Howdy, Stranger!

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

Dodge Dakota: Problems & Solutions



  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    Thanks for the info on the PSF. I will change mine with Redline C+ synthetic ATF when I get around to changing the transfer case in the next month.

    By the way, the original PSF in the 4.7 is either ATF+3 or ATF+4 tranny fluid. It should be red or reddish brown under normal conditions.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (dustyk) My Dak is a (very) early 2000 (before the quadcab was available) It has 50K miles.

    I have read about at least 4 folks that had a PS pump failure on a 4.7L V8. Do not forget that the PS pump on the 4.7L V8 is NOT THE SAME as the one on the other engines. It is apparently a brand new design. (first afailable in 1999 on the Jeep Grand Cherokee)

    (sunburn) ATF+3 or ATF+4 tranny fluid in the PS system???? Where did you get this info from. I have the factory shop manual and that is NOT what it says. From my research, any kind of ATF is not desirable for a powerSteering system. I am willing to learn more... please tell us where you get your facts from...

    Well... I am going out right now to change my PS fluid for the 3rd time this week.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    >>By the way, the original PSF in the 4.7 is either ATF+3 or ATF+4 tranny fluid. It should be red or reddish brown under normal conditions.<<

    Sunburn is correct. Begining in late 2002 Dakotas started to get the ATF+4 as power steering fluid.

    There is a cautionary note in the service manual about judging this fluid. All ATF fluids use a dye, but years ago it was permanent. ATF+4 appearently is not.

    The manual also states that "ATF+4 also has a unique odor that may change with age. Consequently, odor and color cannot be used to indicate the fluid condition or the need for a fluid change."

    I'm a little concerned when I read that someone had a symptom with the power steering system that was remedied by a fluid flush or change. Years ago the only time you needed to grab a can of power steering fluid is to add some, not change it.

    I examined mine and -- assuming it's ATF+4 -- it is already much darker than the same stuff in the transmission at 13,000 miles. There's an odor, but I can't say it smells like it's burnt at all. So I don't know. I'm not experiencing any unusual noises or steering related symptoms. But I will ask my Dodge guy about this one.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    On page 0-6 of the Lubrication & Maintenance section, 2003 Dakota Service Manual, it does specifically state that ATF+4 is to be used in the power steering system. It does not differentiate engines, although the 3.9 and 5.9 get the Saginaw pump. I don't know who the manufacturer is of the pump that's used on the 4.7.

    Best regards,
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Thanks for the info... my 2000 shop manual was printed before ATF+4 was available. It specifically warns against using ATF in the PS system (I assume that was refering to ATF+3)

     I do know that ATF+4 is SYNTHETIC-based and may have qualities that are acceptable for a PS system. (Like heat resistance.)

    BTW... you mention that color and odor may not be good gauges for when the PS fluid needs to be changed... I agree, but also would err twards changing it SOONER rather than later.

     There is NO QUESTION that my PS fluid was burnt... the odor was VERY STRONG (Like wet ashes) and it was black as coal. (Even holding up to sun in a glass bottle showed it was not even opaque)

    It is curious that some folks will change their oil every 3000 miles (WAYYY TO OFTEN!) yet will ignore all of the other fluids that keep their vehicles running maintenance-free.

    I just changed my PSF 2 more times. (running engine and turning wheels lock-to-lock) between changes). Both times, it came out pretty dark... at least now it is starting to look opaque. I will do some more changes later in the week. (I have not even used $6 worth of fluid yet.)

    I have been looking for finned coolers to put on the return hose. (Just like the factory setup) I have found one at "Advance Auto" for $29 that is twice as large as the factory unit. Still contiplating wether to buy it or change the fluid more often...
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Well, I've got to tell you that I've never before run into a situation where power steering fluid condition was the cause of a problem. Most vehicles that I've owned required a special power steering fluid, although I have seen ATF used in the past on some models.

    But even then I've not run across this situation where the fluid becomes degraded in some way.

    After my last post I did check the odor of my power steering fluid and compared it to the transmission dipstick and they have an identical my nose at least. But the power steering fluid is most certainly much darker than the transmission, so I think something's going on. I just don't have a clue at the moment why.

    If I find out anything I'll post it here.

  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    I was just looking at my owner's manual last night and noticed a comment on the coolant type for the 4.7. It stated that any replacement antifreeze must be a HOAT type (I forget what the acronym stands for). Mixing non-HOAT types could cause problems. Of course, they refer you to the Mopar Antifreeze as a replacement. I've heard of people having problems when replacing extended life anitfreeze (Dexcool, etc.) - like jelling, etc. I know that most of you probably haven't reached the coolant replacement point yet, but does anyone know anymore about this?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (sunburn) You read my mind.... I am going to change my coolant next.

