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sprinkles08
sprinkles08, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep master tech
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 21828
Experience:  ASE Master and Advanced Certified, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep Master Certified, Trans and Hybrid Specialist
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2001 dodge ram 1500: Im driving..clunking or clicking noise..wheels

Resolved Question:

i have a 2001 dodge ram 1500 and while I'm driving i can hear some kind of clunking or clicking noise on the right side, i think its coming from one of the wheels on the right side, and when i turn there is a squeaking noise but stops when im going straight. Could this be a bad bearing?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 4 years ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer!

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It's possible that you could have a bad wheel bearing but you've actually described the characteristics of a bad front axle u joint pretty well. Slide underneath and take a look at the right front axle joint and feel it to see if it's loose. Also look for any signs of rust dust coming from any of the bearing caps. You will likely see one or both of these things. If for some reason you don't, you can raise and support the front end of the truck, turn the wheel all the way in one direction and turn the tire by hand. If you feel any binding in certain spots in it's rotation that's a sign of a binding u joint.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
ok ill check that. But im not the best with this kind of stuff and i was just wondering if you could describe in more detail with what i would need to do.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 4 years ago.

Slide under the front of the truck and find the right front axle u joint. It's in the opening at the end of the axle tube behind the steering knuckle. Feel the joint by hand to see if it's loose. There should be no play in the joint. If there is play it will need to be replaced.

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Also look for any rust dust coming from the joint. If there is rust dust then the joint has failed.

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If you haven't seen anything wrong at this point then raise an support the front of the truck on jack stands. Turn the wheels all the way to one side or the other and rotate the right front tire by hand. If it binds in certain spots in it's rotation then the u joint is binding.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
well i found the u joint and checked it and there is play in it. Now will this be a major fix and will it be an easy one?
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 4 years ago.
It's not a major or hard job to do with the right tools and experience. It takes about an hour to hour and a half to do.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Do you have any idea how much u joints cost?

Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 4 years ago.
An aftermarket joint will run in the $20-30 range, a Mopar joint will generally be of higher quality and run in the $60-80 range.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok and what kind would you reccomend?

Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 4 years ago.
Personally I would use a Mopar joint. Many people would recommend aftermarket ones that are greaseable, but even then they usually don't have the life span of the higher quality factory part.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Would i be able to find these u joints at an autozone? And what kind would i need to get from there, if they have any?
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 4 years ago.
Yes, you would be able to purchase the joint at Autozone. They will probably have a few different brands available with varying prices, some may have different warranties than others and possibly some with a lifetime warranty. Personally I would go with one of the more expensive joints that they offer and stay away from the lower grade cheap parts. Even if they have a lifetime warranty when they fail again in the future the part would be free but the job would have to be done over.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
And if i were to replace them myself, what would i have to do?
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 4 years ago.
You would start by raising and supporting the front end. The wheel would need to be removed, the brake caliper and then the rotor. The wheel bearing bolts would need to be removed, the axle nut, and then the wheel bearing would need to be removed using a puller. Once the bearing is off then you can remove the axle shaft and replace the u joint. U joints can be replaced with a press, the more common way would be by using a vise and driving them in and out with a hammer. If you've never done this before I would recommend budgeting at least half of a day.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I have never done anything like this before. So you think it would be possible for someone like me to do it if i follow your directions? And also how would support the front end? Like what should i use?
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 4 years ago.

You would need to support the front of the truck on a solid ground surface using jack stands.

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It may be possible for you to do it depending on your skill level and what tools you have available to you. If you've done some intermediate level repairs in the past then you could probably get through this. You would need a jack and jack stands, a suitable place to work, a selection of hand tools to remove the caliper and wheel bearing bolts, a large breaker bar or ratchet to remove the axle nut (it's in the 300 foot pound range), a hub puller to remove the wheel bearing at the least. Air tools would speed the process and make it much, much easier. An impact would make removing the axle nut easier, and an air hammer along with the hub puller is the easiest way to remove the wheel bearing/hub.

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