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Discussion Starter #1
I just purchased a 99 Dakota. With the wheels turned straight the steering wheel is turned about 20-30 degrees to the right. How can I straighten it so it's level when I'm driving in a straight line? I couldn't find anything online to help. Any assistance is appreciated.
 

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I hate you people.
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Yeah, what he said. Motor Trend had an issue with one of their Ram PowerWagons having the steering wheel being clocked off center by that much and it was a problem with the front end alignment.
Now, the PowerWagon is a 3/4 ton truck with solid front axles versus these trucks with torsion bar independent front suspension but the same still applies with regard to the steering wheel clocking.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yeah, what he said. Motor Trend had an issue with one of their Ram PowerWagons having the steering wheel being clocked off center by that much and it was a problem with the front end alignment.
Now, the PowerWagon is a 3/4 ton truck with solid front axles versus these trucks with torsion bar independent front suspension but the same still applies with regard to the steering wheel clocking.
Thanks for the input. I figured that was it but wasn't sure if there was anything I could do to fix it.
 

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C'mon Dodge - NEW DAKOTA
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Wheel alignment is a possibility, but steering wheel centering is adjustable separately from actual wheel alignment. The wheel sits on a splined shaft. It can be removed and re-centered. Also the shaft going into the steering gear box is splined. If it's off by that much, chances are someone had it apart and simply didn't get the same spline engagement as originally. If the tires are wearing evenly and correctly, the actual wheel alignment is fine. The problem lies in the steering wheel and shaft.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wheel alignment is a possibility, but steering wheel centering is adjustable separately from actual wheel alignment. The wheel sits on a splined shaft. It can be removed and re-centered. Also the shaft going into the steering gear box is splined. If it's off by that much, chances are someone had it apart and simply didn't get the same spline engagement as originally. If the tires are wearing evenly and correctly, the actual wheel alignment is fine. The problem lies in the steering wheel and shaft.
The wheel alignment seems to be fine and I don't detect any uneven wear. I was wondering if the shaft could be adjusted but wasn't sure if it was splined like you mentioned. I've been looking for replacement rag joints but haven't been able to find any yet. There is a little bit of play in the steering wheel and I was hoping to fix the centering issue when I replaced the rag joint. That is if I can find one.
 

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C'mon Dodge - NEW DAKOTA
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Probably better to replace the whole intermediate shaft with the rag joints and the U joints, then then all the moving parts are new. The U joints are more likely to be the source of play than the rag joints.
 

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C'mon Dodge - NEW DAKOTA
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I can't speak to the quality of a $90 steering shaft, looks like the Dorman parts are about $250 at Summit Racing. And of course I can't tell you if it's the right part to fit your truck. But yeah, that's the assembly that connects the steering wheel to the steering gear box. If you live in the rust belt like me, expect the old parts to be corroded and difficult to remove. Best access is from the wheel well, you'll have to remove the inner fender panels to get at it. There's a YouTube video, but the guy doesn't show the actual removal of the old shaft. he mostly talks a lot about plastic rivets.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I can't speak to the quality of a $90 steering shaft, looks like the Dorman parts are about $250 at Summit Racing. And of course I can't tell you if it's the right part to fit your truck. But yeah, that's the assembly that connects the steering wheel to the steering gear box. If you live in the rust belt like me, expect the old parts to be corroded and difficult to remove. Best access is from the wheel well, you'll have to remove the inner fender panels to get at it. There's a YouTube video, but the guy doesn't show the actual removal of the old shaft. he mostly talks a lot about plastic rivets.
It's funny, I watched that video and he never actually showed the replacement of the shaft. Thanks for the info.
 
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