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Dodge Dakota Suspension and Axles

irish4irish4 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 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 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 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 Posts: 23
  • rich28rich28 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.
  • 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 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......
  • 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?
  • 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 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)
  • 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 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 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 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 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
  • 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 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 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 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
  • blk4x4blk4x4 Posts: 43
    yes they are the same bolt on can to to get them
  • 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 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.
  • 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 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 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.

  • Dusty,

    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 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 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.
  • Sunburn,

    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.
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