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Dodge Dakota - Quad Cab



  • datagurudataguru Posts: 95
    Rick, I confer with goodbyes! I/we and many others have enjoyed your insight, feedbacks, opinions, and widom on this discussion forum for a long time. Please continue on...and Congratulations on the new MQ Hemi Ram and wish you many many years of trouble free miles!

  • mailman54mailman54 Posts: 111
    That's good news Rick! That was my only concern with the 5.7 Hemi. I was afraid it would require premium gas and I can't afford that. I'm looking at the Ram 1500 regular cab with the Hemi. There is an article on it in the July/August issue of Truck Trend. They liked it!

  • lotech1lotech1 Posts: 112
    I've had my 03 Quad Cab SXT for a month now. 1,100 miles on it and the motor (3.9) is starting to loosen up. I had a Dodge van with a 318 in it and can't help but notice how mopar engines seem to run rougher than other motors. My primary vehicle (GM 3800 v6) is as smooth as can be. Can't hardly tell it's running at idle. On the 3.9 you can't manipulate the throttle to get it to stay at 1,000 rpm (with trans in Park). Seems to like either 600 or 1,500rpm but doesn't like to maintain rpms in between. This isn't a big issue, and I'm entirely satisfied with the truck. Just wondering if the Chrysler motors have a little healthier cam or something? Sure wish the 4 speed auto tranny shifted as well as the electronic 4 speed auto in my Buick. What's Chryslers idea behind no coolant recovery system? Guess I'll have to get used to checking the radiator like I did years ago. I realize that a little coolant jug isn't enough to help much but it's nice to be able to add coolant without opening up the system. The 3.9 has plenty of power for my type of driving. Curious as to why the 3.9 is only rated at 175hp when my Buick 3800 is rated at 200hp? What did Chrysler leave out of this motor? Exhaust system is plenty loud. On the highway I can hear the exhaust even with the CD playing. Yes, I know it's a truck and none of this stuff bothers me. Just a few observations from a new Chrysler owner. The new GM mid size trucks will make for some interesting comparisons this fall. I hope the competition isn't too tough for Chrysler. From what I've experienced so far I would definitely buy another Dakota.
  • iowabigguyiowabigguy Posts: 552
    331 miles and counting. Filled the tank, held my breath and checked the mileage. Computer indicated average 13.6, calculator indicated 14.3mpg. I can live with that! Filled the tank with gasahol, gasoline with 10% ethanol added for those unfamiliar with the product. Cheaper than unleaded and rated at 89 octane but has less BTUs so usually gives poorer mileage. We will see what this next tank gives.
    The motor is so smooth that if it wasn't for the rumble of the exhaust you might think it wasn't running. The transmission is amazing. I don't recall automatic transmissions being this smooth shifting. Of course my last automatic was a Ford C6 behind a 390ci/325hp V8 in a 1968 Mercury Cougar. So far I am pleased with the Monster Quad but it is not as satisfying to drive as my Dakota Quad with the 4.7 and the 5 speed MANUAL transmission. Driving the Ram is more like driving your living room down the highway, only this is one FAST living room. Rick
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    That 3.9L V6 engine is the 318ci V8 with 2 cylinders lopped off the end. It was designed in the 1960s It is being replaced with what DC calls the 3.7L (which is the 4.7L with 2 cylinders lopped off)

    You would have done well to ask here before buying. We would have told you that the 4.7L V8 has more power and better MPG that the ol' 3.9L V6

    My 4.7L V8 averages about 18MPG and has touched 21MPG on the highway. It sounds like a Porsche and is smooth as glass.

    According to my calculations. Based on the MPG that the the 3.9L and 4.7L provide. Figuring in the cost of fuel and miles driven. The xtra $$ I spent on the 4.7L V8 has allready been made up and it is now paying ME.
  • bookittybookitty Posts: 1,303
    Rick, it is good to see that you try automatic transmissions every 35 years or so. Perhaps you can write a column in one of the motor magazines as an automatic transmission expert. Have fun!

  • ronslakieronslakie Posts: 58
    lotec1 - I second everyhting that bpeebles said. I have a 2K CC with a 4.7 and a 5 speed. It is an excellent engine, which includes the latest technology. DC announced sometime back that the 3.9 would be replaced by the 3.7. They didn't have enough 3.7 engines to go around so they chose to put it in the Jeep Liberty and delay puting it in the Dakota. The 3.7 gets 215 HP and from all the reviews I have read it is an excellent engine. I have compared my mileage with friends who have the 3.9 and in all instances I am doing as well as or better than them.

