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Dodge Dakota: Problems & Solutions



  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Although I'm not automatically suspicious from your story that your "mechanic's" actions had anything to do with your current problem, I can firmly recommend that you no longer do any business with those people. Their accusatory defamation against the make of your truck is the ultimate in lame excuses and demonstrates their significant lack of knowledge and probably basic intelligence. It also is an indicator of extreme arrogance and possible dishonest work ethics.

    The "Dodge software" comment is bankrupt. First, all manufacturers now use a universal diagnostic code system called OBD2. If they have an OBD2 read-out tool and the correct program software there is nothing special about a Dodge over a Chevy or anything else, except that some codes are unique to various manufacturers.

    The illumination of the ABS and brake lamps indicate a specific malfunction in your brake system, the loss of the speedometer and odometer is something else. It generally means a loss of PCI bus information. There may be a relationship.

    Check all of the fuses in the junction block that is located on the drivers side of the instrument panel. Be especially mindful of the IOD fuse. It should be number 10 on the block. Some are labeled "engine relay," but this fuse can open and cause weird symptoms. If you have a fuse that's opened, inspect the vehicle for pinched or damaged wires in the area that your so-called "mechanic" was logically working.

    Your ABS isn't working probably because the ABS or PCM computers have detected a fault. Anyone with an OBD2 diagnostic tool can pull a code off of the PCM. You can also see the codes that are stored by cycling the ignition switch on-off-on-off-on (not to the "start" position). Wait a second or two and observe the odometer read out for "P" codes.

  • poppapktpoppapkt Posts: 1
    Exactly how bad is it that the Malfunction Indicator light came on?

    Can I go 5 days without it being checked out by a mechanic? I hate to do that.. but I really can't afford the time without my truck... and going to the dealership is not an option.
  • mandy4mandy4 Posts: 1
    I'm having problems starting my truck sometimes. I will turn the key and nothing happens, there isn't any power to anything (dome light, stereo, alarm etc) and if I wait a few minutes it works. I have also had problems with the headlights turning off and then back on while I am driving. I have a feeling they are related. Anyone have anyideas what the problem could be. I have only had the truck for a little over a month so any help would be appreciated.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Hard to say. It really depends on what has caused a fault.

    The Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) illuminates when the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) has recorded a fault related to an emissions system problem that is twenty seconds or more in duration or there was a loss of bus communications (PCI). The MILs illumination pattern is determined by the type of fault. Some problems will cause a MIL to flash, others remain solid. Some MIL causes must register a repeat pattern over a number of engine restarts or "good trips."

    A MIL illumination may clear by itself under certain conditions, for example, if after 40 restarts the same fault is nor registered with the PCM, or two or three "good trips" are completed without a recurring fault.

    Try to obtain the diagnostic trouble code (DTC) that's causing your problem, either by performing the operator intitiated PCM test, or connecting an OBD2 or OBD3 read-out tool.

  • amend1amend1 Posts: 98
    gwh- Please see the quad cab forum and read my suggestion about our mutual problem.
  • kisettkisett Posts: 1
    I recently had changed my spark plugs on my dakota and my air filter from a disposable to a high flow filter. That day i ran my tank down close to empty so i could fill up at a cheaper pump. next day my engine was intermitantly ideling rough and would occasionally stall out. my first idea was bad gas, so i treated the tank with fuel system cleaner/octane booster: did not help. ran that tank down and treated the near empty tank again with the injection cleaner, no dice. i dont think it would be a bad plug, cause that would trip the sensor. (Note that when the truck is running, it runs great) i wanted to change the fuel filter, but i found that its located in the gas tank (horrible design).

    Anyone out there that might have some home remedies or suggestions, before i mortgage my house to have the dealership look at it?
    The dealership recommended a fuel injection system flush $$.
  • mag7uemag7ue Posts: 2
    Use oxy-clean, which can be purchased at Walmart. I've used it on oil stains in carpet more than once and it comes right out.
  • mag7uemag7ue Posts: 2
    I have a 95 Dakota SLT with the 3.9 V6, 173,000 miles. I've had very few problems with it, and have kept up the maintenance very well. I'm wondering if it's time to sell before anything major goes, like the tranny or head gasket, or anything else expensive that I can't do myself. Does anybody know some of the typical high-cost repairs needed on these trucks? Have I been lucky? Or should I expect it to last another 2-3 years with light driving?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Those oilable "hi flow" filters are not very good for your engine. Many many tests have shown that more flow means LESS FILTERING. Your engine does not need more flow anyway. (unless you are drag racer and use full-throttle all the time)

    Here is one air filter study:

    Oftentimes, the oil from those filters migrates (gets sucked) into the intake system and causes all kinds of problems. (Like gumming up the Idle system)

    The first thing you should do on your 4.7L is the CLEAN THE THROTTLEBODY.
    Also pull off the Idle Air Controller (IAC) motor and clean it and the hole in the throttle body it mounts into.

