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Dodge Dakota Suspension and Axles



  • thanks, I got an 01 q/c sport 4.7 2wd lsd 4wheel anti locks 60k
  • was wondering if anyone has any exp or info on changing out the stock bushings for polyurathane ones. I have an 01 q/c 60k. I have ck out a few companies however none seem to offer a full master kit.
  • duke15duke15 Posts: 161
    My father-in-law has a 2001 Dakota, 2wd. He lives in Virginia and while getting his vehicle inspected (state law) he was told his ball joints needed replaced or he would fail the inspection (non-dealer). He paid to get them replaced, and remembered the recall once he got home. The ball joints would have been covered by the recall. He called the local dealer to see if he could at least get reimbursed for the parts, and they told him that since he decided to fix it on his own, the ball joints aren't covered under the warranty.

    Has anyone else been in a similiar situation or think if he writes or phones Chrysler North America that he might be able to recoup at least some of his costs?

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    That is not what the Dodge folks told me (not the dealership) I received several phonecalls from somone at Dodge (because I had not taken my Dak in for the recall) and she told me that the dealerships MUST inspect/replace the balljoints.

    I questioned her for several minuts...explaining that I already had the upper balljoints replaced. She INSISTED that a Dodge dealer MUST inspect/replace them anyway.
  • duke15duke15 Posts: 161
    Thanks for the reply, bpeebles. It looks like he won't be able to recoup the cost, but we are still hopeful. He's going to call Dodge North America and see if he gets lucky. I'll let you know.
  • tjfitztjfitz Posts: 41
    I have a 1990 Dodge Dakota, 3.9 L gasoline engine, two-wheel drive with about 150,000 miles on the odometer. I've been noticing a kind of "swish-swish" sound coming from up front by the wheels and lately it has been getting to be more of a "grind-grind" sound. It seems to happen twice per wheel revolution, although I could not swear to that.

    I put the front end up on stands and took off the tires and then the rotors and pulled out the wheel bearings, inboard and outboard, cleaned out the grease from them and the races and inspected them as well as I could. I spun the bearings but couldn't see, hear or feel any trace of roughness or wear. I regreased the bearings and put them back in the rotors and reinstalled everything. The noise was still there.

    I then put the right side up on a stand and this time removed the outboard bearing and put in a new one (just the cone, not using the race provided, but leaving the old race in the rotor). I reassembled and heard the same noise on road testing.

    I tried swapping the passenger side front wheel and tire with the rear, but found no change.

    I then put the old bearing back in and brought the truck to a tire shop and asked them to have a look/listen and give me an opinion. Their $20 result was to say that the tires are OK but I probably have a bad wheel bearing.

    I went home and bought a set of bearings and races for the passenger side rotor and took the cleaned rotor to a local machine shop to have the old races removed and the new ones installed. The shop also "cut" the disc surfaces because they said it isn't always possible to exactly match the position of the new race with the old race's position. I took the rotor home, installed the bearings and new seal for the inboard bearing and heard the same noise with a road test.

    Today I took the truck to another tire shop for a second opinion. That mechanic also road tested the truck, put it up on a lift and spun the wheels and his $15 opinion is that the problem was a bad bearing on the drivers side.

    I took the truck home and got another new set of races and bearings for the driver's side, but only installed the bearings, leaving the old races in the drivers side rotor. Road test showed that the same noise was still there.

    The only odd thing I have noticed in all this is that one of the wheel studs on the passenger side seemed to allow the lug nut to keep turning tighter and tighter. I didn't notice this last time I put the tire and wheel on, so maybe it was not really happening. I looked at the rear side of the stud and it hasn't pulled any deeper into the wheel, and I haven't noticed the stud itself turning.

    Would appreciate any guesses as to what can be happening.
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  • tjfitztjfitz Posts: 41
    I left the pickup at a local repair shop and the mechanic zeroed-in on the differential. The shop telephoned me to come back and talk to the mechanic. He pried off the rubber cover over what I suppose is the fill-hole in the back of the differential and held a light there as he stuck a screwdriver in the fluid, then pulled it out and told me to note the silvery color of the fluid on the screwdriver shank. He thinks the carrier bearings are failing. The shop is quoting something over $700 to do a repair, and I am thinking I will park the pickup in the driveway until I can do any necessary work myself!

