I need some help diagnosing a problem with my wife's 98 Durango 4x4 with 360
and the selectable part time and full time transfer case. Anyway, when
turning left or right or stopping or accelerating from a dead stop a popping
noise is coming from what feels like the steering column. Like up under the
dash or on the inside of the firewall. Also, I found a clean gray or silver
bolt that was broken in half under where the wife usually parks her Durango.
The bolt was around 1.5 inches and had a locking nut on it. I don't know
for sure if this came off the Durango but, the popping noise appeared about
the time I found that bolt. I have looked under the hood for a missing bolt
and haven't found one yet. I haven't removed the plastic under carriage
covers yet to see if that might reveal a hole somewhere in need of a bolt
with locking nut. The steering wheel and column do not feel loose. The
popping noise also seems more pronounced after the vehicle is heated up or
it is above 60 degrees outside. The steering pump does have a little
whining noise and I have had the wife turn the steering wheel left and right
repeatedly while I watched the power steering and linkage move. No audible
popping while that was going on either. I'm just before taking it to the
dealer and letting them try to find the source of the popping. Any help
here would be much appreciated.
Took it by the local Dodge dealer and they said the entire steering column
needed to be replaced at a cost of $1200 just for the steering column I
believe and then another $300 to install it I think. I'll have to look at
the form they gave me again. Nah, I don't think I can stand to glance it
over again. The Durango has under 90k miles on it and looks good and drives
good except for that occasional popping sound. Heck, it don't even do it
with me much but, it does with my wife Shirley Muldowney.
Has there ever been any TSB's or anything on the steering columns in 98
Durango's? I find it hard to believe that a vehicle with less than 90k
miles on it needs the steering column replaced. If that is the case it
would seem like these things were defective or something. Mine pops every
time I give it gas, stop or turn or just hit a bump in the road.
I have the exact same problem in my 2000 dodge 4x4 shortbed ram.
it doesn't start until I drive it about5-10 miles then the same
shifting/popping during stop/start and bumps. mine has only 45k on it. I am
going to take it to the dealer on monday.
after I did some research, I also think it might be the steering column. I
first thought it was the steering gear ( because there was leakage) but I
think it is the column.
Went to the dealer about the Durango and they said the steering column was
worn out at only 80K miles. Anyway, they shot me a price of $1,200 or so to
replace it. I was wondering if I could possibly find one out of a wrecked
Durango and if so which models of steering column are the same as the one in
a 98 Durango 4x4? If anyone can tell me which steering columns will work as
a direct replacement for mine I'd greatly appreciate it.
Can no one tell me the years of Durangos that use the same steering column?
The dealer said they don't even make steering columns like that for a 98 and
the changed to a new style. I do know that my 01 Dakota handles a lot
better than the 98 Durango does and the ride is a lot better with the 01
Dakota too and I've already changed shocks on the Durango.
I can't tell you what year steering columns interchange, but I doubt you
need to change the entire column anyway. I think the broken bolt you found
is most likely the problem. Check your steering box mount bolts. Did you
find both halves of the bolt, or just the half with the nut on it? If you
only found the nut-half of the bolt, the bolt head can still be stuck in the
hole appearing as if there is nothing missing. If the steering box checks
out good, you might want to call Borgeson. They make upgraded steering
shafts for a hand-full of vehicles. Unfortunately the Durango isn't one of
them, but they build custom shafts for street rods. They are more than
capable of making a steering shaft for you, and it will be better and
cheaper than replacing the entire steering column.
I found both halves of the bolt. The head end and the end with a locking nut
on it. It was a clean gray bolt. The dealer's mechanic said the bolt was
not part of the popping noise. I really don't trust the dealer much though.
I just can't imagine needing to change out the entire steering column for
$1200+. I think I'll take the Durango to an independent mechanic and see
what he can find. Thanks for the link. If worse comes to worse I may go
problem. but you never know. might still not be the actual problem.
BTW, did they replace the bolt, or did you not find where it came from? I
could see that causing the problem if it was the pinch bolt that holds the
shaft to the steering gear. but then again I think the pinch bolt does not
have a locking nut on the end, otherwise it would not really be pinching
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