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Dodge Dakota 4x4 Problems



  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Wheel bearing problems are not very common on Dakotas.

    Mebbie so... but before 90K miles, I had to replace front wheel bearing in my 2000 Dak. When on lift the front wheel would wiggle about 1/2 inch. Bearing was defanatly bad.
  • I fixed the 4X4 problem and I'm just leaving some info on here in case someone else has the same problem. My 01 AWD dakota would shift from AWD to 4X4 all bye it's self after about 20 minutes of driving. If I let it sit over night it would go back to AWD and be fine for about 20 minutes of driving. The transfer case motor fixed the problem. Not sure why it was doing it on it's own but that is what it was doing. I picked up one from a junk yard. Don't let them charge you more for an AWD motor because both the 233 and 244 use the same motor. I was told $650 for the 244 motor and $150 for the 233 one. The dealer wanter $450. Oh one last thing, the front drive shaft yoke has to come off to get the motor off. What where they thinking when they approved this design? Now that this is fixed, anyone want to buy a dakota?
  • ckmoeckmoe Posts: 1
    I have an 01 with 76k miles and the 4 wheel drive does not engage and am looking for help/solution ideas.

    In 2 wheel drive there is a noise like a dry/loose bearing on the drivers side. It is directly proportional to the speed of the truck (and maybe exaggerated during breaking.) When I select 4Hi coasting at about 15 mph, allow time for it to engage then slightly accelerate, there is a severe grinding noise like bearings are getting chewed up or maybe gears not meshing. The noise is now definitely on the drivers side. I switch back to 2 wheel drive right away.

    The wheel bearing assembly is good, the CV boots are intact and no leaks around the transfer case. Any thoughts on the source of the problem and the fix?

  • I have a 97 Dokota that I need to replace the oil pump on... Has anyone found an easier way than lifting the whole block out?
  • harlo2harlo2 Posts: 1
    have you had your 4wd problem resolved on your Dakota? My truck is doing the same thing. if you know what the problem was it would greatly help me.
  • marchalmarchal Posts: 3
    Yeah, I got it fixed. I took it to the dealer and it took them 2 hours to diagnose the problem. It was some sensor that controls the 4WD that went out. Cost me about $800 to get it fixed.
  • I recently purchased a 2002 Quad 4x4 with 4.7 and 45000 miles. I have a clunking sound coming from the front when I brake heavy. The dealer has replaced rotors, lines and pads (and DS front axle seal). I don't feel the clunk in the pedal, just in the front end. Also, today it was raining pretty heavy. Decided to try out the 4 hi. It would not disengage out of 4hi until I turned the truck off. BTW - the light did change from 4 hi to 2. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
  • denp44denp44 Posts: 46
    Just bought a used 98 Dakota Sport 4 x 4
    Where is the light when in 4 wheel drive on the 98 Dakota.
    The manual says it is on the shifter bezel. I don't see any light.
  • I had the same noise Took it up to the mechanic and he said that my front drive shaft needs to be rebuild. New front drive shafts from the dealers are about $500.00 Mike
  • My 2005 with 76K miles on it has started shifting in and out of 4WD. It does this while it is being driven and while it is shut off. Now it has taken to locking into 4WD while it is shut down. I have tried unplugging the switch but it still does it. It has me baffled as it should not be getting power with the switch unplugged. Any help would be greatly apppreciated, Thanks.
  • They told me it was because I had 2 different brand tires on the truck. Dealer did replace transfer case motor before they put 2 new tires on to make all tires same brand.
  • i can get it to shift into low range four wheel drive, but not high range. anyone have any ideas?
  • shopdog97shopdog97 Posts: 160
    Den44, I also have a 98 Dakota 4X4 SLT and my Part-Time 4WD indicator is in the instrument panel cluster(to the right of the Low Wash light) Mine did not light up the other week when I shifted the lever into 4Hi. Thinking it might be the bulb, I proceeded on Tuesday of this week to pull the instrument cluster from the dash. It was not as bad a job as I thought it would be, but it was all for nothing anyway. It was NOT the bulb(it's a real tiny one, FYI) so the issue must be with the position switch on the Transfer Case. Guess I should have checked that first, huh? Auto Zone has this switch for around $18 bucks. I'll use my meter to check for continuity and go from there.
  • shopdog97shopdog97 Posts: 160
    I know this post is old, but my '98 Dakota 4X4 SLT came from the factory with 31-10.50R15 tires in place of the 235/75R15 which I believe is the stock size.
  • Just wanted to post an update on the Transfer case switch on my 98 Dakota. It was indeed the vacuum switch on the Transfer case that was bad. It is located on TOP of the case(mine is the NV231 model) at a slight angle. There is a 2 wire connector on it and a 7/8 deepwell socket worked just fine. The part cost $19.07 at Auto Zone compared with nearly $40 from the dealer. Took all of 5 minutes to change.
  • can anybody help if i not moving and i turn the wheel to the right sounds fine when i turn it towards the left it makes a sound like unscrewing a rusted bolt if im driving once in awhile when i drive over a bump you can hear it sometimes i kicked the wheel and i heard the noise again some tell me its the wheel bearing then some one told me its the steering box and the last one told me its the ball joint ....has anybody had the same problem???
  • actx01actx01 Posts: 1
    Thanks for detailed and informative info on the "rachety 4wd" thread. Have experienced similar issues with 2001 5spd V8 Dakota 170k miles;
    - inadvertent/random engagement/disengagement (attempts) in/out of 4wd
    - clunking noises from the front drive line.
    - apparent clutch slippage under load
    - removal of the front drive axles revealed that splines on the LF shaft and CV joint were totally destroyed (apparent source of clunking noise)
    - had dealer diagnose inadvertent shifting issue - problem with electronic controls on transfer case.
    - removal of the clutch revealed just normal wear no damage.
    - removed LF drive shaft, until I save for replacement aftermarket units and control module for transfer case. Have heard that aftermarket units are much better.
    - replaced clutch, pressure plate and throwout bearing
    - clunking and grinding noises ceased
    - slippage still happening (albeit less often and less severe) even with new clutch and pressure plate.
    - Is there any other place in the drive-line that could produce a slippage sensation/feel?
    - Does the clutch need time to wear-in and is initial (slight) slipping with a new clutch unit normal?
  • I'm having EXACTLY the same problem after only 35k miles. I've spent almost $3,000 at the dealership to have it fixed, but they don't know what they're doing, nor did they fix the shifting in-and-out problem. Also, on a couple of occasions the 4wd stopped working and the "N" light came on (for the neutral postion on the shifter) but I wasn't in neutral! It's annoying; the shift motor will even shift in and out after I've shut down, locked the doors,.. and you can hear it doing it when you're walking away from it in the parking lot. I don't dare go into a parking garage for fear it will shift while I'm in a tight turn. So far, the only thing I havent tried yet is to have the shift motor replaced. Those guys at Dodge replaced: the a/c transducer; the forward control module; the instrument cluster (none of these sound like they have anything to do with 4wd); and they attached a wiring harness. They said if all else fails (coming from their tech support center called STAR), replace the shift motor.,
  • I'm having the same exact issue as well! I have done a ton of homework as I don't trust many mechanics. I've heard too many horror stories of people paying dealers/mechanics hundreds of thousands of dollars to get one problem fixed, just to see it continue to exist.

