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Dodge Dakota - FAQs



  • steak2k1steak2k1 Posts: 24
    Well to tell you both the truth. I took a good look under the hood. Not only is there a Tranny cooler (OEM - and i got under the truck and looked at the lines - so it is in fact there.!), there is also a power steering fluid cooler located by following the lines from the PS pump which sits right on the left front top side of motor. They are both incorporated into the same front radiator body (there are two of them), with the PS fluid coolling taking the top 30 % of that rad and the remainder being trans cooler.

    Other 05/06 Dak owners could confirm this..?

    I would like also to hear from anyone that has installed a fan-on-demand as opposed to one that is always running which is what I have in mine. Now it may be that due to the the way the motor is cooled with the Tstat being one that has a small bypass valve, one should not put in a fan-on-demand type. However if you have... Does it work well,

    What's the opinion out there.?


  • mike133mike133 Posts: 13
    Pleas clarify. Do you just have the OEM tranny cooler that is located in the bottom of the radiator... or do you have a separate tranny cooler located in front of the radiator. with regard to the engine thermostat the factory is 195. I changed mine out to a 180 last year and have had no problems. My opinion,I do not believe the cost of an electric fan and removal of the existing fan blade is worth the increase in power benifits.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    DONT REMOVE THE MECHANICAL FAN! It is thermostatically controlled. It basically "freewheels" most of the time...but if it senses the air coming thru the radiator over a specific temperture, it will "lock up" to the shaft and start to move a lot of air. You will know if this happens because the fan will start to noticably ROAR as the engine is revd.

    My dak has an electric radiator fan also, it comes on when the AC is enguaged.
  • steak2k1steak2k1 Posts: 24
    Well first of all. I do not in fact have a PS cooler..duh ..was looking at the AC pump and it has some lines going into the front thin small rad.!!

    As for the Tranny cooler: You are right mike. I do not have a full blown cooler for the trans...hope I can get one installed in the next 3 days. Don't want to be sitting in Golden, BC with a blown tranny..!!! YIKes..!
    I noticed that the AC cooler has two receptacles for a bolt on OEM Trans cooler. Will check it out in the AM for price and installation.

    ...and yup the fan is in fact an electro-static fan. Gonna leave that alone too. man oh man..the learnin just keeps coming.!

    thanx big time - glad I had a second look and glad for the comments/your query.!!

  • mike133mike133 Posts: 13
    Could you please write a follow-up after you have the bolt-on OEM trans cooler done. Also the part number would be nice. Presently I am planing on adding a hayden 1679 cooler and bypassing the factory-in-radiator one. Also adding a temp sensor ahead of the cooler with a gauge pod mounted on the steering column. I do not want to modify the original transmission lines. I believe the existing quick disconnects that are on the radiator can be removed and reused in a modified connection to the after market radiator. I have not checked this out yet. I was hoping your dealer install of a OEM bolt-on would shed some light since they keep tell me no aux trans cooler is available. Thanks for the responses. mike
  • steak2k1steak2k1 Posts: 24
    Hey Mike..

    I will write a follow up..but I am not so sure I am going with a dealer install. (not avail..?? -'s part of the "tow pkg"). They tend to be a bit of a rip..Last time I was qutoed 425 for a trans cooler for a Montana (my previous Co. unit). Got it done for 225 cooler incl. at a private garage.

    I did some looking around last night and think I will go with either a B & M or a Hayden like yourself. I,ve seen pricing in the 50-100 range CAD. What I want to know is which of the two lines is the return line to the Tranny.? I was thinking a bit about how to install the plumbing and think I will go in series. But put the cooler on the return line from the small cooler in the rad. That way the fluid should be coolest going back to the tranny. That might just work as a 2 stage cooler..?

    BTW. I would like to know what PN & where you got that 180 Tstat..?? ( I thought about this too...if the motor is only good running at does it even drive when cold in the AM..Nah I am sure a 180 would work..!!)so yea
    I would like to know what you put in.?

    Temp sensor for trans cooler would be a good idea..I will look into doing that as well.

