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Dodge Dakota Problems. Please help!



  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    .........The dealer used Mercon!?!

    Yes, I agree again with Mopar67, start digging out your receipts for that ATF change.

    This is the stereotypical failure mode for Dodge truck transmissions. Within x amount of miles the transmission starts to shudder or slip. Wrong ATF.

    I can't believe your dealer admitted to this.

    Good luck,
  • I have a '99 Dakota, CC, 4WD, 5.2L and have experienced the following problem recently: the headlights go out after I flick the brights off. This doesn't happen all the time, and fortunately, the fog lights do remain on, so I am not left completely in the dark. I have checked the relay labeled "headlights" in the PDC under the hood, but oddly enough, the brights/headlights continue to work, even with the relay REMOVED! Has else anyone experienced anything like this?
  • I posted the same problem about 20 posts ago, someone replied that it was the headlight multi switch; my dealer also suggested the multi switch. Haven’t had time to have the problem corrected, let me know how you make out.
  • Crawled under the truck again and found that one of the seals on the rear u-joint had lost all of its grease. Changed the u-joint tonight. The u-joint would only pivot in two directions instead of four. When I pulled the cap off the leg with the broken seal it was covered in rust. I went for a drive and the noises annd shudder have gone away. I will have to double check with the dealer about the fluid. Thanks for the help.
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    I never woulda thunk that....but it makes perfect sense!
    Next question.....did you get greasable replacement units? I recall the factory units are "sealed" (thats a joke in of itself)
    HOpe all goes well at the dealer....if indeed they got the wrong fluid in there, high time to get it out. Ask them to go a complete flush too......on their nickel, not yours!
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (mopar67) Do not forget that there is a compromise with the greasable U-joints. The greasable ones have passagways drilled in them to allow the grease to flow from the zerk to the needle-bearings.

    The NON-greasable U-joints are SOLID STEEL thus significantly stronger than the greasable ones.

    I have seen people break those greasable, hollow U-Joints. Often they are running 500+ HP and lifting the front wheels off of the ground when they break ;-)

    I just wanted all the facts to be known so folks can make an informed purchase.
  • Has anyone changed the tires on their Dakota Quad Cab yet? I have a 2000 with the P255/65R15 Goodyear tires on it now. I have 43,000 miles on them and need to change them soon. I've searched the WEB and don't think I have much choice except for Pirellis and Goodyears (just like the ones on it now). Just want to know if the Pirellis might be a better choice the second time around?
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    They seem to have good selections plus you can read reviews posted by owners of the tires.
  • jhorljhorl Posts: 89
    At about 34,000 miles my 2000 Quad has developed a very annoying squeak. It is noticable when going over speed bumps, making slow turns or when pushing up and down on the front bumper. The noise is coming from the front end and it is definetally a sqeak, not a clunk or rattle. Has anybody experienced this problem yet and what is the suggested fix.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    43K on tires is not too bad. I'm use to getting 80,000+ on Michelins. I hope these Wrangler SR/As give me at least 43,000 miles. They're $159 a piece at Goodyear.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I'm glad you're shudder problem turned out to be the u-joint. I've never seen an aftermarket u-joint that didn't have grease channels and fittings. The factory version might not.

    I agree with mopar67 that I'd get that Mercon out of the transmission ASAP. There are some transmission techs who swear that Mercon won't hurt Chrysler transmissions. I don't know. One shop here in town surprised me by saying that they use the Chrysler ATF+ in Ford and GM transmissions to cure torque converter shudder. Maybe they are similar, but I suspect that the ATF+ (7176) has a friction modifier or something in it.

    Good luck,

  • My 2001 2WD QC has the same squeaky steering noises as yours during slow parking lot turns but, not over bumps. I've had it checked twice at the Dodge dealership. The first time, they lubed the steering components and the squeaks went away. After 2 months, the steering noises returned. On the second visit, they said, "all the squeaky noises present are normal for the rack & pinion steering and there are no bulletins out for this issue". I've test driven other Daks (2001,2002,2003) which do not squeak, so I'm not satisfied with the answer. I did some further research and have found a NHTSA Technical Service Bulletin(TSB) identifying the issue but, no documented resolution or fix for it. It's listed as TSB #1900900 and released/dated on Dec 2000. I'm going to the dealer today and to see if there is a fix for this problem. Good luck with your QC.
  • In August I brought my 2000 QC to the dealer, (not the selling dealer), at 35,400 miles so they could check out the squeak. I got a call later and the service manager told me I was lucky I brought it in when I did. He said the ball joints needed replacement. What he meant was that I was lucky it was still under warranty ! Here's what was replaced for free:

    Upper and Lower control arms on left and right.
    (the ball joints are pressed into the arms, so it's all one unit now.)

    Outer tie rod ends both sides.

    Tie rod, left side.

    In addition, they did an R&R on the springs and seats attempting to silence the squeaks/rattles.

