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Thread: Tubular Upper Control Arms Dakota '97-03

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    98Dak408's Avatar
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    Default Tubular Upper Control Arms Dakota '97-03

    I am working on a design for tubular upper control arms.

    I really like the threaded ball joints because it is a cleaner look. However, making them to accept the OEM style ball joint would make things easier because the ’97-99 ball joints are apparently different than the ’00-03 ball joints but they must fit the OEM upper control arm bolt hole pattern in the control arm.

    I’m not sure yet what the difference is but it may be the angle such as 7-degree vs 10-degree. I will probably buy one of each and measure them.

    One thing that just came to mind is that I have the Viper brake conversion kit from Sidewinder when they were still in business. My truck is a ’98 and the kit uses the ’03 knuckle. If the angle of the ball joint shaft is different, then how am I using the ’98 ball joint with the ’03 knuckle? If the '03 knuckle is 10-degrees then maybe the 7-degree fits inside albeit not perfectly???

    I’m going to have to pull it apart and see what is what.

    I found the following thread that touches on some of this: http://www.dakotart.com/forum/showth...r+control+arms

    If anyone has any input in this regard I will appreciate it.
    I've spent most of my money on women, booze, and my truck. The rest of the money was wasted!

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    ScojoDak's Avatar
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    I've got 03 bj's bolted on my 98 control arms and the mounting bolts lined up perfect. Yes, I have the 03 knuckle/rotor conversion. Drill the mounting pads as standard and let the customer decide which bj's are applicable.
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    I've got 03 bj's bolted on my 98 control arms and the mounting bolts lined up perfect. Yes, I have the 03 knuckle/rotor conversion. Drill the mounting pads as standard and let the customer decide which bj's are applicable.
    That is the beauty of making it fit the OEM ball joints. However, more work to fab and not as clean looking. That will probably be the way to go though. I'm stilling looking for the difference in the possible ball joints and am looking into the screw-in type because that is what I would prefer anyway. I did order various ball joints so I can compare and measure.

    Did you notice any problem inserting the '98 ball joint into the '03 knuckle? I don't remember any but that was a while ago and I wasn't looking for it.

    Edit:
    Did you notice any problem inserting the '98 ball joint into the '03 knuckle? I don't remember any but that was a while ago and I wasn't looking for it.
    I guess you didn't after rereading your post.
    I've spent most of my money on women, booze, and my truck. The rest of the money was wasted!

    Smartphones are a menace to society and are creating a zombie apocalypse!

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    ScojoDak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 98Dak408 View Post
    Did you notice any problem inserting the '98 ball joint into the '03 knuckle? Edit: I guess you didn't after rereading your post.
    Was already on the truck when I bought it
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    I too did Darrens Viper brake swap on my 2000 with 03 spindles.
    Went right on my still factory ball joints no issues.

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    Are these done yet?
    11.27 @ 118.23
    2017 NM Mopar Challenge Series Champion

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    Bought a new Ellis horizontal mitering bandsaw in anticipation.

    Been looking for a few years and couldn't find one used. Sick of using a messy chop saw or vertical band saw not meant for thicker steel or aluminum.

    Now we’re getting somewhere!

    I've spent most of my money on women, booze, and my truck. The rest of the money was wasted!

    Smartphones are a menace to society and are creating a zombie apocalypse!

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    nitroram33's Avatar
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    I'm also using my rebuilt factory '98 upper arms with factory style '98 balljoints and a 2003 Dakota spindle with my 5-lug/Mustang Brake swap and haven't had any issues. I'd much prefer the screw-in style as well lol

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    Moog part numbers are diff but the taper per foot is the same. Possibly 3 bolt pattern is slightly diff?
    Here is the 98: http://www.fme-cat.com/overlays/part...e=Ball%20Joint

    Here is the 2003: http://www.fme-cat.com/overlays/part...e=Ball%20Joint

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    Moog part numbers are diff but the taper per foot is the same. Possibly 3 bolt pattern is slightly diff?
    Here is the 98: http://www.fme-cat.com/overlays/part...e=Ball%20Joint

    Here is the 2003: http://www.fme-cat.com/overlays/part...e=Ball%20Joint
    I appreciate the source. Some similarities and some differences. I did order a variety of ball joints so when I get them I will have a better idea of what they are.

