How To Diagnose/Fix/Remove/Replace/Repair An Intermediate Steering Column Shaft On A Dodge Dakota Or Dodge Durango 2WD & 4WD

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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:

1997 – 2000 Dodge Dakota/Durango 4×2 2WD

1997 – 1999 Dodge Dakota/Durango 4×4 4WD

2001-2004 Dodge Dakota/Durango 4×4/4WD

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

Article may not be reproduced without without author’s written permission. �

Joe

ASE Certified Technician

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29 Responses

  1. Jack says:

    This is spot on, I own a 2002 4×4 Durango, had all the sypmtoms, I replaced the complete shaft, problem solved 100%. PS there price is about 1/2 of the dealer price, you will also need the 2 bolts that hold it on, when you take the originals out they will be junk, and must be replaced.

    • Graham Corey says:

      In your post about replacing the intermediate steering shaft on your ’02 Durango 4×4 you said someone’s price was 1/2 the dealers. Who’s part was that,how much was it & where are you located? I have an ’01 & I’m in B.C.,Canada. Thanks.

    • Mark says:

      Yes, it’s an old comment but if someone has the sizes of these upper/lower coupler bolts that’d be great.

  2. Ron says:

    Is there no replacement for the 2000 4 x 4 Durango?

  3. Pat says:

    Hi, your phone number does not work. I have a 98 Dodge Durango 4×4 5.9l and there is a lot of play in the steering. how much is it for the steering shaft for this truck? and where are you located. I saw one shaft going for 140US but your picture of the shaft looks similar to mine.

    please let me know, thanks

    Pat.

  4. Bob says:

    Do you have to disconnect the battery before taking the shaft out because of the air bag?

  5. john kowal says:

    I have a 2000 dodge dakota 4.7 4×4, do you have a complete shaft for this vehicle.

  6. Levi says:

    So the shaft that fits a 1999 will fit a 2000 dodge durango 4×4?

  7. Dustin Allen says:

    Well what u said is just what’s happen to my sterring. It has a lot of play,{2\1 ins eqch way}.So i found one and my question for u is, I no when I pull the old one off the bolt’s are going to be rusted to no repair. So if I by the kit the brand new one upper and lower set will it have the bolts? If not would you no where I can get them.I have a family and it’s are only car, so I would like to get it done ASAP. If you can give me any advice or no how to go about it please if you would let me now thank you very much and thank for the help have a good day,
    Dustin Allen

  8. Good day everyone! I have a 2000 Durango. Shaft all busted up and clunky. WHY NO RECALL!?!??! Yes, Im yelling.

    Seriously.. no recall? Please respond if you know of anything. 2000 Durango Steering Shaft recall.

    Plus… Any links to replacing this? How to??? Thanks for blogging this.

  9. Johnathon says:

    I like the bmw x3 but I wouldnt position it in the same category as a deluxe sports utility vehicle, it’s simply not stacking up. However its a fantastic automobile along with plenty of capabilities to help to make it just a part below the high end group.

  10. Brittany says:

    I have a 2000 Dodge Durango play in the steering wheel also clunking sound. shop near my house said intermediate shaft needs to be replaced? Is this a major time consuming job? Should I take it to a dealer or is this something that can be done at home? anybody know estimate prices of any kind?

  11. Eric says:

    Just did mine this weekend. I have a 2003 Dakota 4×4 Quad Cab. The play and popping was getting really bad. I ordered the Lower Intermediate Shaft last Tuesday and it arrived on Friday. It doesn’t come with the bolts. I went to Home Depot and got hardened bolts for it. I removed the driver’s side front tire and the inner wheel well splash guard. It was fairly easy to get to the bolts after that. It took me two hours to get the old one off. The lower bolt was really rusted due to the proximity to the exhaust manifold and road salt. After clean up the new shaft took only a few minutes to install. What a difference. It drives like a new truck. Great price on the shaft, great delivery time and fantastic results.

  12. Eric says:

    One more thing. It has been suggested that you wrap the seat belt through the steering wheel to prevent it from turning and damaging the clock spring when the shaft is removed. Don’t know if that is really necessary but I did it anyway.

  13. shane says:

    Ive never done this before but cannot, cannot , cannot afford to pay to have it done. I am mechanicaly inclined so if there were instructions that would be great. Is there anywhere on the web that has photos? Im wondering how it removes where the shaft meets and goes through the firewall???????

