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Dodge Dakota 4x4 Problems

I reecently installed some additional driving lights on my 2002 V8 dodge dakota and had to remove my console front trim in order to mount a switch to control the lights. i have removed this front panel numerous times working with my radio, so i am familiar with how i need to disconnect all the electrical wires from the AC unit, the airbag switch, the headlight switch ect. after i mounted my switch i contiued to re-connect all the connectors listed above, including the four wheel drive switch. after re-connecting everything i turned the ignition on and started it up and the "Service 4X4" light came on.

Now i am not able to change from 2wd to 4wd or anything. the LED that usually indicates weither it is in 4wd or 2wd is not on in either position. but with the driving lights on the backlight on the switch itself is ilumnated, but it will not change to 4wd...

Anyone have any ideas???


  • I have a 1987 Dakota 4x4, auto, v-6, carb. and cannot get
    it out of 4-wheel drive without stopping, killing the
    engine and waiting several seconds. Some one said it might
    be the vacuum actuator on the front differential. Another
    guy said it was the vacuum switch on the front differential. I'm still trying to find out if I can fix it
  • i have the same problem,i got in a wreck and it fried the ecu for the 4x4 thats mounted to the steering colum. its a 552.38 dollar fix for that. it took 3 transmission ppl to figure it out. but it acted the same way. all backlights work but the transfer case or even the lights on the switch dont.
  • rich28rich28 Posts: 23
    I have a 2001 Quad Cab 4x4. The truck will not go into 4-high or 4-low, and the LED is not lit in either position including 2WD.

    Any ideas?
  • i would first check the switch for power out of it and if so then its the ecu thats mounted to the steering wheel. mine was about 525 dollars for just the part plus 100 labor. i had mine diagnosed for 150 to make sure it was that part. there are alot of dakotas around here and they said that mine was the first they have seen do that. it mihgt be a problem with the part itself. how many miles are on your truck?
  • rich28rich28 Posts: 23
    Approx. 81,000 miles. So the ecu is mounted to the steering wheel...where exactly is it? And that controls my 2WD/4WD switch that's on the face of my dash? I'm not being smart, I just don't know much about auto-mechanics, that's why I came here.

    Thanks for your help!
  • dont worry about it i am the same way. io can work on old cars but not these new ones. all the mechanic told me was it was mounted to the colum. the power goes to the switch then to the ecu and then the ecu tells the switch what light to put on. mine i got a new switch first and that didnt fix it and we had power leaving the switch and going into the ecu but lot leaving it. id shop around for the new part. labor should not take more then 30min to change out.
  • rich28rich28 Posts: 23
    Thanks! This will help me point the mechanic in the right direction. So far, this board hasn't let me down as I have had many problems with my truck. I love the truck, but not sure how many more problems I can endure. But then again, I might have them all fixed by now!

    I'll post the resolution. Thanks again!
  • I asked the dealer to give my drive train a maintenance procedure prior to the expiration of the 100,000 mile warranty expiration.
    They found that the front wheel bearing was on the verge of failing. They told me that it was not considered part of the drive train. In reviewing the warranty, the following is stated:
    Front wheel drive specifically states, “front wheel bearings”.
    Rear wheel drive states, “drive shaft assemblies”.
    Four wheel drive states, “drive shaft assemblies (front and rear)”.
    Is not an “assembly”, a complete shaft, along with bearings?
    Having both front and rear drive when in a 4x4 mode and a front wheel drive specifically states wheel bearings, then why are the bearings not covered under the warranty?

    The dealer stated that the wheel bearing was not covered. I contacted Daimler Chrysler Customer Service and was told that the interpretation of the warranty is up to the dealer. This is like the fox watching the chicken coop.
    Has any one had similar experiences? and, is there any way of contacting any one technical within Daimler Chrysler's higher eschelon that has access to the group that wrote the warranty?
    Your comments would be appreciated/


  • im not to sure about the fact that they get to decide what the warrenty states. anyother place unless its specific then its on the dealership. did you call the dodge line and get all your recalls looked at. i know that they have had 3 or 4 done on most dakotas. also you can try speaking with the owner of the dealership and talk to him about whats going on. and if you have to go above him. the squeeky wheel gets the oil and its the same way with cust services.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    The wheel-bearings are unquestionably part of the drivetrain. It sounds to me as if you are gettin the run-around. The dealership DOES NOT PAY for factory warantee work (Damlier-Chrysler does)...However, each dealership gets "rated" on how much they spend on warantee work. If they spend too much out of the factory coffers, they get a bad grade.

