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Dodge Dakota - Quad Cab



  • My experience with mini vans:

    My parents are on their second Ford Windstar in a row (keeping in mind my Dad's a Ford guy). The first, a '98 I think, the transmission "ceased functioning", but was replaced by Ford. The second, a '00 or '01, has been A-1, no problems.

    My sister's Caravan, without getting into details, hasn't been the most dependable vehicle, although it's a '02 they bought used, so who knows how it was driven before.

    My sister-in-law's Caravan had the air bags deployed after hitting a "bump" in the road. I think the oil pan or a cross-member hit too, though (= hit hard)... regardless, apparently it was unexpected.

    A friend has an '02 Mazda and won't stop bragging how great it is. He says, " never had a problem with it once, it's comfortable, easy on gas and has no problem hauling his ATV or tent trailer around. He loves it.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Yes, the transmission sounds normal. If you have the 287 motor (4.7) your automatic is the 545RFE transmission. There are sensors built into the 545RFE to monitor temperature. The sensors feed voltage signals to the Transmission Control Module (TCM) which monitors a number of internal functions and provides computer control of transmission operation.

    The 545RFE will provide the following shift patterns until the transmission fluid reaches full operating temperature:

    Fluid below -16 F - in Drive position, only 1st and 3rd. 2nd gear available only in manual "2"

    -12F to +10 F - Delayed upshifts from 2-3 and 3-4. Early coastdown in 4-3 conditions. High speed kickdowns disabled (4-3, 3-2, 2-1)

    +10 F to +36 F - Shift schedule the same as above except that 2-3 upshifts are not delayed.

    +40 F - +240 F - Normal shift schedule

    Above +244 F - Delayed 2-3 and 3-4 upshifts. Above 25 MPH the torque converter will not unlock unless the throttle is closed (idle position) or wide open.

    The 545RFE is "fully adaptive," meaning that it learns the driver's habits and designs a specific shift schedule for the transmission. This then becomes the "normal" shift pattern and is retained by the TCM. The adaptive system is always in operation and continually updates the "normal" shift schedule tailoring transmission response to driver demands.

    There are a number of Learn Modes for the 545RFE. The normal or street learn method is by driving over a period of 40 restarts. There is also a TCM Quick Learn that is used after certain repairs or procedures have been used. This learn can only be done by use of the DRB. There are a number of manual learn methods used to tailor cetain conditions. All of these learn methods can and will only be performed during certain specific fluid temperatures.

    Best regards,
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Oh, yes. On your wind noise. There is a normal level for each vehicle as a result of design or material selection. My 2003 Dakota Club Cab has minimal wind noise around the "A" pillar. It is actually about the same I hear in my wife's Avalon. But I have been in a couple that had more.

    I may have the whistle you speak of. When I have the passenger window open about one-half inch I hear a high pitched whistle on the driver's side. I am not sure exactly where it is coming from. For a while I thought I heard from the defroster vent.

    Anyway, the most common causes in all vehicles is usually an air leak anywhere in the cab. Door and window gaskets are among the most frequent trouble spots. On a particular vehicle like our Dakotas, the technicians at the dealership are probably familar with the primary causes since they get to see these vehicles regularly, as well as receiving information from the factory on known major contributors.

    Whistles are usually caused by very small leaks. Since there are seals that work against moving parts (like the side windows), in a practical sense it is impossible to seal these areas 100%. Dodge has incorporated the non-pressurized concept used in most Japanese designs. There is a constant venting to the atmosphere through vents at the back partion (or bulkhead) of the cab. These are hidden by the rear seat panel.

    Any unintentional opening could contribute to a wind noise, like a firewall gromet missing or out of place. You can do your own testing by sealing body openings with masking tape and driving the vehicle to see if anything changes. This is particularly effective for troubleshooting poor sealing at the "A" pillar, or for that matter anywhere around the door. Just run a strip of tape over the door edge and windshield moulding and test drive. This is a process of elimination and takes a little patience (which is why it often isn't done correct, or not at all at a dealership. It's called flat rate).

    Good luck,
  • Thanks a lot Dusty!

    That's probably one of the most well answered posts I've ever seen and I'm the lucky one who posed the questions.

