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Dodge Dakota: Problems & Solutions



  • ferousferous Posts: 226
    Thanks for the suggestions. The gas tank cap was the first thing I tried. I've looked for any loose hoses, but havn't found any. I need to fill up again tonight, and if it doesn't reset by Saturday, then I will disconnect the battery.

    The 3 key turns should still work on the newer trucks as far as I know.
    1) start with the key turned to the first click (where the steering wheel is unlocked and everything is "OFF")
    2) Turn the key to the next position (the "ON" position) and back to the "OFF" position.
    3) Repeat step 2
    4) Turn the key to the "ON" position and leave it there.
    Note: Steps 2-4 need to be a constant pattern. eg - from lock position to the off position, on, off, on, off, on
    5) Look at the odometer read out for any P-codes.
  • ronslakieronslakie Posts: 58
    When I ordered my 2K Dak CC I ordered the heavy duty battery thinking I would get at least five years out of it. Now I find after 3 1/2 years it is on its last leg. It has never been run down by leaving the lights or other accessories on. I don't have any exotic accessories other than powered MTX Thunderforms, which have been installed for more than a year. Have any others had this experience?

  • iowabigguyiowabigguy Posts: 552
    When you got the "heavy duty" battery you got larger amp hour capacity battery than standard. You also got an OEM, low bidder version as well. Cost cutting has its impact in many ways. Rick
  • traumagastraumagas Posts: 64
    I did a search on past post, I noticed you placed the bosh 4418 in your truck. Do you still like them I have a 2001 4.7 4x4 with 53k on it and was going to change the plugs, At present I dont have any noted problems just thought I would change the plugs. I did put the Gibson Cat back exhaust on and it sounds better and not much increase in cab noise.
     The install was a breeze nice product.
      Also does anyone have any experience with those Air type load levelers that are placed to assist springs when loaded? I am placing the IAS edelbrock shocks on as soon as they come in X 4
                         Thanks Jon
  • bookittybookitty Posts: 1,303
    Ron, batteries like many other electronic components are somewhat unpredictable as far as longevity is concerned. My '95 Dakota had the heavy duty battery, I drove it long distances over highways and it never saw its first birthday. I have had batteries last 8 or 9 years. Many things can happen such as plate sulphating, cell buckling, etc. And this can occur with the charging and regulating components operating properly. I think that Rick's posting presents some practical insight. Let's hope that you fare better with subsequent batteries.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926

    Well, they're okay. I seem to realize a slightly improved idle. Fuel consumption hasn't changed either way. When I first installed them I actually thought there was a slight decrease in performance, however that is a very subjective response. I have no way of measuring any change in performance and whatever "slight" difference I thought I felt, I don't trust my seat-of-the-pants feel.

    I only have a little over 3000 miles on them, so longevity is still to be determined. Oddly, I've talked to guys who have gone 30,000 plus miles on the original Champion factory plugs and don't have a complaint. One fellow told me that he went 58,000 on the factory set and his Dakota started and ran fine.

    The tips on the factory plugs at 10,000 were showing signs of erosion around the circumference of the top, typical of any ordinary plug. The gap measured a very uniform .042 on all eight plugs, which isn't really bad for a plug with that many miles.

    So, bottom line. Did I get what I paid for?

    I think it's to soon to tell. But I think it's fair that nothing was hurt by installing them in my 287 motor. But my results may not be typical.

    Best regards,
  • pirat5pirat5 Posts: 20
    I was changing engine oil, when I noticed drips of fluid on the shaft and boot. Year and a half ago, I had the upper arm on the same side replaced, under the warranty. I wonder, if they could help this problem. Any ideas, what could go wrong and how to fix it? How do you clean throtle body and what cleaners can be used so the sensors don't get damaged. Thanks!
  • ronslakieronslakie Posts: 58
    traumagas - I have had the Bosch +4 (#4418) sparkplugs in for 9K miles and I do believe the idle is better. It is interesting to note that the Bosch homepage did not list the +4 as applicable for the 4.7 engine until recently. Also I have seen several posts on the Dakota Mailing List indicating that platinum plugs were not applicable for the 4.7 yet many are using them.

