Steering is stiff in both directions

Tiny
DANIEL WELSH
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 DODGE DURANGO
  • 4.7L
  • V8
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 180,000 MILES
I have the SLT Plus 4x4. The other day I was on the highway when my wheel start to shake. I pull over and checked notice a small fire. Liter of soda took care of that. With the wheel tilting. I noticed the low ball joint nut was loose. Well had it towed. When I get it up on the jack. The wheel hub assembly was shakable. CV boot was melted. Took the wheel hub assembly off and it fell to pieces in my hands. So I replaced the following, CV axle, brake pads and the wheel hub assembly. Tightened the low ball joint nut, new cotter pin. Everything else looked good. Put it all back together. Now I have a stiff steering wheel. No noise or vibration. But the steering wheel has about 50% power loss. Something strange though, when turning the wheel it pulses. 50% to 65% and repeats in both directions. Checked the power steering pump, hoses and reservoir. All seems fine.
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Sunday, April 30th, 2017 AT 4:30 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Back up a minute. You found the nut loose for the lower ball joint? That has some serious implications. Someone did not tighten it properly previously. Nothing else will cause that failure. More importantly, it is absolutely necessary that that ball joint and the spindle be replaced. The loose ball joint stud wobbled out the hole in the spindle. Those two parts fit together with a very tight friction fit. With the hole wobbled out, the stud will only make contact near the nut end. The rest of the stud will not be supported in its strong area. If you're lucky, all that will happen is the stud will work loose again and continue to wobble around. If you're not lucky, this is a common cause of the stud snapping off. That will allow the bottom of the wheel to squirt out, then the tire will take out the back of the fender. You'll head into the ditch or into oncoming traffic.

What may have happened to this point is the ball joint's stud is bent, and that put a twist on the ball and changed its orientation in the socket. That can cause the ball joint to bind, and if that is bad enough, you'll notice it as hard steering. There may be other issues yet related to the power steering assist, but we'll address that if it becomes necessary, after the spindle and ball joint are replaced.
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Monday, May 1st, 2017 AT 2:51 PM
Tiny
DANIEL WELSH
  • MEMBER
Thank for the advice. I'll have the lower ball join repaced. As of the spindle, Durango utilize a wheel hub assembly. Which replaces all wheel connection from knuckle to tire. Also replaced the cv axle. Did I mention that I have 4x4. I'm also going to have him do a check of the other side too. Also going to have a check of rack seals to, even those there's no leak. Replace fluid.
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Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017 AT 3:46 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The hub and spindle are not the same thing. The spindle is connected to the upper and lower ball joints, as well as the outer tie rod end, and the hub / bearing assembly is planted onto the spindle. You need to replace the ball joint and the part with the mating hole that got wobbled out, which is the spindle.

The terminology is confusing because many years ago the spindle included the horizontal shaft the inner and outer bearings sat on that supported the rotor or drum. We still call it the spindle, but the wheel bearing and hub assembly is a separate part bolted onto the spindle.

New ball joints are fairly inexpensive, but I'd go to a salvage yard for the spindle. As long as it comes from a vehicle that wasn't crashed on that side, the spindle is a very low-failure item, so it will be easy to get a good used one. No need to spend many times more bucks at the dealership for a new one.
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Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017 AT 4:35 PM
Tiny
DANIEL WELSH
  • MEMBER
No wonder it been hard to find it. Thanks for correcting me.
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Saturday, May 6th, 2017 AT 5:55 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Please let us know what happens.

Cheers, Ken
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Monday, May 8th, 2017 AT 6:00 PM

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