    Well it's real early here (5:56 Am) and gotta go to Red Deer (Dead Rear), this AM. But will be hunting for a Trans cooler this aft.

    talk to ya.

    stk (Theo)
  • mike133mike133 Posts: 13
    Hi Theo

    I put in a NAPA superstat Part # 530080. Now this stat is not listed for a dakota it comes back as for a ford something in their parts book. It does work. You have to get a new gasket from the dealer as it is a rubber ring that slips around the edge of the stat. There is a notch on the edge of the factory stat. Using a small file you can put a notch in the new stat so the gasket rubber ring fits properly. Now I reused the existing gasket and had no problem with leaking. But I do not recommend doing this. The Superstat is $7.00 at NAPA. Now you can also get a direct replacement one from Jet performance thermostats the part # is 10177 it cost $30.00 from I am not sure if it comes with the gasket rubber ring.
    Hope this was helpful for you. If you check the other forum sites, you will find both pro's and con's to this modification. Most who have done the change like it. Those apposed do not indicate what problems you would have,some do not know just don't recommend it. Make sure you leave the radiator cap off until the engine comes up to temp to make sure no air was trapped in the cooling system. Whether factory or aftermarket it will overheat with trapped air. If you need more coolant use the correct type and do not add water to the coolant, I believe the owner's manual indicates this.Also when these type of thermostats fail, they fail in the open position and the engine will run too cold. I'll be looking for your write up. Mike
  • steak2k1steak2k1 Posts: 24

    Great info on the Tstat. will look for that and i would love to know how/where it goes..?? Seems a bit strange to have to possibly remove the alt to get at where I would think the Tstat goes..?...and yea I have seen the rubber gasket when I went looking for a 180..a bit different but I know what it looks

    let me know

    I bought a Trans Cooler by "Long" for $ 70.00 CAD today in a Red Deer Tranny Place. Installed the cooler body no problem. The pkg. came supplied with enough brackets and HD screws/bolts-nuts-locks-hose to do this easily. When I went to remove the return line (looking from the front of the engine compartment, it is the one on the right side of the rad), it leaked a bit of rad fluid. Don't worry about it, just remove the nut (7/8" wrench stubby if you got one or a line wrench of that size), and pull the fitting out. It is a bit of a weird set-up as the brass block (inside the bottom part of the rad), that the fittings are attached to seems to be loose inside it's compartment...and at first it made it a bit difficult to re-insert the fitting. Just push on the steel tubing and it will take.

    BTW..I do not think you can get away without using this so called OEM cooler, as without fittings in them, it will leak out rad fluid.

    Anyway I cut the return line in two and used 2 dbl. barbed hose nipples (3/8"), and connected the cooler lines to the cut ends. I used Oetiker style clamps..std fare in a welding supply shop. They are the crimp type on 2 sides of the clamp and once crimped, will never let go...but you will need the crimping plier to do it.

    Once installed, I ran the engine for about 10 minutes to check for leaks .. found none .. so it seems good to go.!

    Wish I had my digital camera (got stolen at the Global Petroleum Show here last week)...Anyway when I get my new one I will post some pics on webshots:


  • mike133mike133 Posts: 13

    If I understand you correctly. If I remove the two quick disconnects that appear to be threaded into the radiator housing which are actually threaded into the transmission cooler coil unit located inside the radiator and this unit will fall away from the inside of the radiator housing and all the coolant inside the radiator will drain out.

    Wow I didn't realize the radiator was build that cheap. I hope I find a source for the quick disconnect fittings. I really do not want to cut into the factory lines. Thanks for all your help.

    Also the thermostat is located in the lower left front of the engine. The lower radiator hose is connected to the thermostat housing. Drain the radiator, remove the lower radiator house, remove the thermostat housing two bolts, pay close attention to how thermostat is installed so you do not re-install it backwards. Be careful that stat is align correctly. You can break the stat housing, damage bolts or engine housing threads if you do not take your time. I found it best to work from underneath truck. Just don't get any coolant in your face.

    Good luck, Mike
  • steak2k1steak2k1 Posts: 24

    Pics are up BTW.

    I don't think that the brass block will fall away as there is very little room for it to go anywhere. I did not however have both of the lines off at the same time. And if these are considered quick-disconnect...I would hate to see what a normal connect is..!! I had to use a stubby 7/8 wrench to get them off. Although the cooler I bought came with extra fittings, none of them seemed to match the threading in said brass block. That is why I went with splicing the lines. It is OK to do so as long as you use good clamps )...std hose clamps are in my opinion - useless. If required use good size dbl barbed nipples (3/8).

