I’ve seen a few posts on the forums asking about replacing the column shifter knob. There are some answers, but they follow along the lines of a couple sentences. It was enough to know that there was a pin to remove but I like to see pictures and know what I’m about to get in to. So for those of you, like me, that like to get a little more in-depth info about what they’re about to do, I created this post.
These pictures start off at about ¼ of the way through when I thought “this would make a decent how-to for the other Dakota owners”. So my apologies for the half disassembled steering column in the pics below.
The Problem: My truck is a 1997 Dodge Dakota 5.2 Automatic with a NON-TILT steering column. The shifter knob broke off several months ago.
- A donor steering column. I found a 1998 Dakota steering column WITH TILT on ebay for $60 shipped. A STEERING COLUMN WITH TILT WILL WORK WITH A NON-TILT STEERING COLUMN. Sorry for mass capitals, but the column shifters will match between a 1997 and 1998 Dakota with or without tilt.
Surprisingly, no junk yards around me had a column from a Dakota within the years I needed. I think it was in 1999 that the steering column changed styles; so I stayed with 1997-1998 range. Watch ebay and a cheap unit will show up. Not to mention you’ll also have a backup turn-signal and windshield wiper control module.
- Center Punch (something to push the pin out holding the column shifter)
- T-20 Torx screwdriver
- Philips head screwdriver
- Flat head screwdriver
- About an hour of time
-CLICK PICTURES TO ENLARGE
1) The offending unit.
2) The donor column upside down with the covers removed. The donor unit was good practice to see how everything will come apart. Squared in red are where the column shifter came off and the hole for the pin. I suggest you remove and put back in place the column shifter to see how it will be put back in place. There is a spring that you have to push back in order to get the shifter in to place (with the red arrow pointing at it).
3) The pin that comes out. I used the Center Punch and tapped it with a hammer from the bottom. The pin shoots out from the top of the column.
4) Remove the front dash face. I put the truck down to 2nd gear, removed the cover, and then put it back in to park.
5) Remove the screws from the main shroud. There are 3. The donor column used all torx screws. My column had 1 torx screw and 2 philips head screws….