    OAT= Organic Acid Technology
    HOAT= Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (has a traditional Ethylene Glycol-base, with a single OAT inhibitor and is moderately silicated)

    You heard correct... mixing OAT with the 'standard' Ethylene Glycol antifreeze may jell, turn brown in color and plug up the cooling system. (Can you say ENGINE MELTDOWN?)

    As for what to use in the 4.7L V8... it depends on the year of your vehicle. I beleive that the early 2000 Dak has "standard" Ethylene glycol.

    As long as one is flushing the entire system (including heater core) it should not matter which quality coolant one chooses to use.
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    cars specified Dexron for transmission fluid. My 2000 CC specified regular power steering fluid only. Not tranny fluid. Has this changed with the later models?
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Well, the 2003 Dakota service manual specifically states to use ATF+4 in the power steering system, and it doesn't differentiate between engines even though the 3.9 and 5.9 get the Saginaw pump. The 4.7 uses an entirely different designed pump.

    I did talk to the Dodge dealer's service manager today, and he said they have never replaced a power steering pump for a 4.7. In fact, he said the only problems they've had were on Caravans, when during a period they had pump pulleys come loose.

    I asked him about the dark color of the ATF in my Dakota, and said he wasn't aware of any problems. But I'll be keeping an eye on it just the same.

  • jimtjimt Posts: 56
    (bpebbles) Yes, my '01 has the cooler. I have not "changed",flushed system again as yet, but I intend to do the same--- change it 'till it is clear and "clean" smell. The head mechanic at my FD shop is an Amsoil dealer and I am going to check their product line. His price on gallon of synthetic differential fluid was under $30.00, so price should not be bad. I will continue using Napa to flush system.

    I am a little concerned about my vehicles reliability with pinion seal replacement and probable poor dealer repair causing axle whine; A/C compressor failure with $900.00 repair tag including new receiver/dryer and belt; and possible P/S pump problem.

    Anyone flushing brake fluid? I thought that may be good next maintenance item.
    Thanks, Jim
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (jimt) I plan on replacing my brake fluid before the snow flys this year. (I figure I have another month or so ;-) I am currently using my vacuum brake bleeder to suck the PowerSteering fluid out every couple of days. Takes about 5 minutes to replace all fluid in resivour.

    I realize this does not remove ALL of the PS fluid... but it is MUCH easier and there is less chance of getting dirt into the system like when a hose is pulled off. (which would be immenent failure for the pump or seals.)
    Like you said... a GALLON of NAPA PS fluid is about $10 so that will go along way twards my partial fluid changes.

    For those of you that are wondering why I am replacing my various hydrolic fluids.... they are hydroscopic. That is, over time, they 'attract' moisture and turn brown. This water in the system will cause corrosion. (Did you ever wonder why ALL brake fluid is supposed to be from a "TIGHTLY SEALED CONTAINER"... it sucks the water right out of the air into itself.)

    I have replaced enough master cylinders and calipers to know that complete fluid replacment every couple of years is less costly and safer than having the brakes fail when I need them most.

    Replacing the brake fluid is not difficult... pulling all 4 wheels is what takes the time.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    bpeebles - I've always been suprised that more manufacurers don't recommend flushing the brake fluid periodically. I know that Subaru recommends doing it every 60K miles. Flushing is especially important if you have ABS. It is cheaper than replacing an ABS unit.
  • hennehenne Posts: 407
    Well my I got a P0442 Evaporative leak today message today on my 01, 4.7 auto, 4x4. I have a list of 5 other things to do so I have scheduled to have this taken care of. Isnt this the gas cap error? It is on right and its been over 100 miles since last fill up.

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (henne) As I have said before, I had an emmissions leak DTC due to a HOSE popping off under the vehicle.

    Directly under the drivers door, on the other side of the framerail, there is a plastic "canister" with several hoses plugged into it. One of those hoses was pulled off. (there was no hoseclamp from the factory.)

    You can lookup the code listing here;
    These codes are the same for ALL vehilces sold in USA with OBDCII (OnBoardDiagnosticCode)
    (Society of Automotive Engineers specification J2012)
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    I have researched the questions about what PS fluid to use in the Dakota. It turns out that everyone is correct 8-)

    Originally, actual "PowerSteering fluid" used to be the only recommended fluid... but as of August 2001 the recommended fluid changed to ATF+4. I have pasted the details of Technical Service Bulliten 19-007-01 below.