  • lotech1lotech1 Posts: 112
    Dodge must be trying to pull the wool over customers eyes. They brag on the 3.9 "Magnum" as being a new generation motor. I've seen this statement in some of their brochures. Not susposed to be the original 3.9 in their words. As far as gas mileage goes I'm getting 17 mph in town driving only at speeds less than 40mph. On a 300 mile interstate trip at speeds of 65mph I got 24 mpg on the last tank. One thing that sold me on the Dodge (I'm a GM fanatic) over the GMC & Chevy offerings was the Dakota size and the fact that Dodge must be having a tough time selling Dakota's as the local dealer gave me an extra 2 grand besides the 3 grand factory rebate. I did my homework before negotiating. That new mid size GM truck with the 6 cylinder is susposed to be the death blow to the Dakota. We'll see.

    BTW, the day I picked up my Dakota, one of the young salesman was behind the wheel of a new Dodge Dakota V8 out in the parking lot. Just as I left the showroom he laid a strip of rubber about 20 feet long on the asphalt. That really p/o'ed my salesman. I commented "That's a major reason why I wouldn't have a V8".

    Hopefully this isn't a common event at Dodge dealerships, but who knows.
  • lotech1lotech1 Posts: 112
    I've been reading posts on other boards concerning V8 gas mileage and I've yet to see a single V8 that has touched my 3.9 gas mileage figures posted above. My first tank yielded 17 mpg in town driving where top speed was under 40mph (no highway miles). Show me a V8 that has hit 24 mpg on highway/interstate only. My Quad has the 4 speed auto with 3.55 rear.
  • Spike50 - I see that you solved your mirror problem, but I'll be hanging on to mine anyway. I've found a couple of options to replace them, but the cost is more than I want to bother with. You couldn't have used the driver's side anyway as I've proven that if you crunch it against that invisible column in the parking garage the heater element doesn't work anymore! My wife is just going to have to get used to looking around 'em when she drives the beast. Guess I can't complain, that's been about my only real gripe with the vehicle - otherwise I LOVE it. Commute during the week and haul all sorts of stuff on the weekend - everything from 4 kids to different sporting events to a couple of yards of mulch; exactly what I needed in a truck!
  • 3rdtime3rdtime Posts: 7
    I am waiting for my 2003 Quad that I ordered last month. This will be my 3rd Dakota. Started out in 87 with 2WD with the 3.9 V6. I never got better than 15 mpg even on the highway, most of the time averaged about 14. In 94 I got a Club Cab 4x4 with the 318 V8 mileage improved over the V6 as well as the power, up to 17.5 on the highway. No complaints with the 94, just need more passenger room (Grand Kids). My son is eager for the arrival of the Quad, as he will get the 94 Club Cab. I'm hoping to get better mileage yet from the 4.7, although some of the posts about mileage are not that encouraging I'm optimistic. I'll let you know.
  • lotech1lotech1 Posts: 112
    Contrary to the "local" experts on this board, I selected my Quad with the 3.9 because of what I read here and the real time experiences of friends who have owned V8 powered Dakotas (one of them traded within the first year of ownership because of the bad mileage). My needs do not include towing heavy trailers, nor do I live in a mountainous area. Why should I pay a grand more just to say I can suck more gas through the motor? I'm getting better gas mileage than the V8's and I didn't get suckered into paying for a V8. Edmunds wrote this about the V8 Dakota and from my research I tend to agree.

    "Our chief complaint with the Dakota is that the V8 models tend to be very thirsty; it's a struggle to average more than 13 or 14 mpg with those trucks."
  • lotech1lotech1 Posts: 112
    Also check out the actual consumer rating comments right here at Edmunds:

    "I recently purchased a 2003 Sport plus 4.7 litre 5speed automatic. I only get 12 miles per gallon. And if this holds up wonder if I should have spent the extra couple thousand for the 1500. The truck for someone who wants almost full size capabilities with ease of parking."
  • lotech1lotech1 Posts: 112
    bpeebles wrote:

    "You would have done well to ask here before buying. We would have told you that the 4.7L V8 has more power and better MPG that the ol' 3.9L V6"

