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Dodge Durango



  • 34rod34rod Posts: 5
    I am looking to purchase a vehicle for towing a streetrod to car shows from the east coast to Colorado and back. Have been considering the 2001-2003 Durango since it's towing package seems to have greater a greater gross than the Ford Explorers and some Expeditions. (Locally used Expeditions are cheaper than Durango's). A friend has a similar car/trailer rig that he tows with an Astro van with a 4.3L V-6, so a minimun towing weight limit of 6500 lbs seems about right. Can I assume that the Durango with a 5.9L and a 3.92 rear will be the logical choice to meet my needs? Or is this a job for a bigger hauler like a full size or HD pickup? Any comments or insights would be appreciated.
  • li_sailorli_sailor Posts: 1,081
    Using an Astro for 6500 lbs sounds like trouble (the Astro is only rated for 5000 lbs) but the Durango w/ the 5.9 and 3.92 axle sounds do-able. I used a Ram 1500 with the same engine/axle to tow the same weight from Denver to NY. I'll say that the brakes were the critical point...we had little trouble hauling but braking was marginal. The trailer had surge brakes, of course.

    I would say the Ram 1500 would be better than the Durango, and the 2500 better still, if that fits your other requirements and you plan to do this towing regularly.
  • 34rod34rod Posts: 5
    Thanks for the suggestion. Actually the Astro is is rated at 6300 lbs, with the 4.3 vortex and tow pakage. Owner added heavy duty springs and special trailer features with electric brakes. He tows a 39 ford street rod to car shows from Fl to Ky. with no problem. We looked at a 2000 Durango SLT plus with a 5.9, very nice but have some questions about previous use. Mileage is real low (17k) for the age. For the same price we can get a 2000 Ram 2500 super cab with the V-10 engine. It has only 25K miles on it. I think this may be better for our needs. We will be towing a 1934 Ply street rod which weighs 3200 lbs, trailer will be less than 2k lbs. I also like the ride height of the Ram 2500.
  • tason67tason67 Posts: 36
    I have been in love with the Durango since I saw pre-production model at the Detroit Auto Show. However, until the recent spate of rebates, they have always been out of my price range. I would be like most SUV owners in that I don't have anything to haul and there is a 99% chance that I would never go off the highway. I like the size. comfort, and cargo space of SUVs. My concern is insurance. I've always heard that it costs more to insure SUVs, but I'm wondering just how much more. I live in a low crime area, have a garage, a spotless driving record, excellent credit and am well into my 30's. Anyone have a ballpark figure on how much I might have to pay? I have a $1000 deductible on my sedan right now and pay about $1200 a year. Any input/advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
  • I bought my 99 D NEW to be a 10 year/life vehicle. Loved the look and the power. 5.9L SLT with HD & Tow options, and 17 inch wheels/tires. Took the 100K extended warranty because dealer dropped interest rate and made the deal better than break even. Problems almost from the get go but dealer has been good to work with. Mysterious HUM from brakes/wheels from the start. Checked many times. No problems found. Still got the bothersome hum. 4WD been worked on. Water pump replaced. 1st battery exploded at 2 years. Not a covered item. Replaced battery again this week at just a tad over 2 years from first replacement. No explanation from dealer as to why batteries don't last. Computer diagnostics do not show any open/bad circuits or sensors. ABS sensor had to be replaced. Intermittent A/C problems. Blower blows thru defroster and floor vents instead of out the dash at times. Used to be periodic but getting more frequent now. Just had tranny replaced. Has recently developed the rear end whine and screaks in the front end others have mentioned. Power windows don't work off and on. Sometimes switches hit and sometimes not. Infinity CD sometimes has scrambled eggs for brains and songs sound like Klingon music. Fortunately no sludge but don't wanna find out about that the hard way! Been stranded twice in last month and had to call for tow assistance. Gas mileage has sucked from the get go. Sometimes I spend nearly $100/week at the pump. Thank goodness the dealer made a good offer on the extended warranty at purchase or I woulda just had the 3/36 and been out tons of money! Gonna trade before the extended warranty runs out.
  • li_sailorli_sailor Posts: 1,081
    I see my Astro tow capacity of 5000 lbs is a bit outdated, but I see only 5400 lbs as the maximum capacity with the tow package. The 4.3 vortex is the only engine offered, no?
  • ywilsonywilson Posts: 135
    I know you have been hearing on the news about the ball joint issues with Durango's. Have those ball joints checked out!
  • Does anyone know approximately when the new 2004 Durango's will be hitting the showroom's in the southwest? I am really interested in taking a look at these. Thanks for any info!
  • jtilljtill Posts: 2
    I purchased my 99 Durango used in Dec. 2001 w/47,000 miles. It has been greatly reliable and my wife and I love it. Other than having the water pump replaced shortly after purchase and just recently replacing front brakes and rotors we have not had any problems until now however. I noticed my front tires starting to wear and took it to my local dealer. I was told my upper and lower ball joints (left & right), tie rod and tie rod ends are worn out. It only has 65,000 miles and I have confirmed this problem with a second opinion from a different dealer. A freind of mine recently told me of a program seen on CNN about the Durangos having these problems and even causing accidents in the severe cases and trying to get Dodge to recall these Durangos. My friend told me to call the customer service number and voice my complaint. Has anybody heard about Dodge having this problem and please give me more information.
  • hat5hat5 Posts: 1
    We have been planning on purchasing a used SUV (99-2000) and had my heart set on the Durango. Great looks and wanted the third seat, which I don't think any similar-size vehicle has. But now I hear horror stories about oil sludge causing drop in oil pressure and blown engines. Owners told it is lack of maintenance and having to pay $5000+ for new engines--even if they have the extra bumper-to-bumper warranty. Chrysler taking no responsibility. Anyone know about this?
  • jtilljtill Posts: 2
    I recieved some new information on the ball joint issue. There has been an investigation by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) that started 7-18-2003 to see if there should be a recall from the Chysler Corp. After a week there has been no decision as yet but was told if any work has been done to fix this problem to keep the receipts for reimbursment later should the NHTSA find for a recall.
    I called the Chrysler Recall Dept. ( 800-853-1403 ) to report and document my problem along with filling out a complaint form and faxing ( or mailing ) it to the NHTSA and encourage anybody who has this or had this problem to do the same.
    The NHTSA has a web site to check on the progress and file a comlaint( WWW.NHTSA.DOT.GOV )
  • mcangeymcangey Posts: 2
    Does anyone happen to know anything about rebate cycles (if there are any). I want to get the durango BEFORE july 31 because of the 4500 rebate. A dealer told me that because the 2004 are coming in fall, i should expect to see an equal or greater rebate next month if i wait. And this is coming for a dealer as i stood on his lot (saying i can wait). If anyone has any wisdom concerning this i would love it. (waiting a couple weeks to a month may help me, but i don't want to miss the rebate - it's so good) thnx
  • After our 2K 4.7 SLT (51,275 miles) died on the freeway last Sunday, it was hauled to our regular repair shop. Monday they told me that the main computer had shorted out and was sizzled, and that a replacement had to be ordered from the dealership (the same one that I was trying to avoid in the first place). The shop received the brain box from the dealership Wednesday but didn't install it as they said it had a "dusty and fingerprinted used" appearance to it. After a new replacement was received Friday and installed, the shop discovered that when the computer went down, it took a couple of other control modules with it, most specifically, the transmission module. We pick the Durango up this Saturday morning and face a bill of about $1,500. Ugh!

