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Dodge Dakota: Problems & Solutions



  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I think your private mechanic is misinformed.

    Chrysler specifies that Hybrid Organic Additive Technology (HOAT) coolant must be used. This is available as Mopar Antifreeze/Coolant MS-9769 and is a 100,000 mile coolant. This is what the factory used on your Dakota and it is green in color.

    Typically the coolants that are orange are HOAT, however the DexCool and the Toyota equivalent are a different formula than MS-9769.

    NOTE: Chrysler permits a 50/50 mix of Ethylene-Glycol and distilled water as long as a HOAT additive is used.

    You don't say how many miles you have on this vehicle or how many miles you've gone since the flush. My first suspicion is that non-distilled tap water was used, the incorrect coolant, or a HOAT additive was not installed, or both.
  • I also have a 2001 4.7L Dak 38K and was planning on changing the coolant. I went to two different Dodge Part Depts; both asked if my coolant was green, which it is, and sold me their overpriced MS-7170 (3 Year Formula.)
    The 2001 Service Manual states:
    "Note: Refer to the vehicle's coolant bottle cap to identify HOAT or Non-HOAT coolant. Non-HOAT coolant is green in color."
    My coolant cap does not indicate the coolant type. Do I use MS-7170 or MS-9769?
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    My 2003 Dodge service manual says the same thing. The paragraph following, however, confounds the issue:

    "The use of aluminum cylinder blocks, cylinder heads and water pumps requires special corrosion protection. Only Mopar(R) Antifreeze/Coolant, 5 year/100,000 Mile Formula (glygol base coolant with corrosion inhibitors called HOAT, for Hybrid Organic Additive Technology) is recommended. This coolant offers best engine cooling without corrosion when mixed with 50% distilled water to obtain a freeze point of -37C (-35F)."

    This is prefaced by the following caution statement:

    "CAUTION: Mopar (R) Antifreeze/Coolant, 5 year/100,000 Mile Formula (MS-9769) may not be mixed with any other type of antifreeze. Mixing of coolants other than the specified (non-HOAT or other HOAT), may result in engine damage that may not be covered under the new vehicle warranty, and decreased corrosion protection."

    I believe that the factory coolant was HOAT, even though it is green. The MS-9769 coolant is a very specific material, different from other HOATs because its glygol-based.

    I think you need the MS-9769 version.

    Best regards,
  • Dusty, thank you for your reply. Since the MS-9769 coolant is 5 year/100,000 miles, I think I will hold off on the change until I get further clarification as to which coolant is in my Dak.
  • Hey guys, im a new dodge dakota owner!, i have a 2000 4.7l transmission with 62k on it. I have the SLT package. I dont know much abut dodge so here it goes! First off, my truck idles around 500-575 rpm, normal or bad?...2nd..the brakes suck, and suggestions? 3rd, i have clunking noises coming from the back of the truck, any ideas?...and one more thing...i have a weird noise coming from the dashboard when im stepping on the gas pedal, anyone had this problem? So far i love this truck, but want to make sure everything is in check before my 30 day warranty goes bye bye, if you guys could help that would be great...oh and one more thing, i notice sometimes too when i am stopped at a light, the truck will jerk, someone softly hit me from behind or something
  • ford_biiford_bii Posts: 120
    1. Idle speed of 500-575 is normal
    2. Brakes... do a search on this forum for "brakes". You will get all the info you need about what people have suggested.
    3. My truck has 37k on it right now, and it is screechy/squeeky underneath. I'm not sure what to tell you on this one.
    4. "Weird noise" - need more description. Does it only happen under hard accelleration? It could be the valves tapping a bit.
    5. Next time you feel the bump, see how much gas is in the tank. If it is at around 3/4 - 7/8 full, this will happen. I get it too. There must not be enough baffles or something in thet tank that causes the fuel to slosh back and forth when stopping which causes the feeling like you got tapped.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    >>>my truck idles around 500-575 rpm<<<

    Normal when not in defrost or air condition mode. Slightly higher when the air conditioning pump is engaged or just after a cold start.

    >>>brakes suck<<<

    Being a little more specific would help. But if this truck doesn't have clean rotors or punky pads were installed at the last brake job, this could give you the impression the brakes are not applying forcefully enough. Dodge trucks have a long history of not over boosting their power brakes. Depending on what vehicle you've been use to driving, this may take a little getting use to.

    >>>clunking noises coming from the back of the truck<<<

    Loose or worn u-joints, especially at that mileage. Loose shock(s)(?). Spare tire loose(?). Squeeking noises on Dakotas are usually associated with the rear sway bar bushing. Fronts too.

