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Dodge Dakota Problems. Please help!



  • ford_biiford_bii Posts: 120
    bpeebles - Why is it that you do not consider fleet sales to be sales? Or rental sales? As far as I'm concerned, if you sell the vehicle, it's a sale, and should be counted as such. Who cares if the guy who is driving it paid for it himself or if it is a work supplied vehicle? It's still out there, paid for and in use. ??

    These types of things, along with the 'xxx of the year' awards from every magazine out there, should be taken with a grain of salt anyway.

    Not very good reasons to NEVER buy a vehicle from them, in my opinion...
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    You may be correct... my reasons for not ever owning a F@RD may be pretty lame.

    As for counting fleet and rental "sales" to claim the "best selling truck in the world". My point is that they are comparing apples to oranges to make that claim. I realize that the idea is to "pull in" other folks that like to follow the crowd. I guess that is the VERY reason I am running the other way. (I do not like crowds)

    I know several farmers that have tried F@rds over the years... they guzzled gas and wore out quickly. These farmers ALL ended up in the DODGE camp after trying all the other trucks out there.
  • I'd have to second what Bpeebles said about brand loyalty (and not having any). Personally, I could care less who makes what, or even the political agenda of the companies (although I can't say that I agree with Toyota and Ford marketing tactics). This is, however, mainly because I hate politics. :) For me it is the overall package that is important; reliability, options, performance, dealer reliability/performance are all a part of that. I have owned 5 cars/trucks thus far, and all of them have their upsides and downsides. I owned a Saturn SL2 for 170K miles and replaced NOTHING except for brake pads and one alternator, and even THAT was due to my adding a subwoofer to the car. It sure didn't beat many people in races, but I loved that car because it was fast enough for what I needed, and it cost next to nothing to maintain. I then bought an S-10 because gas mileage was good and it hauled stuff around well enough for what I needed, and although I didn't have to have anything repaired, I only owned it for 45K miles, and by the time I traded it in on my Dakota, the clutch was about to go, the rotors HAD gone, the dash was rattling like crazy (and had been since 10K miles) and on top of that, the dealer took advantage of me so that I almost had to pay for a new clutch.

    I've owned my Dak for almost 8K miles so far in 2 months and while that's not a lot of time, so far I am extremely pleased with it. It has exhibited none of the problems that I have heard of yet, is quiet as a mouse as far as rattles/squeaks go, has more than enough power for a V6 for what I need, looks great, and on top of that, I got it for $500 under invoice at 0.0% financing with a 7 yr/100K warranty. To top it off, I've had it in the shop 3 or 4 times for routine maintenance and a little 'buzz' that came from the engine (turns out the oil dipstick was beating on the underside of the hood), and I have always gotten awesome service. I can't say that the truck will NEVER have problems, but my S10 had problems with the clutch and squeaks before 6K miles were out, and I've used my Dakota harder than I ever used any vehicle. I can't say I'm a Dodge loyalist, but I can say that I'll never refuse to purchase a vehicle from certain companies. After all, 10 years ago, if someone had said "Hey, in 10 years, Toyota will come out with an extremely popular full-size truck, and Hyundai cars will be selling like hotcakes because they are extremely reliable" I would have dropped dead with laughter.
  • I've got a 2001 QuadCab 4WD with 11,500 miles. My only complaint is a clunking noise coming from the front end when I make left turns or hit bumps. Dealer told me they "think" it's due to the torsion bar not "floating" like it is supposed to. Their solution is to remove the torsion bars, apply anti-seizing lubricant and reinstall them. I was told this should "minimize" the problem. Anyone have similar problems? Otherwise very satisfied with the truck.
  • I had a clunking noise when I backed down my driveway and turned the wheel. It turned out that when I had the vehicle aligned, the shop forgot to tighten some setting. Sorry I can't be more technical.

    If you have had your alignment done recently, take it back and have them double check the settings.

