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Dodge Dakota 4x4 Problems



  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    The front brakes are cr@p. I have replaced them several times including calipers and rotors. Currently running BENDIX rotors and NAPA CERAMIX pads. These have lasted longer than anything else I have tried.

    My rear brakes are still factory with 80K miles on the odometer. (I do take them apart occasionally to clean/adjust)

    Check out this photo of the last brakes/rotors which I took off my Dak.

    While we are at it... here is photo of my running boards.

    My Homemade intake and modified AC system (gets real cold now!)

    As for front axle... mine has been troublefree. In fact, in all my years of following Dakotas, I have never EVER heard about any issues with front axle in the 2000+ Dak. (Independant Front Suspension design)

    I am curious--- why are you asking about the front axle?

    I run RedLine lubes in all gearcases. (front/rear diff., xfer, xmission and powerSteering)
  • Concerning the brakes I guess this is a real crap shoot. I have a 2K Dak, CC with the 5 speed and a 4.7, 4x4, which has 78K miles. I have the original brakes front and rear and have never had any brake problems. From the looks of them I'd say I have another 30K miles left on them. I have had the A/C condenser replaced and the door lock switch on the passenger side replaced. Also like bpeebles I have replaced the front and rear differential fluid, the transfer case and manual transmission fluid with Redline products and I'm glad I did.

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Just to be clear about why many of us chose to run RedLine lubes in all the gearcases.....

    I realized an immedeate 2-4 MPG increase on the highway. (went from ~18 to ~21MPG) The reason for this increas is 2-fold.
    1) Group5 synthetic lube is thinner that dyno-oil so there is less wasted power due to "gear churn".
    2)More slippery lube wastes less power due to lowered friction.

    The protection that group5 synthetic lubes offer is the very best available. When the pinion-seal on my rear diff blew out and lost most of the fluid, I was in the middle of a 4-hour trip with a sofa in the back running at 65MPH. There was NO DAMAGE AT ALL to the differential gears.... All I had to do was replace the seal and re-fill with RedLine again.
  • I have a 04 dakota 4.7v8 that doesn't seem to stay fully engaged in 4x4. When I select 4h or 4L on the dash it shifts into gear fine sometimes with a clunk. But when I romp on it in 4x4 it makes a clunking sound like two gears grinding. Has anyone had this problem and could someone tell me if it could be the transfer case shift motor?


  • I had a brake line break, and they seem to grab, especially when it's wet out. And I had something go wrong with the DS drive axle around 40K miles. It was making a clunking sound when I was going over 55 and grease was goin everywhere. But I took it to Les Schwabs and they were able to fix it. The only other problem I've had was with my rear DS door lock. It stuck half way, so i just took the plastic teeth that move the lock up and down off of the electric assembly. For now it's a manual lock.
  • I have a 04 dakota 4.7v8 that doesn't seem to stay fully engaged in 4x4.
    When I select 4h or 4L on the dash it shifts into gear fine
    sometimes with a clunk.
    But when I romp on it in 4x4 it makes a clunking sound
    like two gears grinding.
    Has anyone had this problem and
    could someone tell me if it
    could be the transfer case shift motor, or the chain?

  • I bought a 98 dakota sport yesterday, it has 240000 km on it a 3 inch body lift and its 4x4. The 4x4 is not engagaing when shifted into 4 hi, it is a standard and has floor shift 4x4. The truck makes an unbelievably loud grinding sound like two gears slightly missing when you give it gas in 4x4. The light is on in the dash indicating it is engaged but the sound leads me to believe otherwise. I am wondering if it is due to the body lift or maybe linkage. This is my first dodge experience and the truck is being repaired for my better half. Any info greatly appreciated.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    This could be a mis-adjusted linkage or worse.... I beleive each of the wheels also has a vacuum-powered enguagement.

    You really need to ascertain if it is the xfer case which is not fully enguaging.... or the front wheels.
  • i lifted the truck, all 4 wheels spin when the 4x4 is engaged. The wheels spin smoothly at idle speed but when the truck is accelerated there is a loud banging and grinding sound, the wheels remain spinning. The sound definately seems to come from transfer case area, truck does the same in 4 lo as well. Thank you for replying.
  • I bought my truck used , its an 04 Dakota Club Cab 4.7 V8 and just recently when i went to use my 4wd i noticed that the indicator light for 2 wheel turned off as normal and the one for 4 wheel hi just went to a solid orange light right away instead of flashing between the orange and green and then going to a solid green as it did the first time i had used it. Any ideas of why this would happen , or how it can be resolved?? the 4 wheel still seems to work which is leaving me confused.