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (ronslakie) You are mistaken... I also "ordered" a 2000 Dak and still have the full and complete listing of available options. There was no "heavy duty battery" option available in 2000.

    The only "heavy duty" option available was the one that added a power-steering cooler.

    The 4.7L V8 ALWAYS has the same alternator bolted to it from the engine factory.. this is NOT part of any "heavy duty" option.

    Believe me, I researched this with intensity by visiting many dealerships and looked under the hood of many dakotas on the lots. On the 4.7LV8, the radiator, alternator, battery and lots of other stuff WAS ALL THE SAME. The "heavy duty" option (in my opinion) was a big waste of $$ to just get a power steering cooler.

    Perhaps, if one had the V6... the "heavy duty" option actually changed a few things.

    Another Item I looked at was the "rear end" (aka rear differential) The "heavy duty" option did not always include the 12-bolt rear end. (some "heavy duty" vehicles had the 10-bolt differential cover)
  • bpeebles: "There was no "heavy duty battery" option available in 2000."
    Dakota sales catalog obtained from dealer April 2000, page 26, under "Options": "Heavy-Duty Service Group - 136-amp alternator [vs. standard 117-amp], 750-amp battery [vs. standard 600-amp], and maximum engine cooling"

    bpeebles: "The 4.7L V8 ALWAYS has the same alternator bolted to it from the engine factory.. this is NOT part of any "heavy duty" option."
    Monroney Label from 2000 QC 4.7 in my driveway: "Optional Equipment...Alternator - 136 Amp" [part of Sport Plus Group vs. standard 117-amp].

    Them's the facts; all else is opinion.
  • ferousferous Posts: 226
    Here are the extra Heavy Duty options I ordered.
    AHC - Tow package $234
    ADJ - HD Elelctrial 136 amp Altr. $102
    NMC - HD Cooling $51 (my truck is a stick)

    There must be some difference!
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    That is EXACTLY why I went to a minimum of 3 dealerships and actually looked under the hoods of many Dakotas... I wanted to know what I would get if I payed for the
    ADJ - HD Elelctrial 136 amp Altr. $102
    NMC - HD Cooling $51

    My actual "under the hood research" showed me that the 4.7L ALWAYS had the 136Amp alternator installed. I was not about to pay $102 for an upgraded battery!!

    Perhaps somone with the 4.7L but WITHOUT the ADJ option can look at their alternator? >

    The NMC option was simply a PowerSteering cooler. (with the automatic tranny, this also added a tranny cooler... but I have the NV3500 tranny)

    The factory computer system may 'split out' these options on the window sticker and show additional cost... but after I did my "under the hood research", I realized what options ADJ and NMC were all about.

    BTW (ferous) I beleive the AHC option included the ADJ and NMC. (cant get one without the others)

    Again, keep in mind that I researched the constraints and inclusions of the option groups. I am very aware of the available options and how they 'meshed' with the other option groups. Some options are not available with with some others or MUST be included some others.
    (For example, the LSD was a manditory option if one orderd the 4.7L V8 and the manual tranny)
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Well, this one isn't that easy.

    According to my 2003 Dakota brochure, the implication is that the 136 amp alternator is standard equipment on all Dakotas. My search of the on-line inventory of Marina Dodge in Webster, NY, seems to reinforce that as well as each Dakota they list, regardless of engine or trim level, lists the 136 amp as standard.

    The 2003 service manual, however, indicates that 117 amp (pn 56028692AA for 4.7 and 56028914AA for 3.9/5.9) was equiped on some models.

    It also looks like all Dakotas get the 600 AH battery unless equiped with trailer towing package, which then gets the 750 AH.

    My 2003 DOES NOT have the ADJ option, and I do have the 136 amp alternator.

  • jimtjimt Posts: 56
    On my 01 4.7, 4x4 Quad with trailer tow, tire handling pkg. 3.92ls etc. I added the IAS shocks and the firestone airbags. I am very happy with the combination. I tow a 22'Gradywhite with my towed weight and tongue weight pretty close to veh. rating and the bags help. Without I would get some rear end sag and with moderate pressure truck remains level. I keep minimum pressure in bags for everyday driving. Jim
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    I am sure that the 2003 models may have some differences from 2000 but I beleive the presense of AirConditioning may also include the 136 amp alternator.

