2005 Dodge Dakota Wobbles

Tiny
SANDMAN84
  • MEMBER
  • 2005 DODGE DAKOTA
  • 111,000 MILES
Hello there. Recently purchased 05 dakota with 110k on it. Got a wobble going on when driving and gets worse at 60 -70mph. I recently replaced control arm bushings upper lower ball joints and inner and outer tie rods and had it rebalanced. Still shakes horribly. I am a dodge fanboy but Im seeking out legal advice for the dealer who said it was fine and had the whole safety check. Also on acceleration the rear end slightly hums, dont know if its rearend or driveshaft
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Thursday, September 26th, 2013 AT 9:17 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Some dealers don't know about problems like this unless it is pointed out by someone test-driving the vehicle before buying it. Around my city we have a real lot of reputable new and used-car dealers, (and one well-known crook). Almost all the reputable ones give a 30 day 50/50 warranty unless they drop the cost of the vehicle so much or sell it "as is". Typically when they have a serious problem they can't figure out, or it will cost them too much to repair in their shop, they send the vehicle to an auto auction where hopefully a different dealer buys it who is willing to spend the money and / or time to fix it.

In this case there is very little that will cause a constant wobble. You haven't said what has been tried so far. None of the parts you replaced will cause a wobble. Also, for future reference, Dakota lower ball joints will have vertical play, and that is normal. New ones from the dealer come with about 1/8" of play which goes against everything we've been taught. Sideways looseness is never acceptable. I assume the truck was aligned after the steering and suspension parts were replaced. If not, the two front wheels are steering in different directions, and that can set up a wobble or shimmy. Tire wear patterns will show that too.

The place to start is by rotating the tires and wheels front to rear. Now if you feel a shake in the seat and not the steering wheel, you have either a bent wheel or a broken tire belt. Bent wheels are rarely noticed on a wheel balancer unless the mechanic has reason to look for it because it's covered by a safety hood when it's spinning. You can spin it by hand with that hood up to watch for any lateral movement, but it's just as easy to jack the truck up and use a dial indicator to check for runout. If you DO find excessive runout, typically over.035 -.045", remove that wheel and measure again on the brake rotor with a few lug nuts installed. The hub could be bent but much more commonly you will find debris stuck between the rotor and hub or between the rotor and wheel. There's an access hole in the hub where water can spray in and form raised spots of rust on the backside of the rotor. If the rotor is removed and reinstalled in a different orientation, that rust spot will prevent the rotor from sitting squarely on the hub, and it and the wheel will wobble.

If you have cast wheels, it is common for chunks to break off on the backside around the lug nuts. After balancing, if that debris isn't cleaned off the rotor, it too will prevent the wheel from sitting squarely against the rotor.

Hiring a lawyer seems like severe overkill for this problem. If the dealer's mechanics can't solve it, take the truck to a tire and alignment shop. As an alignment specialist, I solved this type of problem for someone every week. Mechanics who aren't suspension and alignment specialists often don't know what to look for other than bent wheels and broken tire belts.

I should ask too, are the wheels and tires stock? If the truck has altered ride height or oversize wheels and tires, you're on your own. No suspension specialist would damage a truck by changing those things. Raising the truck changes the suspension geometry, weight distribution, and drive shaft angle. Increasing drive shaft angle will set up a high-frequency vibration, (not a wobble), and lead to early u-joint failure. Cranking up front torsion bars to raise the truck will change the front half-shaft angle to the point where an inner cv joint can bind. That will cause three shimmies in the steering wheel per tire revolution. If it feels like one shimmy per tire revolution, look at the things I mentioned.
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Thursday, September 26th, 2013 AT 11:30 PM
Tiny
SANDMAN84
  • MEMBER
Yeah I know its extreme but im just p***ed about the situation. Pay a lot of money only to pay more. Anyway everything is stock apart from the tires nothing been altered. I will test the tire/ wheel imperfection theory and see what I can come up with but just discouraged that it seems the wobble is a problem with dodges and people just live with it. I dont want to!

Thank you for your very quick reply as well, was expecting it to take a few days.
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Friday, September 27th, 2013 AT 1:45 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
This is absolutely not a common problem. If it was, someone would have developed a fix for it and there would have been a service bulletin issued. I've been helping a friend in his body shop who specializes in rebuilding smashed Dodge trucks. There are about 50 of them he has sold to neighboring farmers and there has never been any discussion about steering or suspension problems, and no problems that couldn't be solved. If you have to, take your truck to an alignment specialty shop. We have one in my city that does a lot of work for new-car dealers. The dealership mechanics are accustomed to working with repair parts and procedures developed by the manufacturer. There are a lot of other parts out there from aftermarket sources that the independent shops have access to. Also, the dealer typically sees vehicles that are new enough to still be in warranty. They aren't used to running into worn rubber bushings, sagged springs, and things like that.
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Sunday, September 29th, 2013 AT 7:42 PM

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