My '98 SLT Sport Ext cab 4x4 had this wonderful issue where you'd go down the road and you'd feel a clunk and you'd be shooting one way or the other. Thought it was a worn out steering gearbox. Hard to diagnose yourself, so the mechanic at the bus company I work for and I started poking around. Sure'n sh*t the u-joint on the steering coupler (aka steering shaft, intermediate shaft) was rusted and there where no bearings left in the cups on one of the 4. We where getting +1/8" rotational play. Hmmm... been driving like this for a few months... but at least people didn't tailgate because they thought I was drunk.
So I did my usual research and found a replacement, passing that info on here so people don't waste the hours I did. The original shaft didn't have the usual rubber biscuit, just a shaft & u-joint. I scabbed a parts manual from online a few months back and found the original part # was 52078907AB. I found another site that said it was superceded with a redesigned version #55351171AA. More research showed yet another revision (latest) with the rubbah biscuit is #55351171AE. The dealer wanted full MSRP of $279. "Come on, must be a discount place around". Found several Mopar OEM "Wholesale" places online, but shipping was big cabbage... since they're in Washington state area. Found an OEM wholesaler in PA who sold it to me for $190.90 like everyone else, but with cheap next-day Saturday delivery for $22 (a mistake was made on weight estimation on their part, never got a call for the extra $ difference). Sounded like a Mom & Pop shop, which I like. The kit comes with the new redesigned steering coupler and the redesigned floorboard bearing (not shown in picture).
Anyway, I did it myself (as normal), in the dark since we had no power here from that damned ice storm. It took about 30min max without climbing under the truck to take out the old one (2 bolts and 2 nuts) and about 45min putting it in (got my calethetics for the day) and now she steers great. The bearing on the floorboard was dry and making a scrubbing noise, the u-joint was definately baked. All is good, just wanted to pass on the part # to use and an image.
Why'd it take so long to replace the shaft? $$$... I owe MacTools too much and my '92 Town Car isn't registered.
This image is only temporarily being posted. I know it's huge, taken with my Blackberry... no software @ main job where I'm at to shrink it.