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Dodge Dakota: Problems & Solutions



  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    It's probably a good idea to understand the MIL lamp's function. From the 2003 Dodge Dakota Service Manual:

    "The Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) gives an indication to the vehicle operator when the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) has recorded a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) for an On-Board Diagnostics II (OBDII) emissions-related circuit or component malfunction."

    Illumination of the MIL can be a momentary flash or a constant illumination depending on the type of fault being detected by the PCM. For some types of faults the PCM will transmit a reset signal that switches the MIL off after 40 engine warm-up cycles or if the problem clears. Others will remain illuminated until the fault is repaired and/or the PCM is manually reset.

    As to codes not being stored, this is contradictory to the design of the system. However, it is not uncommon. It's possible that at the time the OBDII scan tool was connected occurred after 40 complete warm-up cycles. Another explanation is that certain codes do not remain in memory if they clear on their own, although that doesn't make any sense to me.

    A third possibility is on older vehicles with 3-6 year old batteries. Some Dak owners are aware of the strange relationship between the battery and poor or rough idle, random stalling, irratic transmission actions, and otherwise unexplainable quirks. My suspicion is that with certain close-to-failure battery scenarios the battery intermittently loses power for an extremely short duration causing the PCM to reset. This could cause an erasure of codes stored in memory. I know of two Dakotas, a 2000 and 2001 model, that kept losing stored codes until the batteries were replaced.

    Hopes this helps.

  • jimbeamjimbeam Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 dodge dakota quad cab, 3.9litre, 5-speed, first problem is a no load rough idle condition where the tach jumps up and down a little bit and the engine runs slightly rough but if i give it gas or drive down the road it seems fine. the second problem is whenever i accellerate somewhere around 2500 rpm in first and try to go to second gear it seems like it is'nt synchronizing fast enough and wants to grind gears unless i give it plenty of time which really upsets people on the road when i need to accellerate in rush hour traffic but i cant. if i shift normally it works fine but when i go into higher rpm in first it will then grind from first to second............any suggestions for either problem would be awesome, the truck has 80,000 miles, if that could help
  • shump76shump76 Posts: 3
    How do I know which transmission I have in my 95 Dakota 2 wheel drive? I am trying to find a replacement, and wanted to know the correct one, and does it matter if it is out of a 4X4? Also, someone told me one out of a Cherokee will work.
    Also, what years will work in my truck?

  • rswebberrswebber Posts: 4
    Thanks for your information. Is the hose under the hood in front of the firewall or in the cab. I had a hose popped off under neath the circuit box in front of the master cylinder before also. I need to check that hose again in a few minutes. I just noticed that the MIL went away by itself with no action. rswebber
  • rswebberrswebber Posts: 4
    Thanks Dusty. My mil problem code (PO456) suddenly went away just awhile ago when I returned for an errant. I just read your reply and am interested in finding out if the problem is fixed or it is still there. I read the battery problem idea and since my truck is 3 years old, am wondering if I don't have that problem. rswebber.
  • rswebberrswebber Posts: 4
    Just read your message of 06 Jan 2005 where you state that you just resolved a PO456 code. I just got that code (PO456) about 4 or 5 days ago and it just cleared by itself. How did you fix your code may I ask? Thanks. rewebber.
  • datagurudataguru Posts: 95

    thanks for the info; looks like we both have 2003s. The service manual information makes a lot of sense. In my case, the MIL has remained lit and has definitely exceeded 40 complete drive cycles, yet no hard DTC codes are found in memory. This morning, when I cycled the ignition key for checks, 2 back-to-back codes (P0441,P0440) popped up.

    The faulty pump unit is being replaced by the dealer under warranty later this week and I'll post any relevant info as appropriate.

    Thanks again. Most helpful. :)
  • I having problems with my truck. I have replaced the fuel filter twice now. It run for a while and then cuts off. Sometimes it will crank and sometimes it will not crank. I really need help. I am to the point of blowing it up. :mad: Please can someone help me. I am a very frustrated woman in destress. :cry:
  • I have a 96 Dakota V-8. low miles. I had a problem in starting it after driving only 1/2 mile and shutting off. Would not re start even when I poured gas into carb. Went back 5 hours later, and it started right up like it had no problems before. This is 2nd time this happened after driving short distance and shutting off. I thought maybe vapor lock, but dealer says no. Anyone had problem like this? Any suggestions?
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    There are several ways. First, open the glove compartment and look on the inside of the glove compartment door. There should be a build label that lists the major equipment. The transmission type should be listed.

    Another way is to look on the transmission case. There should be the type cast into the case in large block letters.

    My guess would be that you have a "RE" series, which means an electronic version. The "RE" stands for "Rear-wheel drive, Electronic." The "RH" stood for "Rear-wheel drive, Hydraulic."

    Best regards,
  • mkelly1mkelly1 Posts: 1
    I've got a 88 Dakota with rusted out front shock mounts. Dodge doesn't sell the part. Is there any aftermarket parts I can get?
  • jaykay2jaykay2 Posts: 1
    1993 Dodge Dakota has no brakes. It is a 4 wheel drive with ABS system. Have replaced master cylinder and mechanical parts are all fine. Can I get a trouble shooting manual?
  • shineshine Posts: 20
    I'm sure this as been covered before but I did not find anything. What type of snow plow can be put on a Dakota? I don't need a driveway plow but a semi commercial one.
  • urban3urban3 Posts: 74
    I'm trying to do some basic problem investigation for the following situation. Any input would be appreciated.

    2001 QC 4.7 Auto 4x4 operating normally until today.

    Got in this morning with normal interior overhead illumination and key chime, then turn the key and <1 sec flash of system startup, then no power.

    The electrical systems resets itself "somewhat". After several minutes, power is again available for interior light, key chime and door locks with engine off.

    Went the key is turn same situation or if the headlight switch is turned on without turning key first. Then power cut out, time out period, then limited power.

    I'm checking fuses and relays but not an expert. I do have the 01 service manual (orange book, although that year it was green!)

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Soulds like whimpy battery that has enough juce to power the little things. When attempt to crank engine, the voltage dropps off.

    Have you checked the battery terminals and charged the battery?

    (PS) Most auto-parts stores will test your battery for you.
  • urban3urban3 Posts: 74
    Thanks for your quick response.

    That's one conclusion I came to as well. One of the first things I did check it with a simple meter, but only volts, not amps.

    Also, cleaned battery terminals and cable connectors. Did not start (same symptoms) with jumper cables.

    As you advise, going to stick to checking basics a while longer before calling the dealer.
  • bookittybookitty Posts: 1,303
    Shine, the Dakota is not a Ram, and you should have heavy duty components on your truck such as a transmission cooler (if it has auto), HD battery, alternator and I would recommend premium shocks. Moving snow is hard on a truck. My son has a landscaping business, and had to move snow for his regular commercial accounts. He soon tired of tearing up his equipment, and started subcontracting snow removal out to all of the guys who had a 4WD and liked to play. He said that they can spend the time in the Spring fixing their trucks. He needed his for landscaping. The smalles truck that he had was an F-250 Super Duty and now has nothing smaller than an F-350 Super Duty. So imagine a mid size truck in that situation. Some of the more outstanding enemies are curbs and concrete parking lot bumpers.

  • urban3urban3 Posts: 74
    Battery tested at 9.8V 0.00 CCA (volts were higher yesterday)

    Even if it took a charge doesn't look like it's ever going to be able to get back to its old self again.

    After 4 years of absolutely no electrical problems, I think it's time for new battery. I realize it is possible there's a problem in the charging system or other electrical circut fault that can drain the battery, but I think this one is telling me it's done.
  • ilsalesilsales Posts: 1
    Have a 2001 Dodge Dakota with electrical problems- No headlights of running lights but the brake lights work- windshield wipers only work on high and interior light out- getting a noise from both headlights and interior light like its charging even if the switch is off or the car is off- the interior flashes once in a while- flash even more when light switch disconnected. Any ideas out there. Checked most of the grounds with a meter already. I could isolate if I had a wiring diagram.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    There are plow set-ups for Dakota, but I believe they are all smaller than those for full-size trucks.

    Like other comments, plowing with a truck is tough on the platform. Even 1/2 ton versions get beat up pretty bad. Signs of a plow frame on a truck usually kill resale value.

    The Dakota is a tough and durable mid-size truck platform. Occasionally I will see a flat-bed Dakota even. But for plowing I agree with Bpeebles. I'm sure it would serve you fairly well in that duty, but it wouldn't be my first choice to plow with.

    Best regards,
  • Hi everyone.

    I am having a problem with my 95 Dodge Dakota 3.9L. Before
    I go ahead and put a new computer in, I want to see if anyone else has
    experienced this problem and knows what may be causing it. At random,
    the A/C will turn on and the OverDrive will turn off at the same time.
    Clicking the OD button has no effect on it and all of the fan/air
    conditioning controls are turned off completly yet the A/C is still
    running strong. My guess is it's one of two things, either the computer
    is going haywire or there is a loose ground somewhere. I haven't had a
    chance to really look it over, but has anyone else had this happen? I
    did check the fuses and relays and all is fine there.

  • I had an eighty six ranger that had simular problems. I found out later.. much later it had a pluged cat. Perhaps your prlblem? then again might just be your coil.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    When I was changing the oil on my 02 QC (55K miles) this weekend, I noticed that the bottoms of the bellows on the steering rack had a thin film of oil on them - both sides. It was just enough to be visible, but wasn't dripping. It looks like the seals at the ends of the steering rack are leaking a little bit. It does not appear to be coming from anywhere else.

    Has anyone else noticed a problem like this on their Dakotas?
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Yes. It usually does not warrant any worry. It depends on how bad it gets. My 2003 shows no signs of oil on the bellows at 42K. My son's '91 usually showed signs of light oil as a precursor to inner seal failure. Later Dakotas have a much more reliable steering rack.

    For increased piece of mind, have your dealer inspect it and have it on record.

    Best regards,
  • aaronwiaaronwi Posts: 18
    I have an 02 Dakota with the 4.7 V8. Since I bought it, I have had very poor mileage. One tank reached 14mpg (all highway driving at 65). I average between 9 and 11 mpg (90% highway).

    Dealer says "that's within specs"

    I'm running full synthetics in the lowest recommended viscosities for all lubricants.

    Any other possiblilites?
  • mikem5mikem5 Posts: 1
    I have an 01 3.9 with 55K that idles rough. I gave it a complete tuneup, and cleaned the throtle body. It helped a little but the shaking is still there just not as rough. does anyone one have the same problem? I called the service my dealers and they said it was common/normal to have a little shake in the 3.9 motors.
  • gwhgwh Posts: 3
    I have a 00&#146; 4x4 QC 5.9 Auto with a little over 80K

    I noticed that when on highway with cruise control on, it feels like it wants to change into passing gear.
    My question is this, the cruise control, or worst the transmission. Anyone else had this problem.
  • okie here goes my problem as I could not find another place to make a post about my dodge dakota 98

    Got my break pads and rutters *sp replaced, the front ones. Recently, everything was working fine! Then next day I get in my truck to go somewhere and all the ABS and BREAK lights come on, shortly after the CHECK ENGINE light comes on.

    I notice shortly after while being mezmerized by the lights that my spedometer is no longer working either... I then look at the other lights oil, gas, water, etc..they are working fine. My Odometer,..*sp has stopped at 102,901 and is no longer taking count.

    I take it back to the break pad people and tell them they better double check thier work cause now I have alot of lights on mostly dealing with my breaks and I don't know wtf is going on.

    The man 2 hours later comes back to me and pretty much tells me he has no idea whats going on, and that the computer is giving out two readings about two diff problems. One being some #72...I forget what it said...and another he siad had to do with a HUC... or something like that. CAD? or CAB? Two problems relating to those. I don't know. But he insist nothing is his fault. And then further tells me that he can't find the problem because he doesn't have dodge certified software to understand the computer and that he only recieves a generic read out, because dodge doesn't share thier software or something?

    He says that two possible sensors are not working, one being the one with the spedmeter, and the other being in the back dealing with the back breaks which they didn't even replace, so the fact that it is all not just coincidance.

    Now I have to take it to another place course cause this place I had the breaks replaced at is a "Hibdons" which as Im sure most of u know does mostly tires.

    I take it to another place and they tell me its going to take 78 dollars for them to use thier generic computer on the truck in hopes they can find out if it really is those two sensors or what not. and then after the 78 dollars they will see if they can fix it.

    Now Im sure you are all just titalated by my story, but your wondering..okie whats the question again?

    I guess its a couple questions.

    1. One being , wtf , dodge software!? Where can I get ahold of some of this! and who uses it!? If I go to the dealer about this Im going to get raped! And no thanks.

    My mother has some theory about the manufactiors installing sensors that auto distruct at 100,000ish miles or so , so you HAVE to take it into the dealer. I donno she's crazy paranoid imo.

    My other friend says that if they didn't put in the break lines or something correct they could have pushed back into the truck the old fluid which might have caused the break light and abs light to go off...because it would have fed into the back sensor by the breaks, and that one might then read to the spedometer sensor then breaking it, oh yea and my anti lock breaks are no longer functioning.

    Tho the break guy tells me that has nothing to do with what he did either. He also mentioned to me in there that the problem with my truck was right on the front of it, refering to the dodge symbol on the front of my truck...what a smuck...Tho IM thinking okie I take my truck in for break pads and a day after I get it back I no longer have anti lock breaks?! Sounds fishy to me, but Im okie with just calling it a coincidance...but personally I want ur opinion...2. what do u think might have happened?

    ...anyone got any ideas?

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Well, the majority of people I know are doing better than that. My '03 4.7 has averaged 16.4 over the last four tanks, very little highway driving.

    A little more information would be helpful. You don't say what transmission, body style, 4x4, or how many miles. Nor did you indicate if you used the cruise control on highway trips or how hilly an area your in. There could be some engine tune issues affecting your trucks fuel consumption, like a dirty air filter, worn spark plugs, or a clogged PCV valve.

    The one area that will have the most impact on an otherwise mechanically sound and correctly running 4.7 is the driver's style. If you're the impatient type of driver your mileage is going to be lower. Mountainous areas or lots of traffic stops and start ups will hurt, too.

    My occasional trip down I-90 to the Pennsylvania border from Rochester, New York, always yields me over 20 MPG and that's with a 800 pounds of ATV and other gear (4.7 automatic, 3:55 rear axle, Club Cab, 4x2) and at a steady 65 MPH.

This discussion has been closed.