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Dodge Dakota - General Topic

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  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Bookitty, there's a red one around here, too, although I haven't seen it in a while. I am not sure how the convertible part worked since the only time I ever noticed one is when the top was down.

    Novel idea for a truck, but I'd be afraid of rattles.

    Regards,
    Dusty
  • spike50spike50 Posts: 481
    At 52K+ miles, I switched over to Bridgestone Dueler AT-Revos (31x10.5-15) on this '00 4x4. The tread is more open and I do hear a little bit more noise but it's fine. Squirms a bit while making minor direction changes on the highway but this will probably go away with some edge-rounding of the front tires. Although Lincoln's hair was not visible (just barely), it was time to change for safety reasons. Now, I should be fine for hunting season mud-slogging and the eventual central PA. winter snow falls.
  • davewarwick1 - Sorry I haven't responded sooner but I have been having computer problems. I have also had this problem. I thought that new tires and a 4 wheel alignment would remedy the situation but it hasn't. I have a 2K CC 4x4 5speed.

    Ron
  • I have a 2K CC 4x4 5 speed with limited slip differential. This past weekend I changed the rear differential fluid and installed Red Line 75W-90 which had the friction modifier in it. While I was under the vehicle I looked at the front differential with the thought of changing it somewhere down the line. I also looked at the transfer case and that looks to be an easy change. The front differential looks difficult because it is a tight squeeze to get at some of the bolts on the cover. Has anyone had any experience with this and were any special tools required. One other question - I have some Red Line (with the friction additive) left over would it be alright to use that in the front differential.

    Ron
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (ronslakie) Here is a 'trick' that may help.

    To drain the fluid... suck it ou with a vacuum liquid removal unit. Many folks use these to change their oil too. (especially on vehicels with full covers underneath the engine such as the VW TDI... the oil filter lifts out from above)

    To fill it, There is a 'capped' hose that leads from a nipple on the front distributer cover up to near the battery. Just pull the 'cap' off of that hose and fill it thru there until it starts to come out the overflow hole.
  • 2nddak2nddak Posts: 44
    Ron, I did mine this summer and vacuumed out the oil with a small hand pump. It looked like too much work to get at all those bolts. I must have got most of it because it took the entire fill capacity for the differential when I filled it. I did use synthetic Valvoline oil that has the friction additive and have had no problems. The hand pump I used came from something like Walmart and is orange plastic with a variety of hoses and fittings that can be used. It has worked well for a lot of lube jobs and oil changes on various engines that would have been difficult doing the standard way.
  • I changed my front axle fluid last weekend (along with the rear end and transfer case). If you want to take the cover off to do the drain, then take off the front skid plate (if you have) and remove the front plastic shield that has the oil filter access panel on it....you can easily get to the top four bolts with a long extension that way. The 2 hard bolts to access are in the 3 and 9 o'clock positions. You can get at them with a box end wrench (it is a 13mm, but a 1/2" fit perfectly). The bottom 6 bolts are easy. The cover takes some manipulation to get off and on, and I can only suggest to play with it a bit. There is room by going either to the left or the right around a large steering rack mounting bolt that is positioned right in front of the cover, but having done both, it is easier to move it towards the passenger side. You just have to rotate the cover about 50-60 degrees clockwise and do some twists and turns. I recommend doing some dry runs when putting it back on before you put on the RTV, or you may get some on the gears inside. Cleaning off the old gasket is a bit harder in those closed confines than the rear end. I would also highly recommend cleaning off the area above the diff to avoid having dirt fall on the ring gear like it did with me when I took the rear end cover off. I also covered the gears with a plastic bag while doing the gasket scraping to keep junk from getting in.

    2000 CC 4.7 4x4 5-speed
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I actually don't think using friction modified gear lubricant in a front non-limited slip differential will hurt it. The front just doesn't have clutches, but it's got everything else.

    I don't know when Dodge started doing this, but on my 2003 Dakota with the 9.25 LSD, there is a flat magnet glued to the bottom of the axle housing. When I changed the gear lube in mine I was pleasantly surprised to find it clean of any metal particles.

    One nice thing about removing the differential cover is it allows you to inspect the cavity for signs of gear wear or damage. It's actually one of the reasons they don't provide a drain plug anymore, although the bean counters I'm sure had a hand in that decision.

    Regards,
    Dusty
  • hennehenne Posts: 407
    Anybody in the SF Bay area that would like a good deal on Helwig Helper springs for a Dakota?