    Nice to know the tranny is working like it should be. This being the first brand spankin' new vehicle I've purchased, I'm nervous of it turning out to be a lemon (especially after lucking out and then parting with the Wednesday Ford).

    I was in the right ball park (in my mind) as to the wind noise. I'll probably drive myself nuts trying to locate a leak because I find the wind noise very irritating (especially seeing as the price tag on the truck was $38000.00 CAN $$).

    Thanks again...
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Thank you for the compliment, but it is really undeserving. I just happen to have a little knowledge, some experience, and a 2003 Dodge Dakota shop manual.

    I think -- and I hope -- that you will find the newer Dakotas are well assembled and very reliable. Yes, there are Dakota "lemons," but they are available in every brand and model. We have a '99 Toyota Avalon that has been less than sterling. Actually, the majority of post-sale problems with any "lemon" is usually based on incompetent or otherwise poor dealer service. Studies have shown that people will tolerate defects and most malfunctions as long as the vehicle gets competently repaired.

    On my 2003 Club Cab the overwhelming amount of interior noise comes from the tires via the rear vents in the rear cab bulkhead that I mentioned. I drove other Dakotas (mostly SLTs) with passenger-car tires that did not exhibit the noise. Mine has the optional on/off road tires with a more aggressive tread design.

    Wind noise is almost non-existent. I get some from around the "A" pillars, but it is very minor. Overall most of the newer Dakotas I've been in have been very quiet...especially for a truck. Like you I have found most F150s to be very quiet, too, with the exception of engine noise. My Dakata has very little engine noise in comparison. I hear the exhaust note, of course, but actual noise from the engine itself is very low except at higher RPMs.

    Good luck with the new machine. I hope you enjoy it!

  • hennehenne Posts: 407
    Well I ordered my new Chevy 2500HD today to replace my Quad. After all of the problems with all three Dakotas, I am jumping ship. I still hope to have it lemoned but have trade in numbers in writing if it comes to it. You guys have been the best bunch on Edmunds and I am really goning to miss all of you. Alot of us have been here since the beginning before the Quad came out for 2000 and we rode through the anxiety together and tracked the trains.

    I will stop in and keep everyone updated from time to time.

    God bless you all and good luck.

  • Robert, hopefully your bad luck doesn't carry over to the Chevy. Good luck and keep us up to date on your new ride. I hope your new Chevy is as good as my Hemi Ram has been. I miss my old Dakota but my mangled leg doesn't miss the clutch. Rick
  • Thanks just the same.
    Mine has the 265 on/off road tires also, but I don't find them noisy at all due to the fact that I normally run a much more aggressive tread pattern in the form of a quality mud tire or a true winter tire. Hopefully the current tires will be up to the task ahead so I don't have to replace them. My travels (work and rec) require me to travel on some less than perfect "roads". Time will tell (especially this Spring).

    Anyway, my main concern with the noise was whether I was going to be fighting a losing battle trying to locate the source of the obvious wind noise if it was just a normal biproduct inherant to the shape and design of the truck body.
    You have given me hope for a quieter ride. I'm sure I will enjoy it... Thanks again.

  • bookittybookitty Posts: 1,303
    Want to take a moment to wish all of you and yours a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday. Judy and I along with Mozart, our Ragdoll kitten will be heading south in the Quad on Saturday following our Thanksgiving dinner with the family. Mozart's wire crate is sitting on the passenger side floor with the seat folded. It sits level and has 2 4X4 blocks to prevent rocking. It is secured to the seat base with a ratcheted web strap. It is carpeted and outfitted with a litter box and water and food bowls. This time we won't be "flat towing" Judy's Wrangler, and that will simplify things significantly. We are looking forward to being able to spend time in our new FL home. We plan to return in the Spring. Instead of "snowboarding" we will be "snowbirding." I will continue to track the site. I hope that Robert finally has some "Truck Luck" and continues to monitor and input comment on the site.


    Norm (Bookitty)
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,094
    henne: Good luck with the Chevy! There is a club for it, but it's not nearly as active as the Dakota gang.

    bookitty: Have a safe trip. And send us some of that FL sunshine occasionally!