    Getting back to the mechanic, he also held a mechanic's stethescope to the differential near the drivers side axle (this is a two-wheel rear drive pickup) and I could hear some noise, which he described it as a "growling".

    He didn't listen to the transmission near the output bearing, but said he is almost certain the problem is in the differential, or possibly the rear axle bearings. (I seem to get in a real no-brain state when talking to any mechanic at any shop, and didn't think to ask him to listen to the transmission, although I had left a typed detailed description of the noise, my work, and also left a new transmission rear seal I had bought a couple of months ago, in case he found that was the source of the noise.)

    He also had me get in the pickup on the lift and put the transmission in drive to hear the noise, and it was the same as I hear when driving, so I suppose that proves beyond a doubt that the noise isn't coming from the front wheels, but I'm not as certain about it coming from the differential and not the transmission.

    I'll take the truck in to another shop tomorrow for a "second opinion".
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    A proper differential rebuild is an exacting task which requires SKILL and EXPERIENCE. The amount of measurements, shimming and critical know-how required is rare to find in todays so-called mechanics. Especially since most of todays vehicles are FRONT wheel drive.

    Unless you find somone reliable to perform the differential rebuild, you may not be happy with the results. A shop that rebuilds differentials for racecars would have the skill.

    You may want to consider just having a complete rear-axle assembly installed from a salvage yard. The cost may be less than a differential rebuild. (and the warantee may be the same as a rebuild)

    Whatever you do, consider using RedLine lube in the differential in the future. The extra cost is well worth it considering it would have likely PREVENTED this failure in the first place.
  • tjfitztjfitz Posts: 41
    Thanks for the comment, bpeebles.

    Went to a second mechanic and he agrees the problem is the differential.

    I rolled under the pickup this afternoon with one wheel off the ground, a jack stand holding it up. Then I marked the propeller shaft (drive shaft) with chalk and put a chalk mark on the raised tire and rotated the tire forward to get 10 revolutions of the shaft. I did the same on the other rear wheel.

    The result for both wheels is that 10 shaft revolutions make about 5 and 5/8 wheel revolutions, or about 1.78 shaft revolutions per wheel revolution. I think you're supposed to multiply this by 2 to get the gear ratio between the pinion gear and the ring gear, so I am guessing my ratio is about 3.56.

    I also took a photo of the differential from the cover end. There is a metal tag fastened under one of the cover bolts. I enlarged the photo and it looks to me as id the the tag has this lettering: "1|8.3" . Could this be 1 ring gear tooth per 8.3 pinion gear teeth? If I multiply by 2, this becomes 3.66.

    Am I figuring all this right?
  • I brought my 2003 4x4 CC. in for a front and rear diff fluid change to mr. Lube, they used mopar antislip additive and it was quiet for a couple days it actually sounded better, now its really noisy, sounds like the howl of an old army jeep. the cantire mechanic says its prolly the bearings and will be 600 to can this happen overnight, a friend suggested throwing in jacobs to quiet it down. Any ideas?
  • tjfitztjfitz Posts: 41
    dodgeman, "I feel your pain." I am scouring the region's junk yards for 7.25 inch, 3.55 gear ratio rear axle assemblies for my '90 Dakota and not having much luck. I may have to remove the whole thing and put it on sawhorses in my freezing cold front porch and see if I can repair whatever is wrong inside the differential box. May have to rent one of those salamander butane heaters to keep from turning into a block of ice (I'm in North Dakota).
  • tjfitztjfitz Posts: 41
    I removed the cover of my 1990 Dakota's rear differential (it's a 2-wheel drive) and counted 39 teeth on the ring gear and 11 on the pinion gear. Stamped on the ring gear is this: 2852943 - 3.55, also 10 25 89.

    I'm guessing the 10 25 89 is the date of manufacture, October 25, 1989.