    I did a search on this board and could find no reference to similar problems such as this. Perhaps some of you esteemed Durango owners can tell me, is this an isolated incident, luck of the draw, or a common malady? Do I have any recourse with Chrysler? Seems like a pretty hefty problem to crop up at such low mileage.
  • jglackinjglackin Posts: 164
    I drive a Durango, never had a problem like that. As far a recourse goes, you can always call and make your case, but I suspect that their biggest problem will be that one of the dealership techs did not get a chance to diag the problem. I also sell them and frequently quote a stat from Consumer Reports '01 Buyers Guide about electronics. They estimated that at that point about 28% of an MSRP was the cost os the electronics on a vehicle. Broad statement, I know. If you are going to keep it, go check out some warantee price (It sounds like you dont have one)
  • porknbeansporknbeans Posts: 464
    My Durango had a very similar problem a couple of years back. I don't remember the specifics of it, but the main wiring harness for the vehicle (not the engine) got fried. Along with it went a couple of computer modules. Like I said I don't remember the specifics, but I'll look it up and list it for you. Fortunately, mine happened while it was still under warranty. Dodge paid for the repairs, but not the rental car that I had to drive around in for 3 weeks because the parts were on perpetual back-order. I'll let you know.

    Grand High Poobah
    The Fraternal Order of Procrastinators
  • jmarinojmarino Posts: 19
    Looking at an SXT with the 5.9 L engine. Besides terrible gas mileage is there any thing I should know about this engine before I take the dive ?
  • tool3tool3 Posts: 3
    Replaced upper and lower ball joints ($761). Was made aware of a possible problem through reports I saw on the internet. There could be a recall for all Durangos since 1998 for the upper ball joints. Mine was described as "flirting with death".
  • tool3tool3 Posts: 3
    1998 Durango - Rear differential making a winding and griding sound. Gets louder as the vehicle goes faster. Getting checked this week. Has anyone experienced the same problem. By the way, I had to replace the water pump ($300).
  • Hmm, those are the same items the shop manager mentioned when I asked him during our computer module fiasco a couple weeks ago what other troubles I could expect down the road from our Durango. Too bad, what I had thought would be a solid, dependable truck wagon is morphing into just another money pit POS. This was my first Chrysler product and most likely the last.
  • jc58jc58 Posts: 48
    I am thinking of purchasing a 2003 Durango SXT with 4WD and 3rd row seat. Can anyone tell me which engine is overall the best, 5.9 vs 4.7? Besides gas milage is there a big difference in power between the 2? Smoothness, etc? I will be hauling, at times 6-7 people around.
  • porknbeansporknbeans Posts: 464
    The 4.7 is technologically more advanced and IMO more refined (ie smoother). From what I've heard it is just as quick and offers better gas mileage. Good luck.

