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Discussion Starter #1
My 2WD 2002 Dakota Sport has brake pad notches worn into the steering knuckles and I would like upgrade to the 03/04 design. My problem is that I am not having any success in finding any 2WD 03/04 Dakota parts but there are lots of 4WD parts available.

It looks like there are some minor differences between the 2WD and 4WD knuckle assemblies. Has anyone used 03/04 4WD knuckles to upgrade their pre-2003 2WD truck? Any advice?
 

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I believe the difference between 2WD and 4WD knuckles are the hub bearings, as they went to a unit design after the 96 model year. The problem is that the 2WD and 4WD bearing hubs are not cross swappable, due to the 4WD bearing hubs being much larger to accommodate the IFS axles.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Checking rockauto, it looks like another difference is with the flex lines as 2WD vs 4WD have different PNs. Presumably, the flex hose anchor on the frame will be identical on all 2nd gen Dakotas. Is there a difference in the upper control arms?

The 2WD hubs are attached with a center spindle while the 4WD hubs are attached with 3 bolts. I don't see any major issue with having an empty center in the 4WD hub other than it won't look right. I suppose I could get the driveshaft ends cut off and keep them with the hub to fill the void.

My truck only has rear ABS. I don't see any issue with using hubs that are equipped with 4-wheel ABS. I think that the only issue would be if I had 4-wheel ABS so then my replacement knuckles would have to be equipped with sensors.

It looks to me that replacing the 2WD hubs would be a much easier job as I would only have to back off the center nut instead of having to unseize 3 bolts. Are the larger 4WD hubs any more durable than the 2WDs?
 

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My 2WD 2002 Dakota Sport has brake pad notches worn into the steering knuckles and I would like upgrade to the 03/04 design. My problem is that I am not having any success in finding any 2WD 03/04 Dakota parts but there are lots of 4WD parts available.

It looks like there are some minor differences between the 2WD and 4WD knuckle assemblies. Has anyone used 03/04 4WD knuckles to upgrade their pre-2003 2WD truck? Any advice?
The 4WD knuckles are totally different animals and use different ball joints, control arms, and bearing hubs. They may share common calipers but that's it. I did this swap several years back and just got used knuckles from a local junkyard. Cleaned up nicely and still in service to this day. Here's the passenger side for you: https://www.ebay.com/itm/2004-Dakota-Passenger-Right-Front-Spindle-Knuckle-OEM-112K-Miles-LKQ-220543232/312824270034?_trkparms=aid=555018&algo=PL.SIM&ao=1&asc=57921&meid=77c512720b064df9b271da1440bcf445&pid=100005&rk=6&rkt=12&mehot=co&sd=233382424817&itm=312824270034&pmt=1&noa=0&pg=2047675&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I'm using catalog information to see what is compatible and/or interchanges so its great to get advice from people who are much more knowledgeable about these trucks than me. Thanks. I just noticed that this forum identifies the 1997-2004 Dakotas as 3rd Gen while Wikipedia shows them as 2nd Gen.

From what I can tell, all 3rd gen Dakotas use the same upper ball joints even though the upper control arms are specific to 2WD and 4WD. The lower ball joints and control arms are specific to 2WD and 4WD because 2WD uses coil springs whereas 4WD uses torsion bars. I was hoping that the LBJ stud shape and installed location are identical between 2WD & 4WD.

If the brake flex hose anchored to the frame at the identical position, the fact that 3rd gen upper control arms are only different between 2WD & 4WD would account for the difference in hoses even though the calipers themselves are the same.

There are also differences between the 03/04 Dakota and 03 Durango. The 03 to 06 Durangos share the same front caliper as the 03 Ram 1500 van so presumably this is slightly larger than the 03/04 Dakota. The 03 Durango does not share its front rotor with any other vehicle.

The master cylinders are the same for 1999-2004 Dakotas, 1999-2003 Durangos, and 2002-2010 Vipers.

If I'm looking for donor vehicle, I should probably be looking for a 2WD 03 Durango to get HD brakes.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've been looking for a parts 03 Durango 2WD but they are very uncommon around here. For anyone with an interchange manual, can you check if the 03 Durango 2WD uses the same steering knuckle as a 03/04 Dakota 2WD? If I can find the more common 03/04 Dakota knuckle, I thought it might use the Durango calipers and rotors to end up with the same result.
 
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