Dodge Dakota Suspension and Axles

irish4irish4 Member Posts: 2
Just the other day a was taking a right turn when i heard a snap come to find out the u bracket that holds the swaybar bushings fell off the bolts snapped,i have had the swaybar bushings replaced three times.Has anyone else have similar problems.


  • jnealjneal Member Posts: 247
    3 sets of bushing in 6 years??? Hw many miles do you have on that truck?
    Are you using stock bushings or after-market polyurethane or something of that sort?
    Never have seen a bolt snap off on swar bar under normal use, sounds like either were over-tightened or someone didn't use the correct grade bolt.
  • irish4irish4 Member Posts: 2
    Dealer replaced them 3 times, they keep saying it from the salt and sand on the roads the cause the problems here in connecticut.
  • jnealjneal Member Posts: 247
    Dang, if that's happening to the bushings, just think what it is doing to the rest of the truck!! Makes me glad I live way down south. :D
  • rich28rich28 Member Posts: 23
  • rich28rich28 Member Posts: 23
    FYI - I've had my left front axle replaced twice within 74,000 miles. I thought maybe the vibration was from the tires (Goodyear RTS) being out-of-balance, which they were. Anyway, much smoother ride now.
  • notundranotundra Member Posts: 1
    I ordered a '99 from the factory with HD suspension. Was not available on my '04, and with a camper shell and spray-in liner, I could really use something other than these super-soft Camry style springs they fit to the Dakota these days. I mean, I do understand why folks love the soft ride of the Dakota, but what I don't understand is why they didn't buy a car instead of a truck to get it.

    When I checked in to it the other day, seems like there is simply no extra leaf or chage-out spring pack available for the Dakota post the '02 model. That's interesting!

    A custom fabricated extra leaf seems my only choice. So that begs the question, is there even a lift kit available for post '02 Dakotas?
  • jnealjneal Member Posts: 247
    I bought my '06 with HD suspension and towing package and with the Goodyear LT tires it certainly rides like a truck!!!
    You should be able to get the components of the HD suspension from a dealer......
  • rickfri59rickfri59 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2002 Quad 4X4 with 60K and one of the front wheel bearings is beginning to "growl". On the numerous Caravans I had, changing the front bearings was a sinch once the axle nut was loosened. Any chance the Dakota has such a hub/bearing assembly?
  • eaglefeathereaglefeather Member Posts: 6
    How can I tell by looking if my rear end or suspension has been changed or modified, also same with the ABS. :mad: :cry: :confuse: :sick:
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Member Posts: 4,085
    Study it closely so you know what it looks like... then compare to other Dakotas of the same vintage with simular options. (HeavyDuty option needs to be compared to like option)