    There's still an occasional rattle, but they said it's probably coming from my calipers as my pads are worn a little over halfway. (mopar67- I still have the original rotors and pads !)

    The parts were priced at over $1100.00, and they gave me a rental for 9 days for free. The wait was for parts delivery.
    They also mentioned that after assembling everything and bringing it to the alignment service, they had to bring it back to loosen everything and shift it over so an alignment could be done.
  • You've got a great dealership there!!!!!
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I hear a number of people think the Dakota gas mileage is bad. I just finished the first real Interstate road trip (I-390 to I-86 to US15, and back).

    Cruise control used for 202 of the 244.3 miles driven, set at 65mph = 21.87mpg.

    Mixed driving, mostly around town, some open rural road, including 2.3 mile trip to work each day = 17.61 mpg average over eight tanks. Extremely smooth engine and transmission.

    Lowest 16.69 mpg
    Highest 21.87 mpg

    2003 Club Cab Sport Plus, 4.7L, 545RFE, 3.55 LSD, #6010 GVW package with 2200 miles. No cap or cover.

  • This is a follow-up to msg #673...(after lots of research)

    My 3rd visit to the dealership service dept, has been successful. They have just received (on Wednesday) the NHTSA TSB #1900900 document & related details to correct the squeaky steering noise problem. My vehicle is scheduled for this fix next Friday. Wish me luck... The documented correction involves taking the steering column apart and reversing a part that was incorrectly installed at the factory. I'm hoping they also check the front-end alignment after the fix. The dealership and its staff are top-notch and I hope this will be the end of this squeaky steering issue.
    I hope this helps other Dakota owners having the same problem.

  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    While washing and waxing my 02 QC today, I noticed that the bottom (where the fender flare curves underneath the body) of the rear fender flares was full of small pieces of gravel and sand. When I pried back the fender flare a little bit, I could see where the paint was worn down to the primer. Around most of the fender flares, there is about a 0.5-1.0 mm gap between the flare and the body. But at the lower rear corner, there isn't a gap. Anyone else seen this problem? I'm just concerned about rust forming after a couple of years.
  • Hello every one -- my son loves the look of a Dakota Club Cab. I've been looking around for a used model -- there seems to be a lot of 2000's available w/ v-6 3.9L engine, which automatically makes me suspicious. Was this a sucky year/engine?
    Are there any year/models (within the last 5 years) that I should avoid?

    Thanks for any help/advice!
  • I personally would not buy a Dakota with a 3.9V6. I have owned a 5.2V8 automatic and currently have a 4.7V8 5 speed. Both have proven to be reliable. The 3.9V6 is underpowered and gets poor gas mileage, in many cases worse than the 4.7V8. Rick
  • hennehenne Posts: 407
    I have owned a 1996 club cab with the V6 auto, a 2000 Quad Cab with a 4.7 auto and now a 2001 Quad Cab 4.7 auto. (Long story)

    The V6 was very nice compared to the other trucks I was looking for at that time and the power wasnt lacking either. I towed all the time in very hilly terrain and the truck never disappointed me.

    The 4.7 V8 gets better gas milage under most all conditions and is a very powerful package. Tows great. (3000 miles cross country towing 5500lbs through lots of mountains and I never felt I was lacking anything.)

    I am not sure how old your son is but if he is a teenager, get the 6. If he is a senior or older and he will be living with the gas bill and using this truck as an adult (towing, moving...) then spend a little more and get the 4.7.

    If you are considering the 5.2 or 5.9 V8 then that is even worse than the 6 on gas but both very good and powerful engines.

    I would get the 4.7 V8 without thinking twice if the Dakota is what you want. Spend a few hundred more and get the 4.7, if its not in your budget, wait until it is. It will be well worth it.

    Good luck.

  • glzr2glzr2 Posts: 70
    It figures. On the QC owners board, I recently posted how pleased I am with my '02 QC. Well... this morning, I jumping in a started down the road. Like clockwork, at 15mph, the doors locked. Only difference was, they immediately unlocked. I used the power door lock button to lock them again, and they unlocked. This went on for many miles... me locking the doors with the key fob, button, and just manually locking them. The truck just didn't want to stay locked. I even pulled over, got out, and got back in, started the engine, took off, and at 15mph the doors didn't lock. I gave up and the rest of the ride to work, the door locks just kept clicking... over and over again. I dropped it off at the dealer and I am waiting to see how the exorcism is going.
  • glzr2glzr2 Posts: 70
    I picked up Eda about half an hour ago. The dealer had to order power lock switches and they will take two to three days for delivery. In the mean time, I'm stuck with the switches which constantly click unlocked. Neither the owners manual nor the fuse panels tell which fuse is the power door locks. I want to pull the fuse and manually lock the doors so that my truck isn't unlocked while parked at work or in the driveway overnight. I called the dealer, but the one guy that can help is with a customer and who knows when he will call back. I need help... I will be leaving work soon, so anyone with a BOB or someone who knows which fuse kills the power locks... please let me know.
  • glzr2glzr2 Posts: 70
    BTW... I had the dealer look into the clicking in the front end during slow sharp turns. They lubed up the front end, but if it starts again, I'll mention the NHTSA bulletin.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I have driven several 3.9 V6s, a 318 (5.2) and recently purchased a 4.7 V8 Club Cab.