    >>>a weird noise coming from the dashboard when im stepping on the gas pedal<<<

    As _bii_ said, we need a little more info on this. Is it like a single click sound?

    >>>sometimes too when i am stopped at a light, the truck will jerk, someone softly hit me from behind or something<<<

    Yes, this is as _bii_ said. I think you'll notice that it doesn't do this the lower the fuel level in the tank.

    Best regard,
  • thanks, i did notice that when i put my defroster on my rpms were around 700-725...for some reason i think 500 is a little low, but oh well. I have been hearing that the dakota 4.7's are known to stall? if you guys know anything about that please share what ya know...and also, has anyone had alot of transmission problems? mine seems okay...not really sure though what the life expenctancy is?
  • scruplekscruplek Posts: 33
    I think I used the wrong wording in my question because I termed the red coolant as Dexcool when I should have termed it as HOAT coolant. Sorry, I am ignorant on all this terminology. Basically this is what happened: June 2003 got flush at 67,500 miles. Receipt says used GREEN coolant with part number 4267020-AB. 2/2004 heater core goes out. Dealer says too bad. Has nothing to do with anything they did. Wants 800 bucks to fix it. Private mechanic fixes for 400 bucks. Replaces with green coolant cause that was what he drained from it. 4/2004 (2 months later) heater core goes out again. Something cannot be right. This is just too weird. Mechanic contacts a friend who works for Dodge. Gets hold of data sheet from dealer connect site. Sheet says specifically HOAT coolant should be used which is MS-9769. It specifically states that NON-HOAT coolant is GREEN. We bought another heater core and bought the MS-9769 coolant. IT IS RED NOT GREEN. So my beef is, did the dealer put the wrong coolant in it when they did the flush and cause the corrosion???? The truck now has 87,000 miles on it.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Arranger, yes the 4.7 does idle low for a engine nowadays, especially for a smogger. As far as reports of stalling, I think this is like the reports of Chrysler automatic transmission failures. One stalling 4.7 has turned into thousands by continued repeating of those glad to spead the negative word.

    My 2003 has never stalled at nearly 24,000 miles. I've talked to several dozen 4.7 owners and they all have had nothing but praise for how the little 287 runs and no reports of stalling. I believe there was a Chrysler TSB that addressed some idle issue back in 2000, and I think there has been two PCM reflashes that were issued for the 4.7 since its been introduced.

    What you might experience is an inconsistent idle at times. As I approached 12,000 mine would occasionally idle a little rough, especially in the extreme cold weather months. Most of the time it idles very good. Some have reported changing spark plugs and resolving the issue. I removed the factory Champions and installed Bosch+4s. The first few days it idled like glass, but within a month I experienced one rough idle day. In all cases, moving the heater control into a defrost mode would smooth out the idle. Depending on fuel quality, the idle air port in the throttlebody can become gummy and cause irratic idle. I've never done mine, maybe because I use nothing but Mobil gas. I did do one a while back on a 2001 Dakota. I removed the Idle Air Controller Motor, spray cleaned the port and neoprene pintle. That did resolve the issue on that vehicle.

    Chrysler has decided to idle the 287 engine quite low and I suspect it wasn't just an arbitrary thing. My guess would be to meet emissions. I have the California emissions version. In warmer weather it idles fine. I would guess the 4.7s with federal emissions package are less finicky. I've talked to the Dodge technicians and they report "only a couple" of 4.7s with complaints of actual stalling, both on vehicles assembled before December of 2002. None since.

    As to transmission problems, if you have the 4.7 in a Dakota you have the 545RFE transmission. I have heard of two complete failures in a Dodge truck and both within a very short period of time od sale. My Dodge technician said they've only ever seen one apart and that was in a 2000 Grand Cherokee. The 545RFE is a fabulous transmission and it has a reputation so far of being almost bulletproof. Perform all required maintenance on it and I'll bet you'll never have it apart.

    Always remember one thing: never use Dexron-Mercon ATF in a Chrysler built truck automatic.

    Good luck,
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Please don't feel embarrassed at not knowing something. You'd be surprised at how many people are suppose to know that don't or don't know and won't admit it.

    Here's what I know.

