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Dodge Dakota: Problems & Solutions



  • spike50spike50 Posts: 481
    Holy Smokes - Batman!

    I'm staying out of Vermont and I thought PA was bad for road salt. My 1.5 yr old / 20K / resurfaced once P-Slots look much better.

    Looks like these were sitting in an acid bath.
  • spike50spike50 Posts: 481
    I wouldn't give you $0.02 for some of these shop managers at Mopar dealers but hey what do they know. The following was recommended to address the 4,7L's squeal:
    1.) New belt 2.) New AC for $500+ just for the part 3.) AC clutch assembly for $220+ just for the part.

    I took the front plate of the AC clutch off of the pulley and ran the motor. The AC compressor wasn't turning and the clutch wasn't engaging and the pulley bushing is what is making the noise. I put some penetrating oil and grease on the surface and let it set over night. Noise is gone - with and without the clutch plate in place turning and not turning the AC compressor.

    I now have to find out what the pulley costs and read up on how loosen the belt for a shade-tree install.
  • gjblegjble Posts: 23
    Thanks for the info. I will search for those sensors
    tomorrow and let evryone know what I find.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (spike50) If thay had been in an acid bath, at least they would be SHINEY. (just severly pitted and corroded) On the rotors pictured above, the surface where the pads touched was flaking off. It was at least 1/32" thick of pure rust. (Ferrus Oxide)

    There is a VERY GOOD reason that I put a BORLA exhaust system on my Dakota. It is the only one available that is 100% T304 Stainless Steel from end to end (including the clamps) I am quite impressd that my BORLA has ZERO rust on it.

    Do I have to repeat that my MOST IMPORTANT factor when selecting a vehicle is "RUST RESISTANCE"? This is one reason I selected the DAKOTA!
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    Do I have to repeat that my MOST IMPORTANT factor when selecting a vehicle is "RUST RESISTANCE"? This is one reason I selected the DAKOTA!

    Yes, you do!
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (Mopar67) I have seen many vehicles here in Vermont turn into "flinstone-mobiles" (holes in the floorboards) Most Asian makes (and Chevy) still rust into oblivion.

    At first glance, the Saturn with its plastic body seems like the ideal choice for Vermont.... but alas, the metal frame members rust so badly that the engine can fall out from underneath. (even though the body looks great.)

    Actually the European vehicles (VW, Audi, MB, BMW) are the very best when it comes to rust-resistance. They are 100% galvonized. Even the underside is totally covered with a thick rubbery coating. It is not unusual to see 12 year old VWs with only some minor surface rust..
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    Why did I forget your impeccable logic? :)

    Hey don't laugh about "Flintstonemobles" I owned one. A 75 dart slant six. The non power brakes combined with wafer thin floorboards meant you laid down your feet to stop the darn thing! But oh that slant six, while no barn burner in terms of performance, was the standard by which all engines should be judged. Even though Chrysler festooned it with a plethora of emission stuff, it still started (once I replaced the ballast resistor) with ease and ran forever. Even with way-out-of-adjustment lifters (solid type) it still ran. Even with a teenager driver flogging it mercillessly, it kept going.

    The body on the other hand was a sorry affair. Bugs used to leap with joy when I came down the road as there were more rust holes in this thing than a salvation army suit. It had no AC. Nor did I need it. I got fresh air 24/7/365. Being a smoker at the time, it sure made a difference in keeping the interior aired out.

    Looking back on it, it sure was a weird car. Extensive research into Chryco history has gleaned some rather interesting concepts in the production planning and manufacturing of their cars, particularly during the Townsend regime.

    Follow me if you can:

    This car was a 1975 Dodge Dart Custom. All original.

    It had the green vinyl roof (so haute in the 70's), chrome plated trip on the taillights and front marker lights.
    It had the "winkers" on the fenders. I found out much later this was an option
    It had NON-power front disk brakes!
    It had a three speed wiper system but you had to manually press a rubber bulb on the floor to squirt the blue stuff on the windshield.

    It came with AM radio but 4 (count 'em, 4) speakers! Yes, this was factory, not aftermarket, I checked. Besides, what kid would want 4 speakers and an AM radio?!?!

    It had the upgrade seat material and the rather anal "fuel pacer" light (which I disconnected). It even had "custom" on the hubcaps. I checked to make sure this car was not a salvage because no other car I owned or any that my father owned, were as hodgepodged as this one. Anyway, researching Chrysler management and production structures led me to learn about the haphazard way Chrysler once build vehicles for the 'sales bank' rather than to firm customer orders. What that meant was whatever was in the parts bin, well, that was how the car was built. I think they worked backward from quarterly production figures and to "rationalize" the flow of parts into the assembly plant, Townsend decreed that excess cars (and there were a LOT) go to the sales bank. Actually, Chrysler sold those cars to Chrysler Financial and booked the sale right when the car came off the line. As you can imagine, stock price depended in part on sales and production and Townsend made sure the numbers were always met. The problem came of course when it was nigh time to move the iron to the dealers and no dealer wanted a stripped New Yorker with a 4 speed rather then the Torqueflight automatic! Yes, many cars came off the line like that beause that was what was available at the time of the production schedule!

    end of history lesson!

    Thanks bpeebles for the memories.
  • Hi Everybody, an update on my check engine light...the new fuel cap was the culprit,problem solved.. Now a new issue that has me thinking. I have a 01 QC 4.7 auto 4x4. It has 41k miles. I recently started noticing that when I turn the steering wheel feels like its creeking? At about 1.5 yrs I had the bushings changed on the antisway bar, I sort of baby the truck. Is there a common steering problem? or could this be ball joints? Its not really resistance, but like a cracking when I turn the wheel. It does it even when warm. Any Ideas, is this a common problem I just forgot I read about??
    Thanks for all info.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Known "steering problems" are;

    *)The "clockspring" in the steeringwheel can make some odd sounds as the wheel is turned.
    *) The balljoints can creak under some conditions
    *) the PS fluid was re-speced to be synthetic about 1/2 thru the 2001 model year. (I replaced mine with RedLine brand and have noted a marked improvmment)
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Well, the front sway bar bushings on older Dakodas were a problem in this area, but I've been informed that new replacements -- like the one's they're using now -- are a better material. Mine have not made the groaning sound at 34K.

    Have the ball joints greased and see what happens. The factory joints do not have a grease fitting, but can be lubed with a syringe.

  • Hi Guys,
      I don't think I have a clockspring in the wheel, no electronics on the wheel. (does it have one anyways?) But I did change my pwr steer fluid 3 months ago. The manual said to use only a special Mopar PS fluid. i went to the dealer and got that type. I don't know if it is synthetic? If it is my ball joints, does that mean that there on the way out? Also i previously asked dealer and he claimed they do not regrease the joints.
  • gjblegjble Posts: 23
    I found the 02 sensors just where they were described to be. OEM cost $110 ea.They make a unversal sensor, about $67, but sometimes the computer will not accept them. I will probably go with OEM. Will the malfunction light go out by itself or will I have to clear the codes?

         In Atlanta
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    I beleive the clockspring is there on ALL Daks (It is for the airbag)

    The newer PS fluid is ATF+4 According to what I have read, there is currently litagation between the aftermarket parts makers and Dodge. Apparently, there is a LAW ( ) which guarantees that all automakers must disclose the chemical properties of any fluids they specify. I still have not been able to locate ATF+4 fluids anywhere but the Dealership.

    After much research, I found the RedLine PS fluid meets the requirements.... AND may even perform better at extremely low tempartures. (My steering used to be "stiff" below -10F)
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Yes, there is a clockspring on all Dakotas. Whether you have cruise control or the optional radio controls or not, as Bpeebles stated there is still one for the air bag.

    Chrysler specifies that on all Chrysler-built vehicles AFTER 1998, the material to use in a power steering unit is ATF+4. Yes, ATF+4 is a semi-synthetic fluid.

    The fact that the factory ball joints do not contain a grease fitting does not mean that the ball joint cannot lose grease or need greasing. I took my '03 Dakota in for a groan in the front end and my dealer greased all of the joints. It appears that your dealer is either unknowledgeable or uncooperative in this area. Maybe he'd rather see you come in for ball joint replacement, I think? Based on what I've observed, I would bet that many Dakotas leave the factory without an adequate amount of grease in the joints, thereby causing premature wear or failure.

    Best regards,
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926

    There is no record of a suit being filed against Chrysler for their requirement to use ATF+4 in their automatic transmissions. A search of FTC records indicates that the last legal action taken against Chrysler was in January of 1999. The FTC website lists no current litigation proceedings against Daimler-Chrysler. Neither are there any Daimler-Chrysler hits in Adjudicative Proceedings, Applications & Petitions, FTC Orders, or Advocacy Filings.

    ( )

    What has been transmitted on many websites is the result of a complaint letter from the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association (ILMA). This complaint was dated 11 November 2003 was not considered actionable by the FTC in February of 2004.

    The ILMA's opinion of ATF+4 as a violation of the Magnuson-Moss Act is self motivated and represents an extremely narrow interpretation of the law. If a compound, fluid, or other substance is an integral part of a design, then the required use of that material to maintain design performance or warranty is not a violation of the Act. (If the Act was construed that narrowly, many companies would be out of business from the impact of litigation alone.)

    Since Chrysler still specifies ATF+3 for older transmissions built when that ATF was current, and Chrysler recommends ATF+4 for those, but does not stipulate its use, consumers may still continue to use ATF+3 in those versions without any threat to warranty coverage. In addition, ATF+3 is currently manufacturered by several independent lubricant manufacturers with license from Daimler-Chrysler.

    Keep in mind that lubricant manufacturer's formulations themselves are protected by US patent laws, such as Redline or any other motor oil or transmission material. Since Chrysler has obtained a patent for ATF+4 as they did with the ATF+ series, this fluid material is a protected recipe and Chrysler can specify it's use. As to licensing, Chrysler has not declined any request for licensing the manufacture of ATF+4 that met the material specifications. However, Chrysler has refused to license material submissions that did not meet those specifications. Currently, Valvoline is the supplier to Chrysler for ATF+4, but does not market this version under their own name.

    Keep in mind that Chrysler introduced ATF+4 in 1999 and to date there has been no legal decision against it for requiring the use of ATF+4 in their transmissions.

  • spike50spike50 Posts: 481
    Well the joke is on me. I can't just buy the AC pulley that has the squealing bearing / bushing. Its part of the $220 AC Clutch Kit. So far letting some WD-40 and other mineral oils soak in has quieted it for now.

    One thing I did learn is how easy it will be to change the Accessory Drive belt on a 4.7L when 100K comes around.
  • Hi everyone. I have a 2000 cc 4.7 5spd 4x4.
    No real problems to note. The only one is that whenever i connect the 4-wire connector to my trailer, the reverse light fuse blows. I have used several trailers and checked all of the wiring and still the same problem. I used the plug in harness from Hoppy. If anyone has had the same problem or knows a solution please let me know.

    Also, I got to 106,000 miles before changing the front pads and rotors! The rotors were warped for some time but I kind of got used to it.
    I just used the NAPA pads and rotors--up to 118,000 miles and so far so good. The back brakes look pretty good yet. Next up are all of the suspension bushings, shocks, and some paint work.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

  • ron35ron35 Posts: 134
    Josh - Welcome aboard. I have exactly the same set up as you. I only have 58K miles but so far no real problems including brakes. I was glad to hear you got 106K miles from your brakes. I am planning on upgrading to the Edelbrock shocks early next year. I have upgraded the stereo, switched to all synthetics in the drivetrain and installed a K&N air filter.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926

    Just a hunch, but maybe the incorrect amperage fuse is installed in that circuit? If your sure there are no shorts in any of the trailer harnesses, it might be the wrong fuse.

    I just talked to someone a little while ago with a 2000 Club Cab 4x2, 4.7 and automatic with 128K. They had replaced the pads and rotors around 95K. I think you'll find that highway mileage is much more kind to pad and rotor life. One nice thing to hear is another 4.7 Dakota owner that reported absolutely no problems with the engine. The engine still sounds new. The transmission, which has NOT been serviced, was still going strong.

    He did say he experienced a bad gas cap (twice) and upper and lower ball joints were replaced two years ago. Still original shocks!

  • I just purchased an 01 with engine codes 442 & 455. This was because of a bad gas cap filled with rust. You might want to try tapping it on a hard surface to see if some rust comes out. I disassembled mine by squeezing the cap while pressing sideways on the main body. Inside I found a steel spring retainer that was badly rusted and a lot of loose particles. This was held in place by about ten plastic fingers. I cut every other finger to make it easier to remove. Further down, the bi-directional valve seat plate was also made of steel and pitted with rust. Sanded both sides and coated it with silicone grease. Put it all together and it has been fine for the last month. I've heard there is a new improves cap, maybe they went to stainless parts. Apparently this might happen if you wash the vehicle a lot with a power spray. Don't expect many of you would bother taking a gas cap apart. Still, it is possible to rebuild the gas cap in these tough economic times.
  • spike50spike50 Posts: 481
    Sounds like you're retired like me. I would have never known what the inside looks like but good going. I'm nursing along an under lubricated AC pulley rather than spending $200+ for the parts.
  • haselhasel Posts: 64
    The bearing in your A/C pulley is replaceable and should not be much of a problem to replace,all you would need is a bearing,
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    The Feds have finally asked DC to recall 2000-2003 Dakotas/Durangos for bad ball joints. Of course, it looks like DC is going to resist. Here's a link for more info:

  • spike50spike50 Posts: 481
    Tell me more. I kind of played around with the pulley the other day and noticed that "it ain't comin' off easy" especially with the space available. How will I get it off the AC compressor shaft? All other parts of that assembly are working fine except the lubrication of that bearing. For now, all of the noises have been quieted but they will come back. The dealers have only quoted me the whole assembly (clutch plate, pulley, electromagnet, assorted nuts, keys, washers) at $220. No mention of the bearing only.
  • spike50spike50 Posts: 481
    I saw it on CNN this morning but they stated 2000-2004. That would be great to have mine replaced since they are "poppin' a little at 65K on a '00 4x4. Maybe we'll get the good stuff this time rather than their "hillbilly" parts.


    Man, I feel sorry for those guys and gals in Iraq.
  • saabgirlsaabgirl Posts: 184
    MSNBC reported the proposed recall covered Dakotas and Durangos from 2000-2003 for upper ball joint problems. 600,000 vehicles would be covered. Chrysler admitted to ball joint problems but said it wasn't sufficient for a full-scale recall. S'posed to be decided next week.
  • No, just an engineer that has to know how things work and why they fail. Hey, I balanced my tires the other day and that was a lot of fun. A friend of mine has this nice Hunter computerized wheel balancer and tire changer. So he has all that and not one floor jack that works, had to bring my own over. Every tire was out of balance by about 5oz even though they only seemed to have about 5K of wear on them. You pull this lever out to touch the rim and it inputs diameter and spindle offset. Read the rim width with this giant caliper and then input that. Then let her spin. It tells you where and what size weight to put on each side. All the time, I'm trying to figure out the algorithm they use. Fun to try but wouldn't want to do it every day for $6 a tire.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    I saw this morning the DC has agreed to recall 2000-2003 4x4 Dakotas/Durangos to replace the upper ball joints. They also started a 10 yr/100K mile extended warranty on the ball joints on those vehicles not covered by the recall.


    I expected DC to put up more of a fight over the recall. Now I'm just waiting to see if my Dak is one of the "lucky" ones.


    It sure would be nice to get rid of the popping and creaking that has been there since about 20K miles (now at 52K).
  • haselhasel Posts: 64
    look in sevice manual for details on replacing the bearing, you might check with a local AC repair shop and see if they will replace the bearing for you, i have in the past replaced the bearings but it has been some time ( retired)the clutch assembly has not changed over the years, system does NOT have to be discharged.
  • spike50spike50 Posts: 481
    I checked with BOB and there are no instructions. As suggested, I'll start snooping around the local AC shops to get suggestions / costs. I'll also look into the availability of a "flat" gear puller. The one I have is way too big for the available space. If I can pull it and open up the bearing (again no detail in BOB) and introduce a new load of lube, I could easily cover the investment cost of the gear puller. I just went through this process on my '81 motorcycle's wheels and I now have that confidence that there are many trouble free miles ahead. I'll let you know how it turns out.
This discussion has been closed.