    Robert
  • dako1dako1 Posts: 18
    Dusty: I hope you forgive me but I replaced my Dakota with a RAM 1500. I couldn't really afford a new Dakota set up the way I wanted so I started looking for a clean (2002) used low mileage club cab 4X4. That was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Quad cabs were plentiful but not the club cabs. Anyway when I saw the amount of room the regular RAM cab had behind the seats it met my needs very nicely and I drove one. What a truck! I got serious into finding a used one and while the regular cabs are not that prevalent I found a 2002 with a 4.7 and auto with a 3.92 axle ratio and 22,000 miles. Though the axle ratio is not ideal for my type of driving the rpm at 60 mph is exacly the same as my Dakota's was with the 4.7, auto and 3.55 axle. Therefore I hope the mileage won't be that much worse or am I way off base? With the Dakota in the summer I was usually around 19 mpg on a weeks worth of driving with a 70 mile daily commute to work. I love the way this truck handles and rides. Anyway I'll stay in touch. Right now I'm trying to figure how to replace the factory stereo, got the Infinity system and I'm not impressed with it. Take care.
  • Congrats in the new ride. I too replaced a Dakota with a Ram. I have 2 wheel drive Quad Cab, 5.7, 5 speed auto and 3.92 posi rear. With the cruise control set for 67mph on the interstate my truck gets 17.3 mpg consistently. I suspect your 4.7 may get 18 in the same conditions. The aerodynamics for the Ram are similar to those of a barn door so the mpg really falls off with speed. If I push the speed up to 75-80 then I drop about 2 or 3 mpg. Rick
  • dako1dako1 Posts: 18
    Hope you're right. If this truck runs well I may get a fiberglass toneau cover which may help somewhat too. If not I'm about 1 1/2 yrs away from retirement so the commute and mileage thing won't be as big of a concern. I didn't realize that the 5spd. auto came with a 3.92 rear end. I wish mine was a 5 spd but I don't think that was offered in 2002 unless maybe at the end of the year.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    You most certainly don't owe anyone an apology for buying something other than a Dakota.

    The RAMs are nice trucks and I'm sure you will be very, very pleased with it. Everyone I've talked to with the newer RAMs have been exceptionally pleased with them.

    Best of luck,
    Dusty
  • bookity
    The convertibles were made in 1989, 1990, and 1991
    They were made in 4 and 2 wheel drive. there were 2800 made in 1989 and 1028 in 1990 and 9 in 1991. I have a 1990, it is a fun truck, I like you wanted one when they first came out, but with kids couldn't justify at the time. Mine came up for sale last year and I bought it. I got it from the original owner. The biggest problem is finding parts for them, some of the parts are getting worn and are impossible to find.
    Oh well so much for history.
  • bookittybookitty Posts: 1,303
    Robert, than you for the response and information. I did find other information on the internet concerning these trucks, where they were raised, tricked out, etc. Perhaps a "keyword search" could help in obtaining spare parts.

    Bookitty
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    For what its worth (and that really applies in this case), the latest edition of Consumer Reports Buying Guide now rates the Dakota "predicted reliability" as "average," up I believe from "less than average."

    How does Consumer Reports predict reliability just based on reader responses? When the only basis is past history data, the only thing you might be able to demonstrate is trend. Perhaps the CU definition bears closer scrutiny:

    "Predicted reliability is a JUDGEMENT based on our annual reliability survey data. New or recently redesigned models are marked "New." -- Consumer Reports Buying Guide, 2004, page 171.

    A "judgement" based on survey data? I can't believe that the fine editing staff at CU couldn't be more explicit. The term "judgement" refers to a human condition, so it sounds like people are interpreting the data instead of letting the data speak for its self.

    How did the Dakota and Mitsubishi Eciplse both get a "predicted" average when the Eciplse's individual years (2000, 2001) were rated worse than Dakota, and included SIX YEARS of "insufficient data?"

    Regards,
    Dusty
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Do not forget that CR gets all of its historical data from the annual questionare it sends to all of its subscribers. If too few of the CR subscribers own a Dakota, then there is "insufficient data".

    Knowing this is important because one can begin to understand the "bias" that is built into the CR reporting.

    CONSIDER THIS:
    Since CR has been touting Honda and Toyota as the best for many many years, the CR subscribers have, of course, been buying Hondas and Toyotas. Now, when the annual questionare goes out to all of the CR subscribers, guess which vehicles they tend to report on?

    CONTINUING... if CR tends to poo-poo a vehicle in one of its tests... the CR subscribers, being the loyal buch that they are, will follow suit.

    This is one reason that I do not put too much credance in the CR data. Do not get me wrong tho, the overall patterns in their data are pretty accurate. (If the data shows that the exhaust system tends to need replacement after about 4 years... it is often correct.)
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    .....about the patterns being accurate. One professor who recently has done a critique of the CR reliability data found examples of gross inaccuracy and flagrant bias even in the category detail reports.

    The one that was really bad was on a Ford car (Torino, I think) in the seventies. Appearently there were an estimated few hundred cars with bad wheel bearings installed on the manufacturing line, so Ford recalled about 10,000 cars in order to inspect, find, and repair the defective bearings. Owners listed this as a "repair" even though only a few hundred were ever suspect. To make matters worse, CR gave that model a "black mark" that lasted for three years, until the model was dropped even though there were only a handful of reported problems with bearings after that.