    If one could FIND a stripped down, 2WD, 4cylinder Dakota... it would perhaps have somthing less than the 136 amp alternator.

    Do not forget that part way thru the 2000 model year, the dakota saw quite a bit of 'cheepening' such as the spare was NOT mounted to an aluminimum wheel that matches all of the others on the truck. (mine does!) Also the underhood insulation was not installed in later 2000 Dakotas. The 'air baffle' was not installed on the side of the radiator....etc
     My 2000 Dak was built in November of 1999 and has ALL of the items that were deleted from the build list when the 'cheepining' process began.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I'll tell you something else that's different as well.

    My 2003 is a fairly quiet vehicle. I hear very, very little engine sound except for the exhaust note. At reasonable highway speeds wind noise is almost non-existent. The vast majority of the noise I do hear is from the Goodyear Wranglers. This noise is coming in through the cab vents that are located in the cab's rear bulkhead in front of the box.

    I've been in other Daks that didn't have anywhere near the tire noise than mine has so I've been attributing it to the Wranglers. But then I noticed that the service manual shows a rubber gasket that attaches to the bottom of the cab's rear bulkhead. I'm thinking that this is a sound block to prevent under body noise from reaching the cab vents.

    I haven't noticed the underhood insulation on other Dakotas. I'm going to check that out.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Okay. I just returned from my Dodge dealer.

    Jim T (in the Quad discussion) was correct on the disc brake explanation. Dakotas with a GVW over 5440 lbs. get rear disc brakes.

    According to the parts list for 2003, there was no 2.5 4-cylinder engine offered in the Dakota. But previous years listed a 117 amp alternator as standard. Here is where it starts to get a little murky. It appears that the 117 was the standard alternator from 2000 and up, and the Dodge parts database does list the 117 for a 4.7. However, the 136 amp appears to be standard if the vehicle was equiped with factory air conditioning. Since more than 90% of Dakotas built since '97 were shipped with AC, it makes sense that the 136 amp alternator is what you'd see on a 4.7.

    2000 Dakotas had a number of little items that were dropped in 2001. The box noise seal I mentioned in my earlier post was dropped in 2001, the underhood silencer and engine bay lamp were dropped in 2002 as were the engine emblems and the black tape filler between the door and rear quarter window on Club Cabs. In 2003 they dropped the "Sport" decals on the side of the door.

  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    MIne had the heavy duty group which according to the build sheet, incl 136 amp alternator, heavy duty cooling, 7 blade fan I recall, plus a PS cooler.
    it was a 2000 club cab with a build date of 12/19/1999.

    The 117 amp Denso alternator was standard.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Does anyone have a list of the Dakota Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs), or otherwise known as "P" codes?

    The 2003 Dakota service manual does appear to list them.

    Thanks in advance,
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    Dusty - if you're looking for the OBD-II codes, try Do a search under "OBD-II".
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    For those of you that may have forgotten.... There seems to be a preponderance of PowerSteering pump failures on the 4.7L V8 after about 50K miles. I am trying to avert this expensive failure on my 2000 Dak. My original PSF was VERY BLACK and had a strong 'burnt' odor to it.

    Yesterday, I drained and replaced my PSF.... twice. Although the new fluid I put in was water-clear... it is allready BLACK again. There must have been a lot of black gunk hanging around in the system.

    I have decided to suck-out and replace the PSF every couple days until it clears up (that is the plan anyway.)

    I am using the Prestone brand PSF available at wallmart for about $4 for a quart. Even if it takes $12 of fluid before it starts to clear up... that is MUCH cheaper than a powerSteering pump.

