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Dodge Dakota: Problems & Solutions



  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (ronslakie) I too have a 2K Dakota. I sent eMail to Redline and here is their response. (RedLine product in parens)

    NV3500 5sp manual tranny (MTL)
    NV231 Xfer case (D4ATF)
    9.25 rear Diff. with LSD (75W90)
    C205F front Diff. (75W90)

    It appears that you are looking at the wrong Xfer case fluid. Keep in mind that the RedLine (NS)products DO NOT CONTAIN the LSD additive and should not be used unless LSD additive is SPECIFICALLY not needed.

    You should be pleased with the shift-quality that the MTL gives you. It is especially engineered to improve the shifting by carefully controling the way the sychronizers behave between shifts.
  • I have a 2003 Dodge Dakota Club Cab 4x4 with the 3.9L V6 automatic. I am getting around 10mpg around town, and around 15 on the highway! My dealer says it needs broke in to around 8000 miles, I don't believe that! Has anyone experienced the same horrible gas milage?
  • ferousferous Posts: 226
    The 3.9 V6 is an old engine design. You haven't given us enough information to determine if your current mileage reflects the conditions you are driving in. Cold temp - lower mileage, heavy right foot - lower mileage, how many miles on the highway vs city streets, hills, no hills, etc. I know I saw a jump in my mileage after 7,000 miles so your dealer has a valid point about the break in time.
  • I didn't buy my Dakota new, hoever, I did buy my 2000 Jeep Cherokee new with the 4.0 inline six and it got better milage after 7-8000 miles. What does the sticker say the milage is supposed to be? My '91 2-wheel drive 5-speed 3.9 V-6 Dakota gets about the same as my 4 wheel drive, automatic 4.0 I-6 Cherokee. The Dakota maybe a little worse (i.e. 13-16 mpg city, 19 or once in a while 20 mpg (best) highway).
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    You have the NV233 Part-time transfer case.

    The flashing LED is an indicator that the operator has not performed a prerequisite operation. There are several operator conditions that must met with your version before 4-wheel drive can be engaged:

    *The clutch must be depressed for at least 500 milliseconds.

    *The vehicle speed must be 3 MPH or less.

    *Front and rear wheel speeds must be within 13 MPH.

    Now, if the above conditions are being met, then there are one (or more) of several signals missing to the Power Control Module (computer). Since you say that it appears to be a more prominent problem in damp or colder weather, my first suspect would be a bad connection in a number of the switch and control circuits involving the transfer case.

    A dealer or some auto parts retailers (AutoZone, etc.) offers a service to connect a diagnostic tool to your vehicles electrical system and retrieve any codes. This might be helpful is locating the problem.

    Best regards,
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    I've been noticing over the past couple of weeks that when I apply light to moderate pressure to the brake pedal, it pulsates slightly. I feels that it is probably about 1 pulse per wheel revolution. Is this an indicator of warped rotors? My 02 QC is approching 39K miles.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926

    Well, at 39K that's not too bad. But I wonder if you are getting the around-town scuzz build-up. Since most of my weekly miles are back-and-forth to work and short trip stuff, I notice that on the weekends I get a little pulsing sensation. This goes away as soon as I get on the highway for a bit or really slam on the brakes.

    In my case the rotors are getting built-up with rust, usually providing an outline of where the pads rested on the rotor surface overnight. This symptom hasn't appeared in the warm months, just during this winter.

    Best regards,
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Crawdaddy, your's is a fairly common complaint with 3.9 V6 owners, although I know some that report better results. The fact that the temperature has dropped and you have four-wheel drive puts you on the low side of normal, I think, but not unreasonable. The 10 city-type driving is about as low as I ever heard from any 3.9 owner.

    The folks I know with 2-wheel drives Dakotas are getting from 15-17 mixed driving through the month of January in Western New York state. We've had an exceptionally cold January, with one solid week of -20 and lower. Just to give you a point of reference, guys with the small V6 in the Ford Ranger (3.0 liter?) complain about the same thing.

    The comments about break-in match my experience as well. Eight-thousand or more before break-in is not far fetched for a Mopar engine. The 4.7 engine seems to be even longer.

    Of course, driver technique is largely responsible for differences in fuel consumption. When you get to warmer temperatures take a two-way measurement on some kind of distance driving where you can keep it at a steady 60-65, preferrably using cruise control. You should be at least 17 MPG, even with 4-wheel drive.

    Best of luck,
  • 2nddak2nddak Posts: 44
    The cold Buffalo winters and her boss have finally gotten to my wife. We are moving to Jacksonville in April.

    I've been using a great light weight residential plow made by Snow Bear to plow our 300' driveway for the last three years. Home Depot and BJ's carries them. It attaches and detaches in 60 seconds and installs on the truck in an hour. I'm not anticipating a lot of use for it in Jacksonville, other than plowing out the sand that blows up from the beach in our drive. If anyone within driving distance thinks they could use it more drop me a line.