    I am not sure why you are asking... but you can compare things like
    *)number of leafsprings
    *)How leaves are bolted on (over axle or under axle)
  • eaglefeathereaglefeather Member Posts: 6
    OK so heres the story I was donating some things with my mother at goodwills drop site when I went to the tailgate to help my mom and a girl jumped in my truck and took off. She was with 3 guys in a truck parked around the way, long sstory short 8 days later PD recovers my baby dakota and she limped home The truck appears 2 inches higher than before. When I take a turn the truck leans The brakes are so tough and at 40-50 mph step on the brake it vibrates real bad. My battery was taken and replaced. some wires have been unplugged that go next to the relay box,theres one of my eng mount bolts backed outabout 1 1/2 inches, knee bolsters on both sides are gone, the clutch has been adjd or rode hard, the tranny got a grinding feel when decel
    engine has lost power, my spare is on the p/f rim alloy rim gone,I can tell what fuses they replaced them upsidedown,the interior lamps, horn park lamps, trans pos ind, eng relay, power amp, htd mirror, cig lighter, radio 1, backup lamp, anti lk brakes, so i figure someone knew dakota probally owned one they got up in the dome light and disabled it probally aware that homing devices are put in some models,on top of that i swear that is not my rear end casing mine was black this one is grey and you can see lube on the seam one of my tranny case has a seriuos gap where it meets in the front, and I had to dealer replace the tranny 2xs about a year or so and they said they replaced it the first time but i wasnt better took it back a second time and then snuck into the shop while the tech was at lunch to make sure they replaced it and my new tranny casing was black, now the tranny i have is gray on top of that after i bought her i had her undercoated and there is over sprayon about every thing except the rear end and drive line dont have any i havent flipped it into 4x4 cause im scared what i will find. I bought the 04 quad sxt bright red and whoever had my truck last week took the sxt decal off Leads me to think for signifigance. so I tryed the self diagnosis and it reads chec then acts likeits checking and says nothing the it will display airbags, abs, security,service 4wd,cargo lamp,winsheild bottom filled in, door ajar and engine then it checks the six gages and thats it no p done. I looked at the leafs all 4 are bound and bolted above the axel. so im not sure weather i got the hd option or not I got the sxt 4x4 with tow the 3.7 magnum v6 with abs the six cluster console. NEways Im tore up about this I keept my baby dak clean mechanical wise It was perfect. I had my mas glock 9 in the truck 200 bucks 3 credit cards all the vehicle info and my eagle feathers and ceremonial beads in there.ouchhh! I just hope that whoever did this doesnt log on here too. so thanks for reading this I would love to hear anything yall have to say :sick: :cry:
  • blk4x4blk4x4 Member Posts: 43
    what did your ins. company say??????? that is some f upped sh#t there , sorry to hear bout that........What did the pd do ?//did they catch the people or just find the truck??
  • blk4x4blk4x4 Member Posts: 43
    Ok here's my problem a couple months ago i started hearing what sounds like a nobby tire wine and i had put new tires on so i didn't think nothing about it Then one day i went it to the gravel road and it still did it so i went home and put it on the lift and put it in gear and went under to check it out and it is really loud around the drive shaft area so i put it in reverse and it stops doing it so i'm think it's something in the pinnion area but i havent done a hole lot of rear work ........ any ideas????????
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Member Posts: 4,085
    What you describe sure sounds like the differential ring-n-pinion gears. Unfortunately, dealing with the clearances and adjustments within a differential is perhaps the most skill-intensive part of an automobile. (perhaps more difficult than rebuilding an engine)

    You have a couple choices,
    *) Replace the fluid in the diff and live with the sound.
    *) Pay to have a qualified differential tech look at it.
  • blk4x4blk4x4 Member Posts: 43
    yeah that's what i was thinking too. I already changed the fluid and checked out the teeth and there are none broken or weird looking ones, all normal which has me thinking it the bearings but not sure, it has the normal play between the gears , so i guess i'll just run it til it blows apart cause there are no good rear mechs around here..think i might try the junk yard for a complete assembly
  • eaglefeathereaglefeather Member Posts: 6
    Ins co covered it shop has had for 3 weeks now, pd caught 2 people in truck but they didnt steal it but were charged with possesing it. yaeh way fffffup
  • blk4x4blk4x4 Member Posts: 43
    so does the ins. co think that its going to repaired back to the way it was cause i dont see that ever happening where you from cause that sounds like [email protected] that happens round here
  • dustykdustyk Member Posts: 2,926
    The following applies to the current rear axle assemblies manufactured by Chrysler or American Axle & Manufacturing (AAM) used on the Dodge Dakota:


    Drive the vehicle at least five (5) miles (more in colder weather) to warm the differential lubricant. On a smooth road accerate the vehicle to the speed range where the noise becomes the greatest. Shift the transmission out-of-gear and coast through the peak noise range. If the noise stops or changes significantly, the following may be the cause:

    *The differential lubricant level is low or the lubricant has expired.

    *Incorrect ring gear backlash

    *Moderate to heavy gear face scratches or galling, or other gear damage.

    If the noise is heard when the rear axle is loaded, the problem is the rear pinion bearing.

    If the noise is heared during a coast, the problem is the front pinion bearing.

    If the noise is constant and the pitch varies with speed, the problem is the differential bearings.

    If the noise level changes when the vehicle is turned sharply either left or right, the problem is the axle bearings. If the noise goes away with increased speed, the problem is light axle bearing wear or damage.

    If the noise is a low speed knock, the problem is worn U-joints, worn side gear thrust washers, or excessive pinion bearing shaft bore.

