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Dodge Dakota: Problems & Solutions

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  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Yep, Bpeebles is correct. Dodge trucks got the green colored HOAT.

    Jhorl, on the sludge, I assume you are referring to the oil dipstick? If that's the case, what you're seeing is signs of moisture in the oil. This could mean several things, either independently or together.

    The PCV valve could be clogged. Moisture enters the engine everytime it is shutdown. As it cools down it draws in ambient air, which contains moisture. When the engine is operating manifold vacuum pulls in the crankcase air and moisture through the PCV valve and burns it. If this doesn't happen, the internal area of the engine will build up with moisture and eventually dilute the oil.

    The engine may not be coming up to full operating temperature. The coolant temperature should be around 200F when the engine is fully warmed. If not, moisture will not be evaporated inside the engine and turned to water vapor to be purge by the PCV system.

    Short trip driving can cause this same scenario. A combination of short trip driving and either of the above can cause rapid coaggulation of the oil. Long oil drain intervals may exacerbate this problem. The cure for short trip driving problems is more frequent oil changes, unfortunately.

    I would drain the oil immediately, check the PCV valve and the vacuum lines going to the engine. Check the operating temperature to make sure the themostat is working correctly. If you use a good quality detergent oil in the future, there is very little threat of long term damage.

    Let us know what you find.

    Best regards,
    Dusty
  • jhorljhorl Posts: 89
    No, I'm referring to the coolant dipstick. I'm use to seeing the sludge in the plastic oil fill throat during the winter.
    I may be trading this truck in much sooner than I expected.
  • jhorljhorl Posts: 89
    By the way, I've been using Mobil 1 5W30 since the truck had about 4000 miles on it. I've put a lot of care and precaution into this truck until this stupid move.
  • gjblegjble Posts: 23
    This has been a great discussion on Anti-freeze
    ,answering a lot of my questions and raising some new concerns, I didn't know how carefull I have to be when I service my truck. The bottom line is, the forum works. Thanks everybody.

    In Atlanta
  • hennehenne Posts: 407
    I am going bonkers!! I have had my 2001 quad, 4.7, auto, 4x4, 4wheel abs in the shop over 5 times for bad brakes. So bad that the dealer kept my truck and put me in a rental for 2 weeks and deemed my truck unsafe to drive.I just turned over 36 thousand miles but luckily this was preexisting.

    If I am slowing down and let off the brakes and put my foot back in it, the pedal wont move much, it will make a popping sound in the pedal (not like abs shudder, just a quick pop) and the brakes are like putting the truck in Neutral and coasting to a stop. I cant tell you how many orange cones on the highway the road I have hit trying to avoid hitting someone in front of me. I am suprised my frontend and rims on the truck or still ok since I have to jump curbs alot to avoid hitting people.

    They have replaced all the brake sensors, master cyl twice and even finally told me my pads were bad (after telling me weeks before the pads were fine) I went to an independent shop and they said the pads, discs and drums were great, but I had them do the front and rear pads with turning front and rear and I still have the same problem. The dealer said nothing else they could do. Called D/C and they called dealer and now they want me to bring it back in.

    Anybody heard of this?

    I would Lemon this truck like the last Dakota but past the 18k mile Lemon Law.

    Thanks for the rant.

    Robert
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Wow! That is one of the strangest symptoms I have ever heard of.

    Have they tried disconnecting the ABS to see if the same condition exists?

    Regards,
    Dusty
  • hennehenne Posts: 407
    Not sure. I will ask.
  • I had a similar problem on my 94 S10 chevy...go to brake and I can't move the brake pedal!!!
    I'm 220pounds!!! of course, the dealer couldn't duplicate the condition( isn't that always the case), so on the way home from work, at GM no less, I have no brakes.....so I take it right to the dealer, get the service manager and take in for a spin...needless to say, after 5 or 6 trys to stop it,he believed me.....anyhow, they had to replace the abs modular.....1500 bucks worth!
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Well, that's sort of where I was headed. My first guess would have been the master cylinder, but they've already replaced that twice. Since master cylinder failures are very, very low on Dakotas, I think after two replacements we could eliminate that as a contributor...at least for now.

    If there isn't any sign of mechanical bing in the master cylinder input shaft (the part that connects to the brake pedal), what else would cause this problem?

    Henne doesn't state that there are any other braking abnormalidies, like pulling to one side, etc. So I'm just thinking that maybe under certain conditions the ABS system is falsely refusing any further foot pressure on the brake pedal. Henne, I know you said you're not hearing any ABS actuation, but on my Dakota when the ABS is triggered I don't feel any pulsing or hear the typical stacotto sound of the ABS like I get on the Toyota or in GM products. My has actually triggered a few times and I never realized it until after I stopped. they appear to be very quiet.

