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  #1  
Old 07-30-2010, 04:36 PM
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Default Death wobble = axle swap

I'm going to be swapping a Dana 60 front into my 2004 3500.

I have looked into the cost of all the upgrade parts including the locking hubs and the 9.25 is not worth keeping. Dodge obviously knows they messed up with this axle but they would be financially crushed if they had to pay to replace all the AAM 9.25's. Much like fords Firestone issue.

I have seen the Dana 60 used over and over in dodge, fords, and Chevy's; the axle was never a problem. Ive seen the 60 have problems but the solution was usually simple,or another part, never a plague.

Does anyone know what Dana 60's have the same tube lengths and pumpkin location as the AAM 9.25.

I will still upgrade the steering based on the lift I do but I cant see spending 3 k just to force a crappy design to work.

I searched couldn't find this info on this site.
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Old 07-30-2010, 09:23 PM
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since the dana 60 was used in earlier rams you should have no problem but small modifications might be necessary i would double check before purchasing anything dana 60s are a very good axle and are easily upgradeable so i say go for it
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Old 08-01-2010, 12:12 AM
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My take on the situation in short form is this:
AAM 9.25 mixes two different systems of knuckle support and in my opinion this is the #1 reason the wobble starts. The wobble can be made worse by the poor geometry used to support it. Just get under your truck and look for yourself. 1 Tiny bolt takes the load of a 1 ton dodge????? Crazy talk. The Dana 60 on the other hand supports with both upper and lower ball joints.

It also looks like the way the front axle has been supported/configured is on the edge of reasonable support. In my opinion the upper and lower arms should be positioned more aggressively. I will have them positioned more aggressively when I replace the axle.

All the other upgrades can be purchased already, Steering, Track bar, steering box support.


I measured the Dana 60 on a 1996 Dodge Ram and it is a match to my front end. So my guess so far is that a 1994-1999 2500 or 3500 front end Dana 60 will swap over to my front end. I will have to change mounts and mess around with the ABS issue but I will still be ahead financially.

So far this looks like a solution worth doing based on the cost of all the upgrades to the AAM 9.25. I also dont plan on redoing my ball-joints once a year becasue I decided to put big tires on my 1 ton.

List of upgrades available for the 9.25 that I am referring to.
Ball joints
Front hub Upgrade


Please dont get me wrong, I would prefer to keep my stock axle. I just cant see how its going to match up to a Dana 60.

Always looking for input, thanks for letting me vent.
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Old 08-01-2010, 10:52 AM
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all solid front axle suspensions are going to have some degree of death wobble you just have to counteract it, i with you on trying to get a dana 60 under that beast and they might have some already prepped for a new dodge with all the abs stuff figured out! might want to research first!
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:00 PM
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I'm going to talk to a few friends ..but for now I'm going to just upgrade the 9.25 so I can throw some 38" tires on. I'm going to run a E rated tire and add a few upgrades for now.

Mostly so I dont have to have my truck down for a long time.

To start I will upgrade with the carli ball joints and a steering box brace.

I think I'm going to have to wait until the spring to swap in the Dana 60.
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Old 09-05-2010, 12:48 PM
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I'm in the exact same position right now! I have 118K on my '04 2500 QC 4x4 diesel with all original front end and boy is thing totally beat! My steering and front suspension has more slop than a 60 year old hooker.

I started putting together my list of parts and ran into issues finding the u-joints, which lead to a lot of research and phones calls and a lot of jaw dropping discoveries. All I can say is that AAM 9.25" front axle is a total POS!!! I suspect the 11.25" rear isn't much better, but at least it hasn't given me any problems yet.

So, if it helps out at all, here's what I've managed to find out so far concerning the AAM 9.25" front axle, ball joints, and u-joints. If anyone can add to this or update any of the info, please do.

Truck: 2004 QC 4x4 Diesel Auto

Front drive axle u-joints: These are odd size AAM units. They will be listed as "AAM series 1485WJ". Spicer does not make a 1485 series, only 1480 series and these will NOT fit. However, Spicer does have the 5006813 which is made specifically for the AAM front axles. They are NOT greasable, however, as mentioned they are sealed very well and should last better than the crappy AAM parts. Spicer does NOT make a greasable unit for this application as of this post.

