The second-generation Dakota began development in 1991 and frozen for production in January 1994.

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Should the steering rack have play?

Finally my turn for some advice!

So I've got a 2000 Dodge Dakota (2WD V8), approx 206k miles. Doing an oil change today and I decided to wiggle stuff around to see if anything was loose because my steering will occasionally groan or clunk. And wouldn't you know it my steering rack assembly can wiggle just ever so slightly. There appears to be just a little bit of play between the rack assembly and the end of the 2 large bolts holding it on.

Does anyone know if this is by design to reduce stress or have I been given another reason never to let a "mechanic" touch my vehicles? Thanks!

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Your steering gear is mounted to the frame with 190ft/lbs should not allow you to have any play in it. Sounds to me like it is wearing out on the mounts. This can be caused by loose tie-rod, tires to large, and a bad steering knuckle. I would suggest to first re-torque the mounting bolts, if that is unsuccessful, replace the gear. Make sure all your steering components are properly serviced. Not sure if you need the service manual, but if you do it is available right here. Hope this helps to get you going in the right direction :-) Good Luck

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Especially big up vote for that torque spec, that'll be handy! Hope it's not worn, darn truck is gonna turn into a money pit soon! Thanks for the quick response :)

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Thank you for accepting my answer, and I hope you get it fixed without to much hassle.

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Phillip Takahashi will be eternally grateful.
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