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Dodge Dakota - FAQs

bonnie_rickbonnie_rick Posts: 115
go! Just the FAQs please ;-)

Bonnie Rick
Conferences Manager, Town Hall


  • themacguythemacguy Posts: 417
    Good TX dealer: [] in Lampasas. "A near-invoice, no nonsense dealer on the net. Talk to Pam or Brigitte ONLY." --NOTE the quotes denoting my PERSONAL OPINION.

    Good general Dakota parts source: [] "I bought some really nice interior mud mats here, custom fit for $69 set of 4 + FREE shipping." --NOTE I gave some pricing & fit info in quotes.

    Good swaybars: [] "Best fit, performance; but WAY pricier than those included in t&h package when you order truck." --NOTE the cost caveat in quotes & a comparison / alternate.

    D / C order & customer status: [] "Mmmm, I saw this somewhere in the regular Topics & thought I'd add it here..." --NOTE I didn't know where I saw it or who wrote it; otherwise try to give credit where it's due.

    Early article on Dakota Quad at: []
    --NOTE a simple URL, no explanation necessary.

    Great club site: [] "Way boss chic site!" --NOTE the bogus site, which should (and WILL) be immediately BOOTED from this area if anyone sticks something like this in here.

    FAQ - What is the yellow goop in the oil filler tube, will it hurt my engine and how do I get rid of it once and for all (if I can do it myself)?
    RESPONSE: It's sulfur from the conventional oil 'cooking' and foaming out. It won't hurt your engine. Use a good synthetic with proper viscosity / weight for your climate. Plus, use good filters. --NOTE I wrote this response some months ago but someone else wrote about the lid 'sticking' due to plastic failure of the lid. I wouldn't 'jump' on that since maybe I didn't remember the whole fix (or maybe the poster), and would simply wait for her / him to post & continue the FAQ for this very important item. This keeps the accuracy up.

    --If, say one of these is wrong or changed, then another member of our tribe would politely post an update, and I would (since I was the author of it) 'scribble or hide' this post and re-post the corrected stuff... An add-on to, say the proper viscosities for particular climates & temps would be another FAQ. This, then becomes a self-policing area that should always have some very accurate data in it. If members leave and don't update errors or whatever, well that's where I believe, a_j and I come in to 'modify' certain responses with Bonnie's help & spiritual guidance. The 'spreadsheets' will come from efforts like this...

  • andy_jordanandy_jordan Posts: 765
    This section is going to be a little different from the rest of the topics. Once built it shouldn't be an active topic - more of a reference site. Whilst there will be occasional submissions let's keep the discussions to the other topics and use this as a source of information that is readily available for all.

    With that in mind I will attempt to put some posts here over the next day or so relating to some of the questions that I have been regularly asked over the many months that I have been around.

    It will start off deliberately basic and I make no apology for that - I want this to be accessible to everyone, not just those of us that have already learned our stuff.

    Apologies if it turns into a 'lectures I have given' series over the next couple of days.
  • andy_jordanandy_jordan Posts: 765
    Dodge Dakota is available with two rear end ratios - 3.55 and 3.92. The number relates to the number of turns that the driveshaft makes compared to the number of turns that the rear axle makes. In turn the number of revolutions per minute made by the driveshaft depends on the gear and ultimately the engine revs.

    What does all this mean? Well it means that the 3.55 rear end (which is actually bigger in technical speak than the 3.92) requires less engine revolutions than the 3.92 to travel at the same speed (assuming that the gear is the same). The result of this is that the 3.55 will be more fuel efficient than the 3.92.

    On the other hand the 3.92 allows for faster acceleration, especially from a standing start, because the engine is revving higher, and therefore is higher up the horsepower, and more relevantly, torque curves.

    The 3.92 rear end also allows for a significantly greater towing capacity than is available with the 3.55.

    What impact does tire size have? Well, technically none. The rear end ratio relates to the axle speed compared to the driveshaft speed so the ratio is unaffected by tire sizes. What does change is the effective ratio.

