Dakota Forumz banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all. I really need some help here. I will give some background about myself and my problem. Please aid me in my search to find and fix my issue. I was a mechanic for 12 years before an accident last year broke my cervical and lumbar spine. So I understand our language. Now It’s all I can do just to get out of bed some days.

I have a 1993 Dakota 3.9 4x4 with 168,000 miles. I bought the truck a few years ago and since then I have rebuilt the engine, transmission, air conditioner, and all regular maintenance such as brakes, shocks etcetera.

Here is my problem. (After the plates were put in my neck) The steering became very lose or sloppy. I opted to replace the drag link system to correct this myself. During the repair I found the upper ball joints had apx ¼ inch of play in them. I could not do this myself so I had a shop in town replace the uppers, lowers, A arm bushings, and axles. I picked up my truck and on the way home I noticed my steering was very touchy. But here is the problem. The steering wheel was straight until I hit a bump then it turned a little more than an 1/8 to the right(this is more play than before the repair) but the truck continued straight as an arrow then another bump and it went back straight. I knew something was wrong. On my way back to the shop I noticed when going around a curve to the left it feels like the wheels flop to one side like one of the ball joints is about to fail and the tire is going to lay to the side. Also at any speed during a turn if you let go of the steering wheel it stays where it is (Like a BMW) I mean it does not center itself while rolling.

I have been back to the shop 6 times and had the ball joints replaced just in case they were the problem. I also took it to two other shops trying to locate the issue. No one can find it. It does not feel safe to drive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I crawled under there and think I found it. The tie rods although new are all poor quality. With a small screwdriver not a pry bar the tie rods all give a little this multiplies with each one and allows the entire drag link to move left and right up to an inch and a half.

Here I go again..... I love doing things twice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,211 Posts
Welcome to the Z

sorry to hear about your problems, but i would definitely get it fixed no matter what, doesn't sound safe to me either

good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
did you get the problem fixed... my ram kinda does the same thing but my steering whell does straighten out and it has 35s on it so im thinking my play is in the gearbox
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Hey! I have a 95 Dakota 3.9l 4x4. And I changed upper/lower ball joints, outer/inner tie rods, adjuster sleeves, idler arm, pitman arm.. It's the steering box!! That's where the play is coming from!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
294 Posts
I cannot say without lookin at the truck mmyself but many tie rod ends have springs behind the ball and socket internally. I used to be a Master ASE certified tech my specialty was suspension and alignment. I knew alot of guys that would squeeze the tie rod to the spindle for their inspection with channellocks; almost every tie rod will deflect this way a little for the reason I mention. though it was a down and rather dirty way of increasing the ticket, it is not right, same can be said if you use too much oomph with a prybar. If you have repolaced them within the last year my 1st question is what brand of parts did u use? I use MOOG most TRW or Spicer if Moog isnt available readily. I NEVER use "house brand" or Chinamade suspension parts. Ever. In my experience McQuay norris made some real crap parts as well.

My 1st check would be that the upper control arm bolts are tight and make sure that isnt slipping/sliding around. That was common on any vehicle with a "slip shaft" type alignment; it was hard to get them tight sometimes working over the tire.

its hard to say for sure by your description just over the computer screen, if I cant physically see your truck;

I will say this; Ford and Chevy midsize (S10 ranger Exploder Blazer etc) pt me busy on the alignment rack; Dakotas before 97 and Cherokees, Wranglers etc I NEVER replaced a ball joint in 18 years; the 97+ Dakotas made up for that definitely!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
830 Posts
I will say this; Ford and Chevy midsize (S10 ranger Exploder Blazer etc) pt me busy on the alignment rack; Dakotas before 97 and Cherokees, Wranglers etc I NEVER replaced a ball joint in 18 years; the 97+ Dakotas made up for that definitely!!
The OEM balljoints on my 98 were CRAP! These lifetime lubricated oem
joints are a joke. I used a grease gun with a needle to inject some chassis
grease into the rubber boot once/twice a year at oil changes..and even
that wasn't enough to make them last beyond 60,000 miles. The lower ones
give out faster because they carry the weight of the engine and truck.
I replaced all 4 at the same time with Moog. I figure that if I had to go
through the expense of replacing them..might as well get the best quality
and not have to worry about the wheel breaking loose at speed.
And now I can also grease them like they are suppose to be.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top