I was wondering if I could change out my 1996 Dodge Ram 1500 tie rod and put into my 1998 Dodge Dakota?
have the same problem?
Thursday, February 20th, 2014 AT 8:25 PM
Come on now! No one is cheaper than I am, and even I wouldn't do that. There's a whole bunch of problems with what you're asking and there's too many variables for me to even look up the parts. I wanted to know the answer to satisfy my own curiosity. I was the suspension and alignment specialist at a very nice family-owned Chrysler dealership through all of the '90s, but I can't answer this question without looking up the parts.
First of all, the outer tie rod ends for a Dakota have different part numbers between the rear-wheel-drive and the 4wd, but they both look the same. One manufacturer lists the part as fitting either version which suggests the difference between them isn't too significant. In some places the left and right show different part numbers, but I don't remember ever having to specify which one I needed.
There's also two different steering systems used on the Dakota. One uses the rack and pinion steering gear and one uses the standard steering gear box. Both use similar-looking inner tie rod ends that are for the rack and pinion design. There is nothing close to this that was ever used on the full-size trucks.
The full-size trucks also used two totally different steering linkage systems. You have to specify if yours is a rear-wheel-drive or a 4wd. 99 percent of those sold were 4wd, and those have a very different steering linkage compared to the rear-wheel-drive version. All of the outer tie rod ends are totally different than anything on the Dakotas. As I recall, one outer tie rod end has reverse threads and one has normal threads.
The only thing that might be close is the outer tie rod ends for the rear-wheel-drive version, but those have different part numbers too. The other problem you're going to have is how do you expect to remove a tie rod end to reuse it? The stud fits tightly with a tapered fit that is wedged in. If you use a pickle fork to force it apart, you're going to damage the rubber boot. If you pound on the stud, you'll smash the end and the nut won't go on. You'll make way more grief than it's worth. A new correct tie rod is going to cost around 25 - 30 bucks. The only way you'd want to install a used one that's half worn out already is if this was a really old truck and parts were no longer available. Once the part is replaced, the truck will have to be aligned. If the used tie rod end wears out in 10,000 miles, you'll be doing the job again and paying for another alignment, so there went the savings.