    After re-installing the IAC, start engine and LET IT IDLE for at least a minute. Do not touch the throttle while the computer "relearns" how to idle and automaticly re-adjusts the IAC.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Right on, Bpeebles!

    WE just helped a fellow Dak owner last week who was suffering from the same problem, except the only thing he did was install a "high performance" air filter. In his case he got way too much oil on the filter element. It had coat everything from the air filter housing to the throttle body. After four cans of a spray carburetor cleaner we got everything back to normal. He installed a Mopar air filter and his 4.7 is now idling like glass.

    By the way, these high performance air filters will only provide a slight increase in flow at the extreme end. Newer factory induction systems nowadays are so well designed (usually) that they are efficient through the entire engine RPM range. On the Dakota you might gain a horsepower or two at max throttle. Not much of a valuable performance increase to normal users.

    Best regards,
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Although not directly related to Dakota... you are LUCKY that dodge chose to use Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) sensors to determine how much air is flowing into the engine. To recover, all you have to do is REMOVE that stupid filter and clean the intake manifold.

    On engines that use the Mass AirFlow (MAF) sensor, the oil from those "high performance" filters will DESTROY THE MAF SENSOR. Leaving you with a hefty bill to replace the MAF sensor.

    BOTTOM LINE: Those oilable filters are not a very good idea.. there is no measureable gain for normal street driving BUT there is measurable problems associated with using them.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Yep. GMs are real sensitive to this for that reason. I've tried to tell a couple of people about the pitfalls of the filter oil, but overcome by the "more must be better" syndrome they learned the hard way.


  • hoot95hoot95 Posts: 1
    I have a 98 Dodge Dakota, V6 3.8l. The engine is having a rough Idle. The truck was sitting about 6 months with out driving. I filled up the gas tank with new gas and added some of the octane boost/injector cleaner. I have also cleaned the air cleaner and throtle body with no imporvements. I am having issues just at the idle position. Other than that the engine runs fine at operating speeds. Any suggestions?
  • georgian1georgian1 Posts: 2
    I have a 98 dakota with the same problem. Sometime last summer i started the truck one day and the abs and parking break light's came on and havent gone away, also the spedometer doesnt work till i hit 50km, then it turns on. I havent done anything about it cuz i really had no reason to waste the money but im just about to sell it and need to get it fixed. I figured it was just a wiring problem, maybe something got exposed and is grounding out. Anyways if you do figure it out can you post the problem so i can take care of it.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Your engine is a 3.9 liter V6.

    There are many causes for a poor idle quality from spark plugs, air filter and PCV valve, to other ignition components; vacuum leaks and sticky valves or other combustion chamber issues, to a clogged catalytic converter and or throttlebody.

    These are a few of the things that should be checked in order to diagnose your problem.

  • jphilpojphilpo Posts: 1
    Purchased a 2005 Dodge Dakota based on Edmunds recommendation. STAY AWAY FROM THIS VEHICLE :lemon: It rides worse than any cheap rental car I've ever driven. Dealer replaced tires, I paid the difference, still vibrates at highway speeds. Gas mileage rating 16-22mpg, would you believe 13.9 mpg highway. Dealer states gas quality is poor. I had a 2000 Toyota Tundra V8 that averaged 16.5 - 17. :lemon:
  • My 93 dodge dakota blew a cylinder :sick: (timing gear skipped a tooth). I was wondering what it would take to get a 1969 dodge 383 into my truck. I know i'd need to change some pulleys and move the motor mounts but i was wondering if any one had any knowledge or actual experience putting a big block into a dakota.
  • haselhasel Posts: 64
    Too bad that you got a truck that you are not happy with, I got my 2005 Dakota Laramie Q Cab on May 2and I have the 4.7L engine and 3:55 posi rear, On my first tank of gas I got 16.88mpg, this truck is nice and quiet rides and handles better than my 2001 and 2004 Q Cab, I have the P265X70R16 tires, :)
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    If you're expecting to just plop it in I think you'll find that it's not going to go. The 361-383-413-440 blocks are, I believe, too wide for a drop in fit on a Dakota.

    This might be the chance to install a 360 Magnum motor of your choice. Small block Mopars make plenty of power and torque, and will fit to existing Dakota pieces.

    Best regards,
This discussion has been closed.