    If the noise is drive line snap, the following are suspected items:

    *High engine idle speed
    *Incorrect transmission shift speeds
    *Loose motor, transmission, or transfer case mounts
    *Worn U-joints
    *Loose spring mounting hardware
    *Loose pinion gear nut
    *Excessive ring gear backlash
    *Excessive side gear-to-case clearances


    Check for the following:

    *A damaged or bent drive shaft
    *Missing drive shaft balance weights
    *Out of balance wheels & tires
    *Loose wheel lug nuts
    *Worn or binding U-joints
    *Loose, weak, or broken rear springs
    *Worn or damaged axle shaft bearing(s)
    *Loose pinion gear nut
    *Excessive pinion yoke runout
    *Bent axle shafts

  • blk4x4blk4x4 Member Posts: 43
    do you know where to get a good manual for rear end repair I have rebuilt everything from engines to tranys but i have never needed to do any major rear work..... Thanks for the info that really help
  • rickfri59rickfri59 Member Posts: 2
  • blk4x4blk4x4 Member Posts: 43
    yes they are the same bolt on can to to get them
  • trapezecdntrapezecdn Member Posts: 13
    I have a 2000 Dakota Club Cab Sport, 2wd 3.9L V6 with sport and handling package. I really liked how it handled and rode when I first received it. I do have Goodyear Eagle LS 255/65R15 tires on it and have only rplaced with the same.

    I wish to replace the shocks, and wish to find out about who made the OEM Shocks and what model they might be.

    I do like the ride they had which was a lot like a passenger car. I wish to kepp the ride and handling the same. Perhaps increase the handling aspects.

    I have read on the forum about the edelbrock shocks. My concern is that they may be too HD for my liking and give a more truck like performance.

    i drive perdominatley on Freeways, no real snow to contend with. I do not often carry heavy loads. Someone suggested that the oem might be a Monroe Sensa Trac, and suggestted Monroe Reflex as a suitable replacement. I really do wish to keep the good ride and handling I experienced when first purchased, and figure most places will not let me drive on the shocks for a few months and replace them with another model or brand if i do not like them.

    Any and all suggestions would be appreciated.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Member Posts: 4,085
    The OEM shock absorbers on the 2000 Dak are junk. They say "made in mexico" right on them and they are the cheepest that dodge could get a contract for. Mine had started leaking within a year of driving. Also, the rear-end of my Dak would "jump sideways" a few inches over freeway expansion joints. It was was not fun. They are DEFINANTY NOT any brand name.

    After a lot of research, I found that the Edelbrick IAS (Inertia Active System) shock absorbers are perhaps the very best available for my 2000 Dak. They have the ability to "sense" the difference between a quick jolt and a slow movement. This allows them to instantly respond over freeway expansion joints while at the same time remain 'stiff' when braking or turning. This improves the ride AND reduces nozedive/sway when braking/turning.

    Also, the Edelbrock IAS shock are a true MONOTUBE design... this is far superiour to most of the other absorbers on the market. (You can get IAS shocks in twin-tube if money is tight... but you get what you pay for!)

    It took me about 20 minutes to install the rear ones (just lie under truck and unbolt the existing ones!!) To replace the front shocks, you have to remove the wheels

    BOTTOM LINE: If you are replacing the shock absorbers, installing EDELBROCK IAS is the easiest way to improve the ride and handling of your Dak. No other company is even allowed to use the IAS technology because Edelbrock has the sole rights to the design.
  • trapezecdntrapezecdn Member Posts: 13
    Thanks for the info,

    I had researched the Edelbrock shocks, but was unsure if it would take away from the Car like drive. As mine is a 2WD and not a real work truck, I was afraid of the results.....

    What sort of 200 Dakota do you drive? Is it a 2WD Sport with the tire and handling Package?

    Do you know of the Monroe's, or the Rancho, or a few of the others? I will look into the Edelbrock IAS. Thanks.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Member Posts: 4,085
    I orderd my 2000 4X4 Dak from the factory in November of 1999. I included the "sport" and "tire-n-handling" packages when I orderd it. (among some other choice options 8-)

    My main goal was to build a small truck suitable for Vermont winters with a V8 in it. The Dakota was the perfect fit.

