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Rx330 Steering

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Hi Guys,

Just some quick questions about steering on my 04(MY05)RX330.

I've had this machine almost 3 years now and it has 123k on the clock. It had 80k on it when purchased 2nd hand and was in immaculate condition. It also has an extended warranty by Lexus until 150k or 7 yrs old. Being an ex-lease vehicle it has a full history and no evidence of crash damage - repaired or not.

From not long after taking delivery I thought the steering was way too light for a car of it's size & seems to waffle allover the road. The steering wheel is very rarely on centre, it requires driver correction left or right of 12 o'clock depending on road crowning conditions, and generally doesn't track in a straight line all that well even on the freeway.

All 4 tyres were replaced with Yokohama Advan's at 110k at Bob Jane - same size as originals (Yoko's as original Bridgestones weren't available for a week or so) and the tyre tech couldn't see any obvious signs of damage or premature wear underneath. It was given a full 4 wheel alignment then and again only 500k's ago. I was hoping that these issues would sort themselves with new tyres. While some improvements were noted it still seems not right. I'm told that the tyre wear patterns are normal. At the last align & balance the alignment was only slightly out.

I recently drove an 06 RX350 with 93k on the clock and it drove like a totally different car - no problems tracking in a straight line. My work car is an 09 VE Commodore and although given it is relatively new, it is a much better driving experience than the RX ever was - someting I'm very sad to admit.

I have raised this with Lexus before but was told that all was ok. Before I escalate this I have a few questions before I send it in for it's next service . .

1. Has anyone heard of these steering issues before?

2. Are there any major differences in the steering geometry/componentry between the 330 & 350 models?

3. Can errors the power steering module cause these problems?

4. Is the 4 wheel alignment that Lexus do any different to Bob Jane and is it worth it?? (Do they just take it BJ or similar??)

5. Has anyone replaced the rack/balljoints/bushes/etc yet??

6. Could this be linked to the infamous front strut decompression knock?? (i.e. the knock from the front end when you exit a speed hump a little too fast - that everyone except Lexus techs can hear!)

It's a shame such a nice car can be let down by steering problems. I realise a complete diagnosis via internet forum isn't possible but any input/comments welcome.

Thanks in advance.

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