    The type of coolant that is prescribed by Chrysler for use in 4.7 (287cid) engine-equiped vehicles is technically know as G 05. This material was developed by Valvoline and is currently supplied to Chrysler by Zerex as Mopar(R) MS-9769. This is a phosphate free, low silicate, ethylene glygol-based formula. This patented material also contains a defoamer and various corrosion inhibitors. It was designed by Vavloline to be a universal coolant, meaning used in a wide application range. It has a much broader freezing and boiling range than conventional glygol-based materials (50-70%). The additive package is listed as Long Life Specification, Automotive Specifications (ASTM D 3306), Universal Specifications (ASTM D 3306 & 4985), and the Fully Formulated Precharged Specification (ASTM D 6210). Mopar MS-9769 is the specified coolant for Cummins equiped Dodge trucks and Mercedes cars and approved by Ford North America for all newer models.

    It is a hybrid technology known as HOAT or Hybrid Organic Additive Technology, as opposed to Organic Additive Technology, known as OAT. Dexcool (GM) and Toyota coolants are examples of OAT. These two types should never be mixed. In addition, ethylene glycol (EG) and propylene glycol (PG) mixtures should never be mixed.

    There are different colors used in automotive coolants world wide: green, red, pink, blue, yellow, and gold. Color cannot be used to determine the coolant formulation.. The best example is Chrysler's use of green for its HOAT.

    From what I can tell the only safe material to use in a 4.7 Dodge truck is the Mopar MS-9769. I cannot tell you at the moment if the 4267020-AB is or is not HOAT. It could be. I do suspect that the coolant you're independent technician used was incorrect since a conventional ethylene glygol-based coolant would be aggressively corrosive to an aluminum system if it did not contain the anti-corrosion additive package. What usually happens is fine aluminum particles clog the heater core. I have been told that the additive package is available aftermarket and can be added to conventional ethylene glygol antifreeze, but I've never seen it.

    It is possible that you now know more than either your dealer's service staff or the independent technician.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    % antifreeze = freeze point = boil point:

    40% = -12F = 260F
    50% = -34F = 265F
    70% = -90F = 277F

    Maximum corrosion protection of MS-9769 occurs at 70% when mixed with distilled water.
  • thanks for all your help. I have always spent alot of money on vehicles and have been lemons. I went against what my consumer reports said when it put the dakota on the "used cars not to buy" hoping my insincts were right. i bought a 2000 dakota slt 4x4 4.7l v8....with 62k miles on it, with the auto transmission, infinity tires and blah blah. I got the truck for 12,500, and i put a warranty(powertrain) on it...i got it for 14,500 with tax and liscence(im in minnesota btw)...good deal? any more suggestions on how i can maintain my dakota would be great guys!
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    "Arranger, yes the 4.7 does idle low for a engine nowadays, especially for a smogger. As far as reports of stalling, I think this is like the reports of Chrysler automatic transmission failures. One stalling 4.7 has turned into thousands by continued repeating of those glad to spead the negative word.

    There's lots more than just one. Well one if you just count me. But during my struggles with this, the service manager told me it was affecting Jeeps too. Enough that a TSB was put out to address that. I don't honestly feel a multibillion dollar company would go to such lengths just for one person.

    Likewise with their awful 604 was so bad it got black marks from CU, Motor Trend, and C&D.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    My comment wasn't meant to imply that there was only one owner of a 4.7 that had a stalling problem, but that one report generates the perception of many after being repeated so often.

    I have yet to talk to any owner in person that has experienced this on their 4.7. The techs at my dealership seem to indicate that, yes, they've had two but that's two out of a couple of thousand 4.7s they've sold. That's .1% Maybe there are geographical or environmental conditions that are present with this issue that explain a difference. I don't know.

    Unfortunately I see no evidence that this stalling issue was prominent in 4.7s, at least around here. Even in the Edmunds forum I can only recount two or three.

    As far as the A604, can't agree with you more.

    Best regards,
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Well, for the Western New York State area I think that price would be a little high. However, some of this depends on the equipment your Dakota has. Also, if you got the extended warranty that could explain the different. Some of those get to be pricey.

    In October of 2002 I paid #13,700 (+ tax) cash for my new 2003 Club Cab Sport Plus, 2WD, 4.7, auto, Air, PS, PB, PW, 60/40 seating, AM-FM/Cassette/CD, sliding rear window, limited slip, off-road package.

    Your's has the SLT package, which I think in 2000 was all the chrome, side moldings, and leather interior (or was that the SLT+?). Four-wheel drive added about $1500, I think, onto the new price.