    I've heard a number of people say they are getting the same or only slightly better gas mileage than I am with my 4.7. So far I'm getting anywhere from 16.5 around town to a high of 21.87 on Interstate driving (using the cruise control).

    I think the V6 will do better than that, but I also think that when driven in a more lively manner, the V6 may do no better than the 4.7. Under an easier driver you probably will see +2 mpg better from a V6.

    Like Henne, I think the 3.9 would be adequate for most people, but for towing I think the 4.7 will be better appreciated by most. The 4.7 is pretty close to the older 318 performance wise for towing. The 4.7 seems to have just a tad less low-end torque, but seems to have a noticeably much wider torque band and pulls steadily through the RPM range.

    This may sound strange, bhe one disadvantage about the 4.7 in my opinion is the exhaust sound. No, it's not loud or anything. But from the cab it sounds like a vehicle with sweetly tuned dual exhaust. I say this is a disadvantage because I've riden with a couple of Dakota 4.7 owners and you can quickly tell they like that sound as they are always pulling RPMs through the shifts just to hear it. This is not good driving technique for maximizing gas mileage!

    I've had five people test drive my new Dakota and to a person the exhaust sound was the very first thing they commented on. My daughter (yes, my daughter!) kept spinning the tires on her test drive, which sort of annoyed me. It is easy to tweak the tires, despite mine having limited slip and 16 inch wheels, and I've done it unintentionally a few times myself.

    Good luck on your decision.

  • Need info on this motor in the DAK QC. Somewhat concerned, since it it the former 360 as compared to the newer 4.7L. Any advantage over the 4.7L . Opinions on the need for more power vs the fuel mileage and reliability of both engines. Thanks.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    The 360 is a torque motor. It would do better with a lower numerical axle ratio, but I think the lowest you can get it with in a Dakota is 3.55:1. As others are telling you they are strong and very reliable. It would not be the most economical choice. If you are planning on towing near the maximum of the Dakota's ability a lot of the time, it might be something to consider.

    But if your towing requirements are intermittent, the 4.7 would be more than enough in my opinion.

  • I have been reading this board for a year now. I just want to say one thing and you will
    never here from me again. I have an o1 Dakota Q/C, 4.7 with all the bells and whistles. I
    love the appearance, size and power. This truck and many other dodge products are put
    together with very low quality equipment, bad service etc. They are for the most part
    JUNK. This truck and other dodge products has the appearance, power etc. but does not
    have the quality and service that it deserves. It has features to be the number one truck of
    all time, why would DC push such low quality and service. I know some have no problems
    but there are too many others who are and the % of bad is more than the % of good. The
    one's with no problems, you are lucky but you might not be so lucky on your next trade in.
    I love Dodge but can't throw my money away on a chance with them again. I've never
    broke down but have had many many other problems. Too much to list. A very long story
    that has been said many times on this site by many difference people. I will not post again
    so don't ask me anything. Said what I needed to say. Go ahead and dog me. Best of luck
    to all of you, God bless and Happy Holidays.
  • glzr2glzr2 Posts: 70
    Posting #682-684. Can anyone with a shop manual or knowledge tell me what fuse to pull to kill the power door locks????? I'm desperate to the point I have to pull the battery cable every time I park. It's the only way to stop the truck from continuously unlocking even when parked. bookitty? iowabigguy? The parts aren't coming in for a couple more days and I need an easier way to kill the door lock switches!!!!!!
  • jhorljhorl Posts: 89
    Well I crawled under the truck the other day and after pushing up and down on the truck I Isolated the squeak to the stabilizer bar bushings at the lower control arm. I removed, lubricated and reinstalled them and the squeak is gone, for now anyway.
  • Remember in previous posts the fuse relay block up under the dash, The one we were looking for to get power to the 12volt power outlet??? Well there is a relay in there that is called the driver unlock relay. I don't know if this is strictly for the drivers door or controls all the doors. This as far as I can see is your only option. The power door locks are powered directly without inline fuses by the Central Timer Module. You cant unplug this module because it runs all kinds of important circuits to include air bags and your instrument cluster. I kinda doubt the vehicle would even run. There are 5 fuses that provide power to the Central Timer Module however the circuit diagrams don't provide enough information to tell if one of these would disable the power lock circuit by itself. If you feel like experimenting they are numbered as 4, 6, 11, 13 & 17. All are located in the junction block on the drivers side of the dash (with the drivers door open) I believe the following functions are assigned to the fuses as: 4 = wipers, 6 = headlight flasher/horns, 11 = fused ignition switch output, 13 = power locks???, & 17 = instrument cluster.
    Hope this helps!!! Bill goes to Bookitty, right??? Rick
This discussion has been closed.