Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Dodge Dakota: Problems & Solutions



  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Although I'm not automatically suspicious from your story that your "mechanic's" actions had anything to do with your current problem, I can firmly recommend that you no longer do any business with those people. Their accusatory defamation against the make of your truck is the ultimate in lame excuses and demonstrates their significant lack of knowledge and probably basic intelligence. It also is an indicator of extreme arrogance and possible dishonest work ethics.

    The "Dodge software" comment is bankrupt. First, all manufacturers now use a universal diagnostic code system called OBD2. If they have an OBD2 read-out tool and the correct program software there is nothing special about a Dodge over a Chevy or anything else, except that some codes are unique to various manufacturers.

    The illumination of the ABS and brake lamps indicate a specific malfunction in your brake system, the loss of the speedometer and odometer is something else. It generally means a loss of PCI bus information. There may be a relationship.

    Check all of the fuses in the junction block that is located on the drivers side of the instrument panel. Be especially mindful of the IOD fuse. It should be number 10 on the block. Some are labeled "engine relay," but this fuse can open and cause weird symptoms. If you have a fuse that's opened, inspect the vehicle for pinched or damaged wires in the area that your so-called "mechanic" was logically working.

    Your ABS isn't working probably because the ABS or PCM computers have detected a fault. Anyone with an OBD2 diagnostic tool can pull a code off of the PCM. You can also see the codes that are stored by cycling the ignition switch on-off-on-off-on (not to the "start" position). Wait a second or two and observe the odometer read out for "P" codes.

  • poppapktpoppapkt Posts: 1
    Exactly how bad is it that the Malfunction Indicator light came on?

    Can I go 5 days without it being checked out by a mechanic? I hate to do that.. but I really can't afford the time without my truck... and going to the dealership is not an option.
  • mandy4mandy4 Posts: 1
    I'm having problems starting my truck sometimes. I will turn the key and nothing happens, there isn't any power to anything (dome light, stereo, alarm etc) and if I wait a few minutes it works. I have also had problems with the headlights turning off and then back on while I am driving. I have a feeling they are related. Anyone have anyideas what the problem could be. I have only had the truck for a little over a month so any help would be appreciated.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Hard to say. It really depends on what has caused a fault.

    The Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) illuminates when the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) has recorded a fault related to an emissions system problem that is twenty seconds or more in duration or there was a loss of bus communications (PCI). The MILs illumination pattern is determined by the type of fault. Some problems will cause a MIL to flash, others remain solid. Some MIL causes must register a repeat pattern over a number of engine restarts or "good trips."

    A MIL illumination may clear by itself under certain conditions, for example, if after 40 restarts the same fault is nor registered with the PCM, or two or three "good trips" are completed without a recurring fault.

    Try to obtain the diagnostic trouble code (DTC) that's causing your problem, either by performing the operator intitiated PCM test, or connecting an OBD2 or OBD3 read-out tool.

  • amend1amend1 Posts: 98
    gwh- Please see the quad cab forum and read my suggestion about our mutual problem.
  • kisettkisett Posts: 1
    I recently had changed my spark plugs on my dakota and my air filter from a disposable to a high flow filter. That day i ran my tank down close to empty so i could fill up at a cheaper pump. next day my engine was intermitantly ideling rough and would occasionally stall out. my first idea was bad gas, so i treated the tank with fuel system cleaner/octane booster: did not help. ran that tank down and treated the near empty tank again with the injection cleaner, no dice. i dont think it would be a bad plug, cause that would trip the sensor. (Note that when the truck is running, it runs great) i wanted to change the fuel filter, but i found that its located in the gas tank (horrible design).

    Anyone out there that might have some home remedies or suggestions, before i mortgage my house to have the dealership look at it?
    The dealership recommended a fuel injection system flush $$.
  • mag7uemag7ue Posts: 2
    Use oxy-clean, which can be purchased at Walmart. I've used it on oil stains in carpet more than once and it comes right out.
  • mag7uemag7ue Posts: 2
    I have a 95 Dakota SLT with the 3.9 V6, 173,000 miles. I've had very few problems with it, and have kept up the maintenance very well. I'm wondering if it's time to sell before anything major goes, like the tranny or head gasket, or anything else expensive that I can't do myself. Does anybody know some of the typical high-cost repairs needed on these trucks? Have I been lucky? Or should I expect it to last another 2-3 years with light driving?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Those oilable "hi flow" filters are not very good for your engine. Many many tests have shown that more flow means LESS FILTERING. Your engine does not need more flow anyway. (unless you are drag racer and use full-throttle all the time)

    Here is one air filter study:

    Oftentimes, the oil from those filters migrates (gets sucked) into the intake system and causes all kinds of problems. (Like gumming up the Idle system)

    The first thing you should do on your 4.7L is the CLEAN THE THROTTLEBODY.
    Also pull off the Idle Air Controller (IAC) motor and clean it and the hole in the throttle body it mounts into.

    After re-installing the IAC, start engine and LET IT IDLE for at least a minute. Do not touch the throttle while the computer "relearns" how to idle and automaticly re-adjusts the IAC.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Right on, Bpeebles!

    WE just helped a fellow Dak owner last week who was suffering from the same problem, except the only thing he did was install a "high performance" air filter. In his case he got way too much oil on the filter element. It had coat everything from the air filter housing to the throttle body. After four cans of a spray carburetor cleaner we got everything back to normal. He installed a Mopar air filter and his 4.7 is now idling like glass.

    By the way, these high performance air filters will only provide a slight increase in flow at the extreme end. Newer factory induction systems nowadays are so well designed (usually) that they are efficient through the entire engine RPM range. On the Dakota you might gain a horsepower or two at max throttle. Not much of a valuable performance increase to normal users.

    Best regards,
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Although not directly related to Dakota... you are LUCKY that dodge chose to use Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) sensors to determine how much air is flowing into the engine. To recover, all you have to do is REMOVE that stupid filter and clean the intake manifold.

    On engines that use the Mass AirFlow (MAF) sensor, the oil from those "high performance" filters will DESTROY THE MAF SENSOR. Leaving you with a hefty bill to replace the MAF sensor.

    BOTTOM LINE: Those oilable filters are not a very good idea.. there is no measureable gain for normal street driving BUT there is measurable problems associated with using them.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Yep. GMs are real sensitive to this for that reason. I've tried to tell a couple of people about the pitfalls of the filter oil, but overcome by the "more must be better" syndrome they learned the hard way.


  • hoot95hoot95 Posts: 1
    I have a 98 Dodge Dakota, V6 3.8l. The engine is having a rough Idle. The truck was sitting about 6 months with out driving. I filled up the gas tank with new gas and added some of the octane boost/injector cleaner. I have also cleaned the air cleaner and throtle body with no imporvements. I am having issues just at the idle position. Other than that the engine runs fine at operating speeds. Any suggestions?
  • georgian1georgian1 Posts: 2
    I have a 98 dakota with the same problem. Sometime last summer i started the truck one day and the abs and parking break light's came on and havent gone away, also the spedometer doesnt work till i hit 50km, then it turns on. I havent done anything about it cuz i really had no reason to waste the money but im just about to sell it and need to get it fixed. I figured it was just a wiring problem, maybe something got exposed and is grounding out. Anyways if you do figure it out can you post the problem so i can take care of it.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Your engine is a 3.9 liter V6.

    There are many causes for a poor idle quality from spark plugs, air filter and PCV valve, to other ignition components; vacuum leaks and sticky valves or other combustion chamber issues, to a clogged catalytic converter and or throttlebody.

    These are a few of the things that should be checked in order to diagnose your problem.

  • jphilpojphilpo Posts: 1
    Purchased a 2005 Dodge Dakota based on Edmunds recommendation. STAY AWAY FROM THIS VEHICLE :lemon: It rides worse than any cheap rental car I've ever driven. Dealer replaced tires, I paid the difference, still vibrates at highway speeds. Gas mileage rating 16-22mpg, would you believe 13.9 mpg highway. Dealer states gas quality is poor. I had a 2000 Toyota Tundra V8 that averaged 16.5 - 17. :lemon:
  • My 93 dodge dakota blew a cylinder :sick: (timing gear skipped a tooth). I was wondering what it would take to get a 1969 dodge 383 into my truck. I know i'd need to change some pulleys and move the motor mounts but i was wondering if any one had any knowledge or actual experience putting a big block into a dakota.
  • haselhasel Posts: 64
    Too bad that you got a truck that you are not happy with, I got my 2005 Dakota Laramie Q Cab on May 2and I have the 4.7L engine and 3:55 posi rear, On my first tank of gas I got 16.88mpg, this truck is nice and quiet rides and handles better than my 2001 and 2004 Q Cab, I have the P265X70R16 tires, :)
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    If you're expecting to just plop it in I think you'll find that it's not going to go. The 361-383-413-440 blocks are, I believe, too wide for a drop in fit on a Dakota.

    This might be the chance to install a 360 Magnum motor of your choice. Small block Mopars make plenty of power and torque, and will fit to existing Dakota pieces.

    Best regards,
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I've read a few posts about wind noise complaints on Dakota and I have found one source.

    A few months ago I had the Dodge dealer look at my drivers' side window for chatter in the up position, After lubricating the power window regulator (which resolved the issue) I noticed that on occasion I would hear a slight rattle noise emanating from the door. This winter is became more pronounced on cold mornings and/or before sufficient cabin heat.

    Anyway, during a recent warming trend a couple of weeks ago I removed the door panel to troubleshoot the rattle. I adjusted the door handle operating rods by slightly bending them. This appears to have resolved the rattle.

    However, during re-installation of the door panel I noticed that a triangle-shaped foam gasket that is surrounding the opening in the door frame for the power mirror had become loose and was out of position. This gasket appears to have adhesive coating on the side that is suppose to mount to the door frame. I pushed it back into position applying enough pressure to get the adhesive to secure it.

    After reassembly and the subsequent road test I realized that a whistling sound that only occurred when I had the passenger window down between 1-4 inches was completely gone!

    Best regards,
  • sdolsdol Posts: 2
    Hello, New guy here. I have an 03 dakota quad 4x4 with 30,000 miles. Front brakes just fine. however, rear left inside pad has worn down to the steel. Installed new pads, turned rotor, drove 15 miles, rotor was so hot it could not be touched... all other rotors normal temp. seems caliper is not backing off. Chrysler will not come to the table for warranty consideration.... any words of advise? or other comments> Thanks.
  • ron35ron35 Posts: 134
    spillingvoid - Suggest you take this topic to the Dakota Mailing List. They have some 1200 members and they are really into topics like this. You can subscribe at

  • blasieblasie Posts: 13
    Yes I have the same problem. I have an 03 quad. cab 4x4 w/ 4.7L. I also have a 02 Durango. The Durango gets 20 M.P.G. or better usually, thats what alerted me to my problem (I just bought my Dak.) It sounds like the dealer is full of bull. I have learned in the past couple of days from talking to certain friends of mine (I work on 18 wheelers and some of my friends work at auto. dealerships) that certain fuel additives like octane boosters will mess up the O2 sensor, you could also have a longer spray time on one or more of you injectors. this could be caused by the computer trying to compensate for a problem that a sensor is picking up or the sensor (like the O2 I mentioned earlier) is failed or failing. After asking a lot of questions I have found an independent shop that had a lot of people had good things to say about them, plus their labor rate is a little cheaper than the dealer. Since I just bought mine from a reputable Dodge dealership I will be taking mine back there first. If they cannot or won't fix it under any of my warranty coverage or just for the simple reason I just bought it I will take it to the independent. My suggestion is do some careful research, ask around and find another dealership on independent. I don't know how much you get out during reg. bus. hours but if you see a tool dealer like a Snap-On Man ask him, They know lot's of mechanics and shops and they have no reason to lie to you. I have learned that since computer controlled fuel injection has replaced the Carb. sometimes it is well worth a trip out of your way to a shop or person who knows what they are doing.
  • georgian1georgian1 Posts: 2
    Hey i had the same problem, just fixed it today, it's the abs/speed sensor in your rear diff. You can pick them up from the dealership for around $40 depending where you get it. Takes about 20mins to install yourself.
  • tcsmpsitcsmpsi Posts: 31

    Well, I've been in several "rental cars", some 'cheap', some not so 'cheap'. I would rather drive my '05 dak than any of them.

    Certainly, there is a possiblity that you have gotten hold of a problematic vehicle out of the bunch, but what you are stating is not by any means what has proven to be the norm.

    And, most certainly, I have not experienced any of the things you quip about in either of my Dakotas.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    EIther stuck caliper or pads not sliding on the guides. Sice this is REAR, it could also be emergancy-brake cable issue.

    I wonder if there is a REASON that the Dak has reverted back to rear drums starting in 2005?
  • mandomanmandoman Posts: 1
    Hi folks, I'm a newbie here and this is my first post. Now here is my dilemma.

    while replacing my clutch, I snagged my clutch slave cylinder and broke that fantastically "strong" plastic fitting where the line connects to it. No problem, so I thought, until I found out that Dodge charges $200 for the unit (master and slave in a sealed unit) Ouch!!! not good! So I obtained a third party unit that turned out to be only the slave cylinder.... My problem is how to remove the old cylinder---anyone have any tips??

  • I purchased a 2000 4.7 Dakota about 4 weeks ago and love it soo far,but i'm already having a problem.In any vent position other than off the air cond comes on.Took me a while to figure out why the electric fan was always running,even after first starting up in the morning.It is still pretty cool here being early spring.I also have an erratic idle which could be the compressor cycling but it jumps from 700 to 1500 rpm and constantly goes up and down which seems strange.It seems to be fine with the AC off.Is there a solenoid that could be stuck on?This forum is great, it helped in my decision to buy the Dakota.Thanks
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    That is one of my only gripes about my 2000 Dak. The AC compressor is "on" in all except 2 switch positions. I have always wanted to install a pushbutton switch so I can tell the system when to enable the AC compressor.

    Virtually ALL non-US named vehicles have a pushbutton so the driver can control when the AC compressor is enabled.
This discussion has been closed.