    I guess the the new Yokahama AT's I put on it last fall will have to struggle on the beach rather than the snow.
  • Hey, have a 2000 qc, 4.7L 4x4, with a remote starter. Check engine light came on for the first time in 3 years. Bought a diagnostic kit and it pumped out this code. Any ideas on how to fix this? Thanks,

  • right at 36000 miles on my 2k quad cab. after the rotors were turned and new pads applied brakes as good as new. i also had a little pulsation in the pedel. Brake pads were still ok, but thought it was better to have a brake job done now instead of waiting.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I list this code as "P1698 - No Bus Message From TCM." I think this is saying that you have an open bus circuit from the Transmission Control Module (TCM) to the Powertrain Control Module (PCM).

    Is the transmission shifting okay?

    If I learn more I'll message you.

  • bpeebles - I have been meaning to get back to you but I changed email addresses and have had some trouble posting. I queried Red Line Tech Support for my 2K Dak 4x4, 4.7 5 speed and they advised that either their D4ATF or the C+ATF was acceptable for the transfer case. They also advised that the 75W-90 (with friction modifier) was probably better for the front differential, as you suggested. I bought all the products i need to complete the front differential, manual transmission and transfer case. Now I'll just wait on some warmer weather.

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (ronslakie) Here is a tip on changing the fluid in the front diff.

    Since the clearance from the cover to the frame-crossmember is very tight, It is VERY difficult to fill the front diff. You may consider this.

    1)Drain the front diff using whatever your preference is (suck it out or, pull cover.)
    2) To fill it, utilize the vent hose that plugs into the dif cover and terminates near the battery under the hood.
    Just pull the white-plastic vent off the end of said hose and attach an approprate funnel. Add fluid thru that hose.

    Check the fluid in the normal way by getting under the vehicle and pulling the rubber plug off of the diff cover. (Or fill it thru said hose with the rubber plug out until it starts to flow out.)
  • Transmission shifts fine. Check engine light is now intermittent. Must just have a loose connection.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Try disconnecting the connectors at the PCM and look for possible signs of corrosion or otherwise poor connections. Then reconnect.

    Best regards,
  • spike50spike50 Posts: 481
    As many of you may have done, I changed over to the Bosch 4418 (+4) at +/- 30K (Sept 2002 for me). And all was well for many miles, it seemed at first glance. As we (the '00 4.7L, 5 sp & I) approached 40-45K, I started getting the "impression" that there was a "new" but slight engine vibration developing. I continued with my oil analysis program with every oil and filter change (Mobil 1 5-30W w/ a Mopar filter at +/- 5K intervals). The oil analyses ($13 total) (aluminum, chrome, copper, iron, lead, molybdenum, silicon, sodium, tin and sulfur along with soot, oxidation, nitration, water, antifreeze, and fuel) never indicated that there was anything but normal wear. Therefore, I began to think that this vibration must be because I "bent" something in the engine while dragging a trailer with 2 Honda 4-wheelers (Foremans). You may have remembered my earlier post on the cost of a Mopar remanufactured 4.7L. Now you know why I was doing the research, thinking "Why is this happening to me?".

    I again hauled this trailer with the 4-wheelers in mid-January '04 on a 3 hour drive at +/- 55 mph. The engine rpm related vibration was even more pronounced after this trip but never bad enough to stop driving the truck. The '00 now has 57K on it, which was getting near the 60K plug replacement. The recent oil analysis indicated once again that all wear metals were normal but that there was an alarming amount of gasoline present. Combined with this new revelation, generally deteriorating gas mileage (1-2 mpg) and the improved performance I was now experiencing after changing out the Bosch +4's in our Saturn, I thought, "Could it be the spark plugs?".

    I purchased cheap Autolites ($1.24 ea.) and just finished the job yesterday. That engine rpm related, non-spark plug like vibration is now gone.

    I inspected and marked each Bosch plug's cylinder while replacing them. There was no obvious problems (all cocoa tan, no damaged or missing ground electrodes, the center electrodes are visibly still above the ceramic, no wetness or gasoline smell) with any of the plugs. I can only speculate on why all, some, or one of these plugs are apparently faulty and why that failure masquerades itself as an "off-balance" component failure, not the "classic" erratic misfire. In my mind, I've also ruled out the failure or any of the spark plug firing units since they looked OK and the new plugs apparently are being fired successfully with these same units.

    I know that changing the 4.7L's plugs is a pain and time consuming but it appears to me that the older technology type plugs and/or shorter than 30K intervals are warranted for a restful night's sleep.
  • gjblegjble Posts: 23
    Very interesting post about Bosch 4418's. I changed to Bosch about 5000 miles ago. I have not noticed any improvements in performance but have noticed a decline in gas mileage of one or two mpg. You give me food for thought.
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    You provided a very detailed process and your observations would make a PHd researcher proud!