    If you are still running the original shock absorbers on your 2000 Dak, you have been without much in the way of 'ride' for at least 6 years. You will find that even the cheepest replacemens would be better than what you are currently running. (original shocks are truly junk)

    From what I have read, the "Rancho" are more for off-road and that is one reason I did not consider them.

    Not only does the Edelbrock have the pantented IAS system which is VERY sensitive and quick acting to make for a comfortable ride, they also improve braking and cornering due to their unique ability to "sense" and stiffen-up under those condiditons. In fact, the IAS shocks are installed what would be considerd "upside down" from 'normal' shock absorbers. (due to the pantented design) The Edelbrock come with rubber boots that protect them from the salt-spray which comes off of Vermont roads. Please review the weblink to Edelbrock IAS I provided in my last append.

    I know it is a tough choice because you cannot "test drive" different absorbers to make a choice. (sorta like exhaust systems...) Once it is bolted to your truck, you either live with it or buy somthing else.
  • dustykdustyk Member Posts: 2,926
    Hey, Bpeebles. How are things up in Vermont? Got snow?

    A few questions:

    Are you indicating that when you installed those IAS shocks the truck rode better?

    Did you install all four at the same time?

    How many miles on them and how would you judge the ride and handling now?

    Where's the best price?

    I've got 78K on mine and I can't say the ride has degraded much for most driving. I don't have any bounce or suspension related problems. Now I keep a lot of air in my tires and maybe it's just my imagination since I put new tires the Dak this past summer with one size larger tire, but this winter the factory shocks seem to have gotten a lot stiffer.

  • trapezecdntrapezecdn Member Posts: 13

    I am curious to what year and options Dakota you have. As You can read I use mine more as a car than a truck. I am interested in the Edelbrocks, but wish I could get comparisons to Billstein HD, or KYB monomax, Rancho, Monroe Reflex. I wish to have the benefits of more contact with the road, but do wish to avoid a harsher or stiffer ride.

    The best price I have seen for the IAS from Edelbrock is $72.77 at eshocks as BPeebles mentioned

    of course some of the others are as low as $30. As expressed, not like I can take them back in a week if i do not like the ride... Any thoughts from your side? I assume you are also driving a 4WD

    Once again mine is a 2000 2wd 3.9 L Club cab Sport with the tire and handling package, which I guess just had the 255/65 R15 tires and a rear torsion bar.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Member Posts: 4,085
    Hello Dusty!

    Yes - I shoveled snow all weekend. (several hours each day).. I am ready for mud-season (In Vermont, all the back roads become mudpits until the ground completely thaws.)

    Are you sure that the "stiffer ride" you are experiencing is not just the frost-heaves? I have heard MANY people complain about a bumpy ride in the spring.... They are not considering the frost-heaves.

    The original shocks on my 2000 Dak were shot after about a year. The rears were leaking fluid and there was a dangerous sideways "jump" to the side over freeway expansion joints.

    Thus, I have had the Edelbrock IAS for about 6 years. I bolted the rears on as soon as they arrived (because they were so easy to install with truck on the ground.) I installed the fronts about a week later.

    There is NO QUESTION that my Dak rides better with the IAS shocks. I can now use full-throttle accelleration over expansion joints and the rear end kinda "hunkers down" and grabs the road over each bump.(hard to explain...) It is hard to get the rear wheels to break free over bumps.... wheras before, they would easilly leap off the road and start spinning. (2nd gear - full throttle!)

    As for best price, I have not been in the market for shock-absorbers for about 6 years. No matter what you choose, I would suggest you research the several available websites and make your selecection. (Consider shipping-costs before you order! .. the cheapest is not always the least-expensive)
  • sunburnsunburn Member Posts: 319
    I went with 4 Monroe Reflex shocks on my 02 4x4 Quad Cab. Much more control than the OEM shocks, but still a good ride. I paid about $40-45 each.
  • trapezecdntrapezecdn Member Posts: 13

    I am leaning that way with a new daughter in the household. Like to save a little bit, but BPeebles makes a strong case for the Edelbrock IAS. I understand that the Reflex are now a monotube design....