    None the less I read a ton and narrowed this problem down to one of two things. There is a sensor in the Electric Transfer Case Shift motor, unfortunately you have to replace the entire shift motor. Or the Front Control Module(FCM) There is no Transfer Case Control Module(TCCM) on the 05, it is all controlled by the FCM.

    A good friend of mine new a mechanic he has used and trusted for several years. I had him look at it and his conclusions matched mine but he was very straight forward and told me he wasn't sure which either.

    I purchased the Electric Shift Motor today ($284) and went to work. NOT AN EASY TASK! you have to remove the front drive shaft, which requires removing the Exhaust Y pipe that from the best I could tell would require the one tool I don't have to re-install, WELDING.

    Needless to say I have not got the new shift motor on yet, but am hoping to soon. I will let you know the outcome.
  • Ok so I lied. It does not require welding, only unhooking the Y pipe (Crossover to some) at the manifold. I started this project today and ran out of daylight so will have to complete it when there is more light.
  • Replace the Electric Shift Motor. Beware if you go DIY.
  • I recently bought an 87 dakota 4x4 and there is no label on the engage shifter how many positions and in what order is it 2wl Hi 4 low 4 ???
  • rwbohnrwbohn Posts: 1
    i have a 95 dodge dakota that im having problems fiquring why it wont work in four wheel drive,there is no vacuum switch on the transfer,just the 4x4 lighting swich for inside the cab wich does work,when locked into four wheel drive the shaft going to the front axel does turn,ive looked the whole axel over to find what other people have been talking about as far as the acculater but the only vacuum line comming off the axel is a breather that mounts on the passenger frame,is it possable this axel is a full time and only is suppost to engage is when you pull the lever on the floor to engage the transfer case?,if thats the case im thinking i might have damage inside the pumpkin.
  • hey guys i cant get mine to lock front tires in tran locks in just fine but wont lock front in any ideas
  • Hi All, I have a 2001 4x4 Dakota 4door. I took the front drive shaft off to replace the CV joint on the transfer case end. I also have to replace the Left CV shaft. Shouldn't I be able to drive the truck out of shop and turn around using the rear drive? My Dakota is an automatic AWD/w 4hi 4lo. It won't move with the front shaft off in any position on mode switch AWD 4hi or lo. I assume I have been pulling the truck with the front diff. for a while. Thanks for any help, Superflash
  • Hey Gang, I cured it myself. Evidently the transfercase motor was stuck or ? Anyway I wiggled the wires and tapped on the motor and walla it worked and I could move the truck with the front drive shaft off. Worked as I thought it should. Superflash
  • alizardalizard Posts: 1
    Just got done driving my Dakota in fairly deep it won't shift out of 4lo...can the shifting mechanism freeze?
  • jbuhlmanjbuhlman Posts: 1
    musicbyd for your 87 Dak all the way forward is 2 wheel, straight back about 2-3 inches (just pull 'till it wants to stop) is 4 Hi. From there move to the right (towards passenger) and then pull back, 1st stop is Neutral, all the way back is 4 Lo.

    I have an '88 and they should be identical.
  • I have issues shifting from 4wheel back to 2 wheel . I needede 4wheel so I locked in and couldn't really get it to engage into 4 but it sounded like it was grinding from the front diff , so I disengaged and now the dam thing grinds in 2 wheel not really grinds but is more like a ZzzzzzZzzZz of non engagement of axle into the hub but I haven't pinpionted if its the cv engagement or what . I.m almost certain its in the front end . Anybody have similar problem ? Its been good lil buggy till now, just made my last payment , go figure . If anyone can help sure appreciate it , thanks
  • I have a 92 Dakota 4x4 that wont go into 4 wheel drive . Since it was new it was used maybe a dozen times. I replaced vacuum lines and the light on the floor stays on all the time but its not in 4 wheel. When you put it in 4 wheel the light goes out but its not in 4 wheel .I really need to get fixed before winter.Anyone have any ideas what I could do next. Just wish I had a book on this. Thank you.
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