390 which appears NLA
The other option attempt to rebuild my own box although the cost of parts and time involved is significant as I've never attempted this before
You really need someone to turn the wheel back and forth on a hard surface while you watch underneath to check for play in the panhard bushes. They might be fine, but I don't think a pry bar will be generating enough force.