The power steering pump in your Toyota RAV4 makes steering with one finger easy. When the pump is ailing, you may notice buzzing or whining noises coming from underneath the hood of your RAV4, especially when turning the steering wheel, or sluggishness and increased difficulty with turning the wheel in the course of normal driving. This sluggishness may be especially evident at slow speeds, such as during parallel parking.
Disconnect and isolate the negative battery cable of your Toyota RAV4. Remove the engine undercover, the shell over the engine, to give you access to the engine's workings.
Loosen the locking bolt and the tension bolt on the alternator until you can swing it inward, releasing tension on the drive belt. Remove the drive belt from the power steering pump pulley.
Use your fingers to loosen the clip on the suction hose, and detach it from the power steering pump. Then, use a wrench to remove the union bolt, carefully remove the gasket--being careful not to scratch the surface underneath the gasket--and disconnect the pressure feed tube. Remove the oil pressure switch connector from the pump.
Loosen the two bolts holding the pump in the vehicle. One will remove completely; the other will detach from the pump but not remove completely from the engine compartment. Remove the old power steering pump from the engine compartment.
Position the new power steering pump inside the engine compartment and tighten both mounting bolts to 22ft. lbs. of torque.
Plug the oil pressure switch connector back into the power steering pump, reconnect the pressure feed tube--using a new gasket--and tighten the union bolt to 38ft. lbs. of torque.
Secure the suction hose back in place with its clip, replace the drive belt on the power steering pump pulley, return the alternator to its original position and tighten the tension and locking bolts to hold it in place.
Replace the engine undercover. Check the level of power steering fluid in the under-hood reservoir and add more if necessary.
Bleed the power steering system by raising the front of your RAV4 and supporting it with jack stands, then turning the steering wheel from the locking position on one side to the locking position on the other side several times. The engine must be off as you do this. Then lower the vehicle back down to the ground, turn the engine on, turn the steering wheel all the way to one side and hold it for three seconds, then all the way to the other side and hold for another three seconds.
Turn the engine off again, check the power steering fluid levels and again, replenish if necessary. Repeat the bleeding process as necessary until the fluid level no longer drops during the bleeding process and air bubbles no longer appear in the power steering fluid.
Always disconnect the battery before working on your vehicle, especially near the drive belt.