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Dodge Dakota: Problems & Solutions

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Comments

  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    My Dak went to the dealer today for tranny service and several warranty issues. The tranny service was $142 after reducing the labor to $25 to account for incorrectly replacing both filters in the 45RFE. According the the owner's manual, the spin-on filter does not get replaced at a 30K mile service, but at the 60K mile service. Anyway, they flashed the PCM to get rid of the false P0456 error codes and hopefully fix the erratic idle. They ordered a new ring and pinion to fix the rear end whine, a new power window switch, and a new rear fender flare. Note for those with fender flares. Check the paint under the flare where it curves under the body. Mine had worn through to the bare metal on one side and is pretty scuffed up on the other side. The dealer is replacing the fender flare and touching up the paint under warranty. I just hope that the new R&P will last longer than the original did.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Sunburn,

    The way the 2003 Dakota service manual reads, if schedule "A", the Primary (called "sump" filter in the maintenance section of the service manual) and Cooler Return filters do not need replacement until 100,000 miles.

    With schedule "B" vehicles, the Primary filter gets replaced at 30K, 60K, and both Primary and Cooler Return filters get replaced at 90K.

    Sounds like there's a descrepancy between the owners manual and the service manual.

    Best regards,
    Dusty
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    Dusty,

    You may be right about the Schedule B filter changes. I was operating off of memory, which isn't as good as it used to be. I'll have to check my manual.
  • lotech1lotech1 Posts: 112
    Just got back from a trip. Took my Quad and had an enjoyable time... except for a short stretch of the trip. As I was driving along at a reasonable speed (65 mph) a caravan of new Dodge trucks passes me like I'm standing still. In the caravan were Rams, Dakotas, Durangos, and vans. About 15 in all. Most of the drivers were over 60 years old. Well, they turn off at the next rest stop so I pull in behind them as I have some questions I want to ask them along with needing to use the facilities myself. I walk over to the vehicles and read the stickers, etc., and make some small talk about how far their going and all. Asked one guy about the speeds they are traveling and how the vehicles are new, etc. Well, he basically tells me that they were instructed to deliver the vehicles to the dealership (+100 miles away) asap and not to worry about driving speed as the new vehicles don't need breakin time and they're covered by warranty if something should happen. Now mind you, these trucks all have less than 100 miles on them. The Dakota's all have the 4.7 V8 and one Ram was the Hemi model. Next time I buy a new vehicle I will insist on one with less than 10 miles on the odometer.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    >>I was operating off of memory, which isn't as good as it used to be.<<

    I know exactly what you're dealing with!!!!

    Bests,
    Dusty
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Just curious, how many miles do you have on your truck and what kind of rear axle noise are you experiencing?

    Regards,
    Dusty
  • bookittybookitty Posts: 1,303
    Brian, that is the exact reason that I would never accept a car driven from another dealership. At least these drivers were mature. I have seen kids ferrying vehicles driving as if in a demolition derby. When my wife's vehicle was located at a dealership some 75 miles distant, we insisted on either driving the vehicle back or having it transported. Reluctantly, the local dealer had it transported. Good observation on your part.

    Bookitty
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    If my memory serves me correctly ...(I can remember that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor started at 7:55 AM, but I can't remember what I did yesterday morning!)...most dealerships that I've come in contact with have had "mature" people do such shuttle work. You know, those closer to my age!

    I knew a guy who did nothing but this type of work for various dealerships.

    Bests,
    Dusty
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I realized that the new sensation I've noticed twice so far is clutch chatter from the limited slip clutch packs. I've got just under 13,000 miles (9.25 Trac-Lok axle).

    Anyway, I'm going to change out the differential lubricant and shopped for a 75W-90 synthetic gear lubricant and couldn't find any. A couple of places had the 90W-140 in synthetic, but that's not what I want to use for this application.

    Does anybody know of a 75W-90 in synthetic?

    I bought the Mopar materials for now, but in the future I'd like to find the synthetic version.

    Thanks in advance,
    Dusty
  • usaf52usaf52 Posts: 70
    I have two different whines, neither are very loud, but I'm curious. One comes on very low when you let off the accelerator and coast down a grade. The other is a little higher pitched and comes on when the truck is idling in 'park'. It sounds like it's coming from right under the pick up bed. It's a 2002 SXT club cab with the 3.9 and auto 2WD. Has about 3K on it. Got it as a leftover.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Well, my first thought on the latter one is the fuel pump since the "high pitch" whine is typical of fuel pump noises, and on the Dakota the fuel tank is exactly under the bed on the driver's side. You should be able to hear the pump very loudly by getting near the tank when the engine is running.

    Funny thing, but today was the first time I had the sliding rear window open on my Club Cab, and I thought I heard some fuel pump noise as well. I did not find it objectionable. Oddly, I've stood next to this truck many times and never heard it on the outside.

    >>One comes on very low when you let off the accelerator and coast down a grade.<<

    Worn or damaged differential bearings are usually the cause of low frequency-type noises, but pinion bearings are most often associated with coast or load type noises.

    Of course, just about any type of rear axle noise can be caused by insufficient gear lubricant. You can check that yourself by removing the rubber plug from the differential cover. The level should pretty much be right at the bottom of the filler hole.

    Drivetrain noises are not always easy to diagnose and you can't always rule out tires, although most of the time tire noise is easily recognizable and increases/decreases with speed. I've been involved in troubleshooting a couple of "rear axle" noises that were caused by a combination of an out-of-balanced wheel and a worn shock, believe it or not.

    Anyway, hope any of this helps.