    Thanks All
  • Don't really have a good word to describe it, but when I put my 2001 Dakota into 4wd and crank the wheels it doesn't want to go, like something is holding it up, give it some gas and it jerks forward a little bit then locks up again. It doesn't seem to matter which direction I turn the wheels. The shop said it was probably in the transfer case but I want to hear if there are any little tricks that you guys have found out about these to try.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    That is TOTALLY NORMAL for a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. While locked into 4WD, you should NEVER try to turn the steering wheel very much.

    The phyisics behind it is that when locked into 4WD, all the wheels are essentually LOCKED TOGETHER. When you try to turn sharply, the OUTSIDE wheels need to spin faster than the INSIDE wheels to keep up... this causes the driveline to "wrap up" and you feel that walking sensation. (as if the front wheels are trying to take steps) There is a HUGE amount of torque built up in the driveline when the wheels are locked together but need to spin at different speeds.... SOMTHING will eventually snap.

    That is why the owners manual says to NOT USE 4WD on dry pavement. You are lucky you have not ripped a driveshaft out from under your truck!!

    If your "shop" does not understand this phenomen about a 4WD... run away from them fast!

    4WD is only really useful in a STRAIGHT LINE and can actually cause you to slide off the road in the snow if you are not prepared for the effects of the wheels being locked together around a corner. Also, NEVER use 4WD above 40 MPH... you can get killed if you do not undersand the physics of a 4WD system at those speeds.
  • I love everthing about my 2005 Dakota except the gas mileage (around 17.5 combined). Would manual lockouts on the front hubs help? If so where can you get them?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    That would be a lot of $$ and time for little return.

    I was able to push my Dakota from about 18MPG to over 21MPG by simply changing all gearcase fluids from dino-oil to synthetic Red Line lubes.

    This included changing the following fluids.
    *)Front Differential
    *)Rear Differential
    *)Xfer Case
    *)Manual Xmission
    *)Power Steering

    Since Red Line lubricants are true Polyol Ester synthetic fluids, they are far superiour to most other so-called synthetics. (and also more expensive due to the cost of Polyol Ester basestock)

    There are several reasons for the increase of MPG.... including
    1)Less Friction
    2)Less gear-churn reduces wasted power (thinner oil still provides better protection!)

    A bonus is that I will NEVER EVER have to change these fluids again because of the superiour protection provided by the Red Line lubricants.
  • Thanx a bunch for your quick response. Did you have change seals as well?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    There was just ONE seal that started to leak after running RedLine for over a year. The rear differential lost all of its fluid on a 6 hour roadtrip with a sofa in the the bed of the truck.

    The ability of the RedLine differential lube to protect WITHOUT fluid saved my gears. All I did was install new seal and refill with RedLine Gear Oil. If this leak had occoured while running dino-lube, I may not have been so lucky.

    BTW: The RedLine Gear Oil CONTAINS the special additive for Limited Slip Differential (LSD). There is no need to add anything but the RedLine.
  • Awsome!! Thanx a bunch!!
  • I was driving an icy road tonight, and started sliding backwards down it, even in 4wd. There was a 90 degree turn at the bottom of the hill and I would have went through a fence and down a bank into a creek if I hadn't stopped. So I gunned it and cranked the wheels. I was able to get sideways and stop in the ditch. But when I started driving again, there was a buzzing coming from the engine and steam coming out of the hood. I got stopped at a flat spot and found fluid all over inside my engine compartment. Also, the buzzing seemed to be coming from my power steering pump. When I took off the lid of the power steering reservoir there was a noticeable suction, and there was barely any fluid left (I just filled it before christmas). I also found that the plastic guard (that has a hole for the oil filter) between the front bumper and the skid plate was cracked in 2 places and pushed up about 3 inches.

    I'm supposed to leave for college 5 hours away on Monday afternoon. I highly doubt this is gonna be a quick fix, especially in a small town. Any ideas as to exactly what the problem is, or ways to temporarily fix it? Also, how necessary is that plastic piece behind the bumper? Should I have it replaced or just pulled the rest of the way off?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    From your description, it sounds as if some of the power-steering plumbing may have been damaged when you went off the road. If that is the case, you may be able to find a shop that can make hydrolic fittings in-house while you wait.

