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2nd Gen Dakota 1997 - 2004 Dakota's

Uppers and Lowers need replaced

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Old 02-09-2014, 02:11 PM
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Default Uppers and Lowers need replaced

Ball joints are toast. My service gal tells me it's 5 1/2 hours labor in their shop, total parts and labor would be $1,015 ish.

This is something I can't start and get stuck and not be able to finish at home. I just don't know if I can do this on my own. I have to be in Atlanta Tuesday and I can't work on it without parts.... grrrr

Your input will be appreciated.
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Old 02-09-2014, 02:18 PM
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Toast?

Have you checked them yourself?

Shops do like free money you know how bad are they if just the top they are easy the bottom on a 4x4 are not so easy.

Also do you need bushings?

Just how bad are they?

Also if just a hair lose that's not bad at all just a bit worn not dangerous.

Elaborate
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Old 02-09-2014, 02:22 PM
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They tell the tops are a 10, bad when 1 is perfect. Bottoms are a 7. Perhaps I can pick it up and take pics at home. Give you my visual. They tightened up what they could on tops, but still has play.

Thanks!
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Old 02-09-2014, 02:39 PM
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tightened up?

From my knowledge there is nothing to tighten up unless they were replaced in the past and the bolts were lose if it has bolts you are lucky they are very easy to replace.

Do the side to side shake see how much play you have.

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Old 02-09-2014, 03:26 PM
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You can't "tighten" the ball joints. Loose bolts? Ugghh.

Replacing the uppers is easy even if they haven't been replaced before, a couple of hours at best. The lowers suck.
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Old 02-09-2014, 03:45 PM
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+3 on no tightening of ball joints, it's not possible. Your uppers are riveted in place and you can drill out the rivets and bolt in a replacement set. It's not that hard if you have the tools, time and patience and a good place to do the work. I don't have a 4WD Dakota but I do know the lowers are pressed in place. You can rent a ball joint press kit at a parts store or buy one cheap at Harbor Freight to press the old ones out and new ones in, or you can remove the control arm in one piece and have a shop do the press work for you. Either way will be a pain to do. But if you buy your own parts and do your own work it would be a lot cheaper. Like $100.00 to maybe $150.00 for all 4 ball joints and whatever you spend on tools and/or a shop to do the work with a press. You will also need an alignment when the job is done. Still cheaper than the other shop's estimate.

Jimmy
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Old 02-09-2014, 03:52 PM
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Just to add, Dodge peened the edges of the lower ball joints so that you can't just press them out. You have to either bend the lip back or grind the lip off. Then you can (try to) press them out.

Removing the control arm, anywhere that there is rust, can be quite a chore in itself due to the torsion bars.

As far as Dodge was concerned the ball joints weren't serviceable. They wanted you to replace the entire control arm.
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Old 02-09-2014, 04:10 PM
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Update:

I understand a little better after getting my truck. Tops are loose and they can't be tightened. Since I have never changed them, I guess I didn't understand the phone conversation from earlier. ***get about the "tightened" comment in previous post, an obvious noob comment.

Purchased 2 MOOG during drive home and rented the wedge removal tool. Will perform the ball joint test next. Once I confirm the replacement need, I'll be back to search out some hints in other threads.

Thanks guys!
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Old 02-09-2014, 06:58 PM
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Default WTF, Nut turns but doesn't unscrew

Got the PS complete. Always takes longer when watching video then seeing pics at every stage. Pretty easy in the end finding vids and posts with great instruction here.

NOW, DS... combo wrench held by left hand and banging on it with mini-sledge for over half an hour with my right; twisted sucks! The nut turns, but I swear the nut is not progressing any further. ~frustrated~

I'm going back out to keep at it, and maybe one of y'all can give input to read when I get back.
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Old 02-09-2014, 07:10 PM
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The rod is spinning with the nut.

I've come this far... time to take off the nuts holding the top on, then go at it with the wedge, I guess.
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