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Discussion Starter #1
Who has had the problem and with what resolution to twitchy, wandering steering at 65+MPH? The car doesn't track well and needs constant small corrections to keep it in the lane at higher speeds. It seems to be worse around trucks and large vehicles, hence air turbulence. Alignment? Body roll from wind gusts? Anybody seen an aftermarket sway bar for the '04 Prius yet? Please let me know ASAP as I have an open case with Toyota Corporate Customer Service on this issue and would like to hear from others with this problem.
 

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A lot of folks (including me) have commented on the difficult handling under strong cross-wind. In the absence of wind mine seems to be okay. Unfortunately, calm days are nearly as rare as hens' teeth around here. Fortunately, I don't often drive on the highway. At 55 I seem to have no trouble, though, and my mileage is a lot better. The problem perhaps is not the car, but the 75 mph speed limit on I-29 in ND and SD.
 

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Most of my driving is high speed interstates and stability was an issue particularily on windy days. Switched to BF Goodrich g-Force T/A KDW 215/45 R17 wheels/tires and stability is no longer a problem in the wind. My guess is that there is just too much sidewall flex in the stock tires which contributes to the twtichiness. Lower profile tires with the minimized sidewalls create a much more stable ride.
 

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Twitchy steering at speed

I am still a Prius owner wanabe, waiting for a 7 or 9 silver since December 10, but having driven my inlaws '04 a number of times, I suspect that the wander at highway speeds is a matter of driver over correction. The Prius steering is super tight and responsive and really responded to my input nicely. I'm used to a 12 YO Passat, which at 135,000 miles, is due for replacement and it's steering is loose to the point that I am able to move the wheel left and right an inch or two and need to do that in order to keep the car on the straight and narrow. Using the same techique in the Prius results in lots of needless wander. I suspect that may be the cause of some of the complaints we hear. :)
 

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steering

my 2004 Prius steers and tracks perfectly - even at a consistent 75-80 mph on the freeway - and upwards towards 95mph - with no problems
 

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Re: steering

FA124 said:
my 2004 Prius steers and tracks perfectly - even at a consistent 75-80 mph on the freeway - and upwards towards 95mph - with no problems
What tire pressures are you using?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Tire pressure was my first suspect. I checked and it was right on factory spec 35/33. After reading some threads about handling and tire pressure, I bumped it up to 40/38. No difference in the high speed wandering problem. Wireless Toy, what wheels did you get? How much were they and how do the low profile tires ride and handle. Is a picture a possibility? :?:
Anybody else with this high speed wandering problem and what did you do about it? :?:
 

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Wheels were purchased from BIGWHEELS.NET and were Chrome PRIMAX 685 - 17x17.5, ET 40, PCD 5 x 100. Cost $230 Ea. Their web site has hundreds of options in terms of size, finish and manufacturer for the Prius. I chose the BF Goodrich tires as a package. I run pressure 45F/43R and have put over 5,000 mile with no measurable wear. They do ride marginally harsher than stock and will cost a little in terms of miles per gallon ( 1.5 MPG penalty giving 48.5mpg for mostly high speed travel). But I think the improved stability is worth it. No longer is there the wind issue, or the flutter experienced when riding behind that big semi. Car now tracks 100 percent true. I will try to post picture over the weekend.
 

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john1701a said:
A common mistake new owners make is with the tires.

They are unaware of the need for a 2 PSI bias. Without that extra pressure in front, the car will handle a bit odd.

So, check your tire pressure.
I was running 42/40 on my trip. I was able to hold it straight, but when there was a crosswind (which was most of the time) and I was going over 60 or 65 (which I did on I-29 with its 75 mph limit) it was hard work. On surface roads at 57 mph (speed limit 55) it handled much more easily.
 

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steering & tire pressure

reply to Takemiya - I haven't touched the tire pressure from the factory - I checked them and they are at 35psi ... with no problems in steering or tracking even in cross winds across the Columbia River into Oregon ... even at high speeds
 

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Re: steering & tire pressure

FA124 said:
reply to Takemiya - I haven't touched the tire pressure from the factory - I checked them and they are at 35psi ... with no problems in steering or tracking even in cross winds across the Columbia River into Oregon ... even at high speeds
Hmm, that makes me wonder if pumping the tires up to 45 psi, like a lot of people are doing, is making the car more sensitive to cross winds.

I don't have my Prius yet (a few more months to go) but the one I rented for a day had this cross wind sensitivity. I thought it might be the tire pressures being too low but when I checked them they were at 44/42 psi. So, I just attributed it to the nature of the car.

I wonder if someone who is having the cross wind sensitivity and has their tires set at 40+ psi if they could drop the pressures down to 35 psi and see if the situation improves.
 

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Re: steering & tire pressure

Takemiya said:
I wonder if someone who is having the cross wind sensitivity and has their tires set at 40+ psi if they could drop the pressures down to 35 psi and see if the situation improves.
When I took delivery of mine the tires were at the Toyota-recommended 35/33. I went on the freeway just for fun and did have the crosswind problem. later on, I took John's advice and upped them to 42/40. I thought the handling improved, but the crosswind problem remained.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well it seems the cross wind problem is pretty common. Some have suggested that lower profile tires, hence less sidewall flex seems to help. Sidewinds will aggrivate body roll as does swerving trying to correct tracking. Sidewall flex adds to the problem. So stiffer springs and/or sway bars should also help. Any more thoughts? Lets see what Toyota will do about this. Everybody that has a problem with this crosswind phenomenon should call the Toyota Customer Satisfaction line(1-800-331-4331) and make a complaint. The only way Toyota will act is if enough people complain.
 
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