    Hopefully this helps.
  • Owned this 99 extended cab since 4/01, bought it used from original owner in Ohio, who bought it new in Cinncinati, Ohio.I just read back a few messages and had some comments. The rear end gear whine , I have deduced is the gear lash in the rear end and have lived with it .I just don,t trust the yahoos at the dealer, My brakes pulsate just like everybody elses. The previous owner had the rotors and pads replaced in CVG and I will live with it till the pads wear out , then i will use aftermarket pads but will try to get rid of the pulsating by cutting the rotors. as far as gas mileage, I have the 3.9 and i get 12 -14 mpg. truck now has 40k on it and i use Mobil 1 oil. engine does sound really loose, almost like a singer sewing machine
  • My brother-in-law has a '00 Quad Cab with 40k miles. He has the typical brake problem. The dealership turned his rotors and drums at 25k miles. When they are warped again, we are going to go with the drilled and slotted rotors and upgraded drums. But here is his problem. The power door lock actuators keep going out. The dealer has replaced all four, they have been very good about it too. This has been an awfully puzzling problem, has anyone else had this happen to them?
  • How exactly do you know when your rotors are warped? Yea, I know, I may be dumb, but I've owned 3 vehicles and never have experienced them. Just want to know what to look out for. Tks.
  • gregp5gregp5 Posts: 51
    You can usually tell by when you apply the brakes the pedal will pulsate under your foot.
    If your asking how they know there warped at the Dealer, they use a gauge to measure the runout.
  • Well I have a 94 dakota with the 3.9, 5 speed 2wd. This truck has over 150000 miles on it and has not really given me that many problems. Other than a fuel pump around 80k and water pump around 90k it been pretty good. I haven't even had to replace the clutch yet just normal wear and tear stuff, although I did have that rotor problem and after I turned them so much they needed replacing I just bought some after market rotors and they have been fine for about oh 60k or so miles. It has been a good truck but I need something bigger possibly the new ram or silverado....never had a chevy before.
  • I am in the process of shopping for a small pickup to tow behind my Motor Home. A recent article in an RV magazine listed all of the makes that were suited for towing.

    My first inclination was a Toyota Tacoma but that is not recommended. Frontier and Dakota were recommended but, after reading the comments of a number of very, very dissatisfied Dodge owners, I would never have anything to do with Chrysler products again.

    So it is the Frontier for me. Thanks to all of you out there who made your feelings known. It helped me with my decision.
  • iowabigguyiowabigguy Posts: 552
    Good choice, Nissan always looks better being towed!
    Maybe you can help me with my decision.

    I was looking for a good motorhome to tow behind my Dakota, any suggestions???
  • bookittybookitty Posts: 1,303
    Thomas, before you make a final decision (if you have not committed) do yourself a big favor and try towing with the Nissan. I too looked at a Nissan Frontier, but found three things that did not suit me. One was the lack of space between the
    brake and clutch pedals. My large feet kept getting tangled. Another, was a much smaller seating arrangement especially in the rear seat, and as I was considering a four door truck, this also impacted my decision. The third, was a lack of power. I brought my HD utility trailer along, and the sales person agreed to allowing me to tow it around the area. Nice truck, but quite anemic. The same trailer towed behind the Dakota acts as if it weren't even there. That was before the turbo version. My neighbor purchased a turbocharged Nissan crew cab and asked to borrow my trailer. When he returned, he advised me to check the brakes on the trailer as he felt that they were dragging. Important news: There are no brakes on my trailer and when I showed him how my Dakota tugged that baby with absolutely no effort,
    he was truly amazed and somewhat chagrined. Yes, I am sure that there are problems with the Dakota such as there are with all cars and trucks. Our posters are a bit more involved within the Owners Club and as such may be more vocal. Buy what you want of course, but do give it a try at all that you need to do. Whatever your decision, good luck with your purchase.

