The Dodge Durango and Dakota are both durable and popular trucks, however, like any vehicle these days, they are prone to their own common failure points. One of the more common issues popping up on the 1997-2004 Dakota and Durango is the failure of the intermediate steering shaft. The original steering shafts had a weak point in the universal joints which are built into the shaft.
If any of the above points on the shaft have failed, then the entire shaft must be replaced. For the longest time they were only available through the dealership, now www.autopartsdirecttoyou.com has them available for a much better price than going through the Dodge dealer. They have the following shafts available:
Their steering shaft has been redesigned with upgraded u-joints to prevent future failure. Their kits also replace the entire assembly, both upper and lower intermediate shafts, not just the lower intermediate shaft. This new shaft was designed to last the life of your truck, so you will never have an issue with the steering shaft again once replaced. The factory part numbers it replaces are 52078808AC and 52078808AD for the 1997-2000 2WD.
When the shaft fails, it can cause a few different symptoms. The most common is a popping, or clunking noise when turning the steering wheel. If the vehicle continues to be driven in this condition, the symptoms will only get worse, eventually the steering wheel will develop a lot of slop, or play when turning the wheel. And after that, the steering wheel may begin to bind in your Dakota or Durango. A binding steering wheel can be a serious and dangerous situation, that is why you do not want to let your vehicle get to that stage if it is beginning to show any symptoms of the intermediate steering shaft going bad.
Written by Joe Stepnicka
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