DODGE 3.9 V-6

dodge20dodge20 Member Posts: 11
edited March 2014 in Dodge
DODGE 3.9 V-6


  • dodge20dodge20 Member Posts: 11
  • bookittybookitty Member Posts: 1,303
    The 3.9 V-6 in a Quad or full size Ram should perform as follows: In the Quad, it should roughly equate to the performance of the Nissan Crew Cab, or a ten speed bicycle. If available in a full size Ram (I am not certain that it is even offered) it should perform well on commutes that are downhill each way. All kidding aside, the 3.96 in my opinion is marginal in the area of truck performance. Especially if linked to an automatic transmission. Towing would present additional issues. Considering the modest price for upgrade, and the higher resale along with performance value, it would appear reasonable to go with the V-8 (4.7 or 5.9). I am not trying to spend your money, just rendering an honest personal opinion. Mileage will not really offset the reduced cost of the 3.9.

  • towcrazy2towcrazy2 Member Posts: 337
    For what it's worth, the 3.9 has earned an OUTSTANDING reputation for durability.

    As Boo said, I'm not sure it's even available in the Ram... But "let me tell a story 'bout a man named Jed" and his '90 Dakota (TRUE!)

    This guy is a "good ole' boy" who hauls loaded four-place horse trailers from here in Michigan to Tennessee and back continually. He bought the '90 Dakota new, maintained it properly, and put 140K miles on it without ANY major repairs.

    He turned the truck over to a niece in Tennessee, and she drove it another 60K miles without changing the oil. Somehow, it ended up back here in Michigan... And while the lack of oil changes took its toll in terms of compression and power, the doggone truck is STILL in service as a parts-chaser at 220K miles. And I've heard similar stories from other Dakota V6 owners.

    If you're considering the V6 in a Dakota, I'd say you can't go wrong provided you don't need the hp/torque capacity of a V8. The 3.9 is just liable to go down in the anals of automotive history as the Chrysler "225 slant-six" did a couple of decades ago... Can't destroy it without dynamite!
  • bookittybookitty Member Posts: 1,303
    I certainly did not mean to "ditz" the 3.9, and as far as durability is concerned; no argument. I personally opt for more power and response. The example you quoted, was just that; an example. I drove a Quad with the 3.9 linked to an automatic transmission, and it was "doggy."

  • gallen1586gallen1586 Member Posts: 33
    I have the 3.9L/auto in a 2000 quad cab 4x2. The
    past two tanks of gas I have got 18.25 mpg with 50% city 50% hiway miles. The truck has plenty of
    power for normal driving. I have out grown burning
    rubber off the tires. The 4.7 has only been in production for two years, that is not long anough
    for me to buy one.
  • towcrazy2towcrazy2 Member Posts: 337
    Regarding the performance of the 3.9, I think we're definitely in agreement! I have the 5.9 in my Ram and the new Quad specifically for that reason!

    Believe me, getting 12.8 mpg during break-in certainly isn't something I'd write home about! But I don't regret it for my purposes!

    Speaking STRICTLY of durability, however, the 3.9 really is quite an engine! Don't you think it would be nice to have one in a Neon!?
  • bookittybookitty Member Posts: 1,303
    Only if it were equipped with a high performance chip, catback exhaust, and a turbocharger for boost. Who ever said not to "gild the lily."

  • towcrazy2towcrazy2 Member Posts: 337

    Even old farts like me have a right to dream! I'm 48, and still LOVE the sound of a good-running V8! Old motorheads never die... They just rumble away! (Nearly lost it this morning... Check the QC forum)
  • bookittybookitty Member Posts: 1,303
    Hey Tow, you're still a baby. Try 67, and then we'll talk. The secret to having fun is immaturity. I've got it, and if you don't believe me, ask my wife and/or my friends. I shudder to think that I will ever drive like the "clinically dead." Those are the folks that always seem to be in front of you on the road. They accomplish this by whipping out of an intersection, and then suddenly lose that sense of urgency. Take care young fellow.

  • nrd525nrd525 Member Posts: 109
    I just bought a new truck,It wasn't a Dodge(sorry),it was a GMC.But I drove a Dakota Quad V6,both 2x4 and 4x4.Neither was acceptable,the 2x4 was just slow enough to annoy me,and the 4x4 was a slug.I drove a Dakota 4.7 4x4,it was ok,not bad at all.From what I've seen and heard about the 4.7,I would buy one,no problem.I drove a Ram Quad 4x4 with a 318,and it was...well...pretty weak,the 360 was ok.I am a former Dodge Pwer Wagon owner,and had two 360 powered cars,too.In a Ram,the 3.9 would be a horror to drive on a long term basis,like the Chevy full size I was loaned once with the 4.3 V6,just torture,every move had to be planned ahead.Passing on a steep grade?Forgetaboutit!Almost as bad as my 85 Caravan with the Mitsubishi 2.4 4 banger!
    I was very close to buying the Ram Quad 4x4,until I drove a Chevy with the 5.3.I was hooked!It runs great,and gets decent milage too.Dodge needs to get a replacement 5.9(?)into their full sizes as soon as possible.I would have bought the Dodge,if the thing wasn't 40 HP(feels like more)down.It really was a toss up except for the power.I know a new engine's coming,but when??
  • towcrazy2towcrazy2 Member Posts: 337
    There's hope for us "kids" yet, huh!?

