Steering coupler issues, but fixed. - Dodge Durango Forum
Gen III Dakotas 1997-2004 Dakota-Specific Questions

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post #1 of 19 Old 12-16-2008, 03:34 AM Thread Starter
MadHatter
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Steering coupler issues, but fixed.

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 I found another site that said it was superceded with a redesigned version #55351171AA.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.

Last edited by MadHatter; 12-16-2008 at 03:45 AM. Reason: Explaining huge picture
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post #2 of 19 Old 12-16-2008, 05:48 PM
69rrbruce
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Hey, thanks for the heads-up!


Bruce
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post #3 of 19 Old 12-17-2008, 05:10 PM
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97-99 4x4 guys get the bone on that part...

00+ 4x4's have rack&pinion steering and the shaft is much shorter. Bolts to the bottom of the column outside the firewall and down to the rack. Mine was shot much sooner than yours.
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post #4 of 19 Old 01-12-2009, 12:35 AM
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is that part different then the 2wd models?
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post #5 of 19 Old 01-12-2009, 03:38 AM
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Yeah, 2wd and 4wd have different shafts. pre-00 and 00+ 4x4's have different shafts as well.
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post #6 of 19 Old 01-14-2009, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
MadHatter
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The latest 2WD revision for a 1997-1999 is:
52078808AD

I bought my coupler at www.partszoneonline.com. They might be able to help you figure out what was fixed. Drove mine for 6 months with wicked play in the uni joint... interesting effect in steering.

Oh yeah... DO NOT spin the steering wheel when the shaft is off... as tempting as it is... don't do it. It'll unplug or break the air bag wire. Yeah... I regressed to childhood.

Last edited by MadHatter; 01-14-2009 at 11:48 AM. Reason: Forgot tip...
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post #7 of 19 Old 01-24-2009, 01:22 PM
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Part number is 55351244AA for the 03-04 2wd's I have the shaft sitting in my garage, I still have to figure a way to get it installed without taking the whole front of the truck apart

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post #8 of 19 Old 01-24-2009, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadHatter View Post
The latest 2WD revision for a 1997-1999 is:
52078808AD

I bought my coupler at www.partszoneonline.com. They might be able to help you figure out what was fixed. Drove mine for 6 months with wicked play in the uni joint... interesting effect in steering.

Oh yeah... DO NOT spin the steering wheel when the shaft is off... as tempting as it is... don't do it. It'll unplug or break the air bag wire. Yeah... I regressed to childhood.
What'd you think that shit was on a gyro?!lol! Thanks for the heads up cause I would have done the same thing probably. Being as thoughtless as I am!

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post #9 of 19 Old 05-07-2009, 09:23 PM
jfl1960
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Just confirming current 2WD 1999 Dakota intermediate steering shaft part number is 52078808AD. I just bought one from Chrysler, couldn't believe the price here in Canada $429.00 plus tax, got mine from a dealership in US for $219.95 USD plus 34.94 s/h final delivered price with exchange rate from US to CDN funds was $315 or so Canadian, still can't believe I bought it from US and had it shipped for over $150.00 CDN cheaper than I could have gotten it from my local Chrysler Dealership, what a rip.
Anyone know of a detailed install "How to" for this item in the 1999 2WD Dakota? Pictures are a big help if available. Any advice appreciated, thanks.
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post #10 of 19 Old 07-25-2009, 10:46 PM
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Does anyone know what the part number is for my 2000 Dakota Quad Cab 2WD? DOes that same 1999 part number fit it? Thanks!!!
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post #11 of 19 Old 01-15-2010, 10:55 PM
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I dunno... but does the bottom shaft look shorter then the top one??? I am replacing mine this weekend, and don't wanna have issues the one in my truck looks like the top one but the one that i got was the bottom one.. Any ideas ?
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post #12 of 19 Old 01-15-2010, 11:51 PM
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think the 1999 is only for that year, best to check local Chrysler dealership for correct part number.
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post #13 of 19 Old 08-25-2010, 07:02 PM
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My wife's 98 4x4 needs this pretty badly and my local Chrysler stealership just quoted me $392.00!

sigh..any advice on finding one cheaper?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MadHatter View Post
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.
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post #14 of 19 Old 08-26-2010, 04:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadHogg View Post
My wife's 98 4x4 needs this pretty badly and my local Chrysler stealership just quoted me $392.00!

sigh..any advice on finding one cheaper?
Here in Canada they wanted 430.00 Canadian plus tax, I found one on eBay for 219.00 USD plus shipping, them little buggers are expensive, try ebay.
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post #15 of 19 Old 10-25-2010, 05:53 PM
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ok so i got a 99 RT too and i have a side fabrication biz. havent put to much attention to it but i did get under my truck when i made my SS y pipe and y couldnt we cut off old and weld on a new Uni joint...? thoughts opinions? thanks alot cheaper too. maybe i should look into this more and do an exchange thing. where you send me yours and i send back same one with new uni on it TIG welded...? just an idea. give me feed back please. i love these trucks and mine has saved my life twice. i wont get rid of her so i wanna do all i can to keep the daks on the road.

thanks

Making Big Brake kits for 1997-2002 Dakota-Durangos 2x4-4x4
1996 and earlier Big Brake kits on the way
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