  • danodwdanodw Posts: 63
    I'm one that has had many problems out of my Q/C and had very little luck getting it fixed right. I also have driven Nissan's for many years with no problems. I grant you one thing, the V8 Dakota will pull heavy loads a bit easyier but not enough difference in the super charge Nissan and the Dakota. Maybe if you are going to be pulling a lot of heavy loads then a full size truck would be better. Nissan over all is a much better truck. It sounds as if tdarrow53 just wants to pull something behine his motor home so when he gets there he will have something to drive besides the motor home. It doesn't sound like he wants to do a lot of pulling with it. He made the better choice going with the Nissan. Thats if he doesn't want to worrie about fixing it all the time if you can get Dodge to fix it without going through a lot of B.S. I have a 17' fish and ski boat. A friend of mine has the Nissan super charger 4 door and he pulls my boat all the time. We have never had a problem nor was we concerned about power. It does just fine. I guess if I raced my Dakota and his Nissan pulling the samething, I might win, but who wants to do that. Besides with all the brake problems I have had with the Dakota, I wouldn't want to go too fast, might not be able to stop are
    I would have to fix the rotors agian. My truck has the heavey H/D package. No matter what Dodge does with my truck, fix it, buy it back or what ever, I will never trust them agian. It took them too long to do anything about my problems and now I have a deal going with them on taking care of my truck. They made an offer and I added some things to the offer. I'm waiting to here and it sould be a done deal soon. I will let all of you know what was said and done when its all over. Like I said it took too long and too much trouble. My friend gives me hell on my Dakota, which he is right, so I don't say much about a little difference in pulling power in his Nissan. I wonder, 100K to 200K miles from now who's truck will be in better shape, My Dakota or his Nissan. Do the math and read the reviews. Nissan also has a much better resale value. Just check it out for yourself.
  • jebsdaddyjebsdaddy Posts: 52
    I helped my parents spec out and purchase a new 2002 Nissan Altima. Right off the bat, the electrically operated sunroof would not open all of the way or close like it should. They took it to the dealer the next day to find that the sunroof motor was "out of phase 180 degrees" from the factory. No manufacturer is perfect even with the Japanese nameplate. The Nissan truck looks like it should come with a space suit and ray gun to me with the fenders and such. Just thought I'd stick up for my Dakota which is a good truck so far. (1 year)
  • I have a 4.7 2001 Dakota w/ 25k miles on it. I've have following problems:
    1. Hearing noise in left front end when I make hard left turns
    2. It's lurching sporadically after I've been stopped for a couple of seconds. Ex: I'll slow normally to stop at a light, sit a few seconds, then feels like I've been hit in the rear because it throws the whole truck foward.
    3. Front end vibrating while driving - not while braking
    Two different shops agreed there's something going on in the left front end. First shop said they thought it was the left rack mount bushing, left upper control bushings, torsion bar, sway bar. Second shop said go to DODGE.
    It's been at DODGE 2 days - they don't see a problem w/ the left front end! They can't replicate the problem #2 & said the diagnostic test showed no errors on the transmission. They said prob #3 is due to warped rotors. Warped rotors on truck w/ 25,000 miles & normal breaking??? Most of my trucks I've had over 100k on them & turned the rotors only 1 time!
    Can anyone offer any suggestions/help. I'm going into the shop on monday to get under the rack w/ the guys - any guidance/direction/suggestions would be more than appreciated.
  • ford_biiford_bii Posts: 120
    A person at work just got a new Nissan Maxima. It died the day they got it due to a bad oxygen sensor. The thing wouldn't even keep running. I thought that a bad O2 sensor would just throw the check engine light on, and the engine would just put out more emissions. Am I right? How would the Dakota respond if the O2 sensor went?

    Debandpaul: I bet any money that the "hit in the rear end" feeling is due to the fuel in the tank sloshing around after you've stopped. It usually happens to me when I got a full tank of gas, and goes away as the tank empties. See if you get the feeling on a full tank vs a less than half full tank. This is a common thing on the Dakota, and is no cause for alarm.
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    looks like you just got initiated into the junk brake club, courtesy of the beancounters at DC.

    I am laughing, not at you but hopefully with goes.....I have had my rotors replaced FOUR times! yup, with 26K on the clock, 4 sets of rotors....I consider you very fortunate to go the same distance on the original set of rotors!
    THe clunk in the front end MAY be due to the pads shifting in the caliper.....sigh.....again courtesy of cost cutting and bad design...I found my caliper mounting bolt holes were stripped somehow and they were drilled out and replaced with heli coil inserts.
    I am not surprised your neighborhood dealer could not "find" the source of noise. Hell, It took numerous trips to the dealer for a guy called ahasher to get his idle fixed and several trips for me to get them to admit the 45RFE DID shift poorly and thus they flashed the TCM.

    The solution to your braking issue is to go aftermarket Benxix, powerslots, or Raybestos USA made products and stay the hell away from the NAFTA sourced rotors and drums (yes, you will soon experience drum warpage too!)