    TSB# : 19-007-01
    DATE: AUG 01
    DESCRIPTION: Power Steering - New Fluid Type

     The factory fill power steering was or will be changed for 2001 and 2002 vehicles. The new fluid is ATF+4 (M59602) and it provides superior performance in both low and high end temperatures. ATF+4 P/N 05013457AA(quart) and 05013458AA(gallon)

    ATF+4 is compatible with other Chrysler approved fluids but to avoid confusion should not be mixed for "Topping Off".ATF+4 should become the replacement fluid. If a steering system is being serviced for fluid loss, pump replacement, hose, gear or rack replacement, the complete system should be drained and refilled with ATF+4.

    AN 1994-2002
    DN 1998-2002
    DR 2002
    JR 2001-2002
    LH 1993-2002
    PG 2002
    PL 1995-2002
    PT 2001-2002
    RG 2001-2002
    RS 2001-2002

  • hennehenne Posts: 407
    Well it was as bpeebles said. I had 2 vacuum hoses that were split. They said my milage would get better also as it has gone from 16mpg avg to 10mpg avg.

    Now the fun part. My transfer case is leaking fluid and I did not know it when I took it in. I looked under the truck to see how everything looked and saw oil everywhere. The dealer didnt see it and it has been there awhile, so I am not sure how long is been leaking so now back to the shop it goes.

  • jhorljhorl Posts: 89
    Havent checked postings in a while, but about 2 Weeks ago I changed the PSF with RedLine Power steering fluid. The Redline Rep. said that C+ ATF was the correct fluid to use but since I already had the PSF I went with it. If it worked a year ago it will work now. (Bpeebles) I also noticed that the new fluid turned brown almost immediatly and I was pretty sure I got most out. Maybe I'll try to flush the system several times also. I disconnected one of the lines at the bottom of the cooler and then forced the wheels left and right until the fluid stopped draining out. By the way, what is the best way to flush the brake system.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I checked a couple of brand new Dakotas over the weekend that were on the dealer's lot and the fluid was just as dark as mine. So I have been trying to figure out why ATF+4 would change color so rapidly when used in the power steering.

    The significant difference between a power steering system and an automatic transmission is the amount of absolute pressure of the fluid environment. Since ATF+ series use a non-permanent dye, I wonder if the effects of fluid compression (pressure) is causing premature dye oxidation.

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    I had a number of niggling 'problems' with my Dak that I had been meaning to have the dealer look at under the xtended warantee. Although it "expired" at 50,000 miles... I did not get it in until 51K miles.

    This is what my complaints were:
    1)No backup lights when in reverse
    2)The 4X4 light did not come on when in 4X4
    3)Vibration when accellerating
    4)intermittent wipers unstable

    This was the corrective actions;
    1)Replace switch on xmission
    2)replace entire "console" (Tach-speedometer unit)
    3)Replace rear U-joint on rear driveshaft
    4)Replace wiper switch.

    What did this cost me?... only the $50 deductable

    My overall experience.... This dealersip has GREATLY improved since I was last there for service a couple years ago. Not only have they remodeled the service area, they have hired some folks that are "customer friendly". Everyone I spoke to was smiling and helpful. They even have installed a drive thru car wash that the service customers get to use for free.

  • haselhasel Posts: 64
    For those of you who have installed the Raybestos Ceramic Front Pads Part# PGD820QS you might want to check them, looked at mine today and after 10287 miles found that the pad had started to separate (crack) about 1/8" in from the contact surface, this is not good,I do not tow anything and usually get about 110000 miles from a set of pads.
  • hennehenne Posts: 407
    Well my 2001, 4.7, auto 4x4 is back in the shop with another, but different trouble code and it is sputtering out when coming to a stop. It is also leaking fluid from the xfer case. The brake pedal gets hard and wont stop the truck.

    35k miles and counting. I am glad Dodge gave me a 50k warranty when they had to drop the tranny to work on the engine after a few thousand miles, since this was my buyback replacement.

    Wish me luck.

  • jimtjimt Posts: 56
    The noise my diff. makes is increasing as the dealer mechanic stated it would. Bearings are damaged, but they won't accept any responsibility for it after pinion seal change.They wanted $2,000 to replace all bearings and ring and pinion. Did several days searching and found a driveline repair shop in next county that does only driveshaft, cv axle, and diff. repair. uses Dana Spicer gears and Timkin bearings. Will perform total rebuild for $1,000. I am going to schedule this week. I will talk to dodge corporate and express my opinion of dealer.Hope this puts end to repairs for a while! Jim
  • hennehenne Posts: 407
    I understand your rearend whine problem. Dodge bought mine back because they couldnt fix it.

