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Dodge Dakota Steering Questions

A couple weeks ago my power steering went south,It turns ok but firmly. Today the power came back and it's as easy as it should be. Does it have the system to stiffen steering at speed and and ease up going slower? maybe sensor went bad?Thought it might be rack and pinion but the way it's working now it can't be that. Steve


  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    What year, make and model vehicle is this? Which engine?

  • Sorry I didn't add that info, it's a 2004 4x4 ext cab with a V8 engine.It's my second Dakota and I shopped for over a month to find just one for sale in my area that was decent. It was a leased vehicle and it had 68 thousand miles on it but drove like new. Needed something to replace my 93 that I will only use now for plowing my driveway.thanks for the reply. Steve
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926

    Well, if the fluid level is okay, the drive belt is not loose and the pump is fine, I would suspect that the problem is in the rack. Although not in quite awhile, I've seen this problem before.

    You didn't state how many miles, but you could try changing the power steering fluid and see if that makes a difference. The newer Dakotas use ATF+4. Do not use power steering fluid for that year Dak.

    Best regards,
  • Taking it to repair shop Wed. he seems to think it's pump. Will let you know.check this out,old truck.">link titleSteve
  • Update steering: Had truck fixed today. bill came to 217 dollars. It was the double steering joint on coluum. It had seized up on both ends and I was lucky it didn't break. Steers like a new truck again. Steve
  • I was driving my 2001 2x4 v8 dakota the other night. -26(celcius) i turned the wheel to max and i lost my power steering. I still have turn radius but it takes everything i have to crank the wheel. it comes back fine takes a little effort. the fluid is low but not enough tomake a difference a guy at part source says.......any ideas
  • I was driving my '00 4.7L Dakota up an icy road tonight, and started sliding backwards down it, even in 4WD. There was a 90 degree turn at the bottom of the hill and I would have went through a fence and down a bank into a creek if I hadn't stopped. So I gunned it and cranked the wheels. I was able to get sideways and stop in the ditch. But when I started driving again, there was a buzzing coming from the engine and steam coming out of the hood. I got stopped at a flat spot and found fluid all over inside my engine compartment. Also, the buzzing seemed to be coming from my power steering pump. When I took off the lid of the power steering reservoir there was a noticeable suction, and there was barely any fluid left (I just filled it before christmas). I also found that the plastic guard (that has a hole for the oil filter) between the front bumper and the skid plate was cracked in 2 places and pushed up about 3 inches.

    I'm supposed to leave for college 5 hours away on Monday afternoon. I highly doubt this is gonna be a quick fix, especially in a small town. Any ideas as to exactly what the problem is, or ways to temporarily fix it? Also, how necessary is that plastic piece behind the bumper? Should I have it replaced or just pulled the rest of the way off?
  • just received a recall notice from chrysler safety recall g28 anybody else get this notice? Have you had the work done?
  • jdietzjdietz Posts: 1
    My 1987 Dakota, (RWD, 3.9 Litre V-6) Has developed a steering issue - there is not resistance at the steering wheel - It spins far to freely. Another way to describe it would be to say it is as If I have too much power steering. a flick on the steering wheel and it spins to the end of its' range. Is there some kind of sensor? Is the problem in the rack, or in the pump? Has anyone experienced this problem? Thanks
  • ronbo77ronbo77 Posts: 2
    it makes a clunking sound turning left or right corners. but not sitting still? had alignment done also , all good there. i can feel it below my feet.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    You feel it in your feet, but do you feel it in the steering wheel?

    When you had the alignment done, did they check the tie rods and ball joints for wear?

  • ronbo77ronbo77 Posts: 2
    tierods, links, shocks all new . ball joints still tight also. no i don't feel it in the steering wheel. :(
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Hmmm. Well, I suppose it could be an A-arm bushing or maybe a lose steering gear rack. Niether would be a common problem, though. The intermediate steering shafts were known to get lose, but you'd feel that in the steering wheel.

    You might have an issue in the steering gear rack itself.

  • kjh9kjh9 Posts: 1
    I have been reading your forum on steering problems, I just bought a 04 with 73000 miles on a real clean truck but have noticed that the steering is alittle hard and at times does not want to come back to center, from what I have read it sound like eather a pump or the steering colum double steering joint. I have read that it could be a pump presure sensor. There is a slight squeek in the steering wheel that is not always in the same location I don't know if this is related or not it doesn't always accure. but the slugish steering is constent. Are there any other posiblities for this problem I'm taking it into the shop on Wensday? :sick:
  • cbdaddycbdaddy Posts: 1
    kjh9 - I have the EXACT same issue with my steering on my 04 Dakota. I have a brand new rack and still have some random hard steering. Did you get yours fixed? What was the cause and remedy? Please email or respond if you have more info.

    Thanks, Chris
  • Your problem is a stuck valve in the pump more than likely but it could be the rack but I doubt it.The best fix is to replace the pump with a rebuilt unit.JMHO
  • Take about 8 ounces of fluid out of the pump and put the same amount of marvel mystery oil and this should help.You can get it at any parts store or even Wally World
  • I have a '97 Dakota ext cab 3.9 with about 100k miles.I bought the truck new and it has been well cared for,but I am noticing the steering being tight as the stock car guys call it or plowing on corners.My tires are new and the steering parts look good and tight.Anyone have any ideas? I have heard the A arms on Dakota's are junk,I am going to fab a set of tubular arms for it but I have been saying that for 3 or 4 years now.I will do it sometime :D
  • tjfitztjfitz Posts: 41
    My daughter has a 1990 Dodge Dakota (with automatic transmission, power steering and 3.9 L gasoline engine) that she inherited from her older brother. The truck has been all over the place, and last September was driven from Idaho to North Dakota.

