About to become an owner of 2007 Avalon

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Hello,

I'm about to become an owner of a 2007 Avalon Limited. Car has 217k on it. Transmission shifts smooth - no kicking. Overall car drives nice. Interior is close to an "A" (for its age), save the small crack in dashboard, which is apparently a common issue

I inspected its bottom. The only glaring issue I've noticed is a torn/burst boot of tie road right next to the steering rack, passenger side. My understanding is that the rack's seals are gone and leaking steering fluid caused the boot to burst.

New Toyota rack is about $500, tie rods are about $95 each. That's about $700. There's Cardone New (not remanufactured) steering rack + tie rods for ~$400.

1. Is it worth a shot? I'm not familiar with the brand at all.
2. What else should I replace "while in there"?

I'm not familiar with Toyotas at all, I cut my teeth on W124 Mercedes (1985-95 E class). With Mercedes I stick with genuaine parts, but often one can buy Lemforder for suspension, Bosch for ignition, Erling for various gaskets, etc for cheaper then genuaine, but they are identical to genuaine, just without the Mercedes star stamp. What are equivalent brands for Toyota that are identical to genuaine parts?

Lastly. The cheapest place for genuine Toyota parts I have found thus far is sparksparts.com. Does anyone know of an even cheaper online source?

Thanks!
 
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The only glaring issue I've noticed is a torn/burst boot of tie road right next to the steering rack, passenger side. My understanding is that the rack's seals are gone and leaking steering fluid caused the boot to burst.

New Toyota rack is about $500, tie rods are about $95 each. That's about $700.
The boot bursts from 200,000 miles of flexing. If it steers fine, just replace the boot like I did on my 500,000 mile Sequoia for $10 https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog...1434442,steering,rack+and+pinion+bellow,11362

Steering rack boots.jpg
 

AlphaOmega

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@atikovi, thank you for your input! There was an oily residue on the boot. I don't know if it's the tie rod grease oozing out OR the steering fluid. I would think the grease would be a lot more chunky... The boot on the other, driver side, in comparison, was good-looking.

Anyways, I've test driven the car twice, about 10 minutes each. It's steering "fine" for 217k that it has on the odometer, but it seemed that it needs a little alignment. Or tie rods could have someone play... hard to separate.

After the fact, when I left, I asked the seller to check on steering fluid level and it was where it should be (he sent a picture). The seller is a [very] small flipper. I'm thinking it's plausible to assume that the previous (it's a 1 owner car otherwise) owner might have used some leak stop.... Thanks for your input!

As to RockAuto choices for the rubber boot... My mentality is to use original parts or an identical aftermarket equivalent and not some, likely substandard, alternatives. I do see there's an AC Delco option there. It's a GM brand, right? Avalon's are manufactured in United States, therefore, is AC Delco same as Toyota branded rubber boot, that's like $12? Thanks again!
 

AlphaOmega

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FYI atikovi is a car flipper too, don't believe a word he says! :ROFLMAO:

His suggestions to use substandard rubber bellows and $23 steering rack resealing kits (OEM is $130) is starting to make sense 😄. Atikovi, it's all in jest
 
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Unless they are local to you, be prepared to pay dearly for shipping. Toyota has a program thru simpleparts (parts.toyota.com) where participating dealers will often offer similar discounts. All of the dealers around here participate and the discounts are anywhere between 0-30% off msrp. There is even a shipping credit available.

I'm not familiar with Toyotas at all, I cut my teeth on W124 Mercedes (1985-95 E class). With Mercedes I stick with genuaine parts, but often one can buy Lemforder for suspension, Bosch for ignition, Erling for various gaskets, etc for cheaper then genuaine, but they are identical to genuaine, just without the Mercedes star stamp. What are equivalent brands for Toyota that are identical to genuaine parts?
Parts for Toyota's are a bit different than German cars. While there are some decent aftermarket options (e.g. Aisin water pumps, select Advics parts, 555 steering parts, etc.), it just doesn't work in the same way as the German parts market. If you want the good stuff, you often have to buy from the dealer.
 
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Super nice car. It’s a stretched Camry, wonderful highway cruiser, long wheelbase, great rear foot room. 217k….

if it flows, it goes. Oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid. Does this car use a timing belt? If so was it changed at 200k? If in there, do the water pump and idler/tensioner pulley as well. How’s the battery?

the toyota products I’ve had (have really liked them), the rubber seems to compress and lose elasticity sooner than others, notably in the engine mounts and suspension bushings. Check yours and evaluate what you want to replace, and finish with an alignment. consider struts and shocks as well.
 