    You will not loose all your rad fluid at all...just a few drips/drops will come out but they will come out continuously.

    The fittings I believe are some sort of hydraulic type compression fitting as it has a flare which you will see when you go to remove the return line.

    While I was at Best Buy performance here in Calgary, I bought an inline filter for the cooler as well..fairly inexpensive I thought at $35.00CAD .. it too is installed on the return line after the having given this some thought now, I probably should have put it into the "in" line side of the cooler as opposed to the last thing before it goes back to the tranny. oh well...can't hurt I feel.

    Today I finally received my Magnaflow exhaust..damned glad I had a torch here as the old clamps were almost impossible to remove without it. Once the old system was out it was only 15 minutes to install the magnaflow...nice sound, and we shall see in the ensuing time how much of a performance improvement it is. It's just too bad superchips hasn't come up with a programmer just yet...I hear end of summer maybe.

    Well only thing left before I go to BC is to get the brakes done...(company expense). May as well, as I hear some squealing.

    curious..have you had any weird things go with your rakes.?? After first getting this truck and if I would step on them real hard I got a shuddering/front end shaking happening that is not (IMHOP), the anti skid braking system. Talked to Dodge and they said at the time there was nothing wrong. Go figure .. A dealer not accepting that their brakes SUCK.?? Imagine that..!! (sic). Just got to read the LemonAide guide and see how many complain about Dodge Brakes..!!

    Anyway, I took it back in at around 22k and they said I needed all new brakes and charged me for them too.!! I was choked. I'm at 93K at this time ... do lots of business driving.! I will probably have 135 -140 by April and then I can buy it for cheap.

    anyway...I'll try to post again before I leave on Thursday noon.

    have a great weekend Mike.!

  • mike133mike133 Posts: 13

    I now realize why you used the 7/8 open end wrench. You are not aware how the quick disconnects work. It takes a special tool to remove the fitting from the 3/8" tubing. It can be picked apart but you can damage the spring.Best way is the quick disconnect tool less than 10 bucks at most parts stores.

    I replaced my muffler right after I bought it with a 14" magnaflow sounds great and the rest of the exhaust system is stock other than a stainless steel tip.

    Have had no problems with my brakes. [non-permissible content removed] luck on the brake issue.
  • au1994au1994 Posts: 765
    What does everyone think a fair price on a new QC Dakota, 4.7, auto, 26E pkg, premium 40/20/40 seat would be?

    The incentives on the Dakota and Ram have me interested and I may be wandering down to the dealership the weekend.


    2013 335i Sport Line Alpine White over Coral Red w/Black Trim

    2005 330cic ZHP Monaco Blue over Natural Brown w/Black Trim

  • mike133mike133 Posts: 13
    2005 SLT CLUB CAB 4X4 with 5 speed automatic,4.7L, 40/20/40 split bench seat, 26E pkg, 17" x8" aluminum chrome clad wheels, electric full time 4WD T-case, spray in bed liner, aluminum gas cover, rear mud flaps, willmore nerf bar,dodge class IV hitch wired, with 8.7 percent state sales taxes included bought brand new last august 26206.04 with no trade in.
  • steak2k1steak2k1 Posts: 24 are right..I sure did not know about the QC lines. the job done. Cooler worked just fine as did the inline filter.

    The Dak is a bit underpowered for pulling my trailer (4200-4400 lbs loaded)...mind you low end tourque is the real issue. Going through the Rockies was not as problematic as I had imagined. A couple of spots (Rogers Pass & the first part of the Coquihalla), that were in excess of 6% required first gear and 4000 rpm. I just shifted in first or second manually and kept revs up to a max of 4500. But for the most part the ride went smooth and engine heating was not really an issue with temps going just past 1/2 on only a couple of occaisions. Outside temps were at the worst near Kamploops where it was +40C on Sunday. So all in all I'm pretty pleased with the results so far. Have to admit that when under a tow load, that Magnflow gives off a fair bit of noise.

