Chrysler Full-Size Trucks 1997-2000 Repair Guide

Dakota, Durango Steering Linkage

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



Steering linkage on early Dakota, Durango (non-rack and pinion) models consists of a pitman arm, center link, tie rod ends, and an idler arm. Note the following points:



Pullers or pickle forks are required to separate the components.
 
If any components are replaced or serviced, an alignment must be performed.
 
Be sure to matchmark all components so that they can be reinstalled in their original positions.
 
Components attached with a nut and cotter pin must be torqued to specification. Then, if the slot in the nut does not line up with the cotter pin hole, tighten the nut until alignment is achieved. NEVER loosen the nut to insert the cotter pin.
 
Replace any torn seals. When assembling the steering linkage, be sure to obey all torque specifications for your model. Use new cotter pins.
 
Lubricate all components with a good grade of chassis grease.
 

  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Remove the tie rod cotter pins and nuts.
  4.  
  5. remove the tie rod end ball studs from the steering knuckles with a suitable puller.
  6.  
  7. Remove the tie rod ends from the center link.
  8.  
  9. Remove the idler arm from the center link. Remove the idler arm bolt from the frame bracket.
  10.  
  11. Remove the pitman arm ball stud from the center link.
  12.  
  13. Mark the pitman arm and shaft positions for assembly reference. Remove the pitman arm with a suitable puller.
  14.  

To install:

  1. Check the Torque Specifications chart for proper torque values.
  2.  
  3. Position the idler arm on the frame bracket and tighten the bolt to specification.
  4.  
  5. Center the steering gear to the matchmarks and install the pitman arm.
  6.  
  7. Install the lock washer and retaining nut on the pitman shaft. Tighten the nut to the proper torque.
  8.  
  9. Install the center link to the ball studs and tighten the nuts to specification.
  10.  
  11. Install the tie rod ends into the center link and tighten hardware to specification. Use new cotter pins.
  12.  
  13. Install the tie rods into the steering knuckles and tighten hardware to specification.
  14.  
  15. Lower the vehicle, center the steering wheel and adjust toe.
  16.  


NOTE
Position the clamp on the sleeve so that the retaining bolt is on the bottom side. Tighten to specification.



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Dakota, Durango steering linkage

Tie Rod Ends
  1. Remove the cotter pin and the castellated nut from the outer tie rod end. Discard the cotter pin.
  2.  
  3. Separate the outer tie rod end from the steering knuckle using an appropriate tie rod end remover.
  4.  
  5. Mark the outer tie rod jam nut on one side with a reference line for installation.
  6.  
  7. Hold the outer tie rod end with a wrench and loosen the tie rod end jam nut.
  8.  
  9. Back the tie rod end jam nut off ONE FULL TURN ONLY.
  10.  
  11. Remove the outer tie rod end from the inner tie rod spindle.
  12.  

To install:

  1. Clean the threads on the inner tie rod spindle (front wheel spindle connecting rod).
  2.  
  3. Thread the new outer tie rod end onto the inner tie rod until it bottoms on the jam nut.
  4.  
  5. Back the tie rod and jam nut out one full turn until the reference line is in the same position as before.
  6.  
  7. Place the outer tie rod end stud into the steering knuckle. Set the front wheels in a straight-ahead position.
  8.  
  9. Install a new castellated nut onto the outer tie rod end stud.
  10.  
  11. Torque the nut to the proper specification.
  12.  
  13. Continue to tighten the castellated nut until a new cotter pin can be inserted through the hole in the stud. Install a new cotter pin.
  14.  
  15. If required, repeat the procedure for the opposite side.
  16.  
  17. Check the alignment and set the toe adjustment to specification.
  18.  
  19. Torque the outer tie rod end jam nut to the proper torque.
  20.  

 
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