    Never thought I'd be a grandfather before I hit 50, but it's happening in August... The wife is fixing up one of the rooms with a crib, funky wallpaper, etc... Conversely, I'm considering adding a sidecar to the Harley!

    By the way... The group will be waiting for your initial impressions of that new Quad tonight!

    Congrats on the new GMC! Did some product training for Chevy not long ago, and they're nice trucks!

    As to the Mopar 360 V8... Well, I have one in my '95 Ram and in my 2000 Dak QC... I would agree that they could make a bit more power... But would defend the engine on the basis of durability/reliability, especially when towing.

    The DC 4.7 is indeed a sweet motor! While I hated to see the reliable old 318 go away, its time had come. The makers, in general, are struggling with CAFE numbers, and there are certain to be some significant engine design changes coming down the pike. Were it not for the rapid crossover in the market from passenger cars to SUVs, that wouldn't be the case... Ah well!
  • bookittybookitty Member Posts: 1,303
    Tow, here's how to compromise. Put a side car in the nursery in lieu of a crib. That way, the baby is instantly placed into an aura of priorities which will become a valuable "life lesson." I'm convinced, you're convinced; Now, if we can just convince the "girls." Like someone once said in this forum. "I wanted to get a new Dakota Quad Cab, but couldn't get it past the Ways and Means Committee. My wife said; No way! and she means it."

  • towcrazy2towcrazy2 Member Posts: 337

    FYI... As soon as I learned it was going to be a grandson, I was out looking at those cool "race-car beds" for kids... But on second thought, your idea on putting a sidecar in the tot's room is excellent!!!

    Regarding the "ways & means overrule" you referred to, it's obvious the man has a few things to learn about the gentle art of persuasion!

    I've spent a good number of years training retail automotive salespeople... And it's a statistical FACT that if you can get customers into the vehicle for a demo drive, 7 out of 10 of them will BUY. This guy clearly should have invited his wife along in a demo unit, stopped for a nice lunch, asked her if she'd mind driving it back to the dealership, flipped on the stereo to her favorite music, and let the quad do the talking! If he had, chances are he'd be in a new QC!

    Funny... My wife was VERY concerned that I'd drop $28K on the QC... I asked her if she'd like to drive it home while I piloted the '95 Ram (which she hated)... She rolled into the drive, spent about 10 minutes "playing" with the stereo and other toys... Walked inside, complemented me on the decision and said this was a truck she'd drive "any day of the week!"

    As you said, Boo... Old age and cunning!

    Waiting to see your post after the baby is delivered!!!
  • bookittybookitty Member Posts: 1,303
    Picked up my truck this afternoon and received VIP treatment right to the nines. I was offered the D/C top warranty at a very reduced price of $650.00 to make up for previous problems. Had no contact with my salesman and even that was more contact than I desired, but the sales manager was absolutely super, and made the purchase a comfortable and pleasant experience. Absolutely
    l-o-v-e this truck. Although I haven't put very much time in the seat, it is a superb vehicle and worth the wait. This dealership has Quads in stock, so if anyone is interested, Email me with a list of specifications and I'll see if any truck there would meet your requirements. If it does, I'll give you the name of the sales manager and you can contact him on a direct basis. They are located in Eastern Pennsylvania, so if it makes sense, contact me.

  • nrd525nrd525 Member Posts: 109
    The 360 was ok,and a rocket compared to the whopping 165 HP my Power Wagon had when I got it,back in April of 77,but the GM trucks ran great out of the box,and if I do mods to it,it will be even better!
    If my mom was still driving(I have to take her pretty much everywhere)I might have gotten the Dodge anyway,it was cheaper.But the inch or so extra step up height,made it much harder for her to get into,she's really messed up,as far as stepping up and walking.She's in it almost every day,so that was another consideration.
    And I really liked the looks.And the money I would have saved would have paid for exhaust and headers,so it's a wash up I guess.
    I wish I had the stereo was better,that's my only real complaint,so far,and I'll take care of that soon enough...
  • towcrazy2towcrazy2 Member Posts: 337

    GLAD you're happy with the new GM! And it makes me think of just how many choices ALL the makers provide us with in the way of trucks these days!

