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Dodge Dakota: Problems & Solutions



  • I got the same noise in my 03 Quad 2wd with the V6. IAC (Intake Air Control) is a possiblity from posts I've seen on other boards


    My truck was built in late March of 03 and is not part of the ball joint recall. Dealer says trucks built in late 02 pop up on their computer. No mention of 2wd vs. 4wd from them.
  • bookittybookitty Posts: 1,303
    The local dealer replaced the ball joints in my 2000 Quad and the popping seems to be gone. Also, the steering seems to be tighter. If anything exciting happens, I will post it.


  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926


    My guess is they will not have a grease fitting since they are factory replacements.


    You could easily drill a hole in the cover plate of the ball joint and install a zerk that has self-tapping threads. I probably should have done it on my. I think I've got a bad upper on the right side. I'll find out soon after the New York State vehicle inspection.



  • ja812ja812 Posts: 33
    Had ball joints replaced and noticed truck was pulling to right while driving & braking...brought back to dealer and they aligned the front end at no charge so I was happy.
  • bcarter3bcarter3 Posts: 145
    Fault Code P1486: "Evaporative Leak Monitor Pinched Hose Found"

       Possible causes: Evap Canister Obstructed

                        LDP Pressure Hose Obstructed

                        Leak Detection Pump

                        Intermittent LDP Monitor


                        Obstruction in Evap System

                           Between Evap Canister and

                           Fuel Tank

                        Obstruction in Hose/Tube

                           between Evap Canister and

                           Purge Solenoid


               Good luck, Dick
  • I've just owned this for two months and the air bag light is now on. Tried to get the code on the odometer display and all it says is DONE. Wondering if this can be read out on Autozone's free reader, I know some readers don't read these codes. Thinking it is probably the clock spring in the steering wheel. Anyone else have this problem or know of an online sight I can get the wiring diagram off of? Thanks
  • I have a 2001 dakota 4x4 club cab v6 that has 55,000 miles and spends most of its time driving up and down a mountain from 8300' (where I live) to 5300' it has started to ping or knock under load mostly with the rpms over 2000. I have seen messages where the problem is a bad seal at the intake manifold, is it just a matter of replacing the original manifold gaskets or something else?


    Has anyone had any luck with bosch +4 plugs?


    I also have the notorious ball joint failure that my dealer (Christophers dodge in Golden,CO) had no idea what that noise could be especially since I was the only one that could hear it! Bad case of selective hearing, I since go elsewhere for repairs and getting the ball joints replaced at another dealer.


    I am getting ready to do a brake job and wondered what was working best as far as rotors and pads are concerned or any other tips for removal and installation. I need all the help I can get.


    Does anyone know a good source for ARB bull bars?

    I hit a deer this past fall and trashed my front end pretty good and since the deer are not moving anytime soon thought I could use a little protection.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    As I recall, The V6 in the 2001 was smply the 318CI V8 with 2 cylinders lopped off. (A 1960s engine design)


    The newer Daks have the 3.7L V6 which is the 4.7L V8 with 2 cylinders lopped off. (A significantly better engine)


    The pinging you are hearing under load is not unusuall. Especially at hight altitudes using winter-blended fuel. Also, todays gasoline is the VERY LEAST qulaity they can sell and still legally call it gasoline. Pinging, or more accurately, PRE-IGNITION, is caused by too LOW an octane fuel. Lets not forget that lower octane fuel ignites at a LOWER tempature (Before the spark ignites it)


    The next time the fuel tank is nearly empty, put some of the HIGHEST OCTANE YOU CAN FIND in it. I would put money on the ping will be magically gone.


    If that does not do it for you, suspect that the combustion chambers have a build-up of carbon in them.


    It is unlikely that changing the sparkplugs will affect pre-ignition... because the fuel is igniting before the sparkplugs fire.


    A leaking seal in the intake manifold can cause the fuel-injection to run a tad lean. It may cause pinging... but I would try other things first.
  • bookittybookitty Posts: 1,303
    James, when I had just received my 2000 Quad Cab, the "Air Bag" light would come on intermittently. I brought the truck back to the dealership, and after having the truck for almost an entire day, I was informed that it was a failed sensor that had to be ordered. I complained about returning with a new truck and they canabalized the part, installed it and sent me on my way. No problem since then.


  • I have not tried 93 octane which I think is still available in spots. I use 91 because it definitely helped however there is still some pre-ignition.


    I did hear the same about blended winter fuels the only remedy I heard was keeping the fuel system clean by throttle body cleaning and injector cleaning done by a dealer.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    "throttle body cleaning and injector cleaning done by a dealer. "!!??!! RU nuts? Whatever the dealer does will be overpriced and have little tangable benefits.


    Its sorta like a "tune-up"... "tune-ups" went away when electronic ignition was invented over 20 years ago. Anyone that actually PAYS for a "tune-up" is being fed a line of cr$p.


    There was a time that without a tune-up, the ignition timing would drift out and the engine would begin to run improperly. This was due to the points wearing and the dwell would change. Like I said above, there are no "points" to wear on a modern engine....thus no "tune-up"


    I have done my own TB cleaning many times. It never gets very dirty and in reality, it is the IDLE QUALITY that is improved because the IAC (Idle Air Controler) gets cleaned too.


    As for Injector cleaning, A GOOD QUALITY fuel additive is all that is needed to clean up the fuel system including the injectors. Also, some fuel additives can help remove carbon from the combustion chambers.


    BTW: You still have not told us specifically which V6 engine you have.
  • I'm curious as to how many of you on this site have received your re-call notice on the ball joint problem. As of this writing I have not received mine. A friend of mine at work did, and has the problem fixed. His dealer did check toe in after installing the new ball joints.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    I received my recall notice the last week of December, 2 days after I made my appointment. To see if your vehicle qualifies, go to and click on "For Owners" at the top, then click on "Recall Notices". You enter your VIN and it will tell you the recalls that apply to your vehicle.
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    Take a close look at what garages today define as a tuneup.


    Then grab a set of your favorite plugs and do it yourself and save a ton 'o money. Plus get the satisfaction of doing it correctly.
  • ron35ron35 Posts: 134
    I also received my re-call notice the last week of December (2K 4x4) and my appointment is this Wednesday the 12th. I am going to ask about alignment also.


  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    The recent recall of Dakota upper ball joints was issued for four-wheel drive only vehicles. However, I received a letter from Chrysler today advising me that the warranty for upper ball joints on my two-wheel drive Dakota has been extended to ten years or 100,000 miles. This extended warranty covers model year 2000 to early 2003s. My 2003 was manufactured on October 8th, 2002.


    The letter describes a bad upper ball joint manifesting itself in the form of a "clunking" noise, but most Dakota owners refer to the symptom as "popping."


    A bad seal permits water to enter the interior of the ball receptor on the defective ball joints. According to my technician, after the first couple of months of the 2003 Dakota run a new seal of different design and better material was cut-in on the manufacturing line. These improved seals have been on the Mopar replacement units since February 2003.



  • Airbag light was on for 3 days and now its been off for 3 days. That points away from the clock spring being bad. Maybe it is the sensor. Have to add that to my other electrical problems like radio and turn signal power went away for 20 minutes. Also, the key detect doesn't work. This all makes me think it is somewhere in the column from some previous repair.
  • I have the 3.9 liter v6, what do you consider a good quality fuel additive? Is carb cleaner sufficent for cleaning the throttle body? I have tried a fuel system cleaner that seemed to make the pre-ignition problem worse, any thoughts?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    I use aresol carb cleaner when I clean my TB. With eingine OFF I 'hose it down' pretty well with the spray carb cleaner. The black buildup just comes right off. It may be hard to get the engine started and it may smoke out the tailpipe for a moment.... Then, while engine is running, spray some more in there, it will help clean the intake plenum and even the intake valves.


    Dont skimp by getting the cheep stuff, you have to use nearly twice as much to get the same effect as the mid-grade stuff. I have cleaned many, MANY (100s) of carberators over the years, (I love to rebuild them) I used to get the very cheepest spray cleaner I could find. One day, I asked my wife to pick up some carb-cleaner for me while she was out. Of course, she got the more expensive stuff.... but when I tried it.... WOW, the gunk just fell off the carberator parts. (with the cheep stuff, I had to soak it for hours and still scrub to get things clean.)


    It is not uncommon to experience WORSE engine running while the fuel-system-cleaner is in the system. I once treated a car that probubly NEVER had been done previously. So much crud was washed thru the system into the TB that I could physically see the dirty fuel being injected into the TB. (I ended up having to replace the fuel filter because it got clogged with all the crud that the injector cleaner loosened up)


    Many people swear by "Lucas" products. Others have had good results with the "Valvoline synpower" products. If you stop at a well-stocked autoparts store, you should find several 'grades' of injector cleaners. You can often judge by the price how well it will work. Over the years, I have found that you often get what you pay for.


    Let us know how it works out for you.
  • ron35ron35 Posts: 134
    mtn dakota - I have had success over the years using a fuel additive called BGK 44K. It is expensive at $20 retail but I guess it is the old adage that you get what you pay for. I use it once every six months and it does an excellent job of cleaning the fuel system. Their web site is

  • labulllabull Posts: 4
    Dusty & all,


    About 6 months ago I took my 2001 Dakota 4X4 in for service. Complaint was squeaky front end and popping/clunking during turns.


    They replaced the ball joints and the sounds went away.


    Since the recall I've gotten information on how to get reimbursed for the replacement. But the squeaking and popping has returned.


    How can I check if they really replaced the ball joints as opposed to lubing them or something else?




  • I had mine done and they drilled-out/removed the factory pressed in ones and they are now bright shiny silver pieces with 3-4 retrofit bolts through them... Also they are about twice the size as the originals!!


    hope this helps...Someone with a digital camera may want to take a pic and post it...I would but my daughter dropped my digital camera into the toilet(long story, dont ask.....)


    Also, I too had the squeaky front end problem. It sounded like a rusty matress spring when you went over speed bumps in parking lots... The culpret was bad swaybar bushings that were replaced under warranty @ 45000 problems since


    Chad (North Carolina)
  • I just bought a 99 Dakota R/T and one of the problems I am having is that after I've been driving a while at about 60 MPH the torque converter unlocks, then locks. When it starts doing that, it will do it 2 or 3 times in a row, then stops for a short while, then does it again. On other message boards I've been told it's the Throttle Positioning Sensor, even though it tests good.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    It's possible that your dealer lubed them to get rid of the noises, then billed Chrysler for warranty replacement of the joints and told you they were replaced. Or, at the time of replacement the improved ones were not available and they reinstalled the same defective design. Either way it's going to be hard to verify.


    Best regards,

  • spike50spike50 Posts: 481
    I had mine (4x4) replace on Dec 29, 2004. The dealer scheduled it after I inquired and they checked the VIN to verify it was in the recall. Just before it went into the shop, I received the official letter.


    The dealer can check on the computer, if they have the time.
  • I went on the dodge site, and put in VIN number, and it showed i was on the re-call list. I called my dealer, and ask why i had not received my notice yet. He was surprised when i told him i had looked up my truck, and it showed my truck was on the list. He had no idea people like us could look up such information. Of course they are backed up, and waiting on the parts so i was put on the list. You know, "The list".
  • Thanks for the info, I just filled up with Valavoline fuel system cleaner we'll see.
  • I used the aerosol method you described, worked great! The crud sprayed right off! Any tips for brakes?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    What kind of info are you looking for on your brakes? I have been changing brake pads/shoes for over 20 years and also have replaced a front caliper on my Dak.
  • labulllabull Posts: 4
    Does anyone who has had the recall done have the part number used for the improved ball joints?


    I could compare to what was installed on mine.




This discussion has been closed.