2001 Ram 1500 SLT 4x4 with a 5.9L

I took the truck in for an alignment, it was pulling slightly to the right, and was told the ball joints and rods were shot. The truck has 74,000 miles and appearently has a leaking steering box also. What
should I expect to have replaced in the front end suspension and how much should the work cost? Anyone know about steering box leaks? Does it mean that there is a gasket or seal or does the entire unit need to be replaced? Any thoughts about the cost and nature of the repairs will be very helpful to me. Thanks, CJ
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First if this truck has oversized tires on it it will wear the front end out sooner be it a Dodge, Ford or Chevy and same with steering box and tie rod ends. As for steering box leak it kinda depends on where it is leaking but if it is on output shaft it is likely because the box has worn internally and has play in bearings on output shaft and replacing seal will only be a temp fix at best. If it is on the input haft you may get by with just a seal change. ----------------- TheSnoMan.com
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Thanks for the info, it is a 2000 model and not an '01, I made a mistake in the year. The tires on it are small stock ones, I don't know yet where the leak is, it's at the auto shop and I will be there in the morning to look at it. I was looking at a generic repair book to see what parts they are talking about. They mentioned ball joints and "rods". It will most probably have a lot of parts that will add up to a big bill.
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Rod ends should not cost much unless they get parts from a dealer and steering box would be REALLY expensive from a dealer too. If they replace the ball joints/pivots in the front axle (if they are bad) hang on to your wallet because this can get pricey because of labor if you farm it out and a pain in the a$$ if you do it yourself. I will make one suggestion. If you tear the front end down to replace joints in front axle I would replace the ujoints there regardless of condition with some after market greasable ones while it is apart because the extra cost while it is apart would be nominal verse tearing it all down again to maybe replace them at a later date since they are a pain to change and you will have complete access to them to change them while the joints in axle are being replaced because you have to pull the axles to change joints. ----------------- TheSnoMan.com
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Yes all that and more; The cost for a new front end, track bar tie rod ends ujoints pitman arm steering gear box etc. came to $3284. The shop told me that the labor was a small part of the total. I went online and added up the parts. The list came to just under a thousand dollars for all of the part listed. Im a 55 year old disabled man with a bad back, should I even consider doing this my self? My wife wants me to sell our trailer and the truck too and just fly instead. I bought the truck so I could haul things other than just and rv trailer.
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You are between a rock and a hard place for sure. One possiblity might be to see if you can find a complete front axle assembly at a bone yard in good order that would fit your truck and pay to have it swapped out. It is not the hard to swap out the complete front axle as a assembly with tie rods and such included and likewise labor costs for this should not be hatefull. You have few other options here other than selling truck and replacing it but another used one of any model could be a can of worms too. I wish I could be of more help ----------------- TheSnoMan.com
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wrote:

I'd suggest another shop it is unusual for a entire front end to go south at one time.
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I do agree but if you have to pay labor to get it fixed in the ball joint/pivot area the coin can add up real fast. ----------------- TheSnoMan.com
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wrote:

<snip>
3k is too much for this work. now, if they are doing wheel bearings also then the value of the job is getting closer to their price. i have a 97 ram with 265,000 miles and a 2001 with 150,000 miles. the 97 has never needed any front end work. the wife took the 2001 to a shop for tires and they told her it needed ball joints, tie rod ends and wheel bearings for a total of 1,800.00 total parts and labor. that is a lot less than your 3k price. i took the truck to another shop who checked the front end and said they couldn't find anything wrong with it which is what i suspected. get a second opinion and a second and third price. i think someone may be highballing you on the price even if your truck does need all of that.
if you decide to replace the truck go ahead and buy a 2500 size truck if you intend to haul trailers or rv's. you will get much better service life out of a truck designed to haul heavy stuff over one designed as a passenger vehicle. michael
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wrote:

said
a
you
out
Damn! I just had both of my u-joints changed and it cost $300, that included greasable joints.
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After thinking about it I believe that if the everything in the front end has gone out then the rest of the truck should have gone out also. I took it on my sons spring break to San Franscisco and drove it over the pass at Shasta and all over the hills of San Franscisco and had no problems what so ever. That's not to say there isn't a problem but there is no noise and no bad handling except for the slight pulling to the right. I am going to take it to the dealer and to Bear alignment center and more if necessary to get opinions on what if any work. I agree with the 2500 being a better truck for hauling trailers. My trailer is a very small Shadow Cruiser and I keep the tanks low and pack light, it pulls like it isn't there. If I were to get a standard size RV trailer I would probably get a diesel. I was just really floored when they came up with 3+ grand to fix front end parts. I have the time, skills, and garage to do the work, what would be the hardest part of the job? I also have a neighbor for that would help for the physical work. Thanks all for the great information and comments. CJ
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