    Good luck,

  • hennehenne Posts: 407
    My truck has a small transmission leak 2001 Dakota, 4.7, auto because of the gasket according to the dealer and he said that the warranty only covers gaskets for 30k miles and I am at 34k miles. I have looked everyehere I can and have only found bumper to bumper 36k and brakes 12k.

    Anyone know if he is correct? I know there is a suggested maintenace schedule that is 30k and 100k I think it was, but thats not a warranty limit, its suggested maintenance.

    Thanks for your help.

  • ford_biiford_bii Posts: 120
    Well, I just got my 2001 QC back today from the repair shop. A lady was flagged through traffic by another motorist and rammed my right rear wheel since I was in the left hand turning lane approaching the light. My truck had a slightly bent rear axle.

    Good news is the axle seems fine now. The bad news is that I told the repair shop I wanted synthetic lube in the rear diff (since they had to drain it anyway) and they went and put in "what the dealer recommended" - i.e. Mopar 75w90 with friction modifier (LSD). I am pissed. The guy at the body shop insisted that the dealer didn't recommend synthetic, contrary to what the manual, and the rest of the Dakota forum seems to think.

    Unfortunately, it was too late for me to call any local dealers, so I am going to call tomorrow and get the scoop as to what they think.

    The thing that bothered me as well, is that the guy only put 4oz of friction modifer in my rear (4x4, 9.25, 3.55) instead of the 5oz that I believe the BOB calls for. On the back of the friction modifier bottle, it says "add 2-5% by weight", which for a 4.9 pint rear, would correspond to 1.56 and 3.92 ounces respectively. (by volume, how do you tell by WEIGHT?). Is my rear going to blow up or something?

    I'm going to get the straight scoop from at least 2 dealerships tomorrow, and this guy is going to re-do the job if the recommended towing setup is to go synthetic.

    I was going to do it all myself, but since they had to drain the rear anyway, I figured I'd just get it done right away. As always, hindsight tells me I should have bought the lube and gave it to him MYSELF. Oh well.

    I'll let everybody know what at least 2 dealers say as to synthetic gear lube.


    2001 QC 4x4 28k miles
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (ford_bii)Does it really matter what the dealers say? You told the repair shop what you wanted them to use and they ignored you and did it their own way. You should have SUPPLIED the lubricant that you desired them to use.

    According to the manual, you do not NEED synthetic lube in the rear end. (unless you are towing) But if you are planning on keeping your Dak for a long time, It is well worth it. The 2-3 MPG increase alone is hard to ignore. (I went from 18MPG to 20.5MPG after switching)

    Synthetic lube in the axle(s) provides better lubrication, less wear, lower operating temps and longer life. (As compared to dyno lube)
    These are FACTS!

    Red Line is perhaps one of the best choices for synthetic lubes.( )

    Their "75W90 Gear Oil" allready contains the friction modifer so you do not have to add it.

    I have RedLine in my front and rear axles, Xfer case, and manual transmission. I do not expect to have to change these lubes again before 150K miles.
  • jimtjimt Posts: 56
    Picked up my truck this am from driveline specialty repair shop. They replaced ring and pinion gears and all bearings including carrier, pinion and axle bearings. Timkin bearings and dana/spicer gears. It is quiet again- hope it stays this way. $915.00 as opposed to dealer estimate of $2,000.00. Had shop put in dino oil for now. After breakin miles I will change back to synthetic. I will still have some words with dealer and corporate customer service, as I believe the shaft seal replacement performed by dealer was in large part responsible for bearing failure despite their "differing" opinion. Jim
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    While crawling underneath my Club Cab I found the underbody relatively clean despite no undercoating, mud flaps or running boards. There is one area that I did find rusted after 10 months on the road, so you might want to check yours.

    The lower portion of the front of the box, where the sheet metal comes down just below the frame (just in back of the cab). It appears that without added protection, this area gets bombarded with sand, rock salt and stones and chips the paint away.

    I cleaned the floorboard area between the frame and the rocker panels and applied a generous coating of undercoating that I got from AutoZone. I also coated the affected area.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    My apologies, the piece of sheet metal mentioned above is part of the rear bulkhead of the cab, not the front of the box.

This discussion has been closed.