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You can buy ball joints from $15 to $40 each. Installation is fairly easy, though if they are original you have to grind rivets off and the new ones bolt in. Throw in an alignment when done and you'll still be well under the dealer cost for a few hours of your time.

As Jeff posted a cheap replacement car will need work too, or a new one will be a lot more than this repair.
 

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The recall is only on 4WD Dakotas if I remember correctly. I know my 1999 RWD isn't covered.
If the poster's truck is a 4WD, new aftermarket upper and lower control arms can be had which include a new ball joint plus new control arm bushings which are a wear point in the suspensions of Dakotas in the 1977-2004 body style.
 
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