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2nd Gen Dakota 1997 - 2004 Dakota's

Lower control arm and ball joint problems

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  #1  
Old 12-25-2006, 07:48 AM
Dr. Gonzo Dr. Gonzo is offline
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Default Lower control arm and ball joint problems

Hello, I have recently purchased a 1998 Dakota 4x4 SLT Club Cab with a 5.2 magnum and a 5 speed. Well, I just went over the fron end to see what's making it drive funny, and I found that both the uper and lower ball joints are bad on both sides. I have also learned that my lower controll arms are cast iron. I have the upper ball joints installed on the upper arms, and I am totaly puzzeled on how to get the lower ball joints out of the controll arms.

The upper ball joints were rivited in, simple enough to fix. The lower ones apear to be pressed in, but my press won't make them move. So, I'm stuck. Dose anybody know what to do to remove the lower ball joints? Are the ball joints even replacable? Dodge wants $1100 per arm, just to buy them, not to install them. I can't afford that. Please Help.

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1998 Dakota SLT Club Cab 4x4 5.2L V8
5.5" Tuff Country suspension lift
Rancho RS5000 shocks
33X12.5's on Eagle 15X9 aluminum wheels
Flowmaster 50 2.5" single
AEM cold air intake W/K&N filter
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  #2  
Old 12-25-2006, 04:27 PM
horatio102 horatio102 is offline
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Default RE: Lower control arm and ball joint problems

www.dodgeparts.com

left control arm = $452.40
right control arm = $523.90

Still not exactly cheap, but better than $1100 each. By the way, MSRP is 580 and 672, if your local dodge dealer is charging $1100 each they're ripping you off in a huge way, and I'd have a word with the owner/general manager and let them know why exactly it is that you won't be doing business with them ever again.

The lower ball joint doesn't appear to be available seperate from the control arm though. According to the tech manual if the lower ball joint is bad you have to replace the control arm.
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Old 12-25-2006, 05:10 PM
Twiztid Twiztid is offline
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Default RE: Lower control arm and ball joint problems

So now that I read more, I notice you have done the uppers and just can't do the lowers. I don't know what type of tools/press you have, but I am taking mine down to a local dealer to have them pressed in and out. (I am actually in the middle of replacing mine and a few other front end things) I already talked to them and they seem to say its no big deal, bring em down.

I don't know if 02' control arms are diff, but my manual for 97-99 says that they can be pressed in and summitracing sells them as a seperate piece. I went with Moog's myself so they will be greasable, plus am replacing all the bushings with poly ones while I am in there.

Good luck.
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Rancho RS5000 Shocks
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Flowmaster 50 series Single 3" exit
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Old 12-25-2006, 10:41 PM
Dr. Gonzo Dr. Gonzo is offline
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Default RE: Lower control arm and ball joint problems

Hello again, and thank you for the info. A local machine shop said that they would press my ball joints for me at a reasonable rate ($70/hour). So I think I am going to go that route.I was wondering if you have the part numbers for those moog lower ball joints. The ones I have are the crappy "Lubed for Life" kind, and I would like to be able to grease them. That would be a huge help.
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1998 Dakota SLT Club Cab 4x4 5.2L V8
5.5" Tuff Country suspension lift
Rancho RS5000 shocks
33X12.5's on Eagle 15X9 aluminum wheels
Flowmaster 50 2.5" single
AEM cold air intake W/K&N filter
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Old 12-26-2006, 02:10 AM
Twiztid Twiztid is offline
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Default RE: Lower control arm and ball joint problems

Here are the uppers:
http://store.summitracing.com/partde...p;autoview=sku

Here are the lowers:
http://store.summitracing.com/partde...p;autoview=sku

Hey let me ask you. I guess aside from the ball joints being bad, do you have alignment issues with your tough country lift? How often/hard do you off-road with it?
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99' Dakota 4X4 Single Cab 5.2L V8
Rancho RS5000 Shocks
Poly Bushings
Custom CAI w/K&N filter
Flowmaster 50 series Single 3" exit
Modified 50mm TB
Transgo Shift Kit
32x11.5x15's
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  #6  
Old 12-26-2006, 02:45 AM
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jonnymagnum jonnymagnum is offline
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Default RE: Lower control arm and ball joint problems

when I did my ball joints all I did for the lower one was. put a jack underneath the control arm and put a lil bit of pressure on it. then took a mini sledge hammer and kept pounding on it till it came out. and putting it in was easy. all I did was line up the lower ball joint and put the jack underneath it. then jacked it up so there was some pressure on it. then banged the control arm down so the ball joint would get pressed into the hole. it works like a charm.

It only took me about 2 hours to do the ball joints. thats with alot of breaks in between
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Old 12-26-2006, 03:19 AM
rhowe rhowe is offline
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Default RE: Lower control arm and ball joint problems

the lower ball joints were on warranty on my 01 under 100k miles. u might want to check that out. no need to replace the whole arm. i was told to drill em out but paid a local $100 for labor and put in the moog parts and have not had any complaints. if it is under warranty and if they install oem ball joints just drill a hole in the back side and thread some grease nipples in em.
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Old 12-26-2006, 10:22 AM
Dr. Gonzo Dr. Gonzo is offline
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Default RE: Lower control arm and ball joint problems

Thanks for the links to the ball joints. As far as my alignment goes, the ball joints seem to be the only problem with the alignment. I have taken it off road a few times and it did great. The only problem with the lift, that I can find, is that there are two travel limiters for the lower arms that hang down a couple of inches. I keep draging them on rocks and bending my crossmember. I have replaced it once, and it's already bent again (oops). I think I am going to weld some reinforcements into it. Other than that, the lift kit is great.
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1998 Dakota SLT Club Cab 4x4 5.2L V8
5.5" Tuff Country suspension lift
Rancho RS5000 shocks
33X12.5's on Eagle 15X9 aluminum wheels
Flowmaster 50 2.5" single
AEM cold air intake W/K&N filter
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Old 12-26-2006, 10:22 AM
 
 
 
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