    Happy Thanksgiving to all Dakota owners!

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  • slr9589slr9589 Posts: 121
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    Three strikes and Dodge is out. You are doing the right thing my friend. Its a tough decision I know, but in the long run, you have to weigh how much you like the truck now vs. how much its going to cost you down the road.
    You gave Dodge three chances to get it right. You are much more patient and forgiving than I am :) Hope the Chevy performs well for you.

    On another note, the valve covers for the 4.7 engine are going to yuk.....plastic! read on...........

    Dana Corporation Supplying New Cylinder-Head Cover Module for DaimlerChrysler 4.7L V-8 Engine

    Toledo, Ohio -- Apr 09, 2003 --

    Dana Corporation (NYSE: DCN) announced today that it has begun supplying the cylinder-head, cam-cover module for DaimlerChrysler’s 4.7L V-8 engine for the Jeep® Grand Cherokee, Dodge Durango, Dodge Dakota, and Dodge Ram vehicles.

    The new thermoset plastic cylinder-head cover module was developed in just 12 months and replaces a magnesium component. Due to innovative manufacturing processes, Dana was able to reduce the overall cost of the module, while incrementally improving noise, vibration, and harshness, or NVH.

    “Innovation within modules and systems provides a wonderful opportunity to reduce complexity, improve functionality, and create added value for our customers,” said Dana Chairman and CEO Joe Magliochetti. “The cylinder-head cover module for DaimlerChrysler demonstrates our commitment to satisfying customers’ needs with new and unique solutions.”

    “Dana brought an extensive range of advanced capabilities and technologies to the development process, helping DaimlerChrysler meet its aggressive launch deadline while also increasing the value of the final solution,” said Mike Laisure, president of Dana’s Engine and Fluid Management Group.

    The vinyl ester glass-reinforced thermoset plastic modules, which are unique to the left- and right-side cylinders, include the cover, gasket, and fasteners. These components are produced at Dana’s Composite Sealing Center in Paris, Tenn.

    With this new sealing system, Dana developed a custom compound material for gaskets and grommets. Dana also provided prototyping for the gasket and isolator molds to ensure the design met all of the customer’s specifications. The system relies on a self-retaining, “press-in-place” gasket to improve function and quality consistency. This innovation eliminates the time-consuming and costly steps of precisely aligning and attaching the gasket to the valve cover with adhesive.

    Dana engineers worked closely with DaimlerChrysler’s technical staff to provide 3-D solid models to fit tight, under-the-hood requirements. Dana also provided material development and component validation to ensure robust system performance. This collaborative effort eliminated the prototype step for the cover housing, which in turn reduced development time and cost by allowing the component to move directly from design to production.

    A leader in the reduction of NVH, Dana provided extensive finite element analysis, or FEA, to ensure accurate NVH predictive analyses during the product development process. This capability allowed an incremental NVH improvement to be realized over the already favorable acoustical performance of the previous die-cast magnesium component.

    Dana also supplies piston rings and rod bearings for DaimlerChrysler’s 4.7L V-8 engine.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I don't understand why you say "yuk." Why not use a material that is cheaper, reduces assembly time, does the job better, and reduces noise?

  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    usually, in Detroits world, translates to a cheaper product.
    I speak from experience once leasing a 95 Taurus that had, when I turned it in, a pretty good leak on the rear valve cover. It too was plastic.
    So too for a family friend with an old AMC eagle that had a crack in the high tech plastic valve cover and had to spend nearly 200 bucks to order it and replace it. So much for being cheaper.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    .......materials are stronger than metals (especially cast) given the same thickness. You will notice that just about everybody is using this type of material for intake manifolds and throttle bodys where they have been exceptionally reliable, I might add.

    The only good reason to be using metals nowadays is when you need to transfer heat or electric current, or you don't care about weight. Casting in metal is commonly more expensive unless you are using really low-grade metal. Valve covers use to be stamped many years ago, and they were often the source of leaks from distortion caused by over tightening, and they would crack, too.

    Those magnesium alloy valve covers on the 4.7 motor, by the way, are actually quite fragile and highly susceptible to damage from harsh solvents and cleansers.