    I've measured the gear ratio by turning the tire and the drive shaft and got 3.56, which is close-enough for me to 3.55, so I think the "- 3.55" means the gear ratio.

    Maybe the 2852943 is the Chrysler part number. Can someone check this?

    I took a string and used it to measure the circumference of the ring gear at its widest and got about 26 inches. If you divide 26 by 3.14 (pi), you get 8.28 inches for the gear diameter, which is closer to published numbers for Dodge's 8.25 inch gear than to Dodge's 7.25 inch gear.

    But before this, I was told by a local used parts emporium desk jockey that the cover for the 8.25 inch differential is hexagonal while the 7.25 inch cover is rounded. My cover is rounded (actually elliptical), so he told me I had a 7.25 inch gear.

    On the Internet I read that "Ring gear diameter can be identified by observing the housing tube diameter. The 7-1/4 inch axle has housing tubes which are 2.5 inch (63.5 mm) diameter at the inner ends and 3.00 inch (76.2 mm) at the outer ends; the 8-1/4 inch axle has housing tubes that are 3.0 inch (76.2 mm) in diameter."

    My axle tubes are 3 inches O.D. for their whole length. Maybe this is another indication that I actually have a 8.25 inch differential.

    Am I doing the ring gear measurement wrong? Should I be measuring around the widest part of the gear, or somewhere else? Am I wrong in thinking I have the 8.25 inch ring differential, or is the parts man wrong?

    I'd sure be grateful for some help. I've never done any differential work, and this is the first time I've seen one opened-up.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    I believe the 8-1/4 inch has 12-bolt cover and the 7-1/4 inch has 10-bolts.

    Most 2WD have the 7-1/4 while the 8-1/4 inch come thru installed on the 4WD Daks. Somtimes it seems that they installed whatever happened to be laying around the day the rear-axle was installed- LOL
  • tjfitztjfitz Posts: 41
    Thanks again, bpeebles.

    My elliptic-shaped differential cover has 10 bolt holes in it. Also found when I took off the cover that there is a second metal tag under one of the two bolts that I left on while draining the oil. It has what looks like 3.5 stamped on it. The other tag has 3.189 stamped on it. The pinion gear driving the ring gear has several numbers painted in white on its end face inside the case. 4 and 1 are two that I remember.
  • tjfitztjfitz Posts: 41
    Take a look at this site with photos of Chrysler differential covers. Mine is exactly like the elliptical 8.25 inch cover with 10 holes.
  • tjfitztjfitz Posts: 41
    Well, I telephoned the local Dodge dealer and the parts representative said the number stamped on the gear, 2852943 - 3.55, was not a good one, but it probably indicates the ratio is 3.55. Using the last 8 numbers from the VIN, the rep was able to find that the ring gear is 8.25 inches. Now I can get on with ordering the carrier bearings and hope that I can get new ones installed and end the grinding.
  • i was out 4 wheeling when i heard a clunk or a clicking sound so i put back in 2 wheeld drive . no noises but when back in 4 hi or low noise from right front axle any ideas thanks
  • tjfitztjfitz Posts: 41
    I'm going to replace the differential carrier bearings in my 1990 Dodge Dakota rear wheel drive and have read that Dodge says to use their tool C-4164 (costs about $60) to spin the adjuster used to tighten and loosen the load on the bearings.

    There is an interesting discussion about using a torsion bar from a 1970s era Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth vehicle as a substitute for the special tool. Several posts in the discussion say the bar works perfectly, but the discussion ends with the man who asked the original question having his truck up on stands, the axles removed and a friend taking time off work to help only to find the torsion bar didn't fit!

    I'm thinking of haunting the local junkyards to see if I can find one of those torsion bars to do my job, but am I heading for the same problem as the poster on that discussion? I'll be doing this job lying on my driveway outside in a North Dakota winter, and would probably have to lie in the snow in the junkyard to remove a torsion rod, so I don't want to waste a lot of effort, and would really be grateful for any input.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Check the Dodge Dakota 4x4 Issues discussion for better ideas, but it sounds like you may have popped an axle shaft joint.

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