NEAPCO also makes joints for these axles. Part #3-0485
Or, if you are a sucker for punishment, just buy the POS AAM units and pay through the nose for them.

Front drive shaft: Strangely, the front drive shaft does apparently use standard Spicer sized u-joints (from everything I can find and have been told. I am not 100% sure of this yet!). The front shaft also uses a Constant Velocity "Double Cardan" joint. Most 2003-2005 trucks use the smaller 1330 size joints. There are some trucks made during this time frame that have the larger 1350 (AAM 1355) size joints. You need to measure the cap diameter on your joints to determine which you have. 1330 series = 1 and 1/16" diameter and the 1350/55 = 1 and 3/16".
You will need 3 u-joints for the front drive shaft. 2 for the CV joint center yoke and 1 for the differential end of the drive shaft.

You have your choice of the Spicer 1330 or 1350 series to use for the double cardan joint and an SPL25 for the differential end (assuming what I have found out so far is true about the front drive shaft using Spicer sized joints, still working on that).


Rear drive shaft: The rear drive shaft gets ugly again. For whatever reason, AAM decided to use odd-sized u-joints. The cap diameters are pretty standard, spicer makes joints that will meet this spec, but the issue is the lockup dimension (distance from the end of one cap to the end of the other directly across the joint). AAM joints are .010" shorter.

RAMs with 6-speed trannies and 3-piece rear shafts use the AAM 1485 series joints. The Spicer 5006813 will NOT fit this application as the lockup dimension is way too short (For the AAM series 1485WJ series, the WJ stands for "Wheel Joint" and is nowhere near the same as joints on the rear drive shaft.). Most of the other trucks use the AAM 1415 series joints. Spicer does NOT make a joint that fits this application as of this posting.

I've read of some folks grinding the ends of the caps .005" on Spicer joints, or having the clips thinned by the same amount, but if this isn't done precisely, it throws the joint out of alignment. Some folks have managed to force Spicer units into the yolks, but this makes them too tight and causes heat and premature failure.

Again, as of this posting, as far as I know, Spicer does NOT make a joint for the rear drive shafts on these trucks. However, one website I visited, 8LUG Truck Gear lists the Spicer 5-801X as "specifically designed for the one-piece rear drive shaft that utilize the 1410 series yokes" in the 03-up dodge trucks. I am trying to verify this claim as general searching on the 5-801X everywhere else does NOT make this claim. Again, this seems odd Spicer doesn't make AAM spec joints other than the front drive axles. Maybe we need to write Spicer and ask them to make them!

If anyone has information that updates, refutes, etc anything above, PLEASE post!


Since I am on this roll, let me also delve into the ball joints and wheel bearings. If the odd-sized u-joints aren't enough of a PIA, just wait till you dig into the ball joints and bearings!

The more I read about these AAM 9.25" axles, the madder I get. It seems it was an extremely poor choice on Dodge's part to use these infernal things. I can't understand why Dodge went to AAM instead of keeping the Danas. Bottom line, the AAM 9.25" axle on the front of these trucks is complete junk. So much so that I am seriously considering and researching what it would take to swap it out for a Dana set up.

Problem #1: The wheel bearings are not serviceable. You have to replace the entire hub and bearing assembly. Ok, on the surface this doesn't sound too terrible until you find out one freakin hub/bearing assembly is expensive as hell. I see prices running between $300-$400...EACH! 'nuff said on that.

If you are so inclined to spend a lot of money on the crappy AAM axle, you can get a hub/bearing replacement kit that replaces the stock with a heavier duty, serviceable setup for about $1900, but I wouldn't do it because of the ball joint issue.

Problem #2: The ball joints are an incredibly poor design/set up. Unfortunately, even a full set of Carli or other expensive "super" ball joints may not cure the problem much longer than stock ball joints.

