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Sloppy Rear-Ends in Dakotas?

Old 11-18-2011, 08:52 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2011
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Default Sloppy Rear-Ends in Dakotas?

How much play should there be in the rear axle shafts?
I double-checked the play on the axle flanges and this is what I came up with:

Drivers side: up and down = .008"; in and out .026"
Passenger side: up and down = .008"; in and out .015"

I checked out the wheel bearings and they feel ok. I slid one of the new bearings down onto the journal area where it sits when its installed and surprised with all of the play between the two. I was expecting a nice snug fit but you can wiggle the bearing back and forth on the shaft. Is this a cheap Dakota design or are all bearings of this type like this?

Should I go ahead and change the bearings even if they turn freely and don't feel bad? I need to try and eliminate the howling.

Someone tell me how to go about checking the pinion bearing to see if that is what is causing the noise? I picked up some some Prussian Blue. Give me tip the best way to apply it to the gears? Do I need to have the axles back in to do this or can I pull all of the spider gears out to do the test?

Put a dial indicator on the bottom side of the Ring gear teeth in three places and got .010 backlash, but I didn't have the driveshaft disconnected, just turned the ring gear by hand. Was this the right way to check this?

I am getting a howling noise when giving it gas between 40MPH and 55Mph. it stops when I let off the gas. Coming from behind somewhere. I also am noticing the vehicle shakes noticably when vehicle is under load in Lockup. Any ideas?

02 Dakota 3.9L 4WD 8.25 diff.

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Old 11-29-2011, 05:35 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Youngstown, OH
Posts: 42

How bad was it wobbling around? I have sway bar bolts give me the same feeling in my Ram, but i don't know if i've ever had an axle problem.
Old 08-21-2012, 03:37 AM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 79

Thats an quite nice effort been made and the bolts which is can be fix the problem.
Old 11-29-2012, 01:19 AM
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 11

havent gone under the car yet, but when I am what makes the rear end feel sloppy? lower a-arm bushings? upper bushings? everything looks ok...but I havent actually gone and inspected fully...just inistalled coilovers but the sway side to side over bumps thing has been going on since winter.but won't completely solve the issue. There is another post about removing the lower mounting/tow bar from the spring pack to soften the ride. I do not recommend doing this.
Old 11-29-2012, 08:07 AM
RustyFordLover's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Fairbanks Alaska
Posts: 492

What you are saying makes no sense what so ever. There is no A-frame control arm on the back axle of a Dakota.
Old 04-14-2013, 08:14 AM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Youngstown, OH
Posts: 42

of all things, my dad's had the rear differential malfun****ion, the axel come loose and destroyed the transmission. good times
Old 04-14-2013, 01:43 PM
NullHead's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 1,227

As for the howling, look at your U-Joints. As far as the sloppy rear end, ya got me there.
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