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sprinkles08, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep master tech
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 23105
Experience:  ASE Master and Advanced Certified, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep Master Certified, Trans and Hybrid Specialist
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Dodge Dakota

Customer Question

Dodge Dakota
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  Tim Mohr replied 2 years ago.
Hi, my name is ***** ***** is your question???
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have a 2003 Dodge Dakota, 4.7 AWD Auto. Currently the pinion bearings are going out and are in need of replacement. If I get on the throttle gears chunk and reverse makes a click, click, click sound too. Curiuos on a few things. 1) If there is a step by step process on changing it out and if that can be provided. 2) How difficult/impossible is the process (I am what I would say an above average mechanic having changed engines, transmissions, etc) 3) I pull a trailer and this thing is GUTLESS, been on some forums and there has been a discussion about the high gear ratio which I am sure they did to improve fuel economy (nice try Dodge, it sucks!) - I am thinking about doing a complete rebuild on the front differential and if I do so can I drop to a lower gear ratio as long as I replace the rear as well too?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am not sure what this thing would be called, but the section b/w the front diff and the cv axle - the passenger side leaks where it mounts to the differential (maybe a secondary shaft assembly #no idea)
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Take your time Tim - there's a lot here! :)
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer!
I'm unable to post directly from the service information due to copyright. If you're considering going through the differential yourself I would recommend either a factory service manual or a single vehicle subscription to Service manuals can be ordered through Tech Authority and can often be found on eBay.
Keep in mind that quite a few tools will be necessary that you most likely won't have. A dial indicator, click type and dial type torque wrench will be needed as well as a handful of special tools and a shop press. Special tools are needed to measure pinion depth, adjust side bearing preload, and for bearing removal and installation.The cost of buying all the necessary tools would exceed whatever cost savings of doing it yourself unless you could borrow or rent the tools from a shop or dealer.
You could definitely change gear ratios to a higher numerical ratio for more power when towing, but keep in mind that gears in the front differential would also have to be changed.
It sounds as if the leak in the front is where the axle tube meets the center of the housing. A leak there would require replacement of the housing.