    Also, you may wish to scrutinenize for any other damage underneath the vehicle.
  • I have a 02 Quad Cab Dakota V6, pretty happy with the truck. Unfortunately had to do front brakes, front wheel brgs, CV shafts and only have 130 000 kms. When i replaced the CV on the drivers side I noticed the it seemed to have a lot of play on the splined shaft that goes into the diff. as compared to the pass. side. Recently I have heard a clunking sound coming from that area. had the truck up on jack stands tonite and put it in 4wd to listen and look and it seems to be coming from that area. I guess there is a chance that the CV is faulty (it was new, not re-man) does anyone have any ideas or experience with this problem?
  • I have an 01 V8 Quad Cab and having these same issues-I only have about 85 K mi. on mine and the sounds are horrifying. They've been inconsistent. They've occurred about 3 times and went away after a couple awful moments each time. Noise this loud has got to be causing damage...have you had any luck tracking yours down?
  • I have a 2000 Dodge Dakota that makes a jolting, clunking sound in 4wd. This happens in both low and high ranges. It only happens under a load and has occured driving on the snow covered highway and on a dirt fire road. The last time on the fire road it took about 1/2 a mile to start, and then repeated the jolt every 20 seconds or so. You can feel the jolt and the sound sometimes comes from the rear of the truck, sometimes the front, and sometimes in the transfer case area.

    The local dealer has checked the front and rear differentials and the transfer case. All fluids have been changed. There were no metal shavings anywhere.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Are you sure that is not just "normal" sounds of driveline wrap?

    I would not worry about it...unless you have lots of $$ to spend on replacing all the driveline joints that have loosened up over the miles. (CV-joints, U-joints, bearings, gears, xfer-case chain, front/rear diff....etc.) If you add up all the places where things can get "loose" that can mean a lot of "slop" in the driveline.

    Heck, my 2000 make joting sounds in 2wd in first gear if I am not tender with the throttle. Just letting off the throttle in 1st gear will "slop" the driveline forward. (Expected of a manual xmission with 100K miles on it.)
  • This seems to be more than driveline "slop". It feels like something is in a bind and then "breaks free". It shakes the whole truck when it happens.

    The local Dodge Dealer can find nothing wrong!!!
  • I have and 05 Dakota 4x4 and my "SVC 4WD" light has been randomly coming on for about 2 weeks and every once in a while the "4WD LOCK" will come on too. When I'm pulling into a parking space or turning at slow speeds it sometimes feels like the 4WD has engaged. When driving yesterday it almost felt like I was losing power. Any idea what the issue could be or how serious it is? I'm a couple hours from home and no shops are open today so I don't know if I should be driving at all right now.
  • I just bought a 03 Dakota sxt 4x4. I can't figure out how to put it in 4 wheel drive. Help!!!!!!! :confuse:
  • I have a 2002 Dakota Quad 4x4 abs etc... bought it new. Had 3 rotor replacements, driver side callipar replacement, DS axle replacement, DS wheel bearing replacement. Now the passenger side is making a horrific noise. My suspicion is the wheel bearing is going. 80000 miles and nothing but problems. The first rotor replacement was at 12000 , second was @ 19000 3rd @68000 and that was when most of the DS issues were addressed, of course then it was out of warranty. Also had problems with the heater fan not working... also replaced components of that system now 4 times, from the switch and blwer fan to now the module in the ignition colmn. is this common??? I have been told by my dealer that I am unique with my problems.... lucky me.

    I will never buy another Dodge product....
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    "I will never buy another Dodge product.... "

    Ahh - But if the politicians have their way, your grandkids may be owning some part GM, Ford, and Dodge - (The reason I say "grandkids" is becasue politicians have already spent any money they will get from you, I and our kids by 'bailing out' the banks. The politicians are now working on spending taxes collected in 2020.)
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I will never buy another Dodge product....

    Complaints of poor quality rotors was a problem from 2000-2003. Of course you went 49,000 miles between your second and third replacement. Without knowing how you drive, that could be very resonable. But poor rotor longevity complaints are common on many trucks. The Nissan Titan is definitately the worse I've ever seen.

    Wheel bearing problems are not very common on Dakotas.

    The blower motor resistor failing is..or was a problem on your vintage, but it also sounds like you did not get a good diagnois all the time and probably not a reliable repair, either. The blower switches, I've not heard of one failure in all these years. They changed the blower resistor design a while ago and the new ones are good. If you're still having a problem the quality of the repair is suspect.

    Not making excuses for your Dodge, but mine has been very reliable and I've got 113,000 miles on mine. At least as reliable as any Chevy or Ford, and probably better in most respects. Of the dozen or so people I know with Dakotas, none of them are unhappy. It's unfortunate you've had issues, but in the last year every Canyon/Colorado I know of has had a cylinder head replaced at least once, a friend with a 2007 Tacoma has his taken back under the lemon law, and dozens of Titans seem to suffer from a multitude of various problems, just for example.

    It shouldn't happen, but it does, and it happens to a small percentage of each competitive brand. My Dakota would have to give me a lot more problems than yours has had in 80,000 miles before I'll ever go back to a Chevy!!

  • what fixed your problem? I have a 2001 AWD and it's doing the same thing. I had to take the drive shaft out and run it in 4WD. The TCCM and dash selector switch have been replaced.
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