    Actually I'm glad I didn't look at these posts prior to buying my Quad. I asked a few simple questions regarding my Quad and I get this kind of response. Man, do you use this board to compensate for buying that V8 or what?
  • 3rdtime3rdtime Posts: 7
    Geez, chill out lotech1, I haven't seen anything directed at you that has been out of line. I'm sure everyone is thrilled that you are getting the great mileage with your V6. It just hasn't been everyones experience. If you go back in this board you will see many variances in mileage from both V6 & V8 owners. Just one question, when people say good morning do you punch them in the eye?
  • lotech1lotech1 Posts: 112
    Sorry, I'm not upset. Just posted a message for the first time in here and I over reacted to bpeebles. My apology to bpeebles. Guess I'm kinda gloating over getting my Quad at the same price as a Regular cab :-) I knew that Quad had been sitting on the lot for months and the dealer was taking a beating on his floor plan.

    At 6' 6", 280 lbs. people usually don't mess with me (LOL). Haven't had to punch out too many people even though I'm not a morning person.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Your MPG with the 3.9LV6 is exemplary (better than most have reported) If those numbers you report remain consistent. You have made a very good choice.

    When I purchased my Dak. The 3.9LV6 was reportedly getting 12-14 MPG on a good day. Perhaps they have improved it over the last couple of years.

    I WANTED a V8 and the Dak was the smallest truck I could get that had one. My second priority was RUST RESISTANCE and the Dodge trucks have the best in the business

    If I want to get good MPG....I take my wifes Jetta TDI. At 52MPG, it is perhaps the least-known vehicle available in the USA. It gets MPG rivaling those so-called "hybreds" while being fun to drive and a very well equipped German road car. It is a treat to travel over 650 miles and put only 12.5 gallons in the tank.

     Mark my words... Diesel power is posed to become very popular due to the fantastic MPG and superior torque it provides. Europe has already 'discovered' the magic of modern diesel engines. (for economy...NOT towingpower)

    If the Dak becomes available with Diesel, (that is coming in the Jeep Liberty soon), we will have Dakotas getting 35 MPG.
  • lotech1lotech1 Posts: 112
    "If those numbers you report remain consistent. You have made a very good choice."

    I've probably jinxed myself (LOL). I could definitely get behind a diesel Dakota. I'm really concerned about the GM entrance into the Mid size truck market. GM execs usually have their heads in the sand (where have they been since 87?) but they eventually wake up. I know a guy who works for GM and has driven a Colorado. He says Daimler will soon be grabbing their ankles. I certainly hope he's wrong.
  • lotech1lotech1 Posts: 112
    My dealer claims the current 3.9 is not the same as the earlier motor. I questioned this and the service manager backs him up on it. Anyone have specific info on this? I'll report back (good or bad) on my gas mileage.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Well, I think your dealer and the service manager are either uncomfortably ignorant, or intentionally being dishonest.

    The 3.9 that's available today is the same block in magnum form as it was when first introduced. Now, there have been small incremental changes, like cylinder head castings have changed slightly, and camshaft profiles as well. But the basic motor block is the same.

  • lotech1lotech1 Posts: 112
    Thanks Dusty. I wouldn't be surprised about their honesty/ignorance. The salesman didn't have a good working knowledge of the options available. I really checked the options closely. The burnout scene I witnessed (explained in earlier post 4448) really made me nervous. If the price hadn't been great I would have walked. I did get good reviews of their service department from friends who have dealt with them.

    When you say "Magnum" form what are you referring to? Did they change the camshaft in hopes of improving torque, gas mileage, etc.? That 6 really lopes at idle but it doesn't run too rough.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    The 3.9 V6 is actually based on the 318LA block, just with two cylinders removed. The 318LA engine was introduced in 1967. Somewhere in the '90s, Chrysler made significant changes to the block and head geometry by changing the lifter cylinder angle, which required a commensurate change to the push-rod angle. So, non-magnum heads will not work on a "magnum" motor, and vice-versa. This was mostly the result of going to a roller-lifter camshaft.

  • lotech1lotech1 Posts: 112
    Are there any websites showing the 3.9 parts breakdown? I would like to see that valve train setup.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I'll try to answer some of your questions that you posted on the other board:

    >>I had a Dodge van with a 318 in it and can't help but notice how mopar engines seem to run rougher than other motors.<<

    Well, this may actually be the case, I don't know. But, in my experience not all GMs ran that smoothly, either. My 4.7 is very smooth. Not as smooth as my Nissan or our Toyota, but pretty close.