    Larger tires mean that the truck will travel further for every rotation of the axle - because the larger the tire the greater the circumference. This means that a 3.92 equipped truck with larger tires can get similar gas mileage to a 3.55 equipped truck with standard tires, and still retain the performance advantage. Other factors will affect mileage - tire width and increased drag for example, but tire size should be considered when deciding on the rear end for your truck.
  • andy_jordanandy_jordan Posts: 765
    Limited Slip Differential, or LSD is designed to offer greater traction in slippery conditions. It operates by restricting the amount that one rear wheel can slip compared to the other. LSD works equally on 2 wheel drive or 4 wheel drive vehicles.

    Imagine a situation where the right hand side of the truck is off the road, say on a shoulder, and the left hand side is on the road. The road has been salted, but the shoulder hasn't and is covered in ice.

    A truck without LSD isn't going very far - a 2wd will have all of the power directed to the rear wheel that is slipping (the right hand one), a 4wd will be no better, again power will be directed to the right side of the vehicle.

    However a limited slip differential will force the left rear wheel to rotate. Once the right rear wheel is spinning the limited slip differential will be bought into play, and will not allow the right hand wheel to spin freely, rather it restricts the rotation relative to the left hand side (for example the left hand wheel has to rotate once for every 4 rotations of the right hand wheel - this isn't the exact ratio, but serves as an example).

    The effect of this is that power is directed to a wheel that has traction and the vehicle can move.

    As with any system, LSD is not a golden tool that will solve any problems that arise, it must be used sensibly, and power must be applied gradually, as any responsible driver will be doing in marginal driving conditions.

    Excessive acceleration in a situation that requires the limited slip to operate, especially if the vehicle is not moving in a straight line, can cause the vehicle to spin.
  • andy_jordanandy_jordan Posts: 765
    What's the difference?

    Well, the full time system is computer controlled - essentially the computer is constantly monitoring the wheels for slippage and will divert power as needed to try and provide additional traction. By contrast the part time system is manually engaged by the driver, either by way of a floor mounted shifter or a dash mounted dial (2001 models).

    Whilst the full time system can react immediately, and certainly faster than a driver, the down side is that the system is engaged all the time. This means greater tire wear, higher fuel consumption and an increased likelihood of corrective maintenance on the 4wd system, as well as a higher cost of entry.

    Arguments have also been made that the part time system promotes safer driving as the driver needs to be concious of the road conditions and shift into 4wd rather than rely on the truck to do it for them. The flip side of course, is that if a driver considers 2wd to be sufficient for the conditions, he or she can get themselves into more trouble than with a full time system.
  • andy_jordanandy_jordan Posts: 765
    In response to a request:

    What is a K&N filter and how can it help me?

    K&N is a company that makes air filters. They are wll known for two things - an ability to make filters that allow more air into the engine, and filters that don't need to be replaced, ever (well for a million miles anyway). Best of all it is the same filter.

    OK, some details. K&N have two main products for different vehicles, a replacement filter, or a replacement air flow system. The first is a straight replacement for the stock air filter, the second involves replacing the stock air filter with a different style of filter (usually conical) and some ducting. As you might expect the second option is more effective and more expensive.

    The whole purpose of this is to get more, and to some degree cooler, air into the engine. Without getting into all of the technical issues, if this can be done the engine can generate more horse power (somewhere in the 8-14hp range), better fuel efficiency, or (with judicious driving) both.

    The million mile part comes from the way that the filter is made. Most paper filters quickly become dirty and blocked and therefore less efficient. They are throw away parts and so are replaced with new filters. K&N uses a different approach - when their filters get dirty you simply clean them and replace them. K&N sell special cleaning agents and an oil that is used to coat the filter. For most people the cleaning process is a once a year thing.
  • bookittybookitty Posts: 1,303
    Andy, these former postings may shed some more light on using the K&N filter system.