    Value can be somewhat subjective. I'd give more for an especially clean vehicle or one that I thought was in better that average condition mechanically. If your's was a one-owner then they must have been pleased with it enough to keep it 62,000 miles. That's generally a very good sign. Real low mileage for the year could indicate a repo, death, just not happy, repaired after a wreck, or an issue that can't be resolved.

    I guess you're in Minnesota. One thing, despite any flaws in the Dakota perceived or otherwise, they are one of the last to show signs of rust. I live in the "salt belt." The winters here are probably somewhat more docile than yours, but ten-year Fords and eight-year GMs are usually popping a hole somewhere on the body. S10s and Toyota's small trucks disintegrate so quickly that on a quiet night you can hear them rusting.

    I think you will find that the Dakota body will be with you longer than most.

    Best regards,
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    After I got the third and final update to my PCM, the stalling and low idle problems went away.
    And, contrary to reports, fuel mileage did not go down and at no time did I have issues with spark knock.

    Hey dusty, lets petition DC to bring back the 727 ok? Oh, how I miss that transmission! Durable, reliable, easy to service, and very forgiving of a lead footed teenager, its the finest automatic ever built.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Actually, the A-727 lives today in the form of the 45, 46, 47, and 48RE. There are of course some differences but the basic architechure is still the same. The A-727 and A-904s were strictly hydraulic shifters without an overdrive. I think the ratios are even the same in some versions. And there have been some refinements. But there most certainly was never a simpler and more durable transmission ever built by anybody, that's for sure. A-727 TorqueFlites are still used in racing and at least two companies are making them new.

    Unfortunately the A-727 would be considered outmoded by today's standards. The beauty of the A-727 was it's ruggedness and simple design, less to go wrong and far easier to repair. But it's beauty of the 1950s - 1970s would be it's downfall today. It would be criticized heavily for being unrefined against newer designs.

    If you accept the concept of electronically controlled engagement and shifting, the current "RE" series is just as robust and durable. They will be less tolerant of irregular maintenance and being more complicated will be more likely mathematically to have a problem. Heck, a friend of mine was ready to spend $1800 on a 46RE in his '99 RAM a while back until he found out that bad plug wires was causing his problem. You didn't have things like that facing you in the days of the A-727!

  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    who'd a thunk that plug wires could be a problem.
    I guess my complaint with the 45RFE is it simply never shifted properly from the get go. Not sure why or what because I never could get the dealer to understand my problem. All I got was, transmission functioning as designed. Well, I beg to differ. Any tranny unless it has a B&M shift kit that shifts so hard that it rattles the ring and pinion and makes the driver think he hit a pothole, has a problem somewhere.
    I even printed out the TSB on the harsh 2-3 upshift and I got blank stares. Seems no one at the dealer wanted to admit this was a problem.
    Well its all history now anyway. I do hope DC did get its act together on this because transmissions were Chrysler's ace in the hole.

    Yes, the 727 was outdated. But it worked. No fuss no muss. It just worked.
  • thanks for your help...right now im going to take my truck in to figure out what that clunking noise is in the back. Its not the spare tire, i checked that. Its not even really a clunk or anytyhing, i cant describe the noise...i'll keep you guys posted. Yes this was a one owner truck btw, and it does have crhome package, sliding rear window...its fully loaded so to speak
  • sorry to keep bugging you guys, but im afraid im annoyed by the 500 rpm idle...if i go to the dealership, is the flash for the PCM free since its their fault? or do i have to pay? mine is an 00 with 62k on you guys know if its even worth it to get the flash? does it really help? i keep hearing 500 is normal...but some say 600-700 is normal...ugh it bugs me!
  • Experencing a slight squeaking/rubbing sound coming from the rear of the truck only when making slow parking lot turns or after coming to a complete stop and turning a corner. This seems to occur after the truck has been driven for approx 3 miles and is warmed up. Will not occur when its cold.
    I recently had a front brake job done and they adjusted the rear brakes. This noise seemed to start shorly after this service. I've driven the truck approx 2,000 miles since this brake job. The noise has not gotton any worse or better. Today I took the truck to the same facility which did the brakes and explained noise and took the tech for a ride. They reinspected the rear brakes and found they are fine and not sticking, rubbing etc and the noise I'm hearing is not coming from the brakes. Thus the tech suggested that the clutch plates in the rear end may be making some noise and recommends just dealing with it or adding some friction modifier and seems to think its nothing to worry about that some vehicles with lsd's make some noise once they have some miles on them? any one else experence something similar?

    fyi 01 q/c sport plus 4.7l auto, lsd 3.55,33,000k
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    The symptom you describe is very typical of a limited slip differential with the clutches chattering. I suppose you could just add some friction modifier, but I would strongly recommend doing a complete drain, clean, and reinstalling new lubricant and friction modifier.

