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Dodge Dakota Problems. Please help!



  • To answer surflla1s question. I don't believe the transmissions are the same. I'll qualify the answer though. I looked in the shop manual for a 2000 Dakota. The v6 manual trans is a lighter duty model than the one behind the v8. Don't have a 2002 shop manual. Rick
  • thanks for the input on the auto tranny. I'd like to hear what others have to say about the V6 3.9 auto transmission. It is NOT responsive at all and seems to be geared wrong for dakota. If it wasn't for the poor tranny, I might take my chances with the crappy brake rotors. But not both complaints. I want an automatic...any ideas on V6 vs. V8. I know the MPG will be about the same so it makes sense to go with the V8. What about the quality of the tranny though. Silly me,I like a smooth shiftin truck...who doesn't?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Lets see.... you want SMOOTH and TRUCK in ONE vehicle? That seems to be a tall order. ;-)

    The tranny on the ol 3.9L v6 has been around for decades in one form or another. (since the 1960s)
    If well maintained, and NEVER used for towing in overdrive, it should be pretty reliable.

    But asking for SMOOTH from a 30 year old engine/tranny combonation is really asking a lot.

    I know you are not interested...but;
    The 4.7L V8 hemi is also available with a BRAND NEW DESIGN automatic tranny. It is supposed to be real SMOOTH when it is working properly.... Longevety of it is not known since it has only been around for less than 5 years. (Debuted in 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee)

    I have the MANUAL tranny and it is a blast to drive! Very smooth-engauging clutch and flawless shifting in the coldes of weather.
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    Listen to bpeebles. ANd stay away from the 45RFE unless you like to spend $$$$ getting the fluid changed every 30K.
  • Hey guys, I'm gettin the vibe that the dakota auto tranny sucks.....what the hell am I supposed to do if I want an automatic? Go to toyota? I like the dodge styling, fit & trim but can't get along with the V6 automatic. How do you recommend the auto V8? I've been shifting for 13 years with a manual accord. My foot needs a break....come on....load up the advice....I am Dak Maybe....
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Have you driven several Daks with automatics?

    I find it hard to beleive that the automatic on the 3.9L so harsh that you disagree with it.

    Perhaps you have been driving a manual for so many years that your foot is smoother than an automatic slushbox.

    Personally, I have NEVER driven an automatic that is perfectly smooth under all conditions.(but a CVT comes close because it has no "gears".)

    CVT= Continuously Variable Transmission
  • Thanx for the replies. Been awhile since I owned a truck....78 chev C10 (three on the tree.) Have driven more than enough auto ford crown vics up & down the highway with a radar on the dash lookin for daks etc. Could be just me...I did read consumer reports write up on Daks with unresponsive tranny and then on several test drives, I felt the same thing. I just dont know if it's normal or not with a truck tranny. I will have to drive the V8 again to compare. The whole thing is, when I depress the accellerator, there is a pause or delay in gear response - well, seems that way to me anyway. but thanx anyway for response. happy new year to you and all here. good bunch of people in here!
  • dakmaybe,
    Perhaps if I qualify my response some I can be of some further help. First, when I test drove the V-6 manual it was the quad cab. Second, I have not driven the V-6 Auto. That said, I can tell you that even when driving the V-6 manual I had the opportunity to "open her up" on the highway. Even when I downshifted from 5th to 3rd to simulate a passing situation, I had to really mash down on the accelerator to bring it up to barely adequate passing speed. Over all the V-6 in the quad felt woefully inadequate. If it was the highest rated engine available for the dakota quad I would never have even considered buying it. How all that stands up in a standard cab or extended cab I can not say. But my 2 cents says your test drive should say it all. If your mindset is to buy now and you want a 6 cyl. automatic, I would recommend either the Ford Ranger w/the 4.0 V-6 (my father-in-law has that engine in a 4 door Explorer and I have driven it: more than adequate power)) or the Toyota Tacoma. There has been some talk in these forums that a more powerful V-6 may soon be available in the Dakota. Others can probably give you more info. on that point. In closing I did test drive the dak. V-8 Auto and felt it was quite "smooth". While as I said there have been those on this forum who have had some problems with the V-8 Auto, I think they are a minority. Most of the V-8 Auto owners who's posts I have read have been very happy. Good luck and let us know what you decide.
  • danodwdanodw Posts: 63
    I have to agree, Dodge is junk. Those who remember my last post on all the trouble I was having with windows, brakes, rearend, trans. etc. It took 8 months to get something done and it was a half [non-permissible content removed] job. The brakes they said were fixed are now bad agian. I've only put 3K on the truck since the fix. Safty is very much a concern. Besides the motor and trans, the brakes are the most important thing on a auto. Why would they cheat on the quality or workmenship on the brakes. Now I have to start all over on trying to get it fixed. I am very sick of Dodge and I don't care much for this site. Not because of the people here but because of the reviews that I read by Edmunds and they still don't say anything about all the brake problems people are having on these trucks. I think they get paid by the car dealers to give thes reviews are they jusk don't care are no what they are doing. With all the brake problems, does anyone know how to go about getting a recall on this stuff. Who do you report this to. How do you get a recall. I think its in order. Good looking truck, good power in the V8, very very bad workmanship and quality. Dodge needs to take care of this. By the way they still have the nerve to send forms for me to get the extended warranty. They can't even fix it under the warranty that came with the truck. And for those who have had no problems, you are very lucky. I'm sure they can't get them all wrong but I would say more bad than good. Dodge sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • danodwdanodw Posts: 63
    Yes I know I can't spell good but that does not fix problems.
  • Just to add my $.02, I have a 2K Dakota 4.7L auto and have not any trouble in the 32K miles driven so far. This combo is so super smooth that one can hardly feel the shift happening.

    Others may not like the auto, but I would have nothing else.

  • mailman54mailman54 Posts: 111
    dakmaybe: I think you will like the 45RFE on the 4.7 V8. It is much better than the previous auto they had on the 5.2 V8. I experienced a slight hesitation at WOT (wide open throttle) during the first few miles, but now that the computer has learned my driving style it seems to have smoothed out. Personally I have always preferