Dodge Dakota front end problems


What causes the Dakota to “walk from side to side during a turn”? (similar to a 4 wheel drive vehicles "walking from side to side when in 4WD on dry pavement, though not as pronounced)


Worn suspension component. Don’t ask me which one.

Possible tire separation.


thanks for the reply…I’ve tried to look at everything I can under the truck…also, this has been going on since new…my wife is a rural mail carrier and we buy tires and brakes about every 18 thou. miles (less than 6 mo.) I’ve talked to other Dakota owners that have the same problem.The problem seems to be most noticable at about 20 t0 30 mph in turns to either direction.


It may be that this is entirely normal on this vehicle due to the suspension geometry.

Some years back Subaru started using what is called “zero scrub” in the front suspension geometry.
Zero scrub is basically this.
Imagine standing at the front of the vehicle and staring at one of the front tires head on.
Draw an imaginary line straight down through the center of the tire to the ground. Now draw another imaginary line down the center of the strut or shock to the ground also.

If these 2 imaginary lines meet at the same point on the ground then that is zero scrub.

Zero scrub can also cause a vehicle to appear to be hopping a bit.
As a tech, I’ve had to push non-running Subarus into the shop and while making a sharp turn into the stall the front tires would squeal and try to hop; and this is on a non-running vehicle.

I don’t know if the Dakota uses zero scrub or not, but I’m just pointing out a possibility anyway.


Did you get a recall notice about the upper ball joints? Have you had them checked? Don’t know if this is your problem, but its a highly likely suspect.


more thanks for the replys…havent gotten a recall notice…is there any way to check on the net to find out if there has been a recall or if there are any tech notices about this problem? MY wife reminds me that we indeed did have the upper ball joints replaced soon after we got the truck. (It is an o3 4 door 2 wheel drive) Any info about how to check on factory notices will be greatly appreciated…


See if the rear axle has been pushed out of position; one side forward of the other. It could even be the front. I’m not seriously thinking that this is a problem, but if it has taken some serious hits, you might have a broken eyebolt through the leaf spring. If you don’t have leafs, check for bent links or damaged bushings. Center link may have a worn end on the right side. Wheel bearing loose?