    Grand High Poobah
    The Fraternal Order of Procrastinators
  • jc58jc58 Posts: 48
    I went with the 4.7 engine. They had a silver SLT with power seat&running boards that stickered for $33875 or so. Got it for $25,500 plus TTL. They also had low interest rate ( 4.49%for 72 months - Needed to keep the payment low) and 14 free oil changes in with the deal.

    So far so good.
  • 66566656 Posts: 4
    I have a 2000 Durango. At 25K miles I had my first indication of low oil pressure when the gauge suddenly dropped to 0 on the interstate. I had the oil pump replaced. One year later, at 40K miles, the same problem occurred, only this time the dealer said I'd have to replace the engine due to oil sludge, at a cost of $5000. Although I have most of my receipts for oil changes, the replacement won't be covered by my extended warranty company. Before you even THINK of buying a Durango (or any Daimler- Chrysler car) do yourself a favor and Google "Durango sludge" or "Durango oil pressure". You'll be shocked at how many 100's of people have had this exact experience, and at how callously this is being handled by D-C and its dealerships.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    What reason did the extended warranty company give you for denying your claim? How many receipts for oil changes were you missing?

    Steve, Host
  • jc58jc58 Posts: 48
    I recently purchased a 03 Durango SLT with the 4.7 engine. A couple of times when the outside temp has finally dropped, I noticed when starting it up cold the engine is much louder, and does not upshift as quickly, which only lasts a short while and then quits. After that it is quiet and pulls smoothly. I had a 97 GMC conversion van with the 5.7 engine that did this same thing when cold. Is this normal for the Durango?
  • A search on Google for the terms sludge and engine and wihout the words Dodge or Durango had about 49,000 hits.
  • I have a 2000 Durango with a 5.9L V8 and a 4 speed auto trans.(848AA?) When I back out of my drive and put the truck in drive it starts off as if the brakes are locked. I think that it is starting in 3rd gear. If I put it in low and shift manually every thing seems to work fine. This may not be related but the brake light fuse keeps blowing. My "transmission specialist" says I need a new trans. I think I have some kind of an electrical problem. Can anyone give me some idea as to what the problem is?
  • I recently purchased a used 01 durango slt 2wheel dr. I LOVE IT, however I wondered why the first owner got rid of it. I'M beginning to find out why. I noticed a whinning noise in the front part
    of the engine, almost like the sound the power steering makes when you turn it all the way to left or right. I've had the alternator, the power steering pump, the tensioner and the air compresser along with a new belt replaced. and the noise is still there, but of course it disapears when the dealership has it doing their diagnostic vodoo on it. there are no notices for recalls or anything of that nature. does any one know what the problem might be? she has 31000 miles on her and is still under warranty. the noise gets louder when the air conditioner is on and the noise changes when accelerating then the noise disapears at 40mph. the dealership says it's just the nature of the beast, I'm glad I have the infinity sound system, it helps drown out the noise.
  • jc58jc58 Posts: 48
    I posted a note a few days ago regarding the new Durango SLT 4x4 I bought. I indicated that every so often, upon start up the engine was very noisy and it just didn't want to accelerate. I didn't hear from anyone, but I just happened to find a site called, where someone made a posting about a new SLT he bought that did the same thing. It turned out that even though the 4x4 indicator showed it was in 2wd, it was actually starting up in 4L, thus the reason for the loud noise and no pick-up. It sounds like the dealer eventually wanted to replace his tranny.

    Had anyone else had this problem? If so, what did the deal do to fix? I only have 700 miles on it, but it has been doing it since a few days after I picked it up.
  • I am trying to track down the user named 'mikenorth'. You posted something in 2002 and I am having a similar problem and I want to see if you resolved yours. Your profile is private so I can't find an email address. Did this problem start out as a winding noise when driving above 40 mph? I also have a 2000 Durango 5.9l engine with 36,395 miles on it and when I drive above 40 mph I get a strange winding noise. It didn't happen for the first two years but is happening now. I checked the oil pressure when it happens due to reported problems with oil pressure in similar year and mileage Durangos but it is okay. I am assuming that it is a transmission problem with it hunting for the correct gear but it could also be the engine, I guess. I am going to have a tranny guy check it out but any one have any other experiences or know what it is. I am ready to dump the truck anyway. I already had a power steering pump replaced and the transfer case was rebuilt due to a leak.
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