    Your dedication is envious. I always thought I had good observations on my rigs but I have a long way to go to catch up to you!

    Keep up the good work!
  • bookittybookitty Posts: 1,303
    Don, great job, and keen objective observation. Also, quite a bit less expensive that a "rebe."

  • spike50 - I have the same setup as you (00, 4.7, 5 speed, Mobil 1) and have 50.5K miles. I have had the Bosch +4 plugs in since 30K miles with no advers effects. The one thing about your post that concerns me is the gas that showed up in the oil analysis. I'm not sure how the plugs would affect that except for possible incomplete combustion and possibly some other problems. It would be interesting to see what your next oil analysis shows. Please keep us posted.

    Springfield, VA
  • spike50spike50 Posts: 481
    ronslakie - Yeah, I may have done the right thing (for my situation) for the wrong reasons. I had planned to follow-up once I sample again in 5k miles.

    One other point I forgot to mention was that the oil pressure gauge has always read the same (at speed) since 0 miles. It does dip to 50% when idling at a light (can't remember if it did that way back at 0 miles). I didn't research the oil pump or pressure because it didn't seem to matter (always good pressure with no drift over time). I've assumed that low oil pressure would have gone hand-in-hand with high levels of wear metals. Not seeing either, I initially thought that the vibration was from a bent and/or out of balance component.
  • spike50 - My oil pressure from day one has been exactly how you described yours. I have read several posts on this in different forums and this appears to be the norm from everything I have seen.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Chrysler engines since the early '50s have used a constant pressure oil pump. Older engines used a a variation of the type used in aircraft engines referred to as a rotor-style. These are not helix-cut gears found on most other designs, but a lobed inner rotor that turns an outer rotor. High output is typical of this design

    The oil pressure indication on the gauge is reflecting the bypass pressure. Because rotor-style pumps have high capacities at lower rpms, you see little or no fluncttuation from high speeds to idle, until the engine is warmed.

    Best regards,
  • While having my routine maintainence done at 36000 miles, had the plugs changed. I know the book says 30000, but truck seemed to be running ok. My mech. put back in original equipment champion plugs. Old plugs didn't look to bad, but it sure seems that the 4.7 is running better than ever, and the gas milage seems to have improved a little also. One thing I'd like to mention, the cooling system was flushed (power flush mach.) and i was amazed at all the corrosion that came out of the system in just 36000 miles. I guess chrysler hasn't improved thier cooling systems since i owned my 71 roadrunner.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Gasoline in the oil is indicative of misfire. Even in extreme variations from stoichiometric conditions the fuel and air charge will burn almost completely. A complete misfire, meaning no combustion at all, is usually the culprit when noticeable quantities of fuel are found in the oil. Todays engines are considerably quiet and well balanced. In addition, fuel injection and newer intake manifold designs have significantly reduced the efficiency-robbing effects of manifold inversion, a violent secondary effect of a misfire. A single complete misfire can occur at high speed (high rpm) operation without a noticeable symptom.

    Probably the most common scenario for misfire is at coast down. Modern engine management systems do not allow the throttle to return to the curb idle position during de-accelleration. This is done to reduce emissions. This represents an extremely lean condition. By nature the combustion effectiveness in an internal combustion engine is far more tolerant of rich mixtures. They don't like lean mixtures. At coast down misfires are inperceptible, but can load the cylinder with a lot of fuel that bypasses the rings.

  • Thanks for the suggestions for the heater blower fix. It turned out to be the heater resistor block as some of you mentioned. It also turned out he was covered under warrenty. I thought I posted this thanks earlier but I cannot see it so here it is. Thanks,
  • haselhasel Posts: 64
    Dusty: great explanation in regards to all the fuel in the oil. hasel
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    I am planning on upgrading the shocks on my 02 QC sometime this spring and I am looking for shocks in the $40 each price ballpark. I've looked at the Rancho RS5000s and the KYB Gas-a-Justs. Anybody has any comments on these or others? I need something that will stand up to the rigors of towing a 4000 lb trailer, yet not have a punishing ride in everyday driving.
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    re: shocks...
    I have a '97 club cab 4WD, and I put Monroe sensa-trak shocks on it at about 30K. The original front shocks were starting to get a bit sloppy. The Monroe's seem to be doing fine so far, and although they are a bit stiffer than the originals, they are not harsh. And, they sell for a reasonable price.

    re: plugs

    I replaced the original plugs on my 318V8 at about 25K. I used the Bosch platinum (single tip). My gas mileage went up slightly, and the engine continues to run butter smooth at 60K.
This discussion has been closed.