    As far as gas mileage...well we won't go there..!! (-%

    I was getting avg 350 Km per tank and that was using premium at $1.28 / L in some spots. Whoever says that they don't raise prices on long weekends is fulll of crap. They do and it happens all the time.!!


  • dave112dave112 Posts: 3
    this is my first time buying a truck and i need some advice. I went to a dealerships website and found a nice 2003 dodge dakota sport(extended,3.9L V6, 22K mileage, and a ton of features) for 13,900. The next day i went to the dealership and the asking price was 16,000 but they said the lowest they can go is the online price (13,900). With taxes it would be a total of 15000. I wasnt sure what to do so I said I'll think about it. Does anyone have any advice for me. I checked other websites and I couldnt find any thing better.
  • mike133mike133 Posts: 13
    There are alot of incentives on new dakota's. If I were you, Check out the new one's first. The best price's may only be a few thousand more. Also something to think about.Warrenty transfer. I believe the 2003 has a 7/70 warrenty and the new dakota's only have a 3/36. Please don't leap for the first one you see. There are lots of good deals just look around first.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    This may be a great time to remind everyone that they can get a $500 refund for buying a Dodge by joining their local Farm Bureau for $50.

    This is a guaranteed conversion of $50 ==>$500 - you cant do that good in the stock market on a good day!
  • steak2k1steak2k1 Posts: 24
    First thing to ask is what is your application for purchasing a truck.? Will it be used for towing, city driving, hwy driving, or a combination of all of the above.

    I drive an '05 4.7L magnum SLT QC. Reasonable room in the rear for two teenagers. Front seats are heated and drivers is adjustable. Decent truck and as can be read prior to this post seems to be OK on towing .. although I would not want to max out Chryslers rating (7000lbs).

    Avg hwy mileage seems to be 21-23mpg depending on tail/head wind..!! No major problems and I am at 94,800km (59250 Miles). City mileage is probably in the 14-16 mpg range. The bed is about 5.5-6'...never measured it. but big enough that I can haul some drywall and 4X8 sheets of whatever.

    Only problem I had was with my brakes...that being that Dodge has still not figured out how to mix front disc with rear drum brakes and the first chance I get I am going to convert to rear discs. Read my earler post on what the problem was and how nicely (sic), they dealt with it.

    Only other thing that gets me is the interior cloth sucks as it gets very dirty - very one chould take that comment with a grain of salt as I am in the vehicle nearly 2-4 hours out of every 8-10 hr. day

    Advise you check out the LemonAid Guide (or online). Don't buy all the BS in auto mags as many are paid (hmm I wonder by who..??), to say what they write.

    All in all though I am pretty happy with the unit and when the Co. decides it is time for me to go with a new veicle, I will very very likely buy it.

    Tricks done to date:

    K&N CAI, MagnaFlow 3" SS Exhaust, Long Trans Cooler w/Inline Filter, Roll-n-Lock Tonneau Cover, Spray-in Bed Liner, Le-Bra, Toyo 16" "wear like iron" tires, 180 Deg Tstat, (see Mikes Posting in this thread)..thanks to MIKe on that one..!! (got it today).

    Waiting patiently for SuperChips to come out with the chip.


  • steak2k1steak2k1 Posts: 24
    Well the title says it all.

    I did install the 180 yesterday and probably did a couple of things wrong: did not let engine heat up and then put rad cap on. Went for a small drive and temp went to near H.! OK so I learned on this one.

    What i do notice is that on the OEM stat and on the side flange there appears to be a small brass tube with a tiny steel ball on the one side. I gather this is the "bypass" that bPebbles was mentioning. Well on the 180 unit it of course does not have the bypass. i am wondering if a small hole drilled into the flange would work..??

    I am going to try this and will report back as to what goes on. Also need to find the engine temp sensor and make sure it is in OK shape. That can be tested with an Ohm Meter set for 20K. Any resistance at all indicates it is functioning I am told.!


  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    did you "burp" the system to eliminate air pockets? There is a procedure for burping the system which includes using the "burping valve" at the high spot of the cooling system.

    Also - are you certain that the thermostat you installed is compatable with a "bypass" cooling system? (uses the thermostat to mix the cold [radiator out] and hot [engine out] flows to produce the proper temperature into the engine)
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