Well i just got done swapping the Durango Rear to the dakota and figured i was give some insight. i got mine out of a 99 durango in the j-yard for $150. it was a 9.25 3.55 with trac-loc you can tell from the picture there is a sticker on some newer models on the drivers side.
i just cut the e-brake cables and the rear abs sensor wires and pulled it out. i took the sway bar too(have not mounted it yet but maybe soon)
When you get started on the swap i found it easier to unbolt the rear end and all the cables from the dakota and just drop the back of the leaf springs and just slide it out. This is pretty easy to do with the little 8.25.
while you have the rear end off you should do what i dd not do and swap the brake lines, it will be much easier to do with it not under the truck. i just pulled the little block off and unscrewed the line from the wheel cylinders to make it fit. not the best thing but it will work for me.
you can probably get the old rear out with a floor jack by yourself, but when it comes to putting the new one in there you will need a buddy and the jack(or surgury afterwords). that mo fo is heavy! i just wheeled it up there on the jack and got my dad to hold it still while i picked up the springs and slid the bolts back in(do not tighten them down yet). the fun part is that the perches for the new rear are 1/2 inch wider on both sides than the baby rearend, so you will have to pull the springs outand lock them into the little bolts sticking out of the spring pack to bolt them up, it is not enough to hurt the spring, just flexed the bushing some. you can do this the dumb way or the smart way too. i chose the dumb way of course the first time by putting my feet on the rear and grabbing the springs and pulling. that hurt because i am 6'4" and my body is not supposed to crunch up like that. the second time i did this i used a pole jack and it was super easy to do! if you get the rear from a durango like i did you can simply flip the shock mount/spring plates around and use them. you will have to pull the shocks to the side a little, it flexes the bushings some but that is it, you could put some washers on one side of the top mount but it is ok without them in my opnion.
the emergency cables will connect inside the drum just as the old one did. if you have rear abs, just cut your old sensor off and connect the other one to your factory wires and i will work great. i taped mine over the loom so no poo will get in there and mess it up.
that is pretty much it too the swap, go ahead and put the tires back on it and let it down, the you can tighten the spring bolts back up, if you do it w/o weight on them it will squeak real bad. if you run into a vibration going down the road like i did you will probably need to change the pinion angle because it sets lower on the new rear end. if you have an angle finder check the angle of the rear shaft and se what it is. mine went to 6 degrees so i had to put some wedges in there, i got the 4 degree Pro-comp ones from summit for 14.95. they install pretty easy, you will just have to take the rearend loose again.
I am very happy with the swap. it is awesome having a limited slip finally and the bigger brakes are well worth it, it will try to throw me trough the windshield now. i like the stance that it gives the truck to, it is hardly noticeable unless you know your truck.
hope it helps guys!!!