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Dodge Dakota: Problems & Solutions



  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    My '03 Dakota 4.7 automatic (33600 miles) exhibited a loud noise a week or so ago on a cold start. It sounded like the accessory drive belt was slipping. This noise continued for about four minutes. I later noticed that there was a whirring or bearing growl that could be heard in the passenger compartment.

    This growl was heard for another few days. While driving across town one night I heard what sounded like nuts and bolts being launched from something under the hood. I stopped and checked the engine but everything seemed okay. I drove it away and for a few days more and it seemed okay except the bearing growl that varied with engine speed was still present.

    Now my Dakota is normally fairly quiet, but one night the engine noise was about 5x than normal and the truck seemed like the brake was slightly on at higher speeds. This sounded exactly like the Clutch Fan was engaged all the time. My gas mileage seemed to indicate a sudden full 1 to 1.5 MPG drop, too. I also began noticing that after the engine was shut off chirping noises could be heard for 5-10 seconds.

    As I suspected, a trip to the Dodge dealer confirmed that the Clutch Fan had bit the dust. A new one as made my Dakota very quiet again and the gas mileage took an immediate jump upwards. Last winter I would occasionally hear some chirps at cold start that I thought was the drive belt, but now I think it was the Clutch Fan.

    Anyway, I hope this might benefit someone just in case any of you start getting any of these symptoms.

  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319

    The fan clutch on my 02 QC 4.7 also exhibited occasional squealing noises during a cold start. It took the dealer some time to diagnose it, though. However, it didn't self-destruct like your's did.
  • Thank you for the reply Dusty. I have talked to a few other people about the fuel pump issue and they all recommended oem pump if thats the problem. A little more expensive but worth it because you don't want to replace it again. I have to put gas in it today so very curious to see if it will start afterwards.
    *Do you know if you have to take the door panel off to replace the window switch? It looks like the cover around the switch would pop off but I sure don't want to break it.
    Thanks again.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    My son had a '91. I can't remember exactly, but I believe it should pop off in typical Chrysler fashion. That's how most Chrysler cars and trucks are designed. My '03 is the same way.

    Just use extreme care while prying with a flat-bladed screwdriver.

    Good luck,
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Here is a photo of what my powerslot rotors looked like after 3 Vermont winters. (I snapped this just moments before I took them to the dump and shotputted them into the scrap-metal bin!)

    Now, I am running Bendix rotors and time shall tell if they are any better at resisting the winter roadsalt.

    As a reminder... the ORIGINAL Dodge Dakota rotors lasted thru only 2 Vermont winters.
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    THey must use some really nasty road salt in VT!
  • bookittybookitty Posts: 1,303
    Bruce, they look worse than I do. And I've lasted over 71 winters. Ben, it's not only what kind of salt, it's how much and how often.

    Norm (Bookitty)
  • gjblegjble Posts: 23
    I have a 01 4.7 Dakota. I also have a trouble code PO161. O2 Sensor Heater Circuit Malfunction (Bank 2 Sensor 2). Anybody know where this sensor is located on the engine? Truck still runs good,(37 miles). I would like to fix this myself if I knew where this sensor was located.
    Thanks, in Atlanta
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    is they LOVE to use salt here. I mean lots. ANd the liquid stuff the trucks put out........gosh. Then there's the cinders for traction.

    Suffice it to say, this is a good state for any auto manufacturer who wants to "test" the corrosion resistance of the sheetmetal. If it can pass muster here, then I stamp it "tank"!
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    I have a 01 4.7 Dakota. I also have a trouble code PO161. O2 Sensor Heater Circuit Malfunction (Bank 2 Sensor 2). Anybody know where this sensor is located on the engine? Truck still runs good,(37 miles). I would like to fix this myself if I knew where this sensor was located.
    Thanks, in Atlanta

    THere are 4 O2 sensors, one upstream on each pipe (of the pre-cat) and one downstream each pipe. Thus, sensor 2 would be one of the downstream o2 sensors. Never changed one myself. I hear they can be a pain to remove.
  • spike50spike50 Posts: 481
    Holy Smokes - Batman!

    I'm staying out of Vermont and I thought PA was bad for road salt. My 1.5 yr old / 20K / resurfaced once P-Slots look much better.

    Looks like these were sitting in an acid bath.
  • spike50spike50 Posts: 481
    I wouldn't give you $0.02 for some of these shop managers at Mopar dealers but hey what do they know. The following was recommended to address the 4,7L's squeal:
    1.) New belt 2.) New AC for $500+ just for the part 3.) AC clutch assembly for $220+ just for the part.

    I took the front plate of the AC clutch off of the pulley and ran the motor. The AC compressor wasn't turning and the clutch wasn't engaging and the pulley bushing is what is making the noise. I put some penetrating oil and grease on the surface and let it set over night. Noise is gone - with and without the clutch plate in place turning and not turning the AC compressor.

