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2nd Gen Dakota 1997 - 2004 Dakota's

Uppers and Lowers need replaced

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  #1  
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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Old 02-09-2014, 09:47 PM
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Good luck with getting it out. Hopefully you can get the new ball joint to seat in the spindle and tighten up.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:11 AM
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Still hoping for input on how to get myself out of this. The ball joint shaft turns with the nut. What can I do to remedy the situation?
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:53 AM
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That happened on my truck too. I believe I used a 4 1/2" electric cut off wheel to cut the nut off. It was not hard to do and saved a lot of work and frustration. I got the tool and cut off discs at Harbor Freight. The tool was about $15.00 and the discs cost about $8.00 for a pack of 4 or 5. Now I do remember buying the cut off tool and a few other tools on a Friday night before tackling the ball joints that Saturday. Good luck with it.

Jimmy
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Old 02-10-2014, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01SilverCC View Post
That happened on my truck too. I believe I used a 4 1/2" electric cut off wheel to cut the nut off.Jimmy
Did you have it entirely off the truck, or did you remove the brake line? it is pretty close to that nut. Maybe I will remove the caliper.
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Old 02-10-2014, 11:55 AM
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Stupid question: now that I've grind off the nut, how do I press it out? Seems I'd need a gear puller that could fit above the CV joint to press it out.
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:01 PM
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When I removed mine I just used a pickle fork and a BFH to loosen the ball joint out of the hole. Then tapped it out from underneath with a smaller hammer. I broke one of my pickle forks in the process but got both ball joints out. I believe there is also a ball joint separator tool that you use with a wrench to crank stubborn ball joints out. When I removed my old bad ball joints I decided it was not that important to remove the old ball joint without damaging it so I just wailed on it with the pickle fork and BFH. It did not take much effort to get it loose.

Jimmy
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:06 PM
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Hey Robbadodge..

I made up a post with pics when I did my ball joints. My truck is a 2 wheel drive but maybe the thread with its pics and replies might help you:

http://dodgeforum.com/forum/2nd-gen-...to-w-pics.html

With yours being a 4 wheel drive you may need the ball joint press tool. I am not familiar with the grinding the lip of the ball joint process but hopefully others can chime in and help you out on this.

Good luck.

Jimmy
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Last edited by 01SilverCC; 02-10-2014 at 12:08 PM..
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:30 PM
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that labor rate is outragous!!! i had both sides of my uppers and lowers done in about 90 mins. on my 03 4x4...... but air tools and a lift help alot........ i pressed the lower out with a balljoint remover tool and a half inch impact...... didn't grind no lip off, (but if i remember right there is a snap ring on the lowers) did the opposite to put them back in....... still kind of a pita to change them......... i remember helping my dad when i was younger doing the hammer dealer, in a dirt driveway under the summer sun......... no fun either way...... let us know how you made out!!!
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:35 PM
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as far as the cv joint you have to pop the tie rod, both upper and lower ball joints and take the steering knuckle off the cv shaft after you take the 1"1/4 nut off the shaft. it takes a little wiggling but it will come off, and i suggest popping the cv shaft out of the truck to give you a little more room to work..... my dad has an 03 4x4 and i left the shaft in ended up missing with a hammer and broke one the clamps that hold the boot, and tore the boot to......... just dont forget to put the shaft back in before the knuckle, or you will be doing it again.
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Old 02-10-2014, 01:08 PM
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Robbadodge, the pickle fork should be able to separate the ball joint. You can get them in different sizes.

Rebel, '03 may be different but earlier years do have a lip on the ball joint OEM and no snap ring - unless it has already been changed.
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Old 02-10-2014, 01:08 PM
 
 
 
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