  • My wife and I continue to enjoy our Dakota Quad Cab. It's been a fun 7,000 miles so far and my local dealer has been extremely interested in keeping me happy. I get a call from them after every scheduled service visit to make sure everything is satisfactory. This was my first new car purchase and I was extemely anxious about the experience. The Dakota has settled in nicely at about the 6,000 mile mark and the old 3.9 has done all that was asked of it and more. Take care and have a happy holiday. Thanks for all the good conversation here!
  • jimtjimt Posts: 56
    Wishing everyone a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving!As always thanks for the good information and good will that has been provided here. JimT
  • I've got a 2001 Quad cab with 72000 kms on it (the full warranty just ran out at 60000). My rear drivers side window just stopped working and the window is sitting at about 1/4 open. I push it up with my hands and it just droops back down again. Anybody out there have an idea how to fix it. My past experience with pulling off interior plastic on other vehicles is:
    1) I'm never quite sure where to start pulling, just in case I'm breaking something instead of pulling out a removable plastic fastener.
    2)The panels never seem to go back own the way they were originally.
    I'm hoping its something cheap and simple like a belt or something. I've never seen the internals of one, but I'm willing to try to fix it instead of paying some dealer.
    Any suggestions? Or know of free manuals on-line somewhere that would describe the fix?
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    The item that moves the window is called the "window regulator." I don't know what Dodge uses for a rear window regulator system, but in the past some used a bead chain or a worm drive.

    To remove the rear door Trim Panel on the Dakota, perform the following:

    1. Open the door.

    2. Roll the window down.

    3. Remove the screws that attach the trim panel to the door frame.

    CAUTION: Do not use excessive force to pull the trim panel away from the door or damage may occur.

    NOTE: The Door Trim Panel is attached using L-shaped retainers that are molded-in and part of the panel. When installed, the "L" of the retainer is pointing downwards, toward the bottom of the door. These retainers are aligned to rectangular holes in the door frame and this is what holds the Trim Panel to the door frame.

    4. Grasp the trim panel at the bottom and simultaneously lift the trim panel upward and outward to release the retainers from the door frame.

    5. While supporting the Trim Panel, disengage the inside door release linkage rod.

    6. Disconnect the power window motor/lock harness connector.

    7. Pull the trim panel away. If necessary, pull the upper trim extension outward to disengage the rear door.

    8. To inspect the window regulator, use extreme care and remove the water shield.

    If you need help beyond this, let me know.

    Good luck,
  • Hi, first I want to say I've been lurking for some time but have never posted. All of you have taught me alot about the Dakotas. I have an '03 4.7 QC 4WD automatic with about 9k miles on it. I've noticed for the past few months that the idle (in gear) when stopped is running rougher than it was when brand new. I checked any possible codes and there are none. The dealer says it's normal, they all do it. I find it hard to believe that such a sophisticated engine could possibly run rough. I've searched through this board for '03 solutions but didn't find any. Can anyone help? Thanks.... Ray
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926

    Is this problem intermittent?

    Does it appear to be more noticeable in certain temperature ranges?

    If the heater control is moved to the defrost mode, does the idle quality improve?

    If you answer "yes" to all of the above, a likely suspect would be spark plugs.

    If you answered "yes' to the last two only, I would suspect contamination build up at the idle air port in the Throttlebody. You might try some fuel injector cleaner, but removing the Idle Air Control Motor and manually cleaning the port is more effective.

    There could be a computer problem, but I think it's less likely to be the issue. If spark plugs and the idle air port are not the problem, and you ran a few tanks of fuel injector cleaner through the engine, you might have a lazy or defective fuel injector.