    Good luck!
  • hairydoghairydog Posts: 44
    Ever since Mopar 67 inducted me into the Dodge Junk Brake Club I have to admit he was on target.
    Backing out of my driveway each morning the brakes noises sounds like the groans and creaks from an old Vincent Price movie.
    My Five Star dealer called to let me know my last response to D/C regarding warranty work (sheared studs) resulted in the service department getting a bad report card.
    I guess I was supposed to say I was happy despite the fact the service department endangered my life as a result of their shoddy workmanship. It wasn't the Truck's design that caused my studs to shear off but a careless Dodge Dealer mechanic.
    This same mechanic we caught recently resolving water build up in the Fog lights by drilling a weep hole in the unit so as to drain the water. His response was that D/C said it was okay and a little moisture was okay. Well I have the third set of Fog light's at D/C expense.
    We had three trucks come in with burned out bulbs in less than a week. All because of water seeping in the unit. Same mechanic ranting and raving that he can't get the Dealership to stock a single bulb. Each time customer had to come back another day just for a bulb. Great service department.
  • haselhasel Posts: 64
    If MOPAR 67 warped four sets of rotors in 26000 miles he needs to take a look at his driving style, have 2001 Q Cab in 15000miles had one problem nothing big have the 4.7 with auto tranny and 3.55 rear am averaging 17.21 MPG, this is my second Dakota and find it to be a great truck, look at the other makes you will find brake problems also due to the wt reduction in the parts, Hasel
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    Yeah, I looked at my driving style. Darn these hills in W PA. And those pesky red lights just seem to come up out of nowhere. Shame on me for using the brakes to stop. I tried the Fred Flintstone method but wore thru my shoes so fast, I was having to buy a pair every week. I wonder if there is the Kansas version of a Dakota and a W PA version; you know, a truck with brakes that actually perform and hold up?

    Driving style huh? Care to explain how I can operate two Intrepids as company cars one had 96K when I turned it in and the other had 34K and neither one had any braking issues. Keep in mind, I would typically run 5-6,000 per month on these cars from the appilachians to the Rockies and everywhere in between. Even the Taurus which did almost 45K in the rockies had no brake issues.

    Or how about two K cars one a Reliant (used of course) and a Spirit. Pretty small cars don't you think (with small rotors too!). No brake problems on either one of those.

    Since you must be an expert on driving styles I invite you to my homestead to give me lessons on how to drive so as not to be warp my rotors.

    Finally, think I am the only one here with this issue? Go to and take a look there. I have 20 bucks that says you'll find at least 50 or more posts on this issue. I can't imagine over 50 different people drive exactly the same way. Or feel free to contact the service manager at my dealer. He'll tell you about the daks, rams, and Jeep Grand Cherokees that make regular visits to his serice center for rotors.
  • ford_biiford_bii Posts: 120
    No offense, but I've been to, and it is full of motorhead racers. The kind that if the foot isn't on the gas pedal with it to the floor, it's on the brake pedal doing the same.

    The major problem with comparing brake life via mileage is that it is very subjective. Mopar67 says that he had 96k on an Intrepid and the brakes were fine. If a person drives all highway miles and is a sensible driver (doesn't tailgate, etc), theoretically their brakes would last much longer than the guy who drives through the city every day (when comparing mileage). What if somebody tows a trailer regularly vs somebody who drives around an unloaded truck?

    Nobody can really say except for mopar67 that the bad rotors are a result of harsh driving or truly a manufacturer defect.

    My point to all this is that if mopar67 has such brakes issues, then he needs better brakes, period. If he drives too hard or tows too much, then he should expect to have to replace these items more often or with better products. If he does none of these, then he is truly the victim of bad luck.

    There are many of us who do not have any brake problems. I am at 12.5k miles and generally use my truck unloaded and do not tow much at all. Perhaps I am the target profile that dodge was thinking about when they designed the truck. Is it right for Dodge to ignore the folks who tow a lot and will have problems with their brakes? I don't know. Probably not. All I'm saying is you can't blame the manufacturer if you use your vehicle in a manner outside of the norm that it was designed for. If you fall outside of the norm, then I guess it is up to you to fix your vehicle so that it can perform satisfactorally under the conditions that you subject it to. Unfortunately, for a Dakota, these conditions may not be very adverse.
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    It should be designed to work like a truck. Maybe not as hard as a full-size truck, but certainly harder than any compact. Ford_bii, I understand exactly what you are saying, if I had a Dakota and worked it like a full-size, then I should expect to do a lot of maintenance in short order. My brother-in-law has a QC. I can attest to the fact that he uses it as a car. He has nearly 40k on it now. The rotors were turned at 20k and they are needing it now. I think DC saved a dollar or two by making the rotors too thin, resulting in the heat sink not being sufficient to do the job.
  • iowabigguyiowabigguy Posts: 552
    Maybe the rotors are being warped by overtorqing the lug nuts. We have already seen one case where wheel studs busted due to overtorqing. Maybe mopar67s brake problems are due to inept mechanics in conjunction with lower quality parts. Rick (15,000 miles and no brake problems)
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    this is a friggin truck after all.
    No, it has not been abused, not hauled any weight in the bed, nor has it had to tow anything.