  14. wjordan says:

    i to have a2000 dodge durango 4×4 that has the same problem with the intermedate shaft knuckle i think with all the same problems everyone is having with this part the factory should have a recall on them

    where can i prder this part besides a dealer

  15. Penny says:

    We have a Dodge Dakota 2005 and the steering is often hard, then ok, then hard again. I have read all of your posts, but could you post a picture of the shaft that needs replaced please. My hubby replaced several parts including the U-joints, tie-rod ends, and ball joints several months ago. No problem, then about a month ago he started complaining about the steering. We took it to the shop and they said there wasn’t any problem with it; however, the steering is getting harder to deal with and it is intermittent. Please help.

    • Anthony says:

      Penny,

      I have been having the same problems as your husband, I replaced ball joints and inner & outer tie rod ends over the winter and then over the last couple of weeks my steering starting being really hard. Replaced power steering pump two days ago and it seemed better, next morning it was still having the same problems. Replaced the rack and pinion gears last night and it seemed better again, then this morning it was still having the same problems. Upon further inspection I found that where the steering shaft goes through the firewall the bearing that hold it in place had fallen apart so the steering column was basically flopping around in the firewall and not sending the forces of the steering to the correct places. Check that. It could be the problem. Hope this helps. It can be very frustrating to not be able to figure it out, I know this all too well.

  16. Bessie says:

    hi everyone. I was reading everyone’s posts hoping to get some insight and more information so my hubby can fix his mom’s truck…she has a ’98 dodge Dakota, 2wd. I thought it would be helpful to those who have not yet replaced the steering shaft, be carful when ordering or pricing parts b/c, as I have found out, not all parts are the same. There is a BIG difference between the lengths of the 2wd and the 4wd parts. I spoke to a part store where I live and, as I found out, even they didn’t know about this until I called a dodge dealership. that’s how I learned about this information. please make sure you know whether or not the part you are getting is either 2wd or 4wd before buying. because these two parts can not be interchanged between the either of the two drives. I hope this helps someone… :)

  17. Kevin says:

    I have a 2002 dodge dakota 4w drive. I will be replacing the intermediate steering shaft. can someone please tell me the bolt sizes before I have no car to drive back to the store to replace thanks

  18. Tyler says:

    I have a 1998 dodge durango slt 5.9 and out of nowhere, my steering binds up and I have to jerk the wheel back and forth to get it to move, and when I do, it doesn’t move much. It is currently in a car dolly state

    • Paul says:

      @Tyler. Same problem.Try some WD40 on both u-joints that will free it up but is only a temporary fix. Replace the intermediate steering shaft asap. $84.00 at NAPA.

  19. jesse says:

    Will a replacement steering shaft for a 4x work for my 2wheel drive Dakota?

  20. Hugh says:

    What about a replacement for a 2002 2wd model?? Can’t find one any where online or in store, will I have to get reamed n raked over at the dealer??

  21. Stephanie says:

    FINALLY after months of complaining to the dealership and anyone else who would listen FINALLY someone else besides me hears the ghost noise and clunking in my 2011 Chrysler 200!! I just found out that it’s most likely this intermittent steering shaft . So since no one heard it for months now it’s not covered under what was left of my warranty thru the dealership plus there’s no recall on this. Now the estimate to fix it is $1,400!! Wtf?!?! Can anyone PLEASE HELP me?!?! I don’t even have that kinda $$ especially after getting 2 brand new tires, a 4 wheel alignment, battery and now my registration is due!! I need help ASAP before the damn thing totally breaks!!

  22. Richard says:

    My steering shaft had no play. I did however experience stiff steering. I jacked truck off ground and tried “Free Steer”. Still tight. I suspected the steering shaft binding. Sure enough it was rusted and white salt looking corrosion on and around the joints. I sprayed it with plenty of penetrating oil and it loosened up enough to know that was the problem.
    If you have this problem do not just spray it and think all is okay. The problem will get worse with sloppy steering and possibly failure resulting in damage to you or your vehicle. Replace the shaft! Oh and by the way. Dealer price for replacing this item is way too high. This is no more than a 1 hour job for an experienced mechanic. Buy the part yourself and take it to your local mechanic for replacement. Ask him first what his hour rate is and offer the job to him for a flat rate of 1 hour. If he refuses go somewhere else.

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