How to Replace Ball Joints in a 2005 Dodge Dakotaby Chris Moore
The Dodge Dakota uses two control arms on each wheel of the front suspension, each with its own ball joint. The joints need changing if they have worn down and are now loose in the control arm. The upper ball joint cannot be removed from its control arm, so you must replace the entire control arm. The lower joint can be separated from the joint, but it requires special tools or a professional.
Upper Ball Joint/Control Arm
Raise the truck and support it on jack stands; place the stands underneath the frame rails. Remove the wheel for the control arm you are removing.
Loosen the upper ball joint's stud nut without removing it--use a flare nut wrench if possible--and then pry the ball joint off of the steering knuckle using a ball joint removal tool.
Remove the mounting fasteners for the control arm by removing their nuts and then pull the arm away from the frame brackets. Take note that the fastener studs both point in the same direction.
Connect the replacement control arm to the frame brackets and apply the fasteners, making sure the bolts point in the same direction as before. Do not tighten the bolts all the way yet.
Connect the ball joint to the steering knuckle and tighten the upper stud nut to 55 foot pounds.
Re-connect the wheel and tire and lower the truck. Once it is back at its normal ride height, tighten the pivot bolt nuts to 75 foot pounds.
Lower Ball Joint
Raise and support the truck like you would for an upper control arm removal and remove the wheel.
Unbolt and remove the brake caliper and its mounting bracket from the brake disc using a wrench and then slip the disc off the studs. If the disc is held in place with pressed washers, clip them off with cutting pliers.
Raise a floor jack under the lower control arm at the outer end to support it and then separate the control arm from the stabilizer link by removing its link nut.
Paint marks to show the relationship between the control arm's mounting bolts and the frame, remove the bolts and pull the arm from the brackets. Separate the ball joint from the steering knuckle as described for the upper control arm.
Press the ball joint out of the control arm using a special press tool and receiver cup. This type of tool can often be rented from an equipment yard.
Install the replacement ball joint into the control arm using the same tool you removed it with.
Connect the control arm in the reverse order that you disconnected it. As with the upper arm, don't tighten the pivot bolt nuts until after you lower the truck back to normal riding height. Tighten those bolts to 180 foot pounds.
- Avoid using a picklefork-style ball joint separator if possible, as this type will likely destroy the ball joint boot.