Dodge Nitro Steering Column Repair

Steering Column Repair - Dodge Nitro

Seeing as I haven’t posted much here in a while, I’ll start things off again with a repair that I did to my 2007 Dodge Nitro today…

Steering Column Repair - Dodge Nitro

About a month ago I noticed that my steering wheel was starting to have up and down “play” in it, which seems to have gotten worse this past week. So, today, I decided I’d Google it in case it had already been discussed elsewhere.

Well, that payed off with this thread on What was also noted there was a clicking sound coming from the steering wheel / column — something I had noticed since driving my Nitro off the lot in April 2007. Something that I simply wrote off because it sounded like a spring clicking inside the column, which could have been normal.

Anyway, to make a long story short, here’s some images of how the repair was done (click on any image for a larger view);

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Hi there;

I read what you said about the wires on the Blazer, but mine were not corroded.  I took it off and cleaned it up anyway and it came back on, but as soon as I turned the key off she was gone again.  I don’t have any lights lighting up on the 4×4 switches.  Service 4X4 light is on in the dash.  I don’t know what is going on.  Any suggestions or advise greatly appreciated.



At the race track

I was at the race track last weekend to watch a friend of mine, Sean, race. I enjoy the races and haven’t been in a while, so I thought it would be fun — especially since I knew someone racing.

To make a long story short, I didn’t get to see too much of Sean as he had some “technical difficulties” with his transmission and had to be pushed off the track after a half lap. Bummer. Actually, to be quite honest, this happened August 4th.

shawn_01a shawn_01b

 The good news? Sean works at a Transmission shop! The bad news? The transmission is from a 1971 Ford Pinto and they don’t have parts to fix it! Double bummer.

Of course, when stuff like this happens, I seem to be the one my friends bring their stuff to when it needs fixing. Ah, but I enjoy a challenge! 🙂

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85 Chevy P/U – frame strip down and paint

This post highlights the frame strip down and painting from my 85 Chevy P/U – Short-Box, Step-Side Restoration Project.

I’m finally getting some pics taken of my progress (which has been relatively slow as I simply have a ton on the go this summer). This weekend past I finished up the frame restoration. Basically, it involved grinding down, spot blasting, cutting out, repairing and painting of the frame. It’s actually done, but I haven’t taken pics of the painted frame yet. Here’s what I do have;

1985 Chevy Shortbox - frame strip down 1985 Chevy Shortbox - frame strip down 2

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85 Chevy P/U – engine rebuild

This post highlights the rebuild process of the old 305 in my 1985 Chevy Short-Box, Step-Side Restoration Project.

Well, I got the block and heads back, and picked up all the parts needed to rebuild my 305. Here are a couple of pics;

85 Chevy Shortbox - engine rebuild   85 Chevy Shortbox - engine rebuild 2
The block after machining.

The crank has been machined and installed, along with the main bearings — this was done for me by the machine shop as I feel this is the most important part of the rebuild process.

85 Chevy Shortbox - engine rebuild 3  85 Chevy Shortbox - engine rebuild 4
The heads, rebuilt and the various parts for rebuilding.

I left the heads wrapped for now as they have been rebuilt and are ready for installation (more on this later!). On the table, you can see (from top left to right) the push rods, piston rod bearings, the rocker nuts are directly under the rod bearings, the lifters, oil pump, piston rings, (working back to the left) timing gears and chain, and finally the rockers and pivots. The three little things you see next to the rocker nuts are actually block plugs… but they are being replaced in the frost plug kit not shown in this pic.

85 Chevy Shortbox - engine rebuild 5
The pistons were cleaned up and the rods resized — ready for installation!

85 Chevy Shortbox - engine rebuild 6

The first thing that I did was cleaned up all the threads within the block with a tap set to make it a) easier to install the bolts, and b) to make sure all bolts are allowed to travel far enough — you don’t want a bolt to stop, due to a rust ring, with the head, for example, not being tightened down. Even though your torque wrench says it’s good, it’s gonna leak.


85 Chevy Shortbox - engine rebuild 7

Next to go in was the camshaft. Simply because there is room to work when the pistons have not yet been installed. Some don’t care, but I like the room to be able to guide the cam in place a little better — you DON’T want to be scrapping up the bearings when you’re putting the cam in! A little assembly lube and in it goes (make sure to lube ALL lobes and bearing points well!).

I’ve got to get the rest of the pics done, so I’ll update this when I can!

Links to the rest of the series;

More 4 wheel drive problems with my ’03 Blazer (UPDATED)

Am I glad that I fixed my 4 wheel drive! I’ve needed it a few times this month. The unfortunate part of this update is the fact that I now have a very defined “clunk” in the front differential. Of course, this is just speculation at this point simply by where and when the noise occurs.

The Blazer has a weak point in the transfer case (a snap ring that breaks causing a “grinding” noise), so that was my first thought, but quickly ruled out — it only does it in 4 wheel drive for one. If it were the snap ring, it would grind in 2 wheel drive and get better in 4 wheel, not to mention the noise would be coming from the rear seat floor (where the transfer case is) and not the front end (which is where the front differential is).

Anyway, I have to do a little more diagnostics with the guys over at the garage on a drier day to figure this out. I’ll keep you posted!


Wow! I thought I had updated this post to describe the problem as it was found by the guys at my tranny shop.

I really should get some proper terminology for the parts — anyway, as it was described to me, there is a set of “forks” in the transfer case that control the movement of a gear (gears?) for the various modes (2Hi, 4Lo, 4Hi). The forks have plastic (delron? nylon?) bushings that quickly wear out — this is an inherent problem with the transfer case of my particular year of Blazer — and cause the gears to not fully seat in their proper positions. This means that when you try to switch to 4Hi, it may not go in right away or, for that matter, when shifting to 2Hi it will seem to stay in 4Hi for a period of time, then switch to 2Hi with a “bang”. It may also kick in and out as you drive down the road, as mine did.

Again, I should really find out some more information on this problem. As I have said, I have a tranny shop in the family, so it was repaired and put “on tab”, so I can’t even tell you how much it cost to repair, but I will find out.

85 Chevy P/U – the initial strip down

This post highlights the initial strip down of my 85 Chevy P/U Short-Box, Step-Side Restoration Project.

Strip down – The front end…

Today I started ripping off the body panels and box — leaving just the cab, motor/tranny and frame.

I started with the hood…

85 Chevy Shortbox - hood 85 Chevy Shortbox - hood 2

Next to come off was the front fenders…

85 Chevy Shortbox - fenders 85 Chevy Shortbox - fenders 2

The headlights and grill were removed, along with the passenger side outer-fender… and then the front clip…

 85 Chevy Shortbox - front clip85 Chevy Shortbox - grill

Strip down – The rear end…

Next, I started stripping stuff from the rear end. The first thing to go was the box, which was easy enough — cut off the eight bolts that hold the box to the frame and lift it off! (I like to simply cut the old bolts off… I’ve done it a couple of times before and wasted alot of time trying to remove the bolts with heat/penetrating fluid/etc. Besides, I also like to put new stainless bolts back in.)

85 Chevy Shortbox - box removal 85 Chevy Shortbox - spare tire

The shocks were removed, the u-joint for the driveshaft was unbolted and the driveshaft removed…

85 Chevy Shortbox - driveshaft 85 Chevy Shortbox - rear shocks 85 Chevy Shortbox - driveshaft 2

Links to other parts in the series;