The issue is that the setup on the AAM axle does not place the upper and lower ball joints in any kind of alignment with each other. The upper ball joints are NOT weight bearing at all and are free-floating in the vertical to allow for the different ball arcs when steering. The entire weight of the front end of your RAM rides on the lower ball joints! If that's bad enough, the lower ball joints are only 4% bigger than the ball joints used on much lighter vehicles, like Jeep CJs and even on those vehicles, all 4 ball joints are weight bearing. The RAM ball joints have no provision for any kind of pre-load adjustment to keep things tight and smooth. ANY wear on the lower ball joints instantly manifests itself as looseness. In fact, the 2003 Service Manual gives NO specification for acceptable movement or play! Later manuals quote up to .09" vertical and .06" horizontal play as still in spec!!!

This enough to almost convince me to save the $800 for the monster Carli joints and just slap stock crap back in it because replacing the ball joints is an every year or two deal apparently.

Again, I hope this is helpful.

Just like you I got the idea of swapping it out completely for a Dana 60, but that's not something I'm going to tackle right now. I'm just going to rebuild what I have and when this wears out I'll have had time to research the Dana swap and be in a position to do it (or wait and see how your swap goes <grin>).
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:59 AM
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I am definitly running 40 or 41" tires. My front end will need bracing as well as upgraded parts. I will start with a complete rebuild of the aam 9.25 ( Dodge cant even build a front axle, Pathetic). If it still sucks I will send the AAM back to Dodge with a bill. I will then be forced to swap in a Dana 60. To be fair the 60 will need some upgrades as well.

As it stands the fact that I need to upgrade my 1 ton front end is, PATHETIC!! Dodge might need a slap up side the head for this one. Maybe ill call them up and remind them that ford seems to have the front end figured out. Maybe, just maybe if dodge does like Honda and copies Ford they could get this figured out.

LOL If dodge sends me the 5 k its gonna cost to upgrade the aam I might change my tune.

You know if people got a hold of the accountant who killed this front end and beat the crap out of him, maybe things would change. Lawsuits dont seem to do the trick.

psst hey Dodge I would have bought a ford if they didn't have the powerjoke....watch out this year people will be swapping out crappy front end dodge trucks for Fords. If Ford got the Cummings deal Dodge would Drop off the Map. I figured with all that bail out money I could get some back in the form of a truck that works!!!!

I will definitly be calling Dodge once I get to the front end off the truck. I will be sure to make a mess of some Dodge ego's.

To be fair after hours and thousands of dollars Carli a professional suspension shop was able to force the AAM to work. So I guess even Dodge couldn't mess it up enough to stop Carli from Forcing it to work. Looks like ill be paying them for their time.

I'm very angry about this ...but I knew this might be a issue before I bought the truck. Lets not talk about the transmission.
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Last edited by fundaddy75; 09-06-2010 at 01:03 AM.
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:29 PM
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Well, apparently there is much mixed up information out there concerning the AAM axles and u-joints. I had a conversation with George at 8lug truck Gear today. Apparently the only odd sized u-joints are the ones in the front axles. The drive shaft u-joints will take Spicer parts and are not an AAM specific odd size IF the u-joints in your rear drive shaft are the 1410 series size (1 3/16"). If they are the larger u-joints (AAM 1485 series) then you are stuck with AAM as Spicer does NOT make the larger sized ones.

The front drive shaft will take 1330 series from Spicer, nothing odd about their size either.

Again, only the front axle u-joints and large rear drive shaft u-joints are AAM specific odd sizes.

Spicer makes the 5006813 to fit the front axle u-joints, but they do not make any to fit the rear drive shaft with the large u-joints.

All other info concerning ball joints and bearings remains unchanged.
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:36 PM
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i have the death wobble in my truck, new bd diesel adjustable track bar and steering box brace, still has the wobble, going to put new carli ball joints, new e rated tires and looking into control arms

i really hope i dont need to swap the axle to fix it
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Old 11-08-2010, 10:50 PM
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death wobble is not an axle problem. it is a geometry problem. one way or another it all comes down to math. either too big a variable, ( worn ball joints, track bar, frame flex, steering box flex) or poor alignment.

good luck man, could also be worn shocks transmitting unevenly worn tire vibration into the axle and causing a bounce. consider your axle center point as a pivot point to two uneven weights and now spin those weights as fast as you can imagine. it can cause your axle to bounce from side to side.
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