Recently on one of your radio shows you had a...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jul 01, 1994

Dear Tom and Ray:

Recently on one of your radio shows you had a young lady from Alaska with a Toyota Land Cruiser that had been in an accident, and then "handled funny." As I recall, she said it steered funny, and that she frequently had to correct for oversteer in turns. This sounds similar to our experience with a Jeep Wagoneer. We bought this used Jeep, knowing it had been in a major accident. The fellow we bought it from had painted it green. Well, "the green thing," as we called it, always steered funny, sometimes worse than others, but we just figured that's what you get with a Jeep Wagoneer. Then one day, quite by accident, one of the guys was inside working the steering wheel, and we were watching the steering box move. The accident had broken the welds around the steering box mount, and it was free to move around some. So part of your steering effort went into moving the box before the wheels moved. But the relationship was totally random, so some of the time it steered OK, and some of the time you were just aiming it. We took it all apart, got a neighbor to come over and weld the bracket, but he welded it slightly higher than it was, and so the radiator went back a little too high. Then the hood crushed the radiator, so we pounded a lump in the hood to adjust for that. Looks pretty stupid, but at least you can steer it. So if that lady from Alaska calls back, suggest she check for a loose steering box. Keep up the good work. We love your radio show and newspaper column.

RAY: Gee, Tim, with a Jeep Wagoneer, it's amazing that you even noticed something was wrong with the steering.

TOM: But thanks for the tip. We told our caller from Alaska that her damage may have been INSIDE the steering box. But as you discovered, a loose steering box could cause the same symptoms.

RAY: By the way, Tim, when you're ready to junk "the green thing," be sure to give my brother a call. It sounds like just the kind of thing he'll be looking for in five or ten years.

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