    Best regards,
    Dusty
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Okay, I change the diff. lubricant this afternoon. I wish I wasn't so darn fussy. It took me three hours, mostly because I took meticulous care to clean and flush out the differential assembly and housing.

    Like a previous poster noted, mine had a thin layer of sooty material covering everything. This is material from the clutch packs and is pretty typical in limited slip units. I used spray carburetor cleaner and then dried everything with compressed air before reassembly.

    I was pleasantly surprised to see absolutely no signs of bearing material or other metal particles in the oil. In the past some of this I've seen is metal bits from the machining processes that didn't get removed at the factory.

    I used the Mopar friction modifier and the 80W-90 gear oil. On mine, the factory sealant is a red colored RTV. The replacement Mopar stuff that's specially formulated for things requiring transmission oil, is gray. Don't use the black or blue RTV materials on the differential cover.

    It's a lot easier to fill the housing if the spare tire is off the vehicle. I found that a short piece of fuel line hose on the end of the spout worked okay, but less convenient.

    Regards,
    Dusty

    PS - I don't think I had a clutch chatter problem after all, so the gear oil was probably okay. It turns out that I was hearing gasoline in the tank smacking, which it does when its nearly full.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    Dusty - I have almost 30K on my QC now. The rear end noise is a whine at constant speeds on level ground between 30 and 55 MPH. It is loudest at about 35 MPH. The noise tends to go away under acceleration or deceleration.
  • bookittybookitty Posts: 1,303
    Dusty, the kids that I have seen transporting new cars on occasion, are the same kids that you would hope that they did not show up at the house to date your daughter (sort of like me many years ago).

    Bookitty
  • usaf52usaf52 Posts: 70
    Thought that high pitched whine might be the fuel punp. I had a 1992 Cherokee that had a fuel pump whine from the day I got it. You could hear that one inside the vehicle. It whined for 5 years and I never had a problem. It was still whining when I sold it. Will stop at the dealer this week, as it is nearing oil change time. This will be the first oil change so I'll get it a bit sooner.
      The whine on the Dakota just started a couple of days ago.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    >>The rear end noise is a whine at constant speeds on level ground between 30 and 55 MPH. It is loudest at about 35 MPH. The noise tends to go away under acceleration or deceleration. <<

    Resonance problems can be tough because it could be associated with anything in the driveline or components that contact it. I once heard of a situation just like yours that was caused by a loose set of spring shackles.

    Does this noise stop on turns or moderate curves?

    Have you checked the gear oil level?

    Have you ever had the gear oil changed? (30K intervals)

    Try this.

    1. Get the axle components warm by driving a few miles.

    2. Select a stretch of relatively smooth pavement.

    3. Get the vehicle speed up about 20mph past the point where you normally hear the whine.

    4. Take the vehicle out of gear and allow it to coast through the resonant speed area.

    If you don't hear the noise at all, or the noise changes in tone or speed, this generally narrows it down to the ring and pinion. You could have damaged or worn ring and pinion gear tooth surfaces, incorrect ring-to-pinion depth, or incorrect ring & pinion backlash.

    I'm curious, do you have the 8.25 or 9.25 axle? Have you done a lot of towing or towing excessive weights? Have you done a lot of highway sppeds for long distances?

    I ask these questions only to determine if vehicle use may have contributed to a premature axle problem. If not, my suspicion is that something wasn't set up correctly at the factory

    Let us know how you make out with this problem.

    Regards,
    Dusty
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I should mention that there appeared to be a flat rectangular magnet attached to the very bottom of the differential housing on my 9.25 LSD. There was very few metal particles on it, fortunately.

    Something I've never seen before on an axle housing.

    Dusty
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    dusty - here's the answers to your questions:

    >>Does this noise stop on turns or moderate curves? No

    >>Have you checked the gear oil level? Yes, it is up to the fill hole.

    >> Have you ever had the gear oil changed? (30K intervals). It was changed to synthetic 75W-140 at approx 19K (now at 29K).

    As per you suggestions, I tried the "coast down" test. While coasting through 40-35 MPH, I had no noise. This is the region where it is usually the loudest.

    I do have the 9.25" differential. I have towed about 6K miles (out of the past 10K) with trailers weighing from 1500-3000 lbs. Most of my driving is usually 10-15 mile trips. The exceptions being vacations and such (usually 1-2K miles per year, except about 6K miles this year)

    My dealer has a new R&P on order. I'll probably have it installed in early September, after camping season is over. I want to take my time breaking it in and don't want to do any towing for 500-1000 miles after the installation. I'll also be sure to change the fluid after that break in period, instead of waiting longer.

    I'll keep you informed of how it goes.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Well, it doesn't sound to me that you ever overtaxed the differential.

    In my experience most differential problems are latent in nature, meaning that there was an assembly issue right from the start. Usually either the pinion depth or backlash wasn't set correctly at the factory.

    I have seen differentials wear out, but this is usually from use at or over the extreme limits of the design, depending on the unit, or just from many, many miles.

    I've also seen chipped ring or pinion teeth cause the same symptoms as yours, but those have often been higher performance cars that suffered from too many torgue-outs or holeshots. Novas, SS Chevelles and GTOs were famous for that many years ago. GMs of the sixties and seventies use to blow out side gear teeth, too.

    Chrysler products very seldomly suffer from catastrophic failures. Almost always its related to noise and ...in my opinion... usually caused by incorrect set-up at the factory. I've seen too many go 100,000 - 200,000 miles without a problem of any kind to believe its design related.

    Good luck,
    Dusty
This discussion has been closed.