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Dodge Dakota: Problems & Solutions



  • Hey Ned;

    My 94 Dakota 3.9 puts out plenty of heat. How many miles on yours, what thermostat and how often have you flushed the system? It sounds like the heater core may be partially plugged? Does the truck run hot in warm weather?

  • jnealjneal Posts: 247
    The resistor only controls the fan speed. If your fan works on all speeds the resistor is ok. Sounds to me like a coolant flow issue, either partially clogged heater core or the flow control valve isn't opening all the way to let coolant circulate.
  • jkonjkon Posts: 3
    I lost almost all lights on my 1999 dakota. The only lights I have are dome light, glove box light. My headlights are out, tail lights out, running lights out, fog lights out, dash lights out. I have checked fuses and they are all OK. Is there some big fuse 40-60AMP, breaker, fusible link somewhere that I should check? What could be my problem? Thank you for any help.
  • dcurdcur Posts: 1
    Hi, I have a 1999 Dakota that has an internal coolant leak. I think the coolant might be leaking into the transmission fluid, but I'm not sure. Is that possible and if so what would I need to replace to fix the leak. Also, I just recently had the tranmission cooling lines replaced because of corrosion, could the mechanics have messed up and caused this leak putting the lines in? Thanks.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    The heater core on my 02 QC appears to have developed a small leak. I get a slight coolant smell for a short period after turning the heater on. What is involved with replacing the heater core? Is it something that the average person can do, or should I avoid the hassle and leave it to someone else?
  • have a 98 dakota 2wheel drive that has alot of squeaking in the front end.cant find any grease fittings . any way to fix with out putting new ones in? thanks
  • drum2drum2 Posts: 3
    To whom it may concern:

    For the past 3 years during the months of December through March my truck will crank but won't start. I will wait an hour or two at times and then it might start. I have gone to the dealership at least ten times during this period but still have the same problems with it. It is a v8 5.6 and it is in the dealership once again. Any help or advice will be greatly appreciated.
    Kevin Drum
  • 126k miles on it. Haven't flushed the coolant in a long time. It does run hot in summer. Would flushing it 'fix' it or could I be looking at needing a new valve.

    I don't know what thermostat, how do I find that out?

  • jnealjneal Posts: 247
    Flushing the cooling system certainly won't hurt but it is impossible for anyone to tell you whether or not that will "fix" it. Flushing the system in your driveway more than likely will not cure the problem. If the cooling system is clogged it needs to be back-flushed by someone with the proper equipment.
    Your engine should have a 195 degree thermostat in it. It's possible that the thermostat is stuck in the open position. This can also cause the symptoms you have given. Does your engine temp come up to normal mark during cold weather?
  • mir1mir1 Posts: 1
    ok... am a little bit frustrated! a friend of mine came by today and parked her truck. well that was at 2:00 this afternoon, and she is so stubborn that she will not listen to my boyfriend when he tells her that it is not her battery :mad: . she insisted that he do something with the jumper cables that would have ruined his battery and he said NO!! now it is 11:56pm and she is still out there. we have no idea what the heck is wrong with her car(and her)lol :confuse: anyway, she says that we need a rubber mallet? :confuse: i don't know but she... well we need some help or suggestions please.
    help please!!

    oh yeah i almost forgot, the radio and lights and all of the other stuff works, except for the car :lemon:
  • Dusty, another chapter in the on-going saga of the '01 Quad Cab w/4.7. If my Quad was a horse, I would have already put it out of its misery because my patience is gone. To recap - truck began to overheat last summer - numberous trips to dealership where nothing could be found wrong - replaced thermostat (twice), radiator hoses, radiator taken out and flushed/cleaned (shop said it was pretty clean before they worked on it), water pump (tiny leak in bottom of o-ring of old one) and fan clutch. System was flushed and anti-freeze replaced. Pressure check was done and it did not indicate any internal leak such as head gasket, and am not loosing any fluid nor is there any water in the oil. Truck stopped overheating.
    Now weather is cold and snow is on the ground. I cannot go out and start vehicle and let it warm up. It will not get warm unless I start to drive the vehicle and then it will warm up nicely. If I go into a store and leave the truck running, my temp gauge starts to go up and the warm/hot heater air will start to go cold. I think this indicates a flow problem but have no idea what else to do. Not sure what to do next except sell as I've sunk enough money into the truck. Thanks
  • Realizing the heater core might be blocked, that shouldn't make the heat gauge start to rise at idle, should it? Is there a valve somewhere that might not be opening fully to allow coolant to flow? Thanks again
  • drum2drum2 Posts: 3
    to mir 1 my 02 dakota wont start in the cold. cranks hard but wont start. i know what you are going through but i dont have no answers. sorry.
  • The engine temp comes up fine. Just running the blower at the 3rd or 4th (highest) setting, the heat cools down.

    Whereabouts is the thermostat located?

    Well I'm going to look at getting it back-flushed first, then go from there.

  • jnealjneal Posts: 247
    The thermostat is located in a housing where the radiator hose connects to the top front of the engine block.
  • it sounds like you might have a problem with your fuel. have all your gas lines checked change the fuel filter and have the fuel pump checked.
  • dunn4dunn4 Posts: 3
    this is my cry for help. Help. 93 dakota died with no warning, just quit running. I was thinking bad fuel pump, yet i have heard it pump at least 2x since we have been working on it. So we have ruled that out. We did find that the interrupter inside the distributor was worn heavily, so we replaced the whole distributor, and cap and plugs and wires. No luck. We removed exhaust at manifold, thinking it was clogged, no luck. We have swapped Auto Shut Down Relay with Radiator Fan Relay, no luck. We have tested the coil and plug wires and we are receiving spark. We have sprayed starting fluid into Throttle Body, still no luck. We have added 2 gallons of gas, no luck. Plugs do have gas on them, so we are assuming we are getting fuel. We pulled No. 1 plug and tried to start it we got fuel out of plug hole and plug sparked at the same time. Any one have any clues? :confuse: Looking for Luck.
  • title says it all

    How do I get the Spare Tire off the truck ... No owners manual ... and have a flat !!!! I see a turn handle infront of the tire but what do I use to lower it and where do I stick it !!!!
  • dunn4dunn4 Posts: 3
    hey, on older models you can take off the spare tire with the tire tool or the jack extension tool will go through a hole on rear bumper to lower the tire. I hope this helps. Good Luck
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Also, It is a very good idea to lower the spare and lubricate the mechanism once a year to ensure it actually works when you need it. I usually do this when I am lubricating the tailgate latches. It takes about 10 minutes. (It actually takes more time to get out the "tool" to do it than it takes to actually do it.)
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    What I dont understand is how anyone could have lost the owners manual?... every vehicle is delivered with one.
  • I have a 1997 Dakota V-6 2WD, lately I have had this problem with shifting from 2nd to 3rd. To get the truck to shift to 3rd I have been letting up on the throttle and as the RPM’s drop below 1500 it shifts to third. If I don’t let up on the throttle, the truck will ride in 2nd until red line. Tran’s fluid was changed using ATF type F awhile back, other than that no fault codes or anything. :confuse:
  • I have a 1997 Dakota V-6 2WD, lately I have had this problem with shifting from 2nd to 3rd. To get the truck to shift to 3rd I have been letting up on the throttle and as the RPM’s drop below 1500 it shifts to third. If I don’t let up on the throttle, the truck will ride in 2nd until red line. Tran’s fluid was changed using ATF type F awhile back, other than that no fault codes or anything.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    Type F ATF is the wrong type for a Dodge transmission. You should have the transmission flushed and the fluid replaced with either ATF+3 or ATF+4. The wrong fluid will cause all sorts of shifting related problems. Hopefully no long term damage was done.
  • Thanks for the reply, I will have it flushed out and make sure they fill it up with ATF +3. Thanks again. :)
  • Jody,
    I see you never had any replies to your problem. I have the exact same problem with my 2001 Dakota Quad 4.7 Auto, and the dealer (Triangle Dodge in Graniteville, SC) has never been able to solve it yet. They've tried everything. Even a brand new PCM (computer), to the tune of $900.00, has not solved the problem. It has been one big troubleshooting adventure for the dealer, at the expense of my wallet. Now the Power Steering Pump sounds like it's fixing to take a dump.
    Do yourself a favor, and trade it on a new Toyota Tundra Quad!

    Butch in Aiken, SC
  • i have a dodge ram 89 model truck that has the same problem as your truck, can not get truck to fire. did you ever find what your problem was
  • Well, it finally did it. Water pump failed on my '97 Dakota Sport (2WD auto). The symptoms came ever so gradually, and I must confess that - like a dope - I never bothered to flush my coolant: My Bad. Last July I noticed that the AC didn't seem to work very well: blamed it on the intense heat of NC. In recent weeks here in NJ, I noticed that the heater didn't work very well: blamed it on ultra cold weather.

    One day, I noticed that my temp gauge was a bit erratic - doing excursion to >220F then back down to a normal 190F. Later that evening, things got much worse and the gauge redlined @260F and I pulled it over immediately. Note that this came with no "warnings" such as a noise, etc. though I confess that I didn't check for leaks under engine (never sensed a problem before). At this point, however, the "weep hole" had opened up on the bottom of the water pump and most of you know the rest of the story. The coolant was rather rust-colored.

    1) OK, I had the pump replaced and was advised NOT to flush the system now as things had rusted to the point that this may invite more problems, as leaks in the radiator or freeze plugs. I'd like to know if anyone has had this experience and agrees with this position?

    2) I was also told that the condition of the coolant over time caused the pump bearing to fail. Any thoughts on this?

    3) What is the relationship between a failed pump bearing and the "weep hole" deciding to open up and drain the coolant? I'm very curious about this.

    4) Regarding the earlier cooling heating symptoms, I was told that the condition of the coolant over time did a job on the heater core, which I find believable. Is there any magic liquid I could add to the coolant that would help remove the "plaque/cholesterol" from the heater core to help restore it? Then maybe I could simply drain (remove case plug) and replenish the coolant at intervals to rid the gunk ...

    5) As I had mentioned in an earlier post, I noticed (as have many other Dodge owners) the elusive "Check Engine" light come and go. I wonder if this could have been somehow related to the impending pump failure - either a sensor of the bearing state, coolant level (mine had probably been falling over time), or some other related variable? I checked the P-codes I have access to and did not see anything obvious.

    I realize these are a lot of Qs, and I did research the data base on this forum before posting this. I did not see any similar Qs posted. If anyone could please entertain this, I'm sure we could all learn something.

    DakotaMan :cry:
  • jnealjneal Posts: 247
    1. No, I do not agree with this. Thoroughly flush the system with a good cleaner and find the weak points now unless you had rather drive down the road knowing that rust and sludge may be all that is keeping the system from dumping coolant all over the road and leaving you stranded within the next mile.

    2. Yes, coolant also has a lubricant in it and in time will cause the pump to fail if not maintained.

    3. See #2. Seals will fail of their own accord but slack in the bearings will take the seals out in a heartbeat.

    4. Again, have the system professionally flushed if you don't have the equipment to properly back-flush it, this will also take care of the heater core.

    5. Possibly related to the coolant level but doubtful.
  • My '03 Dakota Quad (V6) has approx. 41k miles. Noticed yesterday that during idle the heater did not work, actually blew cold air. As I drove it started pumping out warmer air and the more I drove it seemed to get hotter. However, the minute I would slow down or stop the air would cool. Based on what I read on this site it seems like a coolant issue. But since I'm not a "car guy" I thought I run it past the experts. Thanks and have a good holiday season (PC).
This discussion has been closed.