    Best regards,
  • Dusty, thanks for taking the time to answer my question. I know that the idle is roughest when the engine is cold and smoothes out a little after warmup. I don't know about the defrost test but I will try it on my way home tonight. Also, the problem isn't intermittent, it's there everyday. I will get back to you tonight or tomorrow.
  • bookittybookitty Posts: 1,303
    Well, we made the trip but the 1268 miles were for a good part achieved in bumper to bumper traffic. It was the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and although we expected traffic to be heavy, it went way beyond our expectations. Must of the stoppages were for "gaperblocking" as folks stopped to stare at the accident vehicles. Next year, that won't happen, as all of these good folks have now seen an accident and thus will feel no need to stop, slow down and stare. If anyone is interested in purchasing a used car or truck I can now show them a lot of vehicles with "as new" turn signal bulbs. Some, never used. "Left Lane Louie" is alive and well, I can assure you. The Quad ran like a proverbial top although I averaged under 18MPG due to the fact that I was constantly in first, second and third gear. We left on Saturday morning from LBI, NJ and arrived this morning @ 11:00 AM. We stayed over two nights in lieu of the planned stay of one night, but last night we learned the true meaning of the "screeching halt!" Mozart, after a few moments of pitiful crying turned out to be a wonderful little traveling kitty and enjoyed staying in the hotels. Happy to have arrived unscathed, and safe and sound.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I checked with my local Dodge technician and he tells me that they have yet to replace a fuel injector for a 287 (4.7) motor. He did say that he has heard of reflashing the computer for rough idle, but doesn't believe it's the root cause.

    He agreed with me on either worn spark plugs or idle air port/motor being the most likely causes. He also said that on a few the PCV valve was the cure for rough idle. These were all winter-time complaints and they were accompanied by a slight sludge build up around the PCV valve. He also said to check the air filter. He has found two that were caused by the filter even though they looked fairly clean.

    I should state that I had a intermittent bumpy idle that seem to start at around 7500 miles. It was a very slight thing and not always noticeable. It was intermittent and went away by going into the defrost mode. This raises the idle speed slightly by energizing the idle air motor and opening the idle air port. There were some days that I thought it idled just like it did when new, which was like glass.

    I tried running some fuel injector cleaner through it, but could not detect any difference. I removed some of the plugs and other than being .002-.003 over the gap setting they looked fine. I replaced the plugs with Bosch 4418 Platinum+4s and for three days the 4.7 idled like glass.

    But the intermittent idle came back, although I think it was still improved. Now at 18,000+ miles it idles fine and has done so for the last 7,000 miles or so.

    Best regards,
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    My 02 4.7 has had a rough idle since it was new. It is most noticable in the winter. In the summer with the A/C on, the idle speed is increased and the problem goes away. Same thing with turning the defroster on in the winter. The dealer has never found anything wrong and replacing the plugs and air filter at 30K miles didn't change anything. Most of the time the idle is about 600-650 RPM. Sometimes it is as low as 450-500 RPM. That is when it is rough. This seems to be a common problem on the 4.7L and there isn't any one fix, if there is any at all.
  • Thanks for the in-depth tips! I tried the defrost method several times while stopped on my way home tonight. I could feel the idle going faintly higher but it didn't make any difference. The roughness I'm getting is best explained: when stopped and in gear, if I slightly take my foot off the gas pedal, the truck bumps forward in a jerky motion. The idle (in gear) stays at about 600. Once I put my foot on the gas it smooths right out and is very responsive. I will look at the air cleaner tomorrow. Thanks so much...Ray
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    there was a flash for the PCM that took care of the rough idle on my rig.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Sunburn & Raybo,

    Yes, I noticed that the rough idle occured on mine when the idle speeed dropped below around 600 RPM. I am not sure why it drops that low at times. But in the last few months it has not repeated this symptom at all and idles very smoothly even at 500 RPM.

    This could be caused by a marginal idle air port motor. I have been told that removing the motor and cleaning the port area solves this problem for a long time.

    Raybo, there's nothing to say that you don't have a vacuum leak or something else going on that could cause a rough idle. I would start with the simply things, if you are going to try to tackle this yourself. After the air filter, I would try cleaning the idle air port, then plugs, I guess.

  • ferousferous Posts: 226
    This is my fourth fall with my 4.7 (65K miles) and when it's cold in the morning and warm in the afternoon, the 4.7 runs rough. The computer takes longer to adjust for the cold intake air temp. This is normal and you shouldn't worry about it. It's just the way it is. Kind of like getting use to your wife (10 years and counting).
  • Thanks Dusty and everyone,

    I'll keep you posted as I try different things to cure this rough idle. You guys are great!

This discussion has been closed.