    Not sure about the hole pattern. They apparently use the same control arm so I don't know. I guess if some of the holes are slotted that could allow the use of different hole spreads.
    I've spent most of my money on women, booze, and my truck. The rest of the money was wasted!

    Smartphones are a menace to society and are creating a zombie apocalypse!

    If you don't like me on the phone get off the road!




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    Ordered the tube bending die and DOM tubing. (This is how confident I am that they will eventually be built. )

    Using the band saw yesterday and I screwed up wiping out all the teeth on my new $75 band saw blade. It’s a good thing I had a face shield on because it spit all the teeth right into my face.
    I've spent most of my money on women, booze, and my truck. The rest of the money was wasted!

    Smartphones are a menace to society and are creating a zombie apocalypse!

    If you don't like me on the phone get off the road!




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    Quote Originally Posted by 98Dak408 View Post
    Using the band saw yesterday and I screwed up wiping out all the teeth on my new $75 band saw blade. It’s a good thing I had a face shield on because it spit all the teeth right into my face.
    Glad you're alright. Sometimes they'll come at you like a machine gun. Usually happens when the new guy is cutting thin sheet metal with an extremely course blade.
    If you haven't lived for something, you'll die for nothing.

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    Glad you're alright. Sometimes they'll come at you like a machine gun. Usually happens when the new guy is cutting thin sheet metal with an extremely course blade.
    Yeah, it was my fault. I eased into the cut and then abruptly turned the feed speed too high. Using a 5-7 TPI blade on 1/8" at a steep angle of cut.
    I've spent most of my money on women, booze, and my truck. The rest of the money was wasted!

    Smartphones are a menace to society and are creating a zombie apocalypse!

    If you don't like me on the phone get off the road!




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    I removed the driver’s side upper control arm to check ball joint fitment and for use after rebuilding to make a fixture for tubular control arms.

    At first glance, the K772 ball joint that others may have used for the ’98-03 Dakota R/T doesn’t fit very well. See video:


    EDIT: I referred to the upper ball joint in the video as the K727 but it is actually the companion upper K772.

    It appears that using a screw-in ball joint may not be the best solution. It may be possible to reem the taper in the steering knuckle to make it fit better but that is out of the realm that most people care to or are capable of dealing with. Once tightened down there is no wobble but under extreme loads it may not be as secure.

    It appears that using the stock ball joint is the way to go. Also, the ’00-03 ball joint has larger bolts securing it to the control arm than the ’97-99 ball joint, so the ’00-03 ball joint would be an upgrade over the ’97-99 ball joint.

    Upon removing the upper control arm, I also noticed that the cross shaft is bent. I don’t ever remember running over a curb at 70 mph but I did reluctantly lend the truck to different friends at one time or another. I’m not pointing fingers but some people can’t help but drive aggressively in a hot rod. (I remember my old Mustang that was built up. Stopped at Sears to get new tires and was sitting on the curb waiting. The mechanic starts it up and realizes the engine has some balls. After revving it a few times he did a raging burn out right in front of me. WTF? People just cannot control themselves.)

    Anyway, I will purchase a new upper control arm to make a fixture from so I am not working with a tweaked part that may screw things up.
    Last edited by 98Dak408; 07-07-2018 at 05:07 PM.
    I've spent most of my money on women, booze, and my truck. The rest of the money was wasted!

    Smartphones are a menace to society and are creating a zombie apocalypse!

    If you don't like me on the phone get off the road!