    I now have to find out what the pulley costs and read up on how loosen the belt for a shade-tree install.
  • gjblegjble Posts: 23
    Thanks for the info. I will search for those sensors
    tomorrow and let evryone know what I find.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (spike50) If thay had been in an acid bath, at least they would be SHINEY. (just severly pitted and corroded) On the rotors pictured above, the surface where the pads touched was flaking off. It was at least 1/32" thick of pure rust. (Ferrus Oxide)

    There is a VERY GOOD reason that I put a BORLA exhaust system on my Dakota. It is the only one available that is 100% T304 Stainless Steel from end to end (including the clamps) I am quite impressd that my BORLA has ZERO rust on it.

    Do I have to repeat that my MOST IMPORTANT factor when selecting a vehicle is "RUST RESISTANCE"? This is one reason I selected the DAKOTA!
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    Do I have to repeat that my MOST IMPORTANT factor when selecting a vehicle is "RUST RESISTANCE"? This is one reason I selected the DAKOTA!

    Yes, you do!
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (Mopar67) I have seen many vehicles here in Vermont turn into "flinstone-mobiles" (holes in the floorboards) Most Asian makes (and Chevy) still rust into oblivion.

    At first glance, the Saturn with its plastic body seems like the ideal choice for Vermont.... but alas, the metal frame members rust so badly that the engine can fall out from underneath. (even though the body looks great.)

    Actually the European vehicles (VW, Audi, MB, BMW) are the very best when it comes to rust-resistance. They are 100% galvonized. Even the underside is totally covered with a thick rubbery coating. It is not unusual to see 12 year old VWs with only some minor surface rust..
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    Why did I forget your impeccable logic? :)

    Hey don't laugh about "Flintstonemobles" I owned one. A 75 dart slant six. The non power brakes combined with wafer thin floorboards meant you laid down your feet to stop the darn thing! But oh that slant six, while no barn burner in terms of performance, was the standard by which all engines should be judged. Even though Chrysler festooned it with a plethora of emission stuff, it still started (once I replaced the ballast resistor) with ease and ran forever. Even with way-out-of-adjustment lifters (solid type) it still ran. Even with a teenager driver flogging it mercillessly, it kept going.

    The body on the other hand was a sorry affair. Bugs used to leap with joy when I came down the road as there were more rust holes in this thing than a salvation army suit. It had no AC. Nor did I need it. I got fresh air 24/7/365. Being a smoker at the time, it sure made a difference in keeping the interior aired out.

    Looking back on it, it sure was a weird car. Extensive research into Chryco history has gleaned some rather interesting concepts in the production planning and manufacturing of their cars, particularly during the Townsend regime.

    Follow me if you can:

    This car was a 1975 Dodge Dart Custom. All original.

    It had the green vinyl roof (so haute in the 70's), chrome plated trip on the taillights and front marker lights.
    It had the "winkers" on the fenders. I found out much later this was an option
    It had NON-power front disk brakes!
    It had a three speed wiper system but you had to manually press a rubber bulb on the floor to squirt the blue stuff on the windshield.

    It came with AM radio but 4 (count 'em, 4) speakers! Yes, this was factory, not aftermarket, I checked. Besides, what kid would want 4 speakers and an AM radio?!?!

    It had the upgrade seat material and the rather anal "fuel pacer" light (which I disconnected). It even had "custom" on the hubcaps. I checked to make sure this car was not a salvage because no other car I owned or any that my father owned, were as hodgepodged as this one. Anyway, researching Chrysler management and production structures led me to learn about the haphazard way Chrysler once build vehicles for the 'sales bank' rather than to firm customer orders. What that meant was whatever was in the parts bin, well, that was how the car was built. I think they worked backward from quarterly production figures and to "rationalize" the flow of parts into the assembly plant, Townsend decreed that excess cars (and there were a LOT) go to the sales bank. Actually, Chrysler sold those cars to Chrysler Financial and booked the sale right when the car came off the line. As you can imagine, stock price depended in part on sales and production and Townsend made sure the numbers were always met. The problem came of course when it was nigh time to move the iron to the dealers and no dealer wanted a stripped New Yorker with a 4 speed rather then the Torqueflight automatic! Yes, many cars came off the line like that beause that was what was available at the time of the production schedule!

    end of history lesson!

    Thanks bpeebles for the memories.
  • Hi Everybody, an update on my check engine light...the new fuel cap was the culprit,problem solved.. Now a new issue that has me thinking. I have a 01 QC 4.7 auto 4x4. It has 41k miles. I recently started noticing that when I turn the steering wheel feels like its creeking? At about 1.5 yrs I had the bushings changed on the antisway bar, I sort of baby the truck. Is there a common steering problem? or could this be ball joints? Its not really resistance, but like a cracking when I turn the wheel. It does it even when warm. Any Ideas, is this a common problem I just forgot I read about??
    Thanks for all info.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Known "steering problems" are;

    *)The "clockspring" in the steeringwheel can make some odd sounds as the wheel is turned.
    *) The balljoints can creak under some conditions
    *) the PS fluid was re-speced to be synthetic about 1/2 thru the 2001 model year. (I replaced mine with RedLine brand and have noted a marked improvmment)
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Well, the front sway bar bushings on older Dakodas were a problem in this area, but I've been informed that new replacements -- like the one's they're using now -- are a better material. Mine have not made the groaning sound at 34K.

    Have the ball joints greased and see what happens. The factory joints do not have a grease fitting, but can be lubed with a syringe.

This discussion has been closed.