    I can relate with the step-up height preference... It's still a pain to climb up and bail out of the Ram!!! Which is another reason why I'm so delighted with the QC!

    Just curious... Was the composite bed available on your truck? And if so, did you go with it? As I recall from the Silverado training I did about 6 months ago, the plastic bed was to be a $500 option.
  • nrd525nrd525 Member Posts: 109
    No,I got a wideside or whatever they call it,and none of them had it.I saw a stepside with it,looked ok.If the composite holds up better than the old stepsides did,it will be a great improvement.
    On my old Power Wagon,it was at least as high as the new ones,and I don't know how many times I whacked my shins on it when I tried to get into it in a hurry when it was raining.I had shorts on once,and did it,and it looked like someone painted my shins with purple paint,and it hurt like hell.I should have put some kind of steps on it.
    Getting out is easy,even for mom,just slide on out till your feet touch the ground.It's getting her in that's a problem.I bought one of those toolbox/stepstool things for 12 bucks,and it works ok..
  • klm1962klm1962 Member Posts: 6
    I recently bought a Ram 1500 pickup with the V-6 SMPI motor in it. I was pleased at first. But being a mechanic and in tune with the vehicles I drive, I noticed a significant vibration in the motor between 1000-1500 RPM. This is not good for a motor to have a vibration or out-of-balance condition as it will lead to premature engine failure. (ie; crankshaft, camshaft breakage resulting in a motor that would only serve to be a large paperweight) The vibration occurs in park, neutral, or while driving. Daimler Chrysler has stated it is a "normal" characteristic of this vehicle and have rejected my lemon law claim. Well if it is normal as they say it is then why have they tried three consecutive times unsuccesfully to fix the problem ??? The truck has difficulty keeping speed even on a moderate grade. It is great if every road were a downhill grade. If any of you have this motor in a full size pickup, I would suggest checking it out and taking it to the dealer to get the problem repaired or vehicle replaced. I am still working on other avenues and understand it will take some time. I will continue to post updates to this situation.
  • dodgeram7dodgeram7 Member Posts: 55
    The reason your motor has a vibration is because it is a 90 degree V-6. If your wanted more power you should have got the 318 V-8. go get you a V-8 and stop complaing you get what you pay for.
  • bigal31bigal31 Member Posts: 189
    I HAD a "98" Dakota Sport 4x4 with 31"tires,Emerald green it looked great!Drove it back and forth to work with zero towing and used it like a car.Let me tell you I was glad to off it!All it took was a ride in the 2000 Quad 4x4 4.7L.Wish I had the 2 years I spent in that 3.9L back,every day in that "slug", brother.
    Just goes to show that looks are not everything,and I'll never buy a 3.9L again.
    My .02$ thats all.
    PS- Bookitty is right, the Gas mileage is not even close to being worth it.Get the V8 I don't think you can go wrong.
  • smeeko1smeeko1 Member Posts: 1
    The 3.9L V-6 that I purchased has plenty of power to tow my trailer as well as give me better gas mileage than I expected at 17.5 MPG in city driving.
  • nrd525nrd525 Member Posts: 109
    You must be really used to "weak" motored vehicles,or very easily satisfied.I have a friend who recently bought a 94 Dakota,3.9,and now he's complaining about how gutless it is.I drove it,he's right.It IS gutless,just like every Dakota with the 3.9 I've driven(four of them).He should have gotten one with a 318,but he is really cheap,so he didn't,and like every time he goes the cheap way,he cries about it!I don't even want to think about pulling a trailer behind a truck with a 3.9.Shades of my old Dodge Caravan,loaded up,going up the mountains on I75.Every mile was torture,I had to plan out passes like I was invading Normandy in WWII.Even empty,it was a slug,and it had the OPTIONAL motor!!Man,was I glad to see that thing go away.Three years was too long....
    When I test drove trucks,I drove a new(200 miles on it)Dakota with a 3.9.I could never live with that slow/weak a vehicle.The 4.7 was great,but I bought a GMC fullsize ext 4x4 instead.It has POWER,and gets 15+ MPG around town with the A/C on!I'd take 285 HP over 2 and a half MPG anytime.
  • dbcooperdbcooper Member Posts: 2
    Bought a '92 Dakota new in fall '91 with the 3.9. This was a std. cab 4x4 with a 5 speed trans. Maybe mine was the exception, but the power was decent, and gas milage used to run around 19 mpg under ideal conditions, although it seems to have dropped off some (80,000 miles). I moved from the west coast to the east coast several years ago and made one trip with it loaded with my tool boxes, several hundred pounds of reloading gear and gunpowder and bullets, and some shop equipment, drill press, small lathe, etc. I crossed the Rockies on I-70 I think it is that goes into Denver, one hell of a hill, tops out at something like 11000 feet. The Dakota was down into 3rd, but everything else was also geared way down and there wasn't much passing me.

