By Patrick Rall
Like many modern ball joint setups, the units found on the 2nd generation Dodge Dakota pickups are not greasable and the inability to keep those ball joints properly lubricated causes advanced wear. Taking your Dakota to a dealership to have the ball joints replaced can be very costly but with some basic tools and a good torch, you can replace your ball joints right in your driveway or garage.
Realistically, the only hard part of replacing the ball joints in the 2nd gen Dakota (and many other modern vehicles) is cutting through the rivets that hold the stock units onto the upper control arm but once you cut them off, the new units bolt right on and the rest of the job is just loosening and tightening nuts and bolts in the suspension setup. Best of all, once you have replaced the factory ball joints with even a decent set of aftermarket units, you will be able to grease them from time to time to prevent the new ball joints from going bad and in the event that they do go bad – you can replace the aftermarket units much more easily since they bolt in rather than being riveted in place.