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Dodge Dakota - Regular Cab



  • jasong2jasong2 Posts: 18
    Although this board hasn't been active for about a week, I figured I would post my experience anyways.

    I went over to Tate Dodge (Glen Burnie, MD) on 7/12 to look at, test drive, and possibly purchase a 2002 Dodge Dakota.

    I knew it was really late in the 2002 season (actually 2003 were set to arrive in about 1 month), so my choices would be a little limited. I had a relatively short list of what the truck had to have - 4X2 base or sport regular cab, V6 engine, bench seat, and manual transmission. It could be ANY color but white.

    Tate only had one 4X2 manual in stock, an SLT. I asked the saleman to search the region for the truck I was looking for. . .there was 1 sport for nearly $19K and 5 base models. . .four of which were white, the fifth being silver.

    The silver base Dakota was $15800, with V6, rear sliding window, vinyl bench seat, manual, and anti-spin differential.

    I told the salesman that I wanted to drive the SLT in the showroom (the only 4X2 and manual on the lot) before making a decision. The response was, "I'm not taking it out of the showroom." At that point, I stood up to leave and said, "Well, I wouldn't consider buying without a test drive." I started to turn, only to hear, "Let's get the keys!" After about 10 minutes and jockeying cars out of the way to get the SLT out, we were off.

    Test drive was great, very pleased with the power, the feel of the manual transmission, ride, etc. Much better overall feel than my 91 Nissan 4X4, and better than the 2002 Toyota Tacoma 4X4 and Nissan Desert Runner I test drove earlier.

    Next, the manager evaluated my trade-in - a 1991 Nissan 4X4 pick-up with 246,000 miles on it and no air conditioning, which makes it pretty tough to sell in Maryland. I got $800. About what I figured using Edmunds and Kelly Blue Book.

    There was absolutely no haggling on the price. I was in kind of in a bind, considering there were only 6 trucks in the region available, 4 of which were white, and one too expensive. Tate knew there was only 1 truck that met my criteria and I could buy it from them or try to get the same deal at any other Dodge dealer in the area. I tried to get a free bedliner and install, but that was a no go too. Tate was in the position of telling me to "take it or leave it." It wasn't sitting on there lost accumulating interest so they weren't hard pressed to make a deal. Nevertheless, I was pleased with what I got. I payed MSRP, but got $2000 cash back from Dodge. After tax, title, tags, trade in, $500 down, cash back promo, I financed just over $13600. Tate tried to beat my credit union's finance rate for 60 months (5.24%), but they were off by nearly 1%.

    I searched the Internet afterwards to try to find out which dealer had the truck I just purchased. Turns out it was in Frederick, MD, about 80 miles away. The "no haggle price" was just $116 less than what I payed at Tate.

    I won't be picking the truck up until 7/16, but hopefully I will have at least 60 months of pleasant driving experiences.
  • mailman54mailman54 Posts: 111
    We don't have many Regular Cab Dakotas in the club and we could always use one more. I'm sure you will be satisfied with your Dakota and I wish you the best of luck. Sounds like you got what you want. Sometimes it is tough to find a manual to test drive. I found a V-6 to test, but was never able to find a V-8 to test. Let us know how it treats you.

  • bookittybookitty Posts: 1,303
    Jason, welcome and the best of luck with your new truck. Please access and follow all of the Dakota threads, as much of the information is applicable to all of the Dakota models.

  • jasong2jasong2 Posts: 18
    I've had my 2002 Dodge Dakota base regular cab for a week, and figured I'd offer an update.

    It has been really difficult to get used to the manual transmission/clutch. It is much different in feel and operation than my 1991 Nissan was. The Nissan was much more sensitive to an operator's inability to shift. The Dodge is very forgiving. Also, I tended to shift according to engine noise with the Nissan. This is pretty difficult to do with the Dodge. If the AC or radio are on, I can't hear the engine at all. I suppose this is a good thing, though. By the time I have a couple 1000 miles on the truck, I am sure I will be "at home."

    Ride quality is really nice. . .also takes some getting used to after 250K in my jolting Nissan, but I am really going to like it, especialy since I commute 100 miles every day.

    AC is nice. Never had AC before and in Maryland summers, it is a very nice feature. I am still at the stage where I have it cranked up all the way so I am shivering. . .just because I can!

    The is a light on the dash (an up arrow) that lights whenever the computer thinks I should be shifting for best performance. Its annoying. I don't know if it wants me shifting up or down or what. I ignore it.

    Biggest gripe is the base tires/rims. The rims are plain ugly and look more like spare tire rims. The tires are too small for the truck to give it a good appearance in my opinion. Since I bought so late in 2002's season, I had no choice but to take what I could get. I have ordered 16X8 Dodge rims (from someone replacing them on their Dakota Sport). I will probably be putting P255/65R16's on the truck, which will give it the appearance of the Sport model.

    Also, I am getting a high pitched whistle that seems to start when I am speeding up. When I hit the gas it starts. When I back off the gas, it goes away. Its most noticeable in gears 1-3, may be there in 4-5 gears, I am just not hearing it over engine/road noise or radio. Anyone else have this? What is it?