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    Woo Hoo
    Control arms that will actually fit.
    11.27 @ 118.23
    2017 NM Mopar Challenge Series Champion

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    Woo Hoo
    Control arms that will actually fit.
    That is the plan. lol
    I've spent most of my money on women, booze, and my truck. The rest of the money was wasted!

    Smartphones are a menace to society and are creating a zombie apocalypse!

    If you don't like me on the phone get off the road!




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    Well, I guess the upper control arms for the 2WD '98 Dakota have been discontinued.

    When I find a rare listing on ebay for the 1998 Dakota, the part number that is shown is for the 2000-2004 Dakota. I wonder if the 2000-2004 driver's side Dakota has a different part number than the 1997-1999 Dakota merely because the ball joint uses larger fastening bolts than the 1997-1999 Dakota? That was the only real difference that I can see when comparing the two ball joints.

    I will order the 2000-2004 upper control arms because I need them anyway to verify mock-up and then compare the driver’s side with the upper control arms on my 1998 Dakota. I am now thinking that they may work with the benefit of the larger fastening bolts.
    I've spent most of my money on women, booze, and my truck. The rest of the money was wasted!

    Smartphones are a menace to society and are creating a zombie apocalypse!

    If you don't like me on the phone get off the road!




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    You guys that have changed out your upper control arm bushings in your stock upper control arms with poly bushings, were you able to get everything apart without destroying the washer? I suspect some people end up putting it back together without them? I can probably make them work without that. I may try to find a substitute but I’m not so sure it is necessary. Just thinking out loud here. Any feedback is welcome.



    I've spent most of my money on women, booze, and my truck. The rest of the money was wasted!

    Smartphones are a menace to society and are creating a zombie apocalypse!

    If you don't like me on the phone get off the road!




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    I’ve been working on the sleeve for the control arm bushing. I’m trying to make it work with the Energy Suspension poly bushings for ease of installation and function. I did have to machine the inside of the sleeve for a proper fit. I know a sore spot with some previous upper control arms is interference between the sleeve and the mounting pad on the frame. This appears to have enough space. If the washer isn’t use as specified in the previous post I can probably compensate for that.



    I've spent most of my money on women, booze, and my truck. The rest of the money was wasted!

    Smartphones are a menace to society and are creating a zombie apocalypse!

    If you don't like me on the phone get off the road!




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    Quote Originally Posted by 98Dak408 View Post
    You guys that have changed out your upper control arm bushings in your stock upper control arms with poly bushings, were you able to get everything apart without destroying the washer?
    Not here. Butchered the washers. No problem as I work at a fab/machine shop.
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    I did come up with a viable solution to the inner pivot shaft spacer/washer. It is stainless steel that I can machine the OD down to fit through the bushing sleeve.

    I've spent most of my money on women, booze, and my truck. The rest of the money was wasted!

    Smartphones are a menace to society and are creating a zombie apocalypse!

    If you don't like me on the phone get off the road!




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    Just work your magic Richard.
    Edelbrock Magnum heads, Harland-Sharp 1:6 RR, Jomar Performance Ultra-Lite Stud Girdle, SoutheastPerformance Sheet Metal Valve Covers, Custom Hyd Roller from Reed Cams, Mopar M-1 2 Brl Intake, Hughes Stage 1 TB, JBA SS Headers, Jacobs Electronics Pro Street Ignition System and Wires, MBRP 'Cuda Style Exhaust, Western Chassis 2" drop front and rear, Edelbrock IAS Shocks, Terry DeLong Pro-Glass Shaker Hood

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    Really looking forward to the finished product!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 98Dak408 View Post
    I did come up with a viable solution to the inner pivot shaft spacer/washer. It is stainless steel that I can machine the OD down to fit through the bushing sleeve.
    You have a pm
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    You have a pm
    Much appreciated Scott!
    I've spent most of my money on women, booze, and my truck. The rest of the money was wasted!

    Smartphones are a menace to society and are creating a zombie apocalypse!

    If you don't like me on the phone get off the road!




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