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Dodge Dakota: Problems & Solutions



  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,080
    (krusty2) Unless you have one of the very rare 4.7L 2000 Daks ... you have four (4) O2 sensors. I think your diagnoses is correct... it is unlikely to be an O2 sensor anyway.

    Have you checked the the TPS and the IAC valve? Both of these are attached to the TB and are pretty easy to remove and clean using carberator spray. The TPS can be "ohmed out" too 8-)

    TPS = Throttle Position Sensor
    IAC = Idle Air Control
    TB = ThrottleBody
  • krusty2krusty2 Posts: 10
    I should probably do these things when I take the intake box off to do the plugs. Now I am noticing quite a bit of water coming out of the tailpipe. I know some water is normal, but this seems excessive. I'm thinking the last fuel fill-up included some water.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    Chrysler specifies the RC12MCC4 spark plug (Champion?) for the 4.7 motor. I've had a couple of comments that irratic idle has been attributed to these plugs. I've just turned 10,000 miles and mine is okay, but I'm being told there are better spark plugs for this application.

    So, my question is, what has been used to replace the factory original plug and what difference did they make?

    Thanks in advance,
  • livnlrnlivnlrn Posts: 76
    Thanks for the torque specs. After your comment on the great expectaions of the factory shocks, I started to actually pay attention to mine. Along with the acceleration up our hill test, I drove in other friends trucks and realized I had slowly gotten used to it as the shocks wore out. Thanks
  • ready10ready10 Posts: 13
    Here's what I've done so far:
    1. Z-Tube intake from "" with 9" Pro-Flow filter
    2. TB Spacer from ""
    3. Magnaflow cat-back exhaust (single exit)
    4. Edelbrock IAS Performer shocks to be installed upon delivery
    5. Denso Iridium Plugs to be installed upon delivery

    Here's what I'm considering (need some opinions here):
    1. JBA Cat4ward headers
    2. JET Stage II Chip (only if I can find #3)
    3. 180-degree T-Stat

    Problem is, I can't find a t-stat for the 4.7. I looked on the Robert Shaw web page, but all it says is "most Chrysler V-8s". Powerstat only lists for the 5.2 and 5.9. Does anyone know where I can find/purchase an exact model for the 4.7?? And what about a 160-degree t-stat? Would it be better?

    Thanks for any help I receive!
  • iowabigguyiowabigguy Posts: 552
    For those of you looking for a reasonable alternative to the cost of Dakota Shop Manuals may I suggest Ebay. I have been considering trading my 2000 Quad Dakota for a Ram 1500 Quad and was looking on Ebay for what was available. I found a 2003 Ram 1500 service manual on CDRom and won the auction. My cost with shipping was under $20. The person auctioning the Ram Shop manual also has Dakota Factory Shop Manuals on CD up for auction. Do a search on "ALL 2002 DODGE DAKOTA REPAIR MANUAL ON CD" substituting the year you are interested in, I saw 2000 thru 2003 listed. Rick
  • amend1amend1 Posts: 98
    Krusty2, I had the same problem with my 2000 QC, 4.7L, last year with around 20,000 miles. I switched to premium just to see if it made a difference, and it did. However, subsequent to that, my check engine light came on. A trip to the dealer revealed that my computer had taken a dump. I have no idea why. They replaced it under warranty and it's been OK.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    There have been a few comments on these boards about rough idle with the 4.7 engine. When I first got my Dakota I had several people remark that the engine idled like glass. Mine at 10,000 miles has been running very well, however, there have been a few occasions when I noticed an intermittent bumpy idle quality.

    A few days ago soon after a cold start, I noticed that the idle was definitely rough at a stop light. At the next stop it was fine, but I realized that the idle quality just wasn't what it was when the engine was new. I guess the idle deteriorated so gradually that I adjusted to it.

    Yesterday I remove the factory RC12MCC4 (#439) Champion plug from #1 cylinder. Despite my normally light foot, the electrode and insulator color was a medium tan. I measured the gap at 0.044, which is .004 more than factory specifications. Not really bad at all for 10,000+ miles. I did notice that there was some slight center electrode tip erosion, very even around the perimeter of the tip. In other words, the tip was rounded, but not bad.