    After 1 tank of gas, I am getting 20.28 mpg, with about 70% highway driving. - Jason
  • mailman54mailman54 Posts: 111
    My 2000 R/C 4.7 Auto went off warranty last month. I now have 20k on it. Had the transmission fluid and filters replaced. I specified ATF+ 4 (Type 9602), rather than the ATF + 3 (Type 7176) that it came with. The 45RFE continues to shift like butter. The idle only briefly flutters when backing out of the garage, then runs steadily. The brakes were also checked and are fine. Power continues to be strong and gas mileage is in the 17-18 combined city/hwy range. I am happy with the 3.92 gearing. Pulls quite strongly under all conditions. I only hope that it proves to be as dependable as my 91 Dakota, which now has 127K on it. If I had it to do over again, I would not change a thing. I expect to keep the 4.7 until they come out with a 5.7 Hemi for the Dakota. Then I may be tempted to make a change. Sorry MOPAR, I won't be getting a Suzuki!

    Haven't heard from the other R/C owners lately. Let me hear how you are doing. It is getting lonely with only the Quad and Club Cab members posting.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926

    Thanks for providing the alternate (Mopar?) number for ATF+4.

    Question:where did you find the ATF+4? The only place I know around here to get it is the Dodge dealer.

    By the way, I inquired and was told that my dealership no longer stock ATF+3 since the +4 has replaced it. Somewhere I saw a something that said the ATF+4 is a synthetic fluid.

    My 545RFE shifts very, very smoothly. It's the nicest, most reactive, smoothest shifting transmission I've EVER driven.

  • mailman54mailman54 Posts: 111
    Yeah Dusty, I got it at the Dodge dealership. Hated to spend the big bucks, but since it was my last service on warranty, I wanted to make sure there was nothing else wrong. I have to agree with you about the automatic transmission. It certainly the best I've had on a Dakota.

  • usaf52usaf52 Posts: 70
    Did I read correctly? The Dodge website now offers 3K rebate on the Dakota for 2003.
  • What is your Zip Code? The Zip Codes for the Omaha area only show $2500. Rick
  • My Zip code is 15205 and it shows $3000.
  • usaf52usaf52 Posts: 70
    I'm in NC and the rebate is 3K, and the Dodge website now lists the rebate as 3K
  • Check out zip codes 68114 and 51501. Both show and actually are $2500 for the dakota. We get shorted $500 here in the center of the country! Rick
  • For a perspective, the rebate in Canada (Pacific Northwest region), is only $1500 CDN dollars for Dakotas but, $3000 for other Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep vehicles. (as of last week)

  • Looks like my 2000 4.7 Dakota will be my last. Since D/C decided not to make the regular cab version in 2005, I will be looking elsewhere for a replacement when this one dies. I love Dakotas, but prefer them in regular cab form. Don't need or want a club or quad cab. The regular cab is heavy enough. Can't say that I like the new front end either. Seems D/C is trying to make it look more and more like a Ram. If it gets much bigger and heavier, it might as well be a Ram. Don't know what truck I will get next, but it will be a RC. Happy hollidays!
  • spike50spike50 Posts: 481
    Hey, mailman54, glad to see that you're still posting. I'm curious about your regular cab leaning, do you have a cap over the bed. I ask that because of my own MO, that is, carrying all of my winter type hunting gear in winter weather. I'd never have enough room for all of that stuff in the cab plus a hunting partner and all of his gear (buddy system like in Boy Scouts). Since I don't have a cap over the bed, I can't leave all of that gear lay in the bed unprotected in the rain / snow, sometimes for hours.


    The club cab doesn't seem like it's that much bigger than a regular. I agree that the Dakota has gotten as big as the older Rams and there seems to be a lack of mid-size trucks. Not everybody needs / wants a "monster" truck.
  • Hey Don, how is the weather up there in Pennsylvania? To answer your question, I have always had caps on my pickup trucks. Get much better traction and my dogs like it better. On another subject, we did a couple of loops on the Quehanna Trail in PA the last couple of years. They sure have improved the trail since Hurricane Hugo when we were last there. Good to hear from you. Better get out there and do some hiking! Take care.
  • spike50spike50 Posts: 481
    I haven't been hiking-hiking in the past several years but have been on hunting related walks in the woods. I did my "one hour a week" Boy Scout thing for 15 yrs and that sort of ended my hiking. I pulled down another 40 college credits in the last 2.5 yrs before thinking about working again. Duck and goose hunting like crazy lately to the detriment of the "honey-do" list. Today (Jan 1) is warm enough for one last motorcycle ride before it gets and stays cold. Amazing change in weather this week from Monday (duck decoys had rings of ice around them in a 20-30 mph wind) and now it feels like spring.


    Quehanna is about 2.5 hrs from here near one of the hunting camps I go to. A lot of weird stuff happened in that neck of the woods before, during, and after WWII with nuclear materials, company-controlled towns, prison camps, coal mining, lumbering, etc. Good place to get lost.


    I was thinking that you had to have a cap to secure your belongs.
  • sundevil99sundevil99 Posts: 20
    I've posted this in a couple of different Dakota forums.

    I just purchased a used '99 Dakota, RC, 5spd Manual, 4x4. It doesn't have a single cup holder in the entire cab.
    I would like to have something on the floor, but there's not much room around the sticks for the transmission and 4WD.
    Any suggestions?

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I haven't looked for a while, but I've seen various configuration cup holders available over the years, included a swivel version the could mount to the side of a door panel. I've also seen these tray & cup holder combinations designed to fit on the transmission hump. Some would interfere with a manual transmission shifter, but I think they could be cut so that the cup holder portion could be removed and set onto the floor.

  • scottc4scottc4 Posts: 1
    I just purchased a 2003 dodge dakota 4x4 reg cab. I have a front end clunking sound when I go over bumps. I have brought it back to the dealer on several occasions and they say that there is nothing wrong with it. The truck only has 30,000 miles on it. I changed the front and rear shocks and this has helped, but the noise is still there. Does anyone have any suggestions!


This discussion has been closed.