    The recommended maintenance cycle for the rear axle is 36,000 miles anyway.

    Best regards,
  • is it free, or what do i do to go about it, is it worth getting?
  • thanks for the info dustyk. I'm considering doing just what you suggested with servicing the differential. However, my mechanic seemed a little hesident on if he wanted to perform the job and recommended I take it to the dealer for a second option.

    are u sure on the recommended maintenance cycle?
    is this 36,000 miles for severe service?
    I thought I read that DC does not recommend changing the rear axle fluid unless you do alot of prolong trailer pulling for long dist then they recommend switching to synthtic fluid.
    If I do end up having it serviced eventhough I dont do alot of pulling I will have the synthtic fluid installed as an extra measure of protection.

    Does dc have a special part # for the synthtic differential fluid?


  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Arranger, I think if your vehicle is still under warranty its free. Out of warranty I think they'd charge you a flat-rate. You might want to consult with a Dodge service manager to see if any apply. I don't believe there were too many PCM updates issued for the 4.7 and I think they all addressed very specific symptoms.

    Best regards,
  • Well i heard they came out with a flash for low idle speed...thats what im trying to get done, and my vehicle is not under going to call the dodge dealership on monday
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    The 36,000 miles is based on schedule "B." I keep forgetting that schedule "B" occurs first in the service manual, then schedule "A." Changing the rear axle lubricant does not appear on the Dakota schedule "A," so it appears that its not required for "normal" service.

    In all my years experience, however, I can't remember a limited slip differential going 75,000 miles, much less 120,000, without needing some attention. I have a neighbor who just changed out his differential lubricant on a 2003 GMC at 13,000 miles because his limited slip clutches were clanging real bad. And he also found a quantity of metal grit in the case, enough that suspension carrying them around in the gear oil would definitely damage gears.

    I don't think that Chrysler recommends against lubricant changes for the rear axle. I think what they state is that regular maintenance is not required under "normal" driving conditions. You can't harm machinery by providing a higher level of maintenance. Besides, if you purchased this vehicle used you do not know how it was treated. I would change the rear lubricant just to be sure.

    There are two types of Mopar(R) Rear Axle Lubricants: 80W-90 Gear & Axle Lubricant, pn 4874468, and 90W-140 Synthetic Gear & Axle Lubricant. Both the small case (8.25 inch) and large case (9.25 inch) rear axle assemblies take 4.0 ounces of Mopar Friction Modifier, pn 4318060-AB. There is no gasket on the differential housing cover. You'll also need a tube of the special sealant, pn 82300234.

    The 90W-140 Gear & Axle Lubricant is synthetic. I don't have the part number handy, my apologies. This lubricant is recommended for severe service: carrying heavy loads or towing heavy trailers more than 50% of the time; long-distance towing of heavy trailers or heavy loads, or driving at high speeds for extended periods. This lubricant is a heavier viscosity and its increased film strength will reduce gear wear when the vehicle is used to carry/tow heavy loads.

    One thing that I will caution you on is using the 90W-140 in extreme low temperature conditions, especially if you do a lot of short trip driving in the winter.

    Best regards,
  • datagurudataguru Posts: 95
    After logging 15,600Kms or 9,700Mi, I've encountered my first clunk noise in the front-end. I'm surprised because I thought the steering components had undergone improvements for 2003 and later models. Also, have noticed that the front-end steering has loosen up quite a bit since when the vehicle was new. The wheels are tracking straight and tire pressures are OK.

    I hear this noise just as the wheels are turned to the LEFT while going over a speed bump or a similar situation. It sounds like the lower control arm is scraping the steering knuckle area. Would this be a worn out Ball Joint problem or a worn out shock problem. I thought DC was using improved UBJs from another supplier? Could it be the shocks are collapsing? No signs of leakage is evident.

    Any suggestions on troubleshooting this one? Thanks in advance.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Data, suspension components were upgraded in 2003.

    What might be the problem is the front sway bar bushings. You could have a loose shock, usually the problem is at the lower mounting.

    Some loosening of the steering over time is normal. If it seems unusually loose you might have a loose tie-rod end.

    Of course, there's nothing to say that you don't have a bad upper ball joint. I noticed on mine that the grease seals are fully collapsed as if it never left the factory with any grease in them. Mine's still tight at 24,000 miles. No noises yet.

    Best regards,
This discussion has been closed.