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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Vehicle: 2001 Dodge Dakota Club Cab 3.9, 5-speed manual
Location: Near Orlando, Florida
+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.
Never be afraid of anything smaller than you.
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.
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.