    I would love to hear from anyone with the similar 2WD sport tire and handling package.
  • dustykdustyk Member Posts: 2,926

    Mine is a 2003 Club Cab Sport Plus, 4.7 engine, 545RFE transmission with 3.55 limited slip 9 1/4 rear axle and 16 x 8 inch cast aluminum wheels, front and rear sway bars. I've since replaced the Goodyear P245/70R16s with Michelin P255/70R16 LTX M/S. My factory invoice doesn't say anything about having a handling package, but I guess it came standard with the Sport Plus in '03.

    I can't remember the model of Goodyear tire I had originally, but I really like the Michelin LTXs. They have better snow traction and are significantly quieter. i can't complain much about the Goodyears, I got 55,000 miles out of them and they still had five or ten thousand left.

    Best regards,
  • dustykdustyk Member Posts: 2,926
    Yep. Got lot's of snow here, too. Much of it went away with the warm up last week, but Saturday it came back. Supposed to be in the teens tonight here in Rochester.

    By the way, love Vermont! Live Free or Die.

    Yeah, we get heaving of course, but the Dak seems to be stiffer in the mornings especially even on otherwise smooth road. I'm suspicious that there's moisture in the shock fluid that's freezing and causing the ride to be very stiff. It appears to be much more noticeable in the rear...of course, where's there little weight.

    In fact, this caused me to recall a Ford Taurus I once worked on. The customer complained that the car "jumped" all over the road on real cold days. One day when the temperature was about 5 degrees above zero, this lady brought the car to me and asked me to drive it. Sure enough, it was like a bucking bronco. I could tell that the right rear was not bouncing, and upon further inspection we found the rear shock to be completely immovable. It was frozen in position.

    It's possible that worn shock seals let in moisture, which causes interrupted shock movement. There are no signs of shock oil leaking from any of mine...yet. But they could still be worn.

    Anyway, I'm thinking this spring I'll flip for new shocks. That's why I wanted to talk to you.

    By the way, what color are the IAS shocks?

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Member Posts: 4,085
    The Edelbrock IAS shock absorbers are bright red. (with black bellows protecting the piston rods)

    I expect that the bellows on the piston rods really keeps out the grime that could wear at the seals. Also, the IAS shocks have LARGER piston rods as well as DOUBLE seals. (the piston rods are also made of nitro-steel)

    Basically the IAS shocs are a ONE TIME purchase. They are designed after desert-racing trucks. Their pantented design truly cross the boundaries of SOFT RIDE as well as CONTROLLED HANDLING in one package.

    For me, I expect to drive my Dakota into the ground (keep it as long as I can) so it was a no-brainer for me to choose the MONOTUBE IAS shocks.

    I also have a BORLA 100% stainless exhaust system that carries their famous "million mile warantee". I also use RadLine lube in all 4 gearcases (Xmission, Xfercase, front/rear diff.)

    BTW: I purchased my IAS shocks from SHock warehouse out of florida.
  • dustykdustyk Member Posts: 2,926
    Yeah, I expect to be driving mine well into the next decade. My son got 14 years out of a '91 Dakota before he went into the Army and even the body on that truck was really good up until a year or so.

    I've elected to keep mine completely stock, although I have toy'ed with the idea of putting a larger Throttle Body on the 4.7. But in all honesty, she runs fine and performs well as it is for my purposes. Overall I'm quite happy.

    But I think it's time to retire the shocks.

    Best regards,
  • slickwilliedjslickwilliedj Member Posts: 252
    just thought I would add my 2 cents on these shocks since I installed set about 30k ago and they have been great. what a difference! would recommend to anyone considering new shocks
  • slickwilliedjslickwilliedj Member Posts: 252
    Has anyone had there balljoints replaced under warranty (dodge sent me a letter a few yrs ago stating that are covering the upper balljoints only for 10yrs or 100k.) I have read that this was a problem on Dakotas and Durangos from 97 -03 I think 60 mins or dateline even did a spot on it yrs back. I think mine are shot as I'm I have been experiencing a knocking/bumping/loose/wiggle sound when turning over bumps at moderate speeds from the front end sorta like a car with worn cvc joints minus the creaking. However I do get a popping sound now and then which I have had since day one but seems to have gotton worse. What I'm wondering is so I dont get the push over at the dealer or else where is how can I tell if they balljoints are bad? If they are bad should I also replace the lower balljoints while everything is apart? How much does this sorta job cost? anyone have any exp with this situation. Also last time I was for my alignment after replacing all 4 tires my alignment guy indicated that some of the bushings are looking pretty bad and might have to replace some of them. Not sure which ones though he ment but just from looking under the truck various ones they appear to be either compressed fully and or dry and cracking. again any recommendations on this? is it possible to get a bushing kit and just replace them all? how much? where to buy? what brand and type? urathane? any and all info would be helpful. anyothers that have replace bushings?
  • trapezecdntrapezecdn Member Posts: 13
    Curios about your Dakota. Is it a 4WD? Not sure I could justify the cost of the edelbrocks and I am concerned about the ride.