    So, you might want to make the suggestion to de-feature the ABS and dsrive it for a while to see if the symptom arises.

    Best of luck,
    Dusty
  • Thought I’d chime in here with my experiences with a coolant changeout. I have a 2000 (April built) 4.7L 5-speed, 4x4, with Heavy Duty package. I changed my coolant a couple of weeks ago. I followed the process outlined in BOB, which recommends removing the 2 drain plugs on either side of the block, along with draining the rad.

    Front skid plate removal is highly recommended. I also removed the entire plastic shroud that covers up access to the oil filter. Front wheels were raised up about 8”. I put a 1 foot piece of garden hose on the drain valve on the rad (located on the driver side of rad near bottom) and emptied into a bucket. Got about 4 L of fluid. Then undid the lower rad hose at the thermostat. Got about 1.5 L. Then undid the passenger side drain plug, and got another 2 L. Spillage on floor: about half a liter.

    The drain plug was difficult to undo (hard to find initially, also) and required a heavier/longer socket wrench (I used a ½” torque wrench with 4” extension, and a 9/16” shallow socket). This required a bit of manipulation of the wrench handle around the oil pan, and I could only turn the wrench about 30º (1 or 2 clicks on the wrench). It eventually came off and was a mess since fluid spills all over the front suspension….have lots of rags handy! I couldn’t get at the driver’s side drain plug because of the starter and front differential being in the way so I ignored it (I believe fluid would have spilled all over the starter anyway, possibly causing other problems).

    Got close to 8L of fluid out of the system…not exactly sure because there was spillage on my garage floor. Total system capacity is 16L (about 17 quarts). I then replaced the drain plug and lower rad hose, filled the system with distilled water, put on the rad cap, ran engine up to 3000 rpm for 10 seconds, then shut her down, and topped off with distilled water. I ran the truck around town for about 20 minutes and parked her overnight to let it cool. Next morning I repeated the whole process, again filling with distilled water. I then drained it a third time, then put in about 7.5 L of Prestone Ethylene Glycol, ran it to mix it up good, and found it to give protection to about –46º F. That is probably around a 55:45 antifreeze to water ratio. It occasionally reaches –40º here so the extra protection is needed. BOB recommends using EG for 2000 Dakotas, and I haven’t found any gooey mess or discoloration since.

    By changing out roughly half of the fluid each time, and doing it 3 times, I figure there was only about 1L of old antifreeze left in the system, if it initially was 50/50 from the factory.

    I did discover something interesting during the process. The coil spring inside the upper rad hose that is used for stiffening is visible when the cap is off. It had deposits all over it. There were also deposits on the drain plug tip. This surprised me, as the truck was only 42 months old (just under 60,000 km/35,000 miles). I expected it to be virtually pristine. Knowing this, I think the next time I do this (in 2 years) I will consider using some kind of flushing/cleaning additive first, just for peace of mind, although BOB doesn’t recommend doing anything unless there is obvious scaling/corrosion. The only thing that I think could have caused this was if Dodge used tap water when the truck was built. I added a 50/50 mix once, but estimated that only about half liter of tap water went into the system, and tap water where I live is fairly soft. The deposits were soft and could be easily rubbed off with a fingertip. Interestingly, the spring that stiffens the lower rad hose had no deposits on it at all.

    HINTS: I used the top half of a 2 L Pepsi bottle with a piece of garden hose duct taped to it to act as a funnel when popping the drain plug. I read on another board (after the fact) that if you leave the rad cap on while draining the rad, it will suck out all of the fluid from the overflow reservoir. Didn’t have a full reservoir anyway, so I wasn’t too worried. Be carefull when popping the rad cap, as even running a cold engine for 10 seconds at 3000 rpm will charge the system with enough pressure to blow fluid out of the cap (use a rag under the lip of the cap when opening or you’ll spray all over the belt, etc). I also used anti-seize on the drain plug. The drain plugs are visible from outside of the vehicle if you look through the front wheel wells. The passenger drain is a few inches from the block heater (if you have one). You may be able to get to it from there, but it would be tricky. I loosened it up from under the truck and then undid the last few turns from inside the wheel well…not as much anti-freeze in the face that way! Access to the driver side drain is more difficult and would probably be easier if the tire was removed.

    I know bpeebles says he had trouble finding the rad drain stopcock. Look about 3” above the plastic air dam/lower fascia on the driver’s side of the rad. It’s kind of hidden on the side of the rad, and has a short piece of hose on it that is bent upwards onto itself.