    >>On the 3.9 you can't manipulate the throttle to get it to stay at 1,000 rpm (with trans in Park).<<

    Yeah, I think you'll notice that on a lot of different vehicles. The engine computer knows when the throttlebody isn't on the idle stop. It's probably the result of being in open loop so close to the closed loop idle speed.

    >>Seems to like either 600 or 1,500rpm but doesn't like to maintain rpms in between.<<

    Hmmm. There may be something wrong with this particular 3.9. That doesn't sound right. I've driven 3.9s and don't remember them acting that way.

    >>Sure wish the 4 speed auto tranny shifted as well as the electronic 4 speed auto in my Buick.<<

    I haven't driven much (many) of the newer 3.9 automatics, but they have a "learn" feature which adjusts for your type of driving. It might take a while for this to occur (a number of miles) depending on how you drive.

    >>What's Chryslers idea behind no coolant recovery system?<<

    According to my Dakota service manual, you have the same coolant recovery tank as I do on my 4.7. When standing in front of the engine bay, with the hood opened, the coolant recovery tank is the right side portion (left side of vehicle) of the washer fluid tank.

    >>Curious as to why the 3.9 is only rated at 175hp when my Buick 3800 is rated at 200hp? What did Chrysler leave out of this motor?<<

    Nothing. Keep in mind that the 3.9 is not a car motor, but only used in truck or van platforms. Look at the torque ratings of both engines and the rpm of the rated HP. The cast iron 3.9 will most likely have a completely different torque/horsepower curve because of the type of vehicle its used in (truck vs. car). It is typical of truck engines to develop more torque or torque sooner in the rpm range. This is usually the exact opposite of car motors.

    Best regards,
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I'm not aware of any pictures on the web.

  • lotech1lotech1 Posts: 112
    The 600 - 1500 rpm fluctuation is when the transmission is in park. As I recall I experienced that before the engine had time to warm up. I've have since tried that partial throttle open position condition with the motor warm and it's rock solid with no change in rpm. As a matter of fact, it's not doing it now when cold either. I need to remind myself that this truck is new and will require more time for things to settle in before I question stuff like this.

    The "Learn" feature is also on my Buick. That probably explains that situation. I have to re-learn my Buick transmission after the wife has driven it around town :-)

    I found the coolant recovery tank. Thanks for pointing it out as well as the other information in your message.

    Didn't realize the 3.9 is strictly a truck/van motor.

    Sorry to have stirred things up. Wasn't intending on doing that. Thanks again.
  • 3rdtime3rdtime Posts: 7
    Happy to see you have a sense of humor. Now if my new Quad would just get here!
  • lotech1lotech1 Posts: 112
    I'm wondering if I should have waited a little longer. With the new 04's coming out, along with the new competition from GM, Daimler will need to offer some excellent rebates to move all the 03's. I counted 24 2003 units on my dealers lot. Several have been there over 6 months. Mine was there since last fall! One dealer near me still has some 02's sitting on the lot. Don't believe they qualify for the $3K rebate though. Price is around $20K for a SLT 4x4. If I read the fine print correctly, the 3yr/36k warranty wouldn't actually start until the vehicle is "put in service". Still wouldn't have tempted me enough to walk away from the $18K I paid for my SXT Quad.

    Word from my GM employee friend is that car/truck sales are off 10% due to all the people who have previously taken advantage of the rebates/incentives.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    You stirred things up?? I don't think so. Seemed like rational questions to me.

    Around here (Rochester, NY area) the Ford dealers are the ones that have lots of '03 inventory. My local Dodge dealer did have one '02 stripper Dakota for sale up to mid-April, I think. But RAMs around here seem to be moving okay. By March they had moved all of their '02 RAM stock.

    Good luck with your new Dakota Quad.

    Best regards,
  • tb11tb11 Posts: 8
    Hi all :)
    Im thinking of getting a 03 quad, here is the setup.
    2wd, 4.7l V8, 5sp auto, leather, cd, power driver seat, anti-spin axle, infinity speaker system, pwr convience group, pwr overhead group, rear window defroster, bodyside molding, deluxe convience group. Price is $21,996. Ive looked all around my area and this is the best price ive seen. sound good to you guys? I really want to get a truck now, I wish I knew what the 04's looked like. Should I wait or buy now?
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