    #92 of 92: k&n filters (johnboy9 <<A HREF="">>;) Thu 17 Feb '00 (08:34 AM)
    I understand k&n filter #33-2084 will fit the 4.7 . It is for a Dodge 5.2/5.9 engine . The cheapest I found was at Auto Zone for $45.00 Johnboy9

    #94 of 95: k&n filter for 4.7 (keg3 <<A HREF="">>;) Wed 23 Feb '00 (09:31 AM)
    got the k&n in (#33-2084). fits fine (even though its spec 'd for the 99 5.2). dont notice too much difference in the way of low end torque, there might be some increase,i havent really had the chance to test that area of it, but there is definately an increase in power at higher rpms while on the highway. its doing what it should. go get one.

    Hope that this helps;

  • andy_jordanandy_jordan Posts: 765
    Why does my brand new 4.7 V8 keep stalling?

    Blame it on the computers. The 4.7 has a very complicated Engine Management System controlled by computers. These computers are programmed to
    try and minimize emissions and maximize fuel
    economy - and they are really quite good at it -
    until someone comes along and starts driving the

    The computers have to 'learn' your individual
    driving habits - where do you shift, how do you use the clutch when decelerating, how heavy is your right foot, etc, etc.

    The computer can then adjust the way that it
    controls the engine revs based on your individual
    driving style. However this takes time, and for
    the first couple of thousand miles the computer
    will make mistakes as it encounters new driving

    The learning process will take longer with
    standards than automatics as there is less
    consistency over gear shifts, and it will take
    longer if two or more drivers aredriving the truck
    for prolonged periods - because everyone has
    different driving styles.

    As the 4.7s move on to second owners, expect to
    see a re-learning process as the computer gets used to its 'new' driver.
  • gsu1gsu1 Posts: 43
    Why are there no recovery hooks on the front of my Quad, not that I will take it to far off road. I see several truck that are 4x4 with them on the front. Ranger, F-150 and Z-71's all have tow hooks in the front, at least in the 4x4 models. Yes you can joke that they probable need them. (ford-forget off road driving) sorry just had to use that one. I just want to be sure if I ever get stuck that I can get pulled out safely with out damage to the truck.
  • impy2impy2 Posts: 50
    I have the 2000 Dakota club sport 4X4 5-speed, 3.92 axle ratio, loaded, with the bigger tires, and a 4.7 Liter V8. I have 3000 miles on the vehicle. I use 87 octane fuel. (that is what the owners manual says to use) I get heavy spark knock (pinging) when climbing a hill or under heavy accelerating. It will "ping" throughout the entire RPM range. I have tried all types fuel.....exxon, chevron, BP,etc...... but no matter what I use I still have the pinging. I used 93 octane just for kicks. It helped the "pinging" significantly and I can barely hear any pinging using 93 octane, but the owners manual says that frequent use of premium will hinder performance. To tell you truth, the truck runs much better on 87 octane. When using 87 octane, it starts fine, accelerates strong, no hesitation, and never dies but pings like crazy. What is my problem? No trouble codes show up on a diagnostic test. I have ruled out carbon build up because it is brand new. I have ruled out spark plugs for the same reason.
  • dodgeboy8dodgeboy8 Posts: 6
    Hello everyone,
    I'm new around here, so please bear with me.
    I own a 00' Quad Cab 4.7 V8 SLT, loaded, 3.55 rear, handling pkg. ect... My question is this..
    Has anyone figured out how to override the top speed limiter (97mph) or is this something that all 4.7liter owners are gonna have to put up with?
    Any information from anyone would be of help.
    By the way, I LOVE MY TRUCK....just want a little more on the top end!
  • iowabigguyiowabigguy Posts: 552
    I don't have first hand experience on my trucks top speed but I was under the impression that you were limited by tire rating. Stock tires at just under 100mph and 112mph with the tire handling package. If you get the Mopar performance computer it removes the speed limiter among its features. Rick
  • themacguythemacguy Posts: 417
    I've been asked (about a dozen times in the Topics) how my speed limiter got itself in the 'non working' mode. ALL I'm going to say is that is has to do with the 'cruise control' and 'one or two little wires.' I DO NOT want any one to lose their life (or my waranty) by going into details here (or anywhere). Let's just say after my first two tire changes to different sizes, with the requisite speedo resets - the cruise control 'stopped working' for a bit, so I went to an old Army Air Corps bomber base near Pyote (yes, the Enola Gay and MacArthur's planes were there after the war) to see if it would engage at any speed. I turned onto the 'near' 2 mile long runway at about 50 mph and ran it 'at various speeds' up to and past the stock speedo rating. It also happens we were running an auto-x session that day for our Porsches and several members were trying to - I guess - 'set' their cruise controls as well. At some pretty hefty speeds. (Ambient air temp was 54 degrees, a bit of rain the day before and a 'slight' tail wind to no wind.) A hand held radar unit built by a Cincinnati based company picked my 4.7/auto/2wd/3.55/non-lsd equipped Quad up at the end of the main runway at a shade over 137 mph with time to hit the brakes hard before the runoff lane. Just barely. Scared me silly. And warped my rotors.