AlphaOmega

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Unless they are local to you, be prepared to pay dearly for shipping
The shipping is not bad at all $54 for $700 worth of parts

Screenshot_20211112-200150.jpg

Toyota has a program thru simpleparts (parts.toyota.com) where participating dealers will often offer similar discounts. All of the dealers around here participate and the discounts are anywhere between 0-30% off msrp. There is even a shipping credit available.

I've Googleed and checked more than several Toyota dealers that sell online. Everyone was more expensive than sparkparts.com. This is why I asked in my earlier post if anyone knows who is the cheapest.
Parts for Toyota's are a bit different than German cars. While there are some decent aftermarket options (e.g. Aisin water pumps, select Advics parts, 555 steering parts, etc.), it just doesn't work in the same way as the German parts market. If you want the good stuff, you often have to buy from the dealer.

Thank you for this information. Is 555 original equipment maker for many of Toyota cars' suspension components? Or are they just a "quality" aftermarket?
 

AlphaOmega

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Oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid. Does this car use a timing belt? If so was it changed at 200k? If in there, do the water pump and idler/tensioner pulley as well. How’s the batt
ATF is a fresh max life. Engine has a timing chain. Steering fluid is at good level, but it will be filled anew after new rack has been installed. Battery? It works. Car starts
 
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Nice purchase and sounds fun!

Even though I've never owned one, I've been partial to the Avalon for the fact that I grew up ~30 miles from where they're made and went to college in the town where the factory is located(and toured it more than once). The car the school provided to the president was an Avalon...
 
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Mother in law had a 2007 or 2008 Avalon..was a heaping pile of junk. Had electrical problems out the ying yang. Bought new and traded in at 110k after spending tens of $k$ on chasing stuff. Always serviced at the worthless dealer. This and other family owned cars are the reason I will never buy a Toyota..edmunds, kbb, scotty, etc all tell me they are great, but real life tells me they suck.
 
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I will never buy a Toyota..edmunds, kbb, scotty, etc all tell me they are great, but real life tells me they suck
Your MIL must have gotten the last one built on a Friday before a holiday. ;) My wife has owned a 2001 Avalon and a 2006 Avalon Limited and both were very good dependable cars. Her 06 was traded in for a 2013 Lexus ES 350 that has never had a bolt turned on it.(y)
 
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I read through the posts quickly, maybe I missed something, but why exactly are you replacing the entire steering rack? Because of a torn boot with some oil residue?

My problems with steering racks have always been that they refuse to steer or seize up in random places while turning (despite a good pump and ample fluid). I've never had one leak, but in the event I did, replacing seals seems like a far more cost effective approach. If money is no object just replace the rack and tie rods with OEM parts and call it a day. I tend to be rather frugal with my money, so I'd spend some time with the car after you bought it and narrow down the problem further before ordering parts. (again, unless I missed that the rack is indeed confirmed bad).

FWIW I've never had an issue with aftermarket inner tie rod ends. I had to take the inner tie rod boot off my '07 Pacifica recently to do a sway bar bushing change and the aftermarket inner tie rod I put on 3-4 years ago was as solid as it was when I installed it new. Same with my '96 Maxima, that aftermarket inner rod has been on there 6-7 years and is still in great shape.

Outer tie rod ends, I shy away from cheap aftermarket stuff because the boots fail quickly in my experience, which ruins the tie rod end if you don't catch it.
 

AlphaOmega

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so I'd spend some time with the car after you bought it and narrow down the problem further before ordering parts. (again, unless I missed that the rack is indeed confirmed bad).

That's what I figured I'll do. I drive about 120 miles a day/5 days a week + some weekend mileage. Any issues should quickly show themselves.

As to the issue: the boot on the passenger side has a big tear in it. Like a ship that was torpedoed, while the boot on the other side looks very good. There's some oil residue on the torn boot. I'm guessing/one of the possibilities is that the rack, at some time, leaked so much steering fluid that the boot burst. Why it doesn't appear to be leaking now (level hasn't gone down in 40 miles that I've driven the car) is that, perhaps, a stop leak was used previously.

A stop leak a stop gap solution, so sooner or later the underlying issue will resurface. If the steering rack was indeed leaking badly, then there is a possibility that it was run low on fluid by the previous owner, which could have caused some damage to it. So replacing the rack with OE part is something I'm considering and prepared to do. We'll see soon.

Thanks for your thoughts on the subject matter!
 
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