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2nd Gen Dakota 1997 - 2004 Dakota's

HOW TO: Upper ball joints 04 Dakota CC 4wd

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Old 02-01-2013, 05:41 PM
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Default HOW TO: Upper ball joints 04 Dakota CC 4wd

I am going to show youthe easiest way (IMO) to replace the factory upper ball joints on a 2004(may be the same on other models) Dodge Dakota CC 4wd 4.7.

1. The first thing you want to do is park on a flat level area and making sure the truck is in gear(manual) or park. Chock the rear wheels.

2. Then you want to break the wheel lugs loose before you jack up the vehicle but dont remove them yet. Get a floor jack and position it under the lower control arm.
Click the image to open in full size.

3. Once the wheel is jacked up high enough so it can be removed, take and put a jackstand under the frame behind the tire somehwere. Preferably just in front of the tranny/tcase crossmember area of the frame
Click the image to open in full size.

4. Then you may fully remove the wheel from the vehicle. This is what you will be looking at.
Click the image to open in full size.

5. You need to remove the circle cotter pin and nut from the bottom of the ball joint.
Click the image to open in full size.


6. Next you want to use a pickle fork as shown and slide it between the upper ball joint and the steering knuckle and hit it with a big hammer. Once it is all the way in there you may need to hit down on the top of the pickle fork to pop it loose.
Click the image to open in full size.

7. Should pop loose and look like this
Click the image to open in full size.

8. Next you will need to remove the rivets from the top of the ball joint where it mounts to the upper control arm. I used a oxygen/acetylene torch but you can use a grinder, sawzall, or drill. Torch was the easiest to me. If you use the torch make sure you have proper eye protection and put something over the CV axles below it to protect the boots from the flame. I used two pieces of plate steel. Be sure to not damage the upper control arm either.
Click the image to open in full size.

9. You may need to give it a couple of good smacks with the hammer to finish knocking out the rivets but it should look like this when removed. When it cooled down, i shot it with some rustoleum paint.
Click the image to open in full size.

10. Here's the ball joint removed. NOTE* make sure to keep a little water close by as the old grease may catch fire on you.
Click the image to open in full size.

11. Then it's time to install the replacement ball joint. Note that the new on is much easier to replace as there are just bolts instead of rivets to mount it to the UCA. The small silver thing that is in the new box screws into the middle of the top of the new ball joint. It is called a zerk fitting and is so you can service(pump in fresh grease) the new ball joint
Click the image to open in full size.

12. Take the provided 3 bolts and nuts and secure them to through the existing holes
Click the image to open in full size.

13. After you have it securely mounted the upper control arm, pump the jack up a few more times and position the lower threaded part into the hole on top of the knuckle. Make sure to have the nut handy once you get enough of the threads through for it to catch. Tight all the way down and install the cotter pin like so. You may need a hand to help you on this step if you cant get it.
Click the image to open in full size.

14. After all is reattached, then reinstall the tire(lift with you legs not your back). Remove the jackstand and lower the jack to the ground and pat yourself on the back. you just saved yourself hundreds of $$$$
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Last edited by DakCC4x4; 02-01-2013 at 05:43 PM..
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:44 PM
dolittle dolittle is offline
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Nice write up and photos. Thanks
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:07 PM
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No pickle fork is needed loosen up the castel nut then just give the knuckel a few good wacks with a hammer and pop its loose.

Keep the nut on so it dosent pop open on you
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:40 PM
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It is a nice write up. Just to make it a little easier. Don't use heat, instead with a die grider with a cutting wheel. Cut cross's on top of the rivets and then knock them off with a air chisel. And i also agree, use a swing press or BFH (hammer) to remove the upper ball joint from the spindle. I will go ahead a make this post into a sticky as you request.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:09 AM
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Well as i said it was the easiest way in my opinion. I dont have air tools. I did try to use my grinder but i didnt have any cutting wheels. I did list other things that could be an option. It didnt take me any time with the torch. Also if you are removing the ball joint from the spindle and reusing them then no do not use a pickle fork. But otherwise what does it matter? it is what it is designed for.
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:12 PM
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This post is also very good

http://dodgeforum.com/forum/2nd-gen-...to-w-pics.html
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:33 AM
2001DodgeMan 2001DodgeMan is offline
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For my 2001 Dodge Dakota Sport 4wd I only need the lower ball joint for my truck,or does it have the upper joint as well????
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:14 PM
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Most all vehicles have upper and lower ball joints up front. Yes you have both
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:37 PM
bpark8824 bpark8824 is offline
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I don't understand how it gets any easier than using a pickle fork...
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:19 AM
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When removing the upper control arm the other day I did just whack the UCA a couple of times and the ball joint popped out bc I didn't want to damage the boot on the new one. But if you are replacing them then I just use a pickle fork. It's a lot easier to me too.
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:19 AM
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