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Dodge Dakota - Quad Cab



  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    >>>Can someone please advise me on the various symptoms or telltale signs of upper/lower ball joints problems?

    Some of the way a vehicle reacts to worn ball joints is characteristic dependent on the platform design. In general, worn ball joints are first detected from road wander or how the vehicle traverses pavement separations in the driving position. Wheel shimmy or pulling to one side is also an indicator. Less evident is excessive play in the type of suspension system utilized by the Dakota.

    I have seen a few so bad that they'll rattle over certain type of pavement conditions, or make clunking noises.

    The best way to check for ball joint wear is to have a technician do the correct inspection.

    Best regards,
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,080
    Both of my original rear shock absorbers were leaking, (were probubly totally empty of fluid) Like I said before, the rear of my Dak would leap sideways over expansion joints.

    NOW, even with about 30K miles on the IAS shocks, I can ACCELLERATE over expansion joints and the rear end actually "squats" as the IAS do their magic to keep the tires planted on the road in a straight line. In the winter, when the roads are MILES and MILES of bumpy ice, my Dak stays planted and controlled.

     I am certian that it was the very same ICY conditions that clobbered my original shock absorbers. (blew out the seals)
  • (dustyk) Thanks Dusty.

    Currently, symptoms include slight road wander traversing gentle curves, barely noticeable steering wheel shimmy, very slight pulling to the left, and a clunk noise when going over a bump with wheels turned out. Tire pressures and alignment have been checked out but, perhaps should check free play on the rack and pinion components as well. I should also measure and compare the ride height clearance to ground on both sides. However, I keep wondering if all these symptoms can be attributed only to the weak shocks? After 26K kilometres (16K miles), I guess the Dak is no longer new.

    Thanks and Best Regards,
  • (Dusty, Bruce, others) Good morning...

    Further update...from the Front, the ride height(ground clearance) on the Right side is approx 1/2" lower than the Left side when measured on level ground. Not aware if this was the case from day one? There are no visible leaks but, could it be that the soft shock is collapsing or that a ball joint has failing.

    I'm now, curious (in addition to the other symptoms mentioned previously) as to what else might attribute to the height difference on the Right side? (it's a 2wd Quad)

    Any comments or suggestions?

    Thanks & Best Regards,
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931

    Conventional non-booster shocks have no influence on ride height. I doubt that a ball joint could be worn that much to drop one side by that much, either.

    Do I hazzard to guess that this is a four-wheel drive?

  • I am a bit concerned about the ride of my 2004 Dakota 1000K miles. The wheel vibrates and shimmies back and forth when going over rough pavement (ie bridges).
    I have read that there are ball joint problems. If I can get a stiffer ride I will replace the shocks, but I first want to know what the issue may be. There are documented ball joint problems but this truck is brand new. How shall I proceed?
    What type of shocks? New ball joints? Will the dealer work with me?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,080
    Dosent your Dak have Torsion Bar front suspension? A simple crank with a wrench can indipendantly adjust the ride-height on each front wheel.

    The shop manual has step-by-step instructions on how to measure and adjust the front torsion bars for ride-height.

    Before you get to deep into this though, can you explain HOW you are measuring the ride-height? Are you taking the measurements from the ground to the proper frame-members?
  • Dusty,

    << Do I hazzard to guess that this is a four-wheel drive? >>

    No, it's a 2003 Quad 2WD with LSD.

    Best Regards,
  • Bruce,

    Yes indeed, with rack & pinion steering but, it's still under warranty (17K miles or 27K kilometres), so I wanted the Dealer to initially correct the problems. Currently, I don't have a shop chassis manual but, I should get one since I plan to keep the 4.7 for at least another 5yrs. Thank for the suggestions.

    < Are you taking the measurements from the ground to the proper frame-members? >

    Yes, I measured the distance from ground to the chassis frame rails on level pavement. Can't remember the exact figures just now.

    As mentioned in #4851, the Dak tracks fairly straight despite of the various symptoms. So, at 17K miles I'm a little puzzled with the soft shocks and front-end situation.

    Thanks & Best Regards,
  • Hi everyone, I haven't kept up with this site. Look's like still great info.
    update on my '02 qc 2wd 4.7, 5spd,3:55 lsd, hvy duty service, towing etc......
    Now have 50,000+ miles still running strong. Noticed a groove on front LH rotor so I'm asking for info from anyone that has gone after market for rotors and pads and their experiences? I'm going to just go ahead and change rotors and pads and hopefully be done with it !!! My '98 had 80,000 with original pads/rotors still in good shape so I don't normally have to deal with brakes yet!

     Thank you for your info
  • haselhasel Posts: 64
    Use the Brembo rotors, stay away from the ceramic linings,
  • haselhasel Posts: 64
    Check the air in your tires, I joust got a 2004 Q Cab on the 15th it rides a lot harder than my 2001 Q Cab the ride should get better after a few miles, I have 44psi air in my tires and that is what i always ran in my 2001 Q Cab, this much air will give you a bumpy/hard ride, cannot see you having ball joint problems,on my 2001 Q Cab the ball joints where still in great shape after 40000 miles.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    I used the regular Brembo rotors with a set of EBC brake pads on my 02 QC. I got both from the Tire Rack. The pads have a bit more grip than the OEMs.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931

    Okay. If it was a 4-wheel drive you'd have torsion bars and those are adjustable.

    However, Bpeebles asks a good question. You have to take a height measurement to the frame, not body parts such as front bumpers. Bumpers are notorious for being out of adjustment. Mine is.

  • (Dusty/Bruce)

    To be sure, I re-checked the height difference again this past weekend. Measured from level pavement to the chassis frame rails, it's closer to 3/8" lower on the right-side than the 1/2" previously reported.

    In addition to the soft shocks(no visible leaks), my upper right ball joint looks like it is collapsed(as compared to upper left) which might attribute to the height difference. Now, at 17,000 miles (27,500 kilometres) and the ride getting bouncier, I'll just take it in for a technician to confirm since it's still under warranty. I wonder if the premature weaken of the factory shocks are putting more stresses all over and thus affecting other steering components such as ball joints?

    Thanks for the help & Best Regards,
  • My upper and lower ball joints were replace
    by dealer at 33K miles. 2001 Quad/2wd/4.7/auto.
  • (mtrialsm) Interesting...what were the symptoms related to your ball joints situation? (collapsed or dryed out or ?)

    Thanks & Best Regards,
  • Took truck in before standard warrantee ran out with 35K miles and a "list". Main one was the
    common front-end popping and squeaky rear suspension. No questions asked, they replace upper and lower ball joints and front and rear links.
    Also wiper motor control, ignition switch.
    Had trans. fluid changed and injectors cleaned
    (at my costs).
    I didn't ask "what was wrong with ball-joints?"
    I was just shocked that they were all replaced
    without a 2nd discussion. This was shortly after
    Dodge SUVs and trucks were beginning to make headlnes about faulty ball joints.
    We have enjoyed this truck (50K miles now) very much and was my first Dodge vehicle. We're lucky it has been an overall good ride! The "mid-size" was the main reason for our purchase. Plan on keeping it for 3 more years. Now that Toyota and Nissan are up-sizing their small trucks, will probably to back to one of those brands next?
  • ck out the wagner thrermo quiet pads. had a set installed on my 01 q/c at 30k and i'm very happy with them. 36k now and no problems...
  • Last week my 03 Quad 4.7 sat along the road with a broken plastic radiator hose clamp. Has anyone else experienced this? I put a regular hose clamp on just to get it home. -JD
This discussion has been closed.