Question about 1998 Dodge Dakota

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The bolt under the dash behind the steering wheel came loose and the two parts ( bolt ) and nut came off. I had no control of steering. The steering wheel turned like a bicycle tire man ! Good thing not on freeway - anyway air bag lite is on . How do I fix that and do I have to posaition the steering wheel at all ? Thanks

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  • gfkennedy Apr 09, 2011

    Helpful very much !! I know what a clockspring is now. I didn't yesterday. I haven't done the job yet but will comment later. Thanks again !!

  • gfkennedy Apr 09, 2011

    Very helpful and explains well. Thank you and will let you know how it went.



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Hi, there is a good chance you have overclocked the clockspring that contains the airbag wires. It may just be they came disconnected when you spun the wheel. Or, perhaps the wires are loose at the base of the steering column--check those first. Note that the horn wires also go thru the clockspring. If the horn is not working either, it makes the clockspring all the more questionable.
May I assume you have reattached the steering bolt? Is the steering wheel properly centered when the wheels are straight ahead? If not, that issue should be addressed first.
If the wires at the base of the column are good, you will have to remove the steering wheel to access the clockspring, as shown in the picture below. The procedure is pasted in below. As you can see in the last photo, you will likely need a steering wheel puller to get the wheel off. Once you have the wheel off, inspect the clockspring for damage. If it looks OK, the problem may be further down the column. You may be able to disconnect the wires at the base of the column and fish them up to check for opens/breakage. It's hard to say exactly what is wrong without taking it apart a bit. Please let me know if you have questions, and thanks for using FixYa.

The bolt under the dash - jturcotte_1510.gif


CAUTION The Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) uses an air bag. Whenever working near any of the SRS components, such as the impact sensors, the air bag module, steering column and instrument panel, disable the SRS. Refer to "Chassis Electrical" for air bag removal, handling and installation procedures.

NOTE Do NOT move the front wheels or steering shaft once the steering wheel is removed. Moving the front wheels or steering shaft will disturb the relationship between the clock spring and the shaft. If the relationship has been disturbed, the clock spring must be centered prior to reinstalling the steering wheel.

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2. Wait two minutes. This time is required to discharge the capacitor and prevent unintended air bag deployment. The system is now disarmed.
  3. Ensure the steering wheel and the vehicle's front wheels are in the straight-ahead position.
  4. As required, remove the speed control switches from the horn pad by unscrewing the attaching screws.
  5. Remove the four air bag module retaining fasteners at the back of the steering wheel.
  6. Pull the module far enough away from the steering wheel to disconnect the clockspring wire harness.
  7. Label and disconnect the clockspring wire harness.
  8. Remove the air bag module from the steering wheel.
  9. Matchmark the steering wheel and shaft.
  10. Remove the steering wheel retaining nut.
  11. Using a steering wheel puller, remove the steering wheel from the shaft.

To install:
  1. Align and install the steering wheel on the column shaft.
  2. Install a new retaining nut and tighten the nut to 45 ft. lbs. (61 Nm) on Ram, or 35 ft. lbs. (47 Nm) on Dakota and Durango.
  3. Connect the clockspring wire harness.
  4. Install the four air bag module retaining nuts and tighten to 80-100 inch lbs. (9-11 Nm).
  5. As required, install the speed control switches on the horn pad.
  6. Connect the negative battery cable.
  7. Check the air bag system for proper function prior to driving the vehicle.


Fig. Removing the air bag module hardware


Fig. Removing the steering wheel nut

The bolt under the dash - jturcotte_433.jpgc="" alt="jturcotte_433.jpg" class="h_mi" />

Fig. Using a puller to remove the steering wheel

Posted on Apr 09, 2011


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