    THis is my gripe..I drive the thing 20 miles round trip to work five days a week then to the grocery on Sat and buddy that is ALL.
    Sometimes to a local bar for wings and beer but otherwise not a lot of driving and certainly no abuse.
    And DC wants me to belive this is "normal". SOrry DC, go try that on someone else.

    But alas, I know the cure, Bendix rotors for 58.80 at Advance auto this saturday. Then I will resign from the junk brake club and move on to other things..
    However, my original opinion of Dak brakes still stands.....they are five star pieces of sh*t! Period! And the beancounters and engineers involved in this fiasco deserve to be tarred and feathered.
  • blakdakblakdak Posts: 19
    To all you folks that complain of bad brakes, I would suggest that proper tire/wheel maintenance is a must. I have a 2000 Dak CC with 82,000 miles, I drive 120 miles a day in the Washington D.C. area. The dealer replaced my opriginal rotors with ~8K miles of wear (warped rotors). The second set had ~52K miles before replacement (warped), probably could have gone further with better maintenance. I replaced the Dodge rotors with Powerslot rotors and have ~20K miles on them. The powerslots need to be turned (warped). After the last tire rotation I forgot to doublecheck the torque on the lug nuts until I noticed the pulsations. There was 30 lbs difference between some of the adjacent nuts. As you can see improper torque can be as much of a rotor killer as poor quality materials and proper maintenance can offset some manufacturing defects. I even managed to get 60K miles out of the original Goodyear tires.
  • rassom1rassom1 Posts: 35
    I have a 2001 Dakota QC, with 4.7, auto, lsd, SLT Plus. Have 12,800 on it and it has been flawless.
    I have had no brake problems and I commute 44 miles a day on rural roads.

    I also had a 98 Dakota CC, with 3.9, Manual, SLT, that I leased and turned in for the QC. It had 32,000 miles when I turned it in and it was also flawless.

    My experience with Dakotas has been excellent. I have never had any brake problems, so far, whatsoever.

    Just my .02.
  • mad42mad42 Posts: 7
    3 months old, 1200 miles. The steering has a stiff spot around center, very light elsewhere causing oversteer around corners. At 2300 RPM the engine falls flat then takes off causing lurching. If starting from a stop and turning a corner it compounds the oversteer from body roll. Need to short shift to get around that. Trans failed at 230 miles because the factory forgot the oil even though both the factory and dealer "checked all fluid levels". A lot of backlash in the drivetrain, forget slow driving. Clutch pedal feels like a wet sponge - no feel and hard to match RPM to the shift. Engine RPM takes a long time to drop on shifts, sometimes grinds the syncros if shifted too fast (accelerate, wait 3 seconds, shift). On test drive the dealer rammed it into first at 25 MPH to prove it could be done. Engine will not maintain speed in fifth when empty on a slight grade unlike my 17 year old 2.6l Mitsu with a motorcycle in back. Has "handling package" but feels like they forgot the oil in the shocks as well. No room in the front suspension for real shocks. All problems are "the way it is made" according to dealer. First american vehicle in 35 years of driving. The last. Piece of crap. The CD works though.
  • bookittybookitty Posts: 1,303
    Actually, what Rick mentioned may have some merit.
    When I worked for one particular manufacturer of all wheel drive rough terrain loaders, it was very common to find failures due to: Too much torque, Too little torque, and the wrong grade of fasteners. Every guy on the line who pulled a wrench thought that he could accurately gauge torque while tightening nuts and bolts. The truth is however, until we used torque limiting impact wrenches (1-1.5 inch drives) we constantly had failures from stretched and/or improperly tightened hardware causing premature failures. The other problem arose when grade 8 bolts were called for but the bin was empty. Then grade 5 was used with a guaranteed failure on axle housing members. That is correct. Most failures were caused by errors on the factory floor. Therefore, Rick may be on to something, or the problems may be from other sources. I believe that mopar67 is a savvy guy, and knows his way around mechanical equipment. Still, if his dealer
    overtightened lug nuts, he would have no way of knowing unless they broke or if he applied a torque wrench to check it out. I for one, am a big believer in torque wrenches and use mine constantly. I use it also to roughly set my air impact tools as well. I certainly don't think that mopar67 is a poor driver or abuses his truck in any fashion. Having spent time in Western PA, I know that the terrain is quite hilly, but that would not be enough to create the level of brake problems experienced in this case. I hope that a solution is realized, because it must be very agonizing to constantly incur these failures.

This discussion has been closed.