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:
- Raise and safely support the vehicle.
- Remove the tie rod cotter pins and nuts.
- remove the tie rod end ball studs from the steering knuckles with a suitable puller.
- Remove the tie rod ends from the center link.
- Remove the idler arm from the center link. Remove the idler arm bolt from the frame bracket.
- Remove the pitman arm ball stud from the center link.
- Mark the pitman arm and shaft positions for assembly reference. Remove the pitman arm with a suitable puller.
- Check the Torque Specifications chart for proper torque values.
- Position the idler arm on the frame bracket and tighten the bolt to specification.
- Center the steering gear to the matchmarks and install the pitman arm.
- Install the lock washer and retaining nut on the pitman shaft. Tighten the nut to the proper torque.
- Install the center link to the ball studs and tighten the nuts to specification.
- Install the tie rod ends into the center link and tighten hardware to specification. Use new cotter pins.
- Install the tie rods into the steering knuckles and tighten hardware to specification.
- Lower the vehicle, center the steering wheel and adjust toe.
- Remove the cotter pin and the castellated nut from the outer tie rod end. Discard the cotter pin.
- Separate the outer tie rod end from the steering knuckle using an appropriate tie rod end remover.
- Mark the outer tie rod jam nut on one side with a reference line for installation.
- Hold the outer tie rod end with a wrench and loosen the tie rod end jam nut.
- Back the tie rod end jam nut off ONE FULL TURN ONLY.
- Remove the outer tie rod end from the inner tie rod spindle.
- Clean the threads on the inner tie rod spindle (front wheel spindle connecting rod).
- Thread the new outer tie rod end onto the inner tie rod until it bottoms on the jam nut.
- Back the tie rod and jam nut out one full turn until the reference line is in the same position as before.
- Place the outer tie rod end stud into the steering knuckle. Set the front wheels in a straight-ahead position.
- Install a new castellated nut onto the outer tie rod end stud.
- Torque the nut to the proper specification.
- 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.
- If required, repeat the procedure for the opposite side.
- Check the alignment and set the toe adjustment to specification.
- Torque the outer tie rod end jam nut to the proper torque.