    My cruise control didn't set at that speed either.
  • pnedrypnedry Posts: 1
    I have a 95 Dodge Dakota 5.2 V8 (the old 318 ci) 4x4, SLT, w/ 134K on it. I love the vehicle.
    When I first had it, the engine was slow to fire.
    The dealer replaced the fuel pump module and some
    check valves from a TSB. No problems for 110K
    miles. Then the fuel float sending unit failed.
    I had that replaced. Then, for the past few months I have noticed that when the fuel level drops below 1/2 tank it begins to bog down and miss. It gets worse as the level gets lower. When I fill up, the performance returns to normal. I took it to a Dodge dealer; they did the $65 diagnostics test and told me I need new plug wires and clean the throttle body. Before taking it in I had replaced the plugs, distributor cap, and rotor. I replaced the plug wires and cleaned the intake. No change.

    I put a gage on the fuel rail and it reads 37-38
    psi consistently, at idle and when driving it. I
    have not done the volume check.

    Should I spend the money to replace the fuel
    module ($305 Mopar; $160 AutoZone) ? I've had the tank and module out to see if there were any apparent deficiencies. There weren't any. Can anyone help me?

  • This board is filled with quite a number of people that truly seem to know what they are talking about. So I pose this question...

    What recommendations for minimum break-in on a new Quad Cab w/4.7, before towing a 1700 lb pop-up camper approximately 350 miles?

    The Sales wiener wasn't any help. As soon as he said, "I think"...I knew I should just ignore him.

    Anyway, he told me personally, he thought 2500 miles so you could do that first oil change and get the "chips" out of the engine. I said, "WHAT chips!?!" He was referring to metal chips in the engine from manufacture. I hope to heck Dodge has better quality control than that!!! This is where you visualize me eyes rolling.

    Car Salesmen say the darnest things... Hey, that gives me an idea. Maybe a thread to post

  • Maybe we should have a thread to post the silly things we're told when buying a new vehicle???

  • bookittybookitty Posts: 1,303
    Fat, a 1700# rolling load should not place undue strain on you vehicle, providing that you accelerate and drive moderately, keeping the RPM's
    down, and do not try to make the engine lug by keeping the vehicle in the overdrive mode, auto or manual. That is my personal opinion. Of course there are guys such as towcrazy2 who can offer advice far more profound than mine.

  • hennehenne Posts: 407
    my manual says 500 miles before towing, i went about 750 and i have towed a 5500lb load over 4000 of my 16000 miles. the only thing i would recommend to anyone is if you are towing alot, change the fluid in the rear axle, it requires synthetic fluid for heavy duty towing. my service manager said if you have the towing package it comes with the synthetic. well after 2 trips to the shop for rebuilding the rear end because of parts availability, i have learned the hard way that my service manager must be on crack, cause he was waaaaaaaayyyyyyyy wrong!!!!

    good luck all,

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (pnedry) Your diagnosis seems sound. You say the engine runs worse as the fuel in the tank gets lower.

    If your observations are truly correct, there is ONLY one course of action. The problem is related to the fuel delivery system, NOT plug wires or plugs.

