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Dodge Dakota - General Topic



  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    My subject vehicle is a 2003 Dakota Club Cab in Bright Silver metallic. The finish is very smooth with no orange peel anywhere.

    I have used NuFinish for a number of years on a number of vehicles. Although there have been others tested that appear to shine a little better, I have liked the NuFinish liquid product for the following reasons:

    *very easy to apply
    *fairly easy to remove after haze
    *more durable and longer lasting than other products I've used

    All things do not remain the same and having seen the recent ads for Turtle Wax Ultra Platinum Series I decided to try it.

    Today was in the mid sixties here in Rochester, NY with overcast skies and sporatic drizzle. After a good wash I applied the Turtle Wax Ultra leaving the hood as my compare test (half NuFinish, half Ultra). With the exception of the hood this is the first coat of wax since last fall.

    Comparatively the Turtle Wax Ultra is creamier in consistency. NuFinish liquid is as consistent as Pepto Bismol while the Ultra is more like yogurt. The Ultra goes on noticeably easier than NuFinish, but I found that it took longer to come to a haze. The Ultra appears to go on and come off with less labor.

    My shine evaluation is subjective to my eye, but it appears that the Ultra seemed slightly better. It was most certainly not less shiny as the NuFinish. Even if it is, the application labor is less than NuFinish which has a tendency to go dry quicker. The Ultra appeared to have less friction when lightly dragging my fingers across the two finishes. One thing I noticed was the Ultra actually removed dried NuFinish from last fall around the "Dakota" and "Dodge" tape emblems on the tailgate and left no residue in its place.

    We'll have to wait to determine which lasts longer.


    NuFinish Liquid 16 ounces = $5.99
    Turtle Wax Ultra Platinum Series 16 ounces = $7.99

  • I use Meguires. Goes on easy, comes off easy. Not overly expensive. Gives a really nice finish. My truck is silver and it leaves a wet look with good "alder abrasion resistance". It did wonders for the look of my old wine colored truck that had many light scratches (from said alders while Rain Dance was applied). The burgundy wine color looked as if the paint was just sprayed on, all the time.
  • ronslakieronslakie Posts: 58
    Dusty - I used NuFinish for years but switched over to Zymoil about 3 years ago. I believe it gives a better shine and it definitely lasts longer. I do mine twice a year but find that water is still beading on the finish 6 months later. It is a little pricey at $12.99 but it was rated #1 by Consumers Report in there most recent tests.

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Has anyone noticed that ZYMOL is the most expensive wax on the wallmart shelves? This is for very good reason. Do some research on Caranuba wax and find out for yourself.

    I tried that NU-FINISH stuff once.... the next rainstorm, it "bled" from the roof to the windshield which made night-vision impossible for months. (no chemical was able to remove the silicone residue)


    Personally, I am looking for protection... not "gloss" nor "beading". Neither of these are very good measurments of protection or longevity.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Bpeebles, are you thinking of Finish 2000? The Nu-finish doesn't run at all and it contains no silicone. It's advertised as a "ceramic coating." Nu-Finish has always been in a medium orange plastic container around here. The Finish 2000 comes green and an off-color orange. I've never used it, but it appears to be a spray on, I think.

    I just picked up some Rain-x glass wax tonight and noticed that the shelf where the Zymoil was kept was completely bare. The counter guy at AutoZone said it's the best selling wax they carry, and the most expensive, too.

    How does the Zymoil do for lasting?

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (Dusty) I find zymol leaves a *deep* finish rather than a glossy finish. Folks that finish cars for show often use a yardstick to see how *deep* the paint is. (by looking at the reflection of the yardstick held vertically agains the paint)

    As for "lasting", I have been using zymool on my Dak for several years. The dirt just falls off when it is hosed off. I do not use *beading* as a measurement of "lasting" but it is obvious that the zymol is still there after several months.

    Interestingly, a sticker fell off my VW TDI this past winter exposing NON-zymoled paint. I found it very noticable that one area of the paint is ALWAYS more dirty than the rest of the vehicle. At first, I thought there was some sticky-residue on that area attracting the dirt but after a thorough washing to make sure, that area of the paint was dirty after the next rainstorm. My only conclusion is that the zymol on the rest of the car (applied last fall) is allowing the dirt to "shed" and not stick to the paint.

    You may draw your own conclusions...
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Last fall in an AutoZone store I saw gallon containers of HOAT antifreeze that was pre-mixed to 50-50. I was in this afternoon and they didn't have any in stock and said that was a first time purchase. They had never carried it before. The counterperson did not remember the name of it.

    Anyway, has anyone seen something like this in any auto parts stores?

    Thanks in advance,
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    This is our first week or so of weather constantly above 55 degrees (F) in Western New York State. My 2003 Dakota (CC, 4.7, 545RFE, LSD 3.55) now has 23750+miles:

    * Mobil One 0W-30 motor oil
    * plugs changed at 10,000 miles
    * air filter replaced at 20,000 miles
    * no modifications from stock

    My daily drive is 6.4 miles to work with a few miles each day on the company facility. There are approximately 5-8 restarts per day.

    The last five tanks returned (in descending order) 16.68, 16.95, 17.34, 16.13, and 16.12 MPG.

    The running total since the vehicle was placed into service is 16.42 MPG.

    From 1 June through 15 October of last year, the average MPG was 17.1 (low 16.21, high 20.16).

    Best regards,
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (Dusty) Those Milage numbers are about right for an automatic xmission.

    One suggestion. Just reciently, Mobil has started to repackage its "Delvac1" oil for consumer use. Anyone that knows oil can attest that Delvac1 oil is perhaps the very best engine lubricant available today. It has seen MILLIONS of miles of use in fleet usage. With proper filtration on an engine, this oil can easilly go over 30K miles between changes.

    Now you and I can get this very same oil packaged in quart containers. It is called "Mobil 1 Truck&SUV 5w40" and is now on the shelves at Wallmart. The next time you are there, actually READ the bottle and see what I mean about this oil. It faaarrrr surpasses anything else on the wallmart shelves. (And costs the same as 'normal' Mobil1)

    Besides, that 0w oil you are using may not be desirable for your engine. ;-)
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Look at the Mobil 1 specifications:

    Mobil 1 0W-30:
    Viscosity @ 82F = 56cst
    Viscosity @ 212F = 10.3cst
    Pour point = -54F
    Viscosity Index = 175
    Flash Point = 234

    Mobil 1 5W-30:
    Viscosity @ 82F = 56cst
    Viscosity @ 212F = 10.0cst
    Pour point = -45F
    Viscosity Index = 167
    Flash Point = 224

    The 0W-30 in Mobil 1 is the better oil. With a VI of 175, its actually more stable and has a higher viscosity at higher temperatures. In actuality the 0W-30 in Mobil 1 is nothing more than their 5W-30 with a lower pour point. This increases pumpability and ensures start-up and low temperature flow better than the 5W-30. The additive package formula will also increase moisture purging better than their 5W-30.

    Unless I were to plan a summertime trip to Arizona or someplace hot, I plan on running it all year from now on.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Delvac was developed for fleet operators who wanted a motor than could provide service across a wide application and operated both gasoline and diesel engines.

    In general I stay away from wide viscosity service numbers. I have never used 10W-40 because of stability problems, although newer blends have better numbers than they use to. Older 10W-40 formulations were the cause of premature sludge build up, especially in colder climates.

    Looking at Mobil's specifications, the thing I find a little disconcerting is the way they state low temperature viscosity. The industry standard is ASTM D445 (82 deg. F; 27 C). Here Mobil states low temperature viscosity at 104 degrees F. At this temperature and 102 centistokes, this oil is too thick for winter time operation in a gas my opinion:

    Mobil 1 5W-40 Truck & SUV:
    Viscosity @ 104F = 102cst
    Viscosity @ 212F = 14.8cst
    Pour point = -45F
    Viscosity Index = 151
    Flash Point = 226

    In my experience Delvac has been used primarily by fleet operators with diesels, although I know Mobil has marketed this oil as gasoline friendly. Diesel motors are usually more tolerant of heavier oils because they're not as tight as gas motors.

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (Dusty) I agree that perhaps this oil may not be the best choice in the winter when -17F is the norm. (That is what I get here)

    I notice you do not mention the TBN (Total Base Number) in your comparisons. The TBN is the measure of an oil's ability to neutralize the acids that result from combustion. In real-world measurements, Delvac1 maintains its TBN where other oils tend to depleate their TBN.

    It is the TBN that allows for extended change intervals. When paying extra for oil, not only do I want better lubrication, I also want to leave it in the crankcase longer. This helps make the extra initial cost of the oil negligible.

    You also did not mention the Sulfated ash levels of the different oils either.

    BTW: Here is the release notice of this oil 041103_3.asp
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    I just happened to notice the other day that the GVWR of a Grand Caravan is around 6600 lbs. The GVWR of my QC is only 6010 lbs. Why is the Dakota such a weakling when it comes GVWR?
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Sunburn, do you know what the unladen weight of the Grand Caravan is?

    My '03 Club Cab is rated the same as yours, 6,010 pounds GVWR. It weighs 4008. That leaves 2002 pounds for load, roughly. I forget what the tow rating is for the moment, but with the 4.7 I believe mine would be higher than the V6 version.

    If the Caravan weighs 4500 pounds, it means essentially that it's load-carrying ability is near 1500 pounds.

    Best regards,
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319

    I believe the GC weights in the 4500 lb ballpark. With a GVWR of 6600 lbs, that leaves 2100 lbs for payload.

    The 4008 lbs for you CC, is that from the owner's manual or have you had it weighed? According to the manual, my QC weighs 4550 lbs. However, it actually weighs 5010 lbs. Now, I've added a fiberglass cap, bed liner, and nerf bars, which probably add about 250 lbs. The weight of the options and stuff we add to our trucks adds up fast. Even by the book, my QC only has about 1400 lbs for payload. Which isn't much.

    I was just suprised to see the GC, which is unibody with a soft suspension, have a higher GVWR that the Dakota, which is a full frame construction. How much of these numbers are marketing vs. engineering?
  • quadmeisterquadmeister Posts: 25
    sunburn... I happen to have one of those right now... a sunburn that is.

    That number is most likely due more to marketing. DC has been known before to "accidently" fudge the numbers. My sister has a Caravan (not the Grand) and I'm pretty sure her van's #s are nowhere near that... and it doesn't appear to be a whole lot different than the Grand that parks beside me at work every day... other than the bells and whistles, that is.
    ...however, one might be surprised what a GC can carry, but I'd like to witness it before I believed it. the way, if you were in the truck when you had it weighed, by my calculations that puts you at about 300 lbs, don't it? ;-)
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926

    No I haven't had mine weighed. The 4008 pounds was the listed weight on the factory invoice form that is used in New York State for the Certificate of Title filing. It is listed as "shipping weight."

    As to your Quad, the difference is 460 pounds from the listed weight to the actual. You said that your cap is fiberglass. In my experience they are fairly heavy. If I had to bet money, I'd guess that cap is 250 lbs. by itself. And if you had a full tank of gas there's another possible 100 lbs.

    As to the difference between the mini-van and Dakota, whatever they say the van can carry I know the Dakota will handle that and more with ease.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926

    The sulphated ash content in percent (ASTM D874) is 1.2 for 0W-30, 5W-30, and 10W-30 full synthetic blends.

    I don't have total base numbers for any of the oils on my list. Is that the same as ASTM D287?

  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    My QC's weight of 5010 lbs was without driver and a full tank of gas. As far as the cap goes, the manufacturer listed the weight as 135 lbs. I haven't had it off, so I can't say if that is correct or not.
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    I used it when I had the Dak. I run it in the Suzuki now.
    Key thing as dusty mentioned, is the ability to pour at very low temps. To me, this is important as like the Dak, suzuki has camshafts sitting waaaaaaay up in the cylinder head. And like the 4.7, the cams spin in plain bearings in the head (meaning there are no inserts like a crank bearing). Thus, "wiping out" a cam "bearing" (using the term loosely) means also pooching the cylinder head. That means a new head. Read $$$$$.
    My logic is I want my oil up there doing its lubricating job as quickly as possible. That is why I use Mobil 1 synthetic, 5w30.

    Of course, a quality oil filter is key too but that's another discussion altogether!
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Here is a link to the datasheet for DELVAC1 5W40 (AKA "Mobil 1 Truck & SUV" ) You can see that the TBN is "12" . Keep in mind that "raw" TBN does not mean much.... the TBN after running 7,000 miles is more important. This is where this oil really shows its strength. obildelvac1_5w-40.pdf
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    It appears that neither Brembo or Power Slot make rotors for the '03 and up Dakotas. As I've mentioned in here before, in '03 Dodge upgraded the brakes on the Dakota and the Durango and begining in '03 each received a different rotor setup.

    I checked with the local auto parts stores and no one has a listing for a '03 Dakota rotor...yet. I checked with my Dodge dealer and they have ONE at $90.00 each. He also said it was the first time he's has an inquiry about the '03 rotors and they haven't worked on any yet.

    The parts guy said they'd give me a discount(I suspect 10% since that's what they've done in the past) because I bought the truck there, but I passed on it since I think I'll wait until someone else comes out with one.

    For the '02s and down the best price I've seen on the web for Power Slots is $107.00.

    I did get to compare a '02 and '03 together. The '03s are heavier and as someone else commented the one I looked at was stamped "Bosch." The '02 was "Made in Canada."

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    While I was there the parts counter guy said that Mopar had just lowered the price of ATF+4 from $27 per gallon to $17. ATF+4 is now only about sixty cents a quart more ($4.63 US).

    I wouldn't be surprised if ATF+3 is going to be phased out.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    One thing I forgot to mention. The '03 rotor is coated, the '02 is just bare gray iron.

    The '03 coating could be zinc or nickel cadmium derivative of some type.

  • spike50spike50 Posts: 481
    Has anyone taken off the front cover? Is it possible or completely out of the question to put a LSD or a selectable locker up there? Has anyone ever done it? What are the benefits: 2WL drive, tighter turns in 4x4 mode, maybe some improved handling on ice while in 4x4 mode, etc.?

    I'm not even "close" to starting a project like this but I'm curious.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    There is a reason that most OEMs do not offer a front LSD or locker. Unless you expect to be in the mud up to the axles or climbing over bolders, it is not a good idea. You will have virtually NO ability to control the direction of the vehicle.

    Have you never driven a normal 4X4 in the snow? With the xfercase locked in 4X4, tight turns are almost impossible because the front differentail (even with open differential) will make one of the wheels slip thus removing all steering ability. Adding a locking front diff makes it worse.

    Another real risk is that the front axles or driveshaft can be easilly ripped out the vehicle if there IS traction available.

    In other words, the front wheels MUST be free to spin at different speeds in order to steer the vehicle.
  • spike50spike50 Posts: 481
    My QC is a 4x4 and I've had some experience with 4x4 mode in different driving situations but you would never see my picture in a hard-core 4x4 magazine, unless it was in the "stupid move" section. I guess I'm wonder why a front dif LSD wouldn't provide the desirable 4x4 qualities, as well as, allowing for tighter turns while in 4x4 mode because the inner wheel could turn "somewhat" slower than the outside wheel, as is the case on the LSD equipped rear dif? It seems that these full-time AWD systems have multiple LSD's through out the drive train and they operate safely. Hey, just wondering out loud.
  • iowabigguyiowabigguy Posts: 552
    I belive a LSD in a front differential gives you undesirable handling characteristics in turns. I believe that the best approach would be to install a "air locker". If you were in a situation you needed the additional traction you could engage the locker but in normal driving with it off you still would have an open differential. Rick
  • bookittybookitty Posts: 1,303
    Some years ago, one of our engineers proposed using limited slip or Posi-Traction on both ends of our rough terrain material loaders used in forestry, construction and industrial applications. The thought process was: If one is helpful in negotiating rough terrain, then two would be twice as helpful. Having "been there and done that" with a previous manufacturer, I rendered my opinion only to have it overridden. We built these machines with 2 wheel/4 wheel steer, with the 4 wheel steer selectively offering 4 wheel follow through or 4 wheel oblique. We also built articulated steer machines. With the test models, the 4 wheel steer needed only about 2 acres to make a circle in 2 wheel steer mode and about 3 acres in 4 wheel steer with some considerable "Armstrong Steering" boost. The articulated models never did make the circle as we ran out of continent. And boy did it fight!

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Yes, it's true. But this time it's NOT a Dakota!

    A friend at work asked me to help him with a rotor change-out on his 2003 Ford Sport Trac. The original pads were still on it, but the rotors were warped pretty bad. Both the inside and outside rotor surfaces looked clean. Not like mine. So it appeared obvious that rotor surface scuzz was not the problem. This one had either some serious hard spots or were badly warped.

    One thing I must say after looking at this Explorer, the factory Dakota pads are probably pretty good quality. This Sport Trac was just about out of pad.

    Anyway, it's not just Dakota's.

    Best regards,
This discussion has been closed.