    Doing it yourself is a messy job, and next time I think I would pull off the thermostat housing instead of the hose on the housing, as I now realize there is no gasket to replace. By the third changeout it was not as messy and much faster (I could probably now do1 drain/fill cycle in under half an hour).

    Hope this helps.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (seventy7) GREAT JOB!!!

    You are as meticulous as I am ;-)

    Years ago, I would just run a garden hose thru the system while revving the engine.... but now... the concern of minerals in the tapwater messing up the mixture makes this a doubious process. There is no way to gauarantee all of the tapwater is removed from the system after flusing.

    I am definantly going to buy a case of distilled water and do a thorough flush of my cooling system.

    BTW... thanks for locating the radiator draincock for me. I did not pull off that cover under the engine becauese those snap-in clips often break.
  • hennehenne Posts: 407
    No, I know when the ABS kicks in on mine, I can hear it and feel it and it does it sometimes when I am showing the problem to the dealer.

    Now they say they dont know how to fix it and D/C says they will not assist anymore since the rep (That has never seen my truck) said there is nothing he knows to do. So now D/C and my local dealer have me driving a truck with no brakes most of the time and will not do any more to it.

    Its funny how when I had a whine in the rearend on the last Dakota, D/C jumped to the plate and got me a new truck. Now a little thing like no brakes and they say there is nothing more they can do.

    Complaints have already been filed with NHTSA, CA Bureau of Auto Repair and the Federal Trade Commission.

    Robert
  • jhorljhorl Posts: 89
    After taking my truck to a Dodge dealership and a radiator shop, nobody has ever seen that sludge that I spoke about previously. The fact that inside the radiator cap, even on the spring, was completely clean, I started wondering why this sludge was only in the resovouir. Also it was only floating on the top of the antifreeze inside the resovouir. I used the same funnel to fill the system as I used to change the oil earlier in the day, after cleaning it of course. I started thinking maybe the antifreeze picked up a skim of oil on the funnel. Anything that would be lighter than the antifreeze and float to the top, would find its way into the resovouir via the suction tube from the radiator cap and bottom of the resovouir. I disconnected this tube and drained the resovouir and then flushed with a garden hose for about 20 minutes. Then I flushed it with 2 gallons of distilled water. After re-servising the system and running the truck for about 3 days all the sludge is gone and everything is clean as a whistle. I hope it stays that way because it gave me quiet a scare.

    John
  • A search on PSF revealed owners using ATF+4. I have a 2001 4.7L and my service manual says:
    "Use Mopar Power Steering fluid or equivalent. Do not use automatic transmission fluid and do not overfill." In fact, my Dodge Parts Dept. sold me Mopar Power Steering Fluid #04883077. Which is the correct fluid?

    P.S. To seventy7, thanks for taking the time to post in great detail your "coolant changeout."
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (waynesan) There was a TSB (Technical Service Bulliten) that describes the changover to using ATF+4 as PSF. (mid 2001 and on)

    Search the archives of this very forum... I appended the verbage of the TSB several months ago. (Hint: #2354)

    he ATF+4 is a SYNTHETIC fluid and can better handle the heat generated by the new rack&pionion steering system.

    My 2000 Dak has REGULAR PSF in it and I chose to replace with the same (non-synthetic) stuff due to the possibility of mixing the fluids in the system.

    The newer Daks (mid 2001 and on) have the ATF+4 as a factory fill.. .this stuff lasts MUCH longer than the normal PSF.
  • bpeebles, thank you for alerting me to the 8-01 TSB. I took delivery of my '01 in 10-00. The Mopar Power Steering Fluid I purchased new is brown, yet the PSF in my dak is somewhat brown (32,000 miles) yet I can detect some red like the ATF+4. I just wanted to use a turkey baster to suck up as much old stuff as I could and replace it with some fresh PSF.Now I'm afraid of mixing the two types.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    What is the hex key size for the transfer case drain/fill plugs on an 2002 part-time transfer case? I can't tell if they are 9mm or 10mm. Thanks.
  • hennehenne Posts: 407
    Now they are also saying that because I have airbags on the truck and a camper belly bar mounted under the frame, it voids my warranty and thats also what is causing my brake problems. Funny, I had the brake problem documented long before any aftermarket items were put on the truck. Well I have now officially begun Lemon Law filings on my 2nd Dodge Dakota in a row.
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    Dodge still insists on using substandard parts and its no wonder their market share is falling.
  • hennehenne Posts: 407
    How is the Suzuki running? I finally give up on Dodge.

    Have a great weekend.
This discussion has been closed.