    I would also suggest a close scrutiny of all fuel lines / hoses. A plugged vent MAY cause a vacuum in the fuel tank under some conditions. Do not forget to check the "Evap. Emmisions System" which controls the venting of the gas tank.

    Lets not forget that Dodge is KNOWN to have fuel-pump problems in their trucks. (I beleive that the same "fuel module" is used across much of the Dodge truck lines.)

    Have you actually monitord the fuel pressure WHILE THE ENGINE WAS MISFIRING?
  • brad64brad64 Posts: 2
    On a 98 Dakota club cab slt would it be practical and possible to go from 3.55 to 3.92 to increase towing capacity? What size tires would improve mileage,15s on now? Would there be any other chnges needed on truck? Ithas 5.2lv8 automatic. Thanks Brad64 in Canada
  • bookitty and henne,

    thanks for the info on towing. I don't think I'll have any problem as I've put on over 1000 miles in the last two weeks. Whoa...better slow that down! Also, I have the 4.7/auto so I'll watch for lugging and be sure to switch it out of O/D if the transmission is searching for the right gear too often. That's pretty much what the manual says.

    towcrazy - any thoughts???

    Wow, this Quad is sure comfortable for a long haul. Went over 300 miles today and averaged 20.3 mpg @ 55 - 70 mph. All without getting a backache. That's more than I can say for my (ex)Explorer...

  • The answer to my question may have been posted already, but I looked and could not find.

    Anyone know what the Fram Oil Filter # would be for an 01 4.7? Looking in the July 2000 Fram book, it appears that the TG-16 is used for most Dodge trucks (as well as my wife's '97 LHS), so I pickled a couple up. Could this be the Chrysler standard?

    I'd prefer an answer before I remove the existing filter. It would really suck if I had to put the old filter on with new oil.... :-( Anyone?

  • themacguythemacguy Posts: 417
    Not sure if you want a better filter but the Mobil 1 filter # is, I believe, M1-204 and is VASTLY superior to the Fram. Better cold start bypass, filter media and flow rate. Purolator and Wix also make comparable filters. No way I would even consider a Fram, and I used to swear by 'em. I've put five of them (the Mobil 1's) on with about 23k on the truck so far.
  • themacguy,

    I've never even seen a Mobil 1 filter around here (Madison, WI). Maybe I'm not looking in the right place??? Where have you found them?

    I'm using Mobil 1 oil and Fram filters in all my vehicles. Is there some data available to substantiate your fear of Fram or just personal preference? I usually use the "Tough Guard" series so it's not bottom of the line, so to speak.

    Thanks as always for any and all feedback!

  • I have found the Motorcraft filters to be excellent. One of the sites that studied oil and filters mentioned that it is rebadged from one of the top filters tested. The nice thing for me is that I have never had a problem getting one at Wal-Mart.
  • Any reason for not using Mopar oil filters? I bought 6 from the dealer discounted for under $30 total. I figure as a minimum they must be better than Fram.
  • Fat Fenders, I believe the TG-16 is the right Fram Filter for the 01 4.7L. I have a 91 5.2L Dakota, as well as an 00 4.7L, and they both use the TG-16. I doubt that they would have changed it for 01. I believe there was an oil filter study done by someone on the internet that I read about on the DML that had the Fram filter near the bottom of the list for a number of reasons. The Tough Guard placed higher than the standard Fram filter, but still wasn't great.

    Iowabigguy, I believe I also heard that the Mopar oil filters are just Frams that they put their name on.

  • Below is a link for the studies on the oil filters in question. It really does have quite a comprehensive overview of most every filter on the market.
  • On the above link to the oil filter study there is first a few selections to take place before you get to the actual study. First choose "Engine", hit NEXT, then choose "Oil Filter Study" and hit NEXT again. Have Fun!
  • Well I'll stick with the Mopar filters if for no other reason than if I do have an engine failure due to an oil filter it will be a Mopar part and make getting DC to pay for it easier. Rick
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