    No, I don't have any complaints about the power. Having said that, I also wouldn't recommend a 3.9 or any other Dakota. Mine has been an absolute nightmare. It has cost thousands to keep running. So far it has been through 4 computers, 3 fuel pumps, at least one of literally every sensor and electronic gizmo on it, and it still can't be trusted to drive to the store.

    I will be trading it in sometime here real soon and I will have my fingers crossed hoping it runs without acting up long enough to get rid of it. Selling it to a private party is out of the question, they wouldn't go more than a hundred miles without it quitting or giving them a problem. I figure a dealer will get it cheap enough to cover fixing it, if the damned thing IS fixable. Personally I would like to see the pile of miserable junk crushed and melted down.

    It was my first and last Dodge.
  • jimtjimt Member Posts: 56
    regarding 3.9 v-6, I have a992 extended cab dakota with auto, 3.55 limited slip, tow pkg. handling pkg. I have 187,000miles on it. This is the most miles and longest I have owned a vehicle in my life. Had a few problems early in its life which were handled under warranty. Have replaced the water pump due to minorleakage. recently replace timing chain and gears as they were gettng noisy. All other engine components original. I did put a low restriction cat-back exhaust and KN air filter. I live in south fla. so power driving in hills or mountains not much of a factor. Gas milage is still 20 on the highway with the truck empty. The cab is still tight and rattle free and while the paint is shot there is no bidy rust. Rear bumper has rusted. I have had the front end aligned once and get over 60,000 out of a set of tires. I am sure the v-8, whether 5.2 or new 4.7 are much more fun and better suited for towing, but this has been a great vehicle overall. I use a 94 full-size bronco with 351, 3.55 limited slip, and tow pkg. for most of my towing needs. JIMT
  • jimtjimt Member Posts: 56
  • fl_actorfl_actor Member Posts: 5
    I have one in my '00 Dakota CC 2WD Auto. It has a "shake" at idle that I've had back to the dealer 3 times. I'm told it's "normal". Rrriiiggghhhtt... And if pigs could fly no one would go outside without an umbrella ever again! Last gas mileage check at fill up was 14.7 city/highway with a light foot. This is in South Fla, where it's flatter than a pancake, no hills/mountains.
    As far as I'm concerned, the darn thing could catch fire and I'd bring the marshmallows and all are invited! That said, I do like the style and design of the Dakota. It fits me well and no complaints there (so far).

    I have a sign in the back window now advising the motoring public not to buy the 3.9L V-6, ask me why...

    If you'd like to chat more, my e-mail is: [email protected]
  • craiginct1craiginct1 Member Posts: 7
    OK here goes. a dealer wants to sell me a 1997 dakota with a 3.9 v6... BUT when it started up on the lot there was a loud rapping in the engine until oil started flowing.

    I said it sounded bad, but the dealer insisted it was only rapping because the truck hadn't been started in a few days, and that it was just the lifters getting pumped up... I never heard of such a thing on any healthy engine!!! and I told him so, but he insisted that it was a normal condition on the 3.9 v6.... come on guys, is he for real?????? please email me with answers at [email protected] as soon as you can, so I can deal with this issue first thing monday morning 10/2. God bless you for your help!!!
  • marklettmarklett Member Posts: 5

    I have had two dakotas an 87 and 97 with V-6's and i must say they do rattle (lifters)when not ran for a while. I was concerned about this on my 87 and the dealer replaced them. Guess what they rattled too. I use to it. The other thing I have a problem with is how oil pressure drops off with speed and from cold to hot. I was always taught that this was a sign of bad bearings letting oil escape. It makes since because the oil pump puts out more oilthan needed and the relief valve on the oil pump should dump excess back to crankcase, but on newer veihicles pressue drops off. Apparently its not a problem as i have never had a bearing problem.
  • nrd525nrd525 Member Posts: 109
    The 3.9 shakes at idle due to it's "design". There isn't a whole lot you can do about it. It's basically just a 318 V8 with the front 2 cylinders whacked off. Chrysler needed a V6 in a hurry, so they just "chopped" the 318. A chopped V6 isn't going to idle like a "true" V6, unless it has balance shafts.
    Just like the older Buick 3.8 and the Chevy 4.3, They are both "chopped" V8s. Both the GM engines have balance shafts and don't shake anymore, but Mopar is saving money and never did it to the 3.9. The 3.8 is called the 3800 and is actually one of GMs best engines.
    I had an 88 Chevy S10 Blazer with the 4.3. It shook at idle every day I had it, and every day since. It's got over 150K on it now. A friend bought it from me in 93. I got used to it. When I bought my 93 Jeep with the 4.0 straight six, I was amazed how smooth the idle was compared to the 4.3. And the Jeep 4.0 is not known for being smooth.
  • meredithmeredith Member Posts: 575
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