    I've noticed a kind of "cracking" feel as the steering wheel is turned, and put it down to wear in one or both tie rod ends.

    This last weekend, my other daughter had the pickup out on the highway for two roundtrips to a town about 50 miles distant. I drove the pickup after she returned and thought the "feel" had gotten worse, and decided to park it the pickup in the driveway until I could have a look at it.

    I'm just back from taking the look, and am shocked by what I saw. I watched under the hood as my wife turned the steering wheel back and forth. The steering column was not only turning, but it was also moving from side-to-side. When I rolled under the front bumper with a flashlight, I saw that the steering gear had come away from the frame crossmember and the whole rack and pinion gear with its tierods were moving as the steering wheel turned.

    There are two diamond-shaped, four-sided holes in the crossmember that correspond to the points where the steering gear is to be bolted to the crossmember. I can see where it looks as though welds have broken around the holes, maybe by corrosion or cracking, and it seemed to me like there were only two spot welds on each hole that held things together.

    The fix, I think, is to remove the steering gear and re-weld whatever has broken-away.

    Has anyone else seen this happen? Am I right in what I am saying about welds cracking or corroding?
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    This is the first time I've heard of such a situation on any Dakota. Keep in mind your truck is eighteen years old, but I know that the racks were trouble prone in those years. For that reason it is possible someone before you had replaced the rack and done something unconventional.

    However, I suspect that this problem can be fixed if taken to the right shop. Heck, an acquaintance of mine just repaired a badly rusted frame on a thirteen year-old Chevy. I'm sure a good welder/fabricator can get you going again.

    Good luck.
  • Thanks for the reply, Dusty. The whole sordid tale can be viewed on another forum, complete with photographs of the welding repair in progress at

  • damonpdamonp Posts: 1
    My Dodge Dakota makes a winding noise when I first start it up. It's not like the revving of an engine, but it's like a wind-up toy type noise. Once I get up to speed on the road, the noise disappears, but reappears when I turn. I think it's a power-steering issue...any thoughts? Also, I noticed the other day a squeaking noise everytime I accelerate from a stop or slow down to a stop.
  • kegler12kegler12 Posts: 5
    My 1995 dakota has loose play in the steering. The suspension parts all check out ok so we tried tightening the steering box and this didn't help either. It has 137,000 miles on it, don't know much about it 'cause I just recently purchased it. By loose play, I mean it kinda feels like it floats a little on the road. Any ideas?
  • jeff128jeff128 Posts: 1
    My 04 Dakota has steering problems, one time I have power steering the next time I do not. I took it to the shop and we have put on two racks and three pumps and it still has foam in the pump reservoir. My mechanic ran five gallons of fluid thru the system under vacuum and still can not get the air out. The Chrysler garage just put a new engine in it under warranty and this is when my problems started. I will not go back to my local Chrysler dealer. Please HELP !!!
  • ewc1ewc1 Posts: 2
    I replaced the power steering pump with rebuilt pumps, on my sons 2004 dakota V-8 three times within the past two weeks due to a leak. The pump functioned prior to replacement. First time it lasted 10 miles and went out. Second time it locked up when I was doing the air bleed, never got out of the driveway. Third time I decided it must have trash in the system and replaced both the rack and the pump. Pump stopped pumping on the way to return the cores. (5 miles) I read one post that stated this system takes ATF, is that the problem? I filled it with power steering fluid all three times. Is it possible to get three bad pumps? Any other ideas on why the pumps would fail?
  • wiswoodwiswood Posts: 1
    Last night drove my '01 Dakota (with 89,000 well cared for miles on it). On the way back I noticed that when turning the wheel about an 8th of a turn (both left and right) it feels like for a moment it is loose or slippery. Then when I went to turn it off the steering wheel would not lock into place as usual. Anyone have any ideas? I checked the power steering fluid and it is good. Anyone have any ideas?
  • Just bought with 118+++ miles. Loose steering as measured from left to right at the top of the steering wheel. Replaced the sterring rod that exits from steering box to wheel inside. What about the adjustment on top of the box ??? Any thoughts given all other related parts are tight !!!
  • ronindelawareronindelaware Posts: 2
    edited March 2010
    Hi ,
    I have a '98 Dodge Dakota- V-6, with 4 wheel drive. Its got about 222,230 miles on it. It runs fine. Recently I had changed out the idler arm, inner and outer tie rods, upper and lower ball joints.Two new front tires, with an alignment. Replaced the steering lower shaft as well.

    My question is why do I still have a 1 inch FLOAT in the steering? What am I missing? The power steeing pump could use a seal kit, I am leaking a little fluid and have since used LUCAS to thicken it up; and that works fine for now.

    Any ideas would be appreciated.
  • My 2004 Dakota (55K miles) has begun periodically acting as if the power steering is not functioning. Sometimes if you turn a little you have power, then none, then power, etc. Other times just plain no power. Sometimes it works fine. I don't see any leaks and the fluid level stays constant.

    I see other discussions that sound similar to mine, but I don't see what the solution was.
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