    I decided to replace the plugs today with #4418 Bosch Platinum+4s. These are "no gap" versions and rather expensive at $6 a piece (AutoZone). These plugs use an extremely small diameter center electrode and four ground electrodes. The plugs that came with the 4.7 are, I believe, what Champion refers to as "Copper Plus" and ultilize a copper core center electrode. I believe these would be the least expensive in the Champion line.

    I can report that idle quality is glass like perfect. Idle speed has not changed. I cannot detect any other performance related improvement. I did fill up with gas to get a mileage check. My last five tanks have given me 17.56, 18.04, 17.84, 18.53, 18.02.

    A few comments about the service. As recommended by the service manual, remove the air duct from the throttle body and the hose from the air duct to the air filter housing. You must also open the clips to relieve two cooling tubes that go across the top of the engine. These will have to be moved around to gain access to the coils and plugs. The plugs on the left bank (1-3-5-7) are fairly easy to get to. The right bank will offer some challenge. I had to remove the cooling tube mounting brackets in order to get at two of the plugs, and that was after I broke one of the cooling tube clips.

    Since this is an aluminum head engine, I used anti-seize compound on the spark plug threads. I also cleaned each coil assembly and applied silicone grease to the plug boots and O-rings.

    I'll keep everyone posted on the performance of these Bosch Platinum+4 plugs.

    Best regards,
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    model and it took three updates to the PCM to get it to idle correctly. Each update superceeded the prior one and the third one worked like a charm.
    I never did change the plugs however before I traded it.
    I was having this problem virtually from the get go.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    Depending on the schedule, Chrysler recommends replacing plugs on the 287 Dakota at every 30,000 or 60,000 miles. This might be a little optimistic for a standard duty spark plug. Our Toyota is supposed to go 100,000 miles on plugs, but I believe they are either platinum or iridium, both of which will go a lot further that a conventional spark plug.

    I don't want to leave you with the impression that the idle quality was terrible, because it wasn't. But it did seem to be getting slightly irratic. It actually idled fine most of the time, but on days when the temperature dropped a bit (lower than 55 degress F), there was a little bit of bumpiness to it. On the few really warm days that we've had, it was pretty smooth.

    As far as performance goes, it ran very well. The fuel consumption, especially at 10,725 miles, has steadily improved. The engine was still very smooth and responsive before I changed the plugs. As of yet, I can't tell the difference in driveability, but I've only put a few miles on it, so maybe I'll see some difference later.

    How many miles did you have on your Dakota's original plugs?

  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    at about 28,000. Had the problem from the get go however so plugs weren't the culprit. It was irritating in the warmer months, when it started to cool off in the fall, it ran like a slant six with a broken choke!
    AIS motor replaced, TPS was replaced, TB was cleaned and finally the service manager started looking up TSB. There he found the erratic idle addressed and did one, two, finally three different upgrades to the PCM. The third one fixed it and I had no more idle problems. I cannot recall at what mileage that was done (I threw away the receipts since I no longer own the truck and the sucker, er I mean dealer who took it as trade probably took it to an auction somewhere and sold it)
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    That's too bad. Sorry to hear of your bad experience. They've likely got any PCM-related programing fixes into the 4.7s since yours was built.

    So far everyone I've talked to in person hasn't had a complaint about idle quality with 2000s and up. In fact, I don't think I've actually known anyone with a newer Dakota that's had a problem in that area at all. I guess the intake manifold gaskets had been a problem on older LA series motors that caused pinging and poor idle.

    I've been in several newer 4.7s and they've idled very well. I had a ride in a 2003 3.9 V6 recently, and that one idled like glass, too.

    We'll see how the long term effect is by changing plugs. It took 10,000 miles to start to lose perfect idle quality on mine with the factory versions. Since I can feel the difference with the new plugs, I'm expecting more out of these Bosch platinums. I'll keep everyone posted.