    Does anyone else have black, smelly powersteering fluid? (It should be clear and nearly ororless)
    How many miles do you have on your Dak?
  • bpeebles - I have been away a few days so I did not have the chance to respond on the battery. The 2000 Dodge Dakota brochure I have shows a "Heavy Duty Service Group" then lists a "136 Amp alternator, 750 Amp Battery and maximum engine cooling". The order I placed as well as the window sticker also shows this. I believe I remember reading that at some point in the model year all the 4.7 engines were swithched to the 136 Amp alternator. Since I wanted the LSD I had to take the 3.92 (at least this was in effect at the time I placed the order).

  • I replaced my battery last week with an Energizer (guaranteed 7years, 875 cold cranking amps). The terminal posts did not line up with the battery cover which was with the original battery so I installed the new battery without the cover. My understanding was that this cover was for heat protection anybody know how critical this is. Also I did not use the battery platform that came with the new battery because I remember reading something about the sensor which is under the battery. Is that sensor for excessive heat buildup?
  • ferousferous Posts: 226
    My 2000 4.7 QC doesn't have a cover for the battery.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (ronslakie)According to the DC service manual, that sensor under the battery is used for multiple things.

    *)It is used to determine outside temp when starting a cold engine.

    *)It is used to 'adopt' the charging rate based on battery temp.

    *)It is used as input to modify the calculation of several other variables such as ignition timing, injection timing, intake air density. (There are sensors in the intake airflow too.)
  • jimtjimt Posts: 56
    I changed fluid also about 2 weeks ago. I have 72,000 miles on my 01 with 4.7. I was very surprised how dark/burnt it appeared. I was getting a little growl from pump as well. I tried getting as much old fluid out by disconnecting both lines from rack and turning wheels lock to lock by hand(front of veh. on jack stands). I also started and stopped engine a couple of cycles to empty pump. Poured new fluid thru and let it drain. Still fluid is not completely clean. I also added a ps additive which napa carried. I used their fluid. Anybody have system power flushed? I know Ford dealer offers such a service. Would synthetic be a good replacement? It is more quiet now, but the rear end still whines! Jim T.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    The covers on automotive batteries are more for isolating against wind chill.

    I think the 136 amp alternator is a standard item anytime air conditioning is on the vehicle. However, when I looked at the 2002 RAM sales brochure, it definitly implies that the 136 amp alternator is standard equipment on the 4.7

    I do know that the dealers computer parts screen listed a 117 amp for the 2003 Dakota with a 4.7 engine. This could be for stripped down fleet versions of the Dakota, although I don't remember seeing a footnote.

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (jimt) You may have saved yourself over $800 by changing your PS fluid.

    QUESTION: I see you are in Florida, I assume it gets pretty hot there... do you have the PS cooler on your Dak? (It looks like a little radiator on the return hose.)

    I am suspecting that there may be a good argument twards adding a cooler to the return hose if the factory one is not already fitted. (Cost less than $100 for a cooler, hose, and some clamps.)

    I am in Vermont where it does not get much over 90 more than 20 days a year.... but in the winter when it is -30F.... it is VERY HARD to turn the steering wheel for the first 5-10 minutes.

    I have to make a FULL RIGHT TURN as I pull out of my driveway. The first winter I had my Dak, I almost ran straight out of my driveway into the snowbank across the road. I have since learned to wiggle the steering wheel about a 1/4 turn right/left about 10 times before driving. This warms the fluid enough to make it steer when I 'muscle' it.

    Perhaps the "synthetic" fluid you mention would help this situation... but since I would have to use so much of it to 'purge' the system... it may be cost-prohibitive.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    .....refresh my memory. What year is your Dakota? How many miles?

    Yeah, mine is stiffer in the cold weather, but not like yours. My Nissan, our Chevy and our Toyota all exhibit a bit firmness to a varying degree during cold weather. Out Chevy groaned a lot.

    But so far the Dakota seems what I would call "normal" in this respect.

    How many power steering pump failures are you aware of. My service manager didn't indicate this has been a problem on past Dakota's (but, I've been lied to before!).

    Best regards,
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    I thought there was the TB air intake sensor on the plastic intake manifold itself and that was it?
    I didn't recall seeing a MAF sensor or a MAP sensor.....but my memory might be fading a bit here.

    I believe that with DOdge not having those add'l pieces, they have a bit better system (less stuff there means less stuff to break)
This discussion has been closed.