    This factory-dealership arrangement often makes the dealerships look like the bad guy. In reality, if DC "approved" replacement of your wheelbearing, then the dealership would GALDLY do it. (it is guaranteed pay for them at that point)

    The last time Chrysler had the 70,000 mile warantee...they nearly lost the company. The only reason they offer 100,000 now is because the competetion offers it. The vehicles are not any better or worse than they were before.

    DC, GM and Ford all offered 100,000 mile warantees to improve sales and make the bottom-line look better in the short-term. .... this was very shortsighted on their part. Over the next several years as the vehicles get older and start to need repairs... they will ALL be in a bind. Time for them to pay the piper!
  • Thanks for the response. I received an e-mail reply from "Senior Staff Representative" at the Chrysler Group Customer Assistance Center which in as many words told me that because "the wheel bearing" was not specifically listed in the covered component under the listing for the 4x4, it was not covered.. For lack of a nicer expression, "BULL-DO-DO". I even had one customer service rep tell me that the bearing was part of the suspension system and not on the drive train. I wonder where they get these people.
    At any rate, I had to accept their definition and was able to use a courtesy rntal car and get a senior citizen discount which saved me about $100.00. So much for Daimler Chrysler service.
    Merry Christmas.
  • Would any one know how to obtain a picture of the front drive shaft assembly for the subject for a 4.7L 2002 dakota 4x4?


  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    The front driveshaft(s) are well-explained in the factory service manual. There is an entire chaptor about it.

    As I write this, I am looking at my 2000 Factory service manual. There are exploded views of the C/V joints on the driveshafts. There are about 30 other diagrams explaining other parts. (like how to dis-assemble the C/V joints and inspect the balls.)

    There is another chaptor describing the "C205F" front axle assembly. This chaptor goes into detail about the guts of the differential.

    You could order your very own factory service manual for your 2003 Dakota from any Dodge dealership. (and perhaps even online from Dodge)

    I got the factory service manual as part of my "barganing" when I orderd up my truck from the factory. The salesman are eager to 'close a deal' by agreeing to throw in the factory service manual.

    I have a factory service manual for every automobile I ever owned. I find them to be very helpful. They describe every screw, wire, electric plug and compoenent in detail. There is a description of how every component works. These books pay for themselves very quickly since I can now diagnose and repair most problems myself.
  • bpeebles.
    Thanks for the response. Does your manual show the wheel bearings as part of the front drive shaft assembly? I'm having a bone of contention with Daimler-Chrysler and the dealer regarding my 100,000 mile warranty on the drive train. I had the front wheel bearing replaced and they told me it wasn't covered in the warranty because it wasn't specifically stated other than "the front drive assembly". My 2002 Dakota is a 4x4. The warranty states specifically for a "front wheel drive" that the "wheel bearing" is covered. Not so on a 4x4. It doesn't call for a wheel bearing other than "the front drive assembly". If your manual shows a wheel bearing on the "the front drive assembly", could you give me the chapter and verse? If it does, I'd like to get back to the dealer and recoup some of my costs.

    Thanks in advance.

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    The 2000 Dakota factory shop manual does not show the front bearings under the chapter about the front driveshafts. Instead, the front bearings are discussed in the chapter related to the front suspension.This is because for the 4X4, the front bearings are bolted to the steering knuckle.

    There is nothing specifically called "the front drive assembly". That is just an arbatrary name that can cover whatever they want (or dont want) to cover.

    Dont forget... those 100,000 mile warantees are only offered so they can SELL the vehicles - not to actually cover or protect the buyer. They are purposfully written to be ambiguous about what they cover.
  • i recently bought an 04 dakota 4x4 and have NO clue how to use the 4x4 option. i know i have to put the drive in neutral then turn the switch to either high or low 4, but can i do this while driving or do i have to be stopped?
  • nmacha1nmacha1 Posts: 9
    well is it manual or auto? i have an manual and 4wd high can be done rolling in gear under 55 mph and 4wd low is done in neutral at dead stop or barely moving . when done with it you should put it in reverse and go back the length of the truck.
  • ok so basicly i need some cheap mudders dotn care what kind but i need to knwo what the biggist size tire is that will fit with out rubbin so ether 32 or 33 id perfer 33 but i have a feelin it will rubb and one knwo the answer for me
  • any one know? what the max size is for stalk
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    I dont know the answer to your question about max tire size... but I do know that if you change from stock size, you may need to reporgram the onboard computer to compensate.
    Otherwise your speedometer will be incorrect and your ABS brakes may misbehave.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    The maximum manufacturer's recommended tire size for '97 -'04 Dakota is:

    15 inch = P235/75R15 XL

    16 inch = P265/70R16 (8" wide wheel only)

    17 inch = P255/55R17 (with R/T package only)

  • 440jeep440jeep Posts: 12
    am looking for a good 4x4 trans for a 318 to go mud slinging with any suggestions? needs to be good with daily driver HWY gear.
  • I have the same problem that someone else has posted.
    My 01 dodge dakota began shifting into 4 wheel drive when I go around sharp corners and especially city driving. I took it to the dealer and they replaced the transfer case shift motor and charged me $747 dollars. A week later it was doing it again but by the time I got it back to the dealer it stoped doing it and they said it was fine. I know this problem is going to come back. Years ago I did have the recall done for the transfer switch programming. Any help would be appreciated.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Just a suspicion, but this could be a Transfer Case Control Module (TCCM) issue.

    If the wiring is good and you've got a solid electrical ground to the transfer case and the transmission, the TCCM is about the only thing left.

    Good luck,
  • I have a 2000 Dakota, V8, 4wd, manual, with only 48,000 miles on it. I was out in some mud tonight, and needed 4 low to creep down a hill. It went in, but when I shifted out of 1st, it kicked into neutral. Once I stopped, I tried again, and everytime I tried goiing through a couple gears, it pops into neutral. 4hi is fine, but when I push it into 4lo it doesn't seem like it goes in all the way. And then it pops out easily. Anyone have any ideas on what's goin on? Or what it may be? I'm gonna look at the transfer case fluid in the morning, but I have no idea what else to look for. Winter is coming, and I'l like to get this fixed ASAP!
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    After all these years - you are the very 1st person that seems to have the same package on their Dak that I orderd from the factory. (2000, 4.7L Semi-Hemi, Manual xmission) I orderd mine in September of 1999 and it arrived at the dealership about 3 weeks later. The window-sticker says "This truck was built for Bruce A. Peebles" -- cool!

    I would suggest that you look at the ADJUSTMENT of the 4x4 linkage. It sure sounds as if the xfer-case is not fully going into 4Lo. This is often caused by the linkage between the lever and the xfer-case needing to be adjusted.

    I am curious... you say that "Winter is coming, and I'l like to get this fixed ASAP!".... do you *really* use 4lo that often? The "lo" setting on the Dak xfer case is EXTREMELY low. I find that when in "lo", 5th gear on the xmission is about the same a 2nd when in "hi". Cocenquently, I use 4lo about 1 time a winter. (and the winters here in Vermont are serious.)
  • Pretty much, that's the most bad [non-permissible content removed] Dakota model ever made.

    I live in Eastern Oregon, so winters get pretty bad, and I am out in the mountains a lot. So I do use it fairly often. Although with my canopy on, I'm very pleased with it's performance in snow. I'll take a look at that linkage, and give an update as to how it goes. Thanks.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Oregon -- wow, you may have me beat in the way of snow. 8-)

    When I orderd my Dak, I poured thru every option and specifically chose options which would give me the very best snow-traction. In addition to what I mentioned above in the way of powertrain..... I also opted for the "trac-loc" rear end and "tire-n-handling package". (31x10.5R15 tires -- that is 31inch tires!!)

    I am impressed that chryslers "trac-loc" limited slip differential with its cone-shaped clutches can easilly make both rear-wheels spin on dry pavement. I have to be careful when the gas-tank is low on fuel because the rear end can easilly slide out from under me in first gear with too much throttle.

    With this setup, I have TRUE 3 wheel drive when in 4hi/lo. (Both rear and one front must slip for me to lose traction)

    Without "trac-loc" rear-end, I would have 2-wheel drive when locked in 4Hi/lo. (One front and one rear can spin to lose traction)

    I would expect that you have the "trac-loc" too.... as I recall it was MANDITORY to get "trac"loc" when the 4.7L was coupled to the 5speed manual. (The ordering-computer automaticly added the "trac-lock" when that combo was selected.)
  • I bought my dakota used about 12 months ago, and it only had 30,000 miles on it. I don't know who owned it before the dealer got it, but they kept it in great condition, and they must have wanted the same package as you did. Because it sounds like about everything is the same. Have you had any problems with your brakes or front drive axle?
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