A known problem with late model Dodge trucks is the premature failure of the steering shaft. If you start to feel a clunk or rattle on the front end of your 2003-08 Dodge, you'll want to look into this.
The problem with the OEM steering shaft that comes on your Dodge is that the u-joints tend to loosen and get sloppy over time. This happens more rapidly if the truck is used for heavy hauling, towing, off-roading or even if larger, heavier wheels and tires are installed. We noticed ours was failing on Project LBMC (Long Bed Mega Cab) after 30,000 miles.
Symptoms of steering shaft degradation are:
1. Loose or sloppy steering
If you find yourself steering the truck more than usual as you try to drive straight down the highway, the problem could be track bar bushings, a loose steering gear, tie-rod ends or the steering shaft.
2. Clunk or rattle
A clunk or rattle in the steering and brake pedal can be felt as you drive over bumps, potholes or driveway entrances.
3. Excessive shaft play
If you reach into the engine compartment and feel for play in the steering shaft, you'll notice the wobble or clunk in the shaft. There should not be any significant amount of play in the shaft between the steering gear and steering wheel.
After we located the worn shaft in Project LMBC, we called Borgeson Universal and ordered one of its heavy-duty steering shafts. Borgeson replaces the OEM shaft with a steel 3/4-inch diameter DD tube, which telescopes into a 1-inch diameter DD tube. They use stronger, heavier u-joints that utilize precision needle bearings for tighter tolerances and longer service life.