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This problem began rather quickly, but worsened gradually. Any time i turned the wheel any further than maybe 3 degrees, it would feel like it "popped loose" and experience about 10-15 degrees of "free spinning" or excessive play. over time, this problem became much worse. Once I decided to look into it, i found that the lower "U-Joint" in the lower intermediate steering shaft had a cracked cold-press pin. Essentially, the pin that held the two "U's" togeather connecting the rack & pinion to the steering shaft had cracked all the way through on one side, and began to crack on the other.
Had this pin cracked all the way through, i would have lost the ability to steer the vehicle. with my luck, i'd have been pointed at a Ferrari or Lambo at the time, but i got the part removed and replaced. finding the part was a pain in the ass, and i doubt that other vehicles (not Durangos or Dakotas) experience this problem at this interval. The part was nearly $300. if you have to change it, get a lot of break free, a lot of time, and grow a couple of other elbows. also, once you remove the part, DO NOT move the wheels or the steering wheel, as this will cause you a LOT of problems. Do whatever is necessary to ensure they sit still until you get the new part in.
Beyond that, im currently trying to figure out how to stop this truck from being a Dodge... no luck so far...
Ramstein, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany