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Dodge Dakota: Problems & Solutions



  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (shawnh2) The LSD components can be installed in to your rear differential. There are several choices available to select from.

    Too bad you did not cordinate this with the switch to synth lube. Much of the cost is just opening the unit up to install the parts.

    Check out this URL;

  • urban3urban3 Posts: 74
    Took my Dak in today for new rear leaf springs to correct "problem" of ~1/2+ lower on right side vs. left.

    There's no clear answer on whether this is really a problem or just within tolerances. No definitive answer from DC customer service e-mail as to specs and different wheel sizes, etc. It looks more level from the rear, but doesn't measure out even. Nothing done to front torsion bars.

    After much discussion, I like it as is. Leaning, not leaning, whatever. ahasher, how did you manage not driving your QC for so long? :) Mine was in for 1 day and it was too much.

    Advice: Don't bother about leaning unless cause and solution are clear.
  • victxvictx Posts: 108
    What would be the downside of having some dino oil left in the differential when you convert over to synthetic? I can understand a possible problem with engine oil due to pumps, filters, tiny oil veins, etc. But for the differential, the oil just sits there bathing the gears. All it has to do is lubricate. I could believe the oils possibly wouldn't mix, but they shouldn't loose their lubricating properties.
  • ahasherahasher Posts: 236
    2 weeks took alot of self control. I even drove past the dealership a couple of times to "check" on her. I, like most of us here have had several vehicles in the past, and this one (IMHO) is my best one so far for power and handling, and just "love to drive it" quality. The durango loaner was ok, but had the 6 banger (while it had adequate power for light driving, the weight of the durango was too much for it overall) so I constantly missed my 4.7 power.
    I hope you get your leveling issue resolved to your satisfaction. While i dont have the "leaning" problem and other underside problems (popping suspension, punpkin whine) discussed here lately, my idle and fusebox transplant issues were enough for me to understand the frustration of havign an ongoing problem you are trying to resolve.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (victx) Do not forget that the rear axle oil also lubricates the rear bearings at each wheel. It "sloshes" out to the ends of the axle housing around corners and such.

    The main concerns about compatability are more with the additive package that the differing oil brands contain. Many use sulpher-based additives...(this is why many gear oils are so STINKY smelling)

    As for possible problems if there is some mixing? I am not sure of the concequences.

    One way to reduce the possibility of mixing without doing a complete "rinse down" of the guts is to allow PLENTY of time for the old oil to drain out. Being very viscous... overnight would not be too long to really drain it well.
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    Back in the heart of the midwest again at parents home. Had the joy of trying to change an oil sending unit on a 78 D-200 318...(my fathers)gave up after the beer got warm waiting for me to drink it.
    Anyway, the Dakota did just fine. Returned 18.2 this time on Amoco 87 gas from PA. AC on and running about 70 or so on I70.
    Even the 45RFE shifted well on this trip, hard or soft; am I finally seeing the light here? Is it learning? Or am I learning? Bpeebles? Ahasher?
    Bueller? Biglucy? Bookitty please join in, I am getting lonely here! :)
    For kicks and grins, I pulled #1 plug, looked at it, marvelled at how clean it was and put it back. Electrode wear looks mimimal to the naked eye. No oil used since the last oil change at 16,567 (18,209 on it now) and the mobil 1 still looks clean. :)
    All in all a good trip although I have been drafted into a labor camp of sorts. Oh what the heck, dad needed help.
  • ron35ron35 Posts: 134
    I am looking for some advice from someone who has replaced their front bumper. Mine is a 2K Dak CC SLT (chrome) and the bumper has been pushed up so that the gap between the bumper and body from the side view is larger on one side than the other. The plastic fascia does not appear to be damaged and can be reused. I have 2 questions: some of the after market bumpers are half the price or less than a new one from Dodge are any of these any good or are they really thin and of inferior quality. Second question is there appears to be 2 brackets holding the bumper in place on each side, from what I can see in my Factory Service Manual - will I have to replace these brackets or is there enough leeway to adjust the bumper to the correct position without replacing the brackets. Appreciate any advice that anyone can offer.
  • iowabigguyiowabigguy Posts: 552
    In response to your question, I can answer part of it based on personal experience. First I would check Ebay, do a search under dodge Dakota. I always see grills and to a lesser extent bumpers. I bought an after market chromed piece to replace the lower plastic piece on my 2000 SLT Quad. The metal on it was very thin and it did not fit well enough for me to keep it on my truck. Removing the bumper requires a 18mm socket, and a 4" or longer extension on your ratchet wrench. You will probably need a 1/2" as the bolts are torqued to 70 foot pounds if I recall. There are two on either side of the radiator and can be accessed from the front of the truck with the hood up. There are then two more on either side of the frame forward of the tires and these are removed from under the truck. You have to disconnect the fog light connectors (if you have them) and there are 5 or 6 plastic fasteners along the underside of the radiator support. I found these plastic fasteners the most difficult to remove. I ended up cutting off the top part of the fastener with a sharp knife and once the bumper was removed I used pliers to extract the remainder of the fastener. I don't know how much adjustment there might be in the brackets attached to the bumper but there wasn't too much adjustment where the brackets attach to the frame. The bumper will have to be removed as an assembly to get to the fasteners that hold the lower piece to the bumper. Be especially careful removing the outermost fasteners on either side as they will tear out of the plastic as it is very thin here. This is as far as I went so beyond this point you are on your own. Hope this helps! Rick

    PS I just checked Ebay, check this item out, 1997 - 2001 Dodge Dakota Lower Valance, Item # 593295269. You can contact this guy and see if he can help. His sale sheet says chrome or painted upper bar also available. Rick
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    here is what 2000 and above use.
    9606 for 2000 and up vehicles
  • namfflownamfflow Posts: 202
    Some of you have experienced a rattling noise in the front end of your Dakotas without a resolution. Well, I had to take my 01 Dakota in to the dealer because the inner fender well was coming out. It turns out it is a part that just snaps in place. Once it was snapped back into place I noticed that when going over speed bumps and the like there was more noise in the front. Apparently there is a slight amount of movement in the inner fender well and this is making the noise. So for me at least it isn't something to worry about.

    It may be the case for some of you. You can probably check it by playing around with it.
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    17.3 running 70-75 with AC on and approximately 400 lbs of stuff(read junk) in the bed.
    This is on BP/AMOCO gas from Indiana, refilled in Wheeling WV.
    AC did the trick in 90+ heat and humidity to make a jungle seem tame in comparison. I did get a tiny bit of internal condensation drip on the duct which directs air to the floor. It seems as though there is a slight bit of air bleed from the evaporator plenum and it was enough to chill the duct and for moisture to collect on worries the floor mats (cannon) held it well.
  • kruzerkruzer Posts: 9
    OK guys,

    I have an 01 SLT+ 4x4 4.7, auto, and have a question. I have the "parttime" 4wd and can guess the obvious with OFFROAD, but what is "offroad"? The manual talks about "slippery, loose road surfaces".

    I know. I don't NEED a 4x4. I do occasionally *need* it with camping and dirt motorcycling. Mostly, I just wanted it. Just because. I only put about 5k/yr on the truck so extra maint is not really an issue.

    Anyway, besides the obvious, what is OK for the system? Is it OK to use 4WH in rain? I guess first, is it needed to occasionally use 4WD so it doesn't get "rusty"? What damages the system on dry pavement? Seems like I have read that the Differential is damaged when turning on dry pavement.(?) More so in curves than straight?

    I don't really want or need to turn on the 4WD button, but am concerned with the long-term health of my truck. I don't want the truck to suffer damage because I am ignornant of proper "maintenance". If there is no problem with lack of use, I'm OK. Otherwise fill me in...

  • iowabigguyiowabigguy Posts: 552
    I own a 2x4 Quad but I drive at work either 1 of 2 4x4 3/4 ton Chevy Suburbans or a 1 ton GMC crew cab. I use 4x4 whenever I have any doubt about road surfaces. I use it in the rain all the time as well as on gravel roads and cow paths going out to the radio sites I work at. In 16 years of driving the company 4x4s I've never broke any 4x4 component. I've gotten a few grills and fenders pushing deer out of the way at 70mph but thats another story. I've on occasion forgotten to switch back to 2 wheel drive and have driven several hundred miles in 4 wheel drive on dry pavement(I do a lot of Interstate driving). I only notice a binding sensation while backing up while turning on dry pavement. Then I remember to take it out of 4 wheel. Of course these are full size Chevy 4x4s and are probably built a lot tougher than whats in the Dakota. Seriously, I don't think you are going to damage your 4x4 system driving in the rain. Rick
  • cyberdinecyberdine Posts: 1
    I have a 1995 Dakota sport (extended cab), about a week ago, my front breaks started making a loud squealing noise and grinding when I pressed on the breaks. I took it to the break shop and they told me that I would half to replace the drivers side rotor and get a new set of calipers. The reason was that Dodge had used "plastic" pistons in some models to save money. He showed me both the rotor and the caliper. the rotor was ruined. The piston had mushroomed flat and caused the break to never completely release on that side. This also destroyed the inside break shoe.

    The funny thing is that I never felt any dragging or pulling to one side until the squealing started. Has anyone else ever heard of this?????

  • bja4bja4 Posts: 67
    I had a 92 4x4 Dakota Sport that started to trow a shoe in the rear at 40k miles. There was a chatter coming from the rear when hitting the brakes. So I decided to go ahead and do a complete brake job(news hoes,turning rotors and drums). Everything in the rear was easy. Then came the front. The floating hubs in the front made removing the rotors easy, but trying to open the calipers to make room for new shoes was almost a nightmare. I stated to use a large channel-lock pliers to push the calipers back in like I have on several other vehicals I have owned. The dam caliper chip; I couldn't believe it. I guess there made out of some type of ceramic material. I finished the rest of the job using 1"x4" piece of wood sandwiched between the pliers and the caliper.
  • bja4bja4 Posts: 67
    I used 4x4 low all the time on my last 92 Dakota when backing the truck up the driveway with the camper on it. 4x4 low makes baking up a lot easier when aligning truck to accept camper as well. Put over 65K miles on last truck and never had a problem with the 4x4 system. I use 4x4 low on our new Dakota as well. Leaving black marks in the driveway once in a while shouldn't hurt anything. If it did hurt, I would get rid of the truck. A rocky trail would cause more wear/abuse.
  • lmeyer1lmeyer1 Posts: 215
    This weekend I had to jack the front end of my (4x2)2001 QC. I had the jack in the proper location, but fully extended it didn't raise the truck enough to remove the tire. I ended up putting the two by four under the jack. Anyone else ever have this problem.
  • bobs5bobs5 Posts: 557
    I have changed both rear tires on my 4x4 Quad and the jack lifted the truck OK. Have not tried the front. I'll have to try the front to make sure the jack lifts properly. Thank you for bringing this up.
    When you tried to jack up you truck, were you on a flat level surface?
    Good luck,
  • skylerkskylerk Posts: 67
    When rotating my tires, I have used the tire jack on all four corners of my 2001 QC 4x2 (with the big Tire & Handling package tires) and the jack had plenty of height. Were you using the frame right behind the front tire as your jack point?
  • lmeyer1lmeyer1 Posts: 215
    Thanks for the replies. I was on a flat level surface and I had the jack immediately behind the front wheel. Go figure. It was a real head scratcher.

    My guess is I got the wrong jack.
  • Well, just got my baby back from the dealer.

    abou two weeks ago I sent her in to have the power steering pump looked at, due to the fact that I was experiencing some excessive whine from the engine bay. My analysis pointed to the power steering pump ( the old screwdriver to the ear trick). None the less, they agreed with me and ordered the part. Called me a week later to schedule the replacement.

    What a difference! The engine is sooooo much smooother too. Could be my imagination, but there is definetly an audible reduction, especially at idle.

    Kudo's to my dealer (service department) too!!! I told them that I had an almost inaudible click over rough roads that sounded like it was coming from under the dash, behind the airbag. Once the pump was replaced, they pulled the airbag cover and reattached some of the insulation to correct the problem. they even told me that it that the fix was a little more dificult than simply reattaching, because they didn't want to interfere with the airbag clearances. Now that is using the old noodle.

    If anybody is looking for a dodge in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland, you have to go to Junction Auto at the corner of SR 322 and SR 44.

    I'm one happy camper!!

  • bja4bja4 Posts: 67
    DETROIT, Aug. 1 — The U.S. unit of DaimlerChrysler AG is recalling 216,100 Dodge pickup trucks because of a potential problem with the driver’s side airbag.
    THE PROBLEM, ANNOUNCED by federal regulators in a monthly list of automotive recalls on Tuesday, has been detected in 1997-2000 models of the Dakota and Durango and 1997-2001 models of the Dodge Ram pickup
    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said about 216,100 of the trucks were included in the recall.
    In some of the vehicles, sound muffling material inside the steering wheel could become detached and wind up disabling the driver’s side air bag system, NHTSA said.
    The recall began in June but was not announced by NHTSA until this week.
  • You said all 4 corners when using your jack. Just this morning I came out to a flat rear tire and changed it, but the manual specified jackpoint for the rear tires is the axle between the leaf springs and the shocks. Easiest tire change I ever did, the tire came off the ground with very few cranks of the jack(2001 QC 4x4 T&Hpackage). Did you have success using the jack on the frame for rear tire change? Just curious...
  • ahasherahasher Posts: 236
    2 within a week.. !!!
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    Warped rotors...ahh such familiarity. This Friday I go back to the dealer.
    Since its a known fact to me that OEM rotors are pure garbage my goal is to get Chrysler to fund replacement aftermarket units. Already priced out a Raybestos unit (made in USA by the way) from NAPA for $67.13 + tax.
    I know its a long shot on getting Chrysler to work with me on this but I plan to hit the advisor with my report to the NHTSA on Dodge brakes. See what he says about it.
    Stay tuned.
  • spike50spike50 Posts: 481
    A few weeks ago I took my '00 in for the 1 year once over. Excessive noise coming through the door seals, power steering fluid on the low end for some reason, new version oil cap and the rotors are starting pulse. The oil cap and door seals are on order, told me to fill up the power steering myself and that the rotors (all brake components) were only covered up to 12K (I have 17.6K on it now).

    Are rotors only covered up to 12K?
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    yes, according to the documents.. I am going to try to nail them on the fact this started WAY before 12K. SO I will see; I don't know which way Chrysler will go on this.
    WIll keep updates going..if anyone is interested.
  • skylerkskylerk Posts: 67
    When I said that "I have used the tire jack on all four corners" of my truck, I was just trying to use a little mildly humorous slang. I actually placed the jack at the locations shown in the diagrams on the jack handle carry case -- the frame just aft and inboard of the front wheels and the rear axle just inboard of the leaf springs.
  • spike50spike50 Posts: 481
    I realize that the ultimate solution is to get an quality-made rotor, Mopar or not, but I'll get these trued up for now. Anyone out there trying non-Mopar rotors, keep us apprised of your experiences so the rest of us can make the right decision, eventually.

    Just returned from backpacking a portion the Tuscarora Trail in south central PA. It was uphill both ways, hot, rocky and dry. QC got us there and back, the rest we did the old fashion way.
  • mailman54mailman54 Posts: 111
    spike50: This is off the subject a little bit, but I coudn't resist. Had been planning a hike to the same area during the first week in September. Have previously hiked from Colonel Denning state park to junction with AT at Darlington Trail and back. Was planning to go south from Colonel Denning to Cowan's Gap state park and back this year. What section did you actually hike? I have not been overly impressed with the Tuscarora Trail so far. If it is no better south of Colonel Denning state park, I may go to plan 2 and hike the Bartram Trail in North Carolina instead.

    Speaking of brakes, I am rapidly approaching 12,000 miles on my 00 Dakota. So far I have not had any problem with my brakes, although my 91 Dakota had all kinds of problems. If I am going to have problems I wish it would start now so that I could get them fixed under warranty.
This discussion has been closed.