    When I look at our fleet maintenance reports and compare them to CR's "reliability data," they are sometimes 180 degrees different.

    Regards,
    Dusty
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I see that Mopar Performance Parts lists a "high performance" air filter for the Dakota/Durango 287 (4.7) motor, PN P4510466.

    Has anyone tried this filter? Any comments?

    Best regards,
    Dusty
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    I was at my local dealer the other day and they had a 2004 QC sitting on the lot. It had a very different trim package compared to previous years. The upper front bumper was black and the lower front bumper was painted, just like you would find on previous Dakotas with the Sport package. The grille, however, was chrome, like you would find on an SLT package. Did Dodge merge the Sport and SLT packages for 2004? I thought it looked kind of ugly.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Sunburn, yes. The 2004s all have a chrome grille with the exception of the base model.

    The base model front fascia and grille are gray. The rear bumper is black upper and gray lower.

    The SXT has a chrome grille with gray front upper and lower fascia. It comes with body-colored wheel flares. The rear bumper is black upper and gray lower.

    The Sport gets a chrome grille with the upper fascia black and lower fascia body color. The wheel flares are no longer standard. The rear bumper is black upper and gray lower.

    The SLT has a chrome grille, chrome upper front and gray lower front fascia. The rear bumper is chrome.

    The only body-colored grille is with the Stampede package, now a model variant instead of an option. This includes a full body-colored front fascia and rear bumper.

    Regards,
    Dusty
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    it relies on the person filling out the questionaire to determine what constitutes a "serious" problem.

    I know this for a fact as I have filled out and sent in this very device for 7 years now. Often the mindset of the participant as well as good or bad dealer service can influence how those questions are marked.

    Suffice it to say, CR is ok at best, downright biased at worst.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    According to the parts person at my dealership, 2002 and newer Dakotas and Durangos received completely different brake components, including different rotors. He said that their incidence rate of in warranty rotor replacement has dropped to near zero (he said that one 2002 Durango got warranty replacements at 31K).

    This might explain why I haven't heard of any rotor complaints on newer Dakotas.

    Dusty
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Now at 20,000 miles my '03 Dakota Club Cab 4.7 and 545RFE has a to-date average of 16.57 mpg. The last two tanks were 13.45 and 13.59, but it has also been sub-zero temperatures here in Western New York state. This was a similar pattern last winter. The last tank includes a rather hasty trip on the expressway that would be considered non-conducive to good mileage. All through October and November the average remained above 17.2, and that included a lot of around town driving.

    One thing I noticed was an apparent increase in mpg after I replaced the factory air filter. Unfortunately the temperatures dropped precipitously soon after so that cannot be verified.

    Regards,
    Dusty
  • hennehenne Posts: 407
    Well, I traded my 02 Quad Dakota for a 04 Chevy Silverado. I hope none of you have to go through the same problems I had and I wish you all the best of luck. I will look in once in a while to say hello and see how everyone is doing.

    Robert
  • Good luck! Hope your Chevy meets your expectations. Rick
  • bookittybookitty Posts: 1,303
    Robert, please don't be a stranger. We like Silverado guys as well. Here's wishing you the best with your new mount, and please continue to monitor and post. Let us know how you like the Chevy Silverado. It is a good looking truck. Give us all of the details.

    Bookitty
  • ford_biiford_bii Posts: 120
    Your only mistake is that you should have bought a new F-150. :)

    Sorry, I'm a Ford/Dodge guy. Never did like Chevys.

    Good luck.
  • spike50spike50 Posts: 481
    Its has been interesting to note everyone's truck experiences over the last 4 years in the context of a statistics class that I just finished. The original design and construction quality of every component on the truck varies widely (more than it should it seems). And there appears to be certain trucks that get more than their share of marginal or outright junk components destined to fail prematurely, making life miserable. It's unfortunate that it happens in this day and age with all of this potential to do the right things in the beginning to produce and maintain a good product and loyal customers.

    Although 99.99% of us have never met face to face, it is a loss, nonetheless, when "one of the family" leaves under these circumstances. Good luck with your next truck and may the "good" statistics be with you.
  • dodgetrukndodgetrukn Posts: 116
    Happy St Pattys Day!! DRINK GREEN BEER !!
    Replaced original plugs at 45k miles..now confirmed after 3 tankfulls of gas, that my avg has gone up from ~16.2 to ~16.8 mpg! Even using the OEM plugs, champions..Quick job, and didnt break the clips holding the water hoses over the intact manifold. Waiting for dry warm day(s) to change the rotors, as definitely needed. Be safe tonight!!
    Ger, 2001 quad,4.7L - 3.92lsd
This discussion has been closed.