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[HOW-TO][INTERIOR][Gen III Dakota][Gen I Durango] Replacing Column Shifter

9749 Views 10 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  chuber
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.

Items Required:
- 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


1) The offending unit.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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….

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6) Top side view when main shroud is pulled apart.
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7) Remove the column shifter shroud. There are 2 screws, one torx and one Philips.

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8) The slide protector for the shifter will slide out from its guides when the shroud is removed. Don’t worry, it’s easy to get it back in place when re-installing.

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9) Slide the rest of the shroud off.

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10) Disconnect the O/D wire behind the dash. Tap out the pin holding the shifter in place.

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11) An underside shot. The grease was heavy so the spring was hiding. Wiggle the shifter back to remove it. The spring isn’t totally loaded so it won’t shoot out of place. I used my flathead screwdriver to push the spring back a little when I removed the shifter.

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12) Another shot. You can see the spring.

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13) The new shifter and the old shifter. The new shifter was pitted so I painted it black before putting it on.

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14) Make sure to put the plastic shifter cover over the shifter before putting it in to place. It will suck when you go to put the shroud back on and realize you forgot that protector.

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15) Start putting everything together! Just reverse the tear apart process. Thread the shifter column protector into the grooves of the top and bottom shroud.

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16) And there it is! New shifter is in place and the O/D is working!

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Good to know! Thanks for the reply.
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