    As for Balljoints. I reported issues early on with mine and when I received the recall notice contacted Chrysler Canada and USA (My 2000 Dakota) was purchased in Ottawa and I currently reside in the San Francisco Bay area. I was flatly refused. My ball joints were in need of replacement, but under no circumstances would Chrysler do it or even pay for a pro rated replacement. I do have a lot of miles on my truck. Currently 252,000 km or 156,500 miles. I was back in Ottawa in Sept 2005 and my brother in law who is a great mechanic replaced the ball joints for me at the garage he works at. The mileage was 205,000km or 127,000 miles. He of course did an alignment as well. I cost me about $550 CDN. I was quoted $750 US at a local Midas, and of course more at any Dealer. I did keep the instructions that Chrysler included with the parts. If you like I could e-mail them to you. It seems to be a bit of a process as you need to grind of the old ones before installing the new ones.

    I would suggest calling Chrysler. I get the impression they have determined on their own which VIN will get the ball joints at what mileage. I obviously was not lucky. In my research, those Dakotas in winter climates with snow, salt and slush seem to be more at risk... but would probably get the work done, no matter. Safety.
  • trapezecdntrapezecdn Member Posts: 13
    I am also curious about any Bushing suggestions.....
  • dustykdustyk Member Posts: 2,926

    The noises you're experiencing are all typical of a bad ball joint. The uppers were recalled and you should still be able to get them replaced under warranty. I believe the ball joints were warranted for ten years under the recall.

    A-arm bushings typically looked cracked or split at the very end that is visible just underneath the washer. That is not an indicator that the bushings are bad. In order to really judge the state of the bushings, a pry bar should be used to detect movement at the pivot points, or relieve the A-arm from the frame and visibly check them.

    At the moment I don't recall what year Dak you have, but '99s through '02s were famous for noisy sway bar bushings. Chrysler has since upgraded the sway bar bushing material, but I've been told by a number of Dakota owners that aftermarket urethanes are the better item and probably good for the life of most Daks.

    Best regards,
  • dustykdustyk Member Posts: 2,926

    I believe you can get a reimbursement from Chrysler for the ball joints you replaced as long as you have a valid receipt. I know of one individual that was reimbursed.

    When I did my first tire rotation soon after taking delivery of my 2003, I noticed that the rubber joint bellows (cover) were collapsed on both upper and lowers. I mentioned this to the dealer service manager and he said to get the truck right in and they'd get some grease in them. I was pleasantly surprised that when I drove up they had a technician waiting for me. I never shut the engine off, they took it right in and greased them.

    I knew about the possibility of short ball joint life on previous Daks when I bought the truck, since I know a number of previous owners. Mine were replaced well after 50K, so I suspect that the early greasing help stretch the life.

    The issue with the joints, by the way, was a defective seal assembly technique by the component manufacturer (TRW) that allowed moisture into the ball joint.

  • slickwilliedjslickwilliedj Member Posts: 252
    thanks, I got an 01 q/c sport 4.7 2wd lsd 4wheel anti locks 60k
  • slickwilliedjslickwilliedj Member Posts: 252
    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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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.
  • belvedere65belvedere65 Member Posts: 5
    Hi dustyk!

    In case it hasn't been brought to your attention yet, "LIVE FREE or DIE" is New Hampshires state slogan. :)

    Enjoy all the info on this forum.
  • tjfitztjfitz Member 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 Member 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 Member 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?
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