    Best regards,
  • mtrialsmmtrialsm Posts: 159
    4.7, auto, 2wd.
    My 2001 quad has 26K miles. I've had the Bosch +4's in for about 12K miles. The first 5 or 6k
    miles truck ran great, now has the stumble at idle
    also. Cold starts are becoming a problem, (ie)
    stumbles and hunts between 500 and 1000 rpms.
    Wants to die for a few seconds when placed in gear. (auto).
    I'm also thinking about new shocks.
    Haven't been back to the dealer since new.
    I still like this truck better than any now out
    there. Works great for my needs!
    I'll take it back to dealer one day?
    I'm making a list.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,080
    My 200 Dak has over 50K miles. I currently have 2 outstanding "problems"
    1) the 4X4 indicator light does not come on. (although the xfer-case is REALLY in 4X4)
    2)The intermittent windshield wipers have a mind of their own.. (they wipe at the speed THEY want to reguardless of the setting.)

    I am well om my way to my original 150,000 mile expectation for this rig.
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    fuel injected vehicle I owned that had idle problems. My 1992 spirt 2.5L four banger idled well, as good as one can expect from a four banger. No PCM or any problems. Ran perfectly until it was totalled in a wreck that put mom in life support for two weeks. Ironic too, that day I mailed the last payment to the finance company!
    The taurus, same thing, good idle, my vitara, good idle, three intrepids not counting the two my father has owned, all had good idle. his Dynasty was good too.....ran to 165K with nary a sensor, PCM or anything. Just a plug change.

    Oh well, what can one say?

    Just glad to hear everyone else's rig is running well.
  • steve234steve234 Posts: 460
    Just hit 60,000 miles. Two weeks ago I finally replaced the front brakes with the Powerslot/Raybestoes combo. Did a little shopping and got the Powerslots from NAPA for $103 ea and the pads from Pep Boys. I had my favorite mechanic do the job. He passed some info on to me that I thought you may benefit by. On a lot of the disc brake setups that start acting up after a few thousand miles, it is not warpage as much as the fact that the rotors are not aligning right. The main deal is find a shop that will mill the rotors on the truck. It could save big bucks and much aggravation.

    As for plugs, I have always been a fan of platinums, but I have had read several reports that they do not always do well on engines like the 4.7. The best plugs I have found for the 4.7 are the Autolites copper core.
  • amend1amend1 Posts: 98
    Wanted to put this out to you guys in case anyone had a comment. Changed over my plugs on my 2000 QC 4.7L, 4X4, about a month ago, 32,000 miles. Put in the Bosch +4's. Since then I've noticed two things. The morning start up is not as crisp as it used to be and I think my gas mileage has gone down (wasn't that great to begin with!) It runs and idles great. Any thoughts??
  • spike50spike50 Posts: 481
    bpeebles - You finally got to me. I bought all of the Red-Line products to do my '00 4x4. I'll get the Mopar goo for doing the seals next. I have to wait a while due to rain (everyday) here in Pennsylvania. I imagine the task would be impossible to do under water.

    My question is about flushing out the old fluids. Did you do this? Same method and flushing materials on all units (rear, x-fer, front dif, 5 sp manual)? I've followed your saga over the years but can't remember all of the details.
  • ronslakieronslakie Posts: 58
    Amend1 - I have a 2000 CC 4.7L, 5 speed with 42K miles. I have had the Bosch +4 plugs in since 30K miles, starting and idling have been fine. I haven't noticed any change in mileage but it appears to have a stronger pick up. I keep hearing people say that we shouldn't be using the +4 plugs with the 4.7 yet nearly everyone who has used them has had positive results.

  • gtownguygtownguy Posts: 73
    I have a 01 QC 4x4 and was wondering if anyone changed the shocks. I like a stiffer ride and mine does tend to sway and bounce more than I'd like. I was considering putting on Rancho rs5000 shocks. Does anyone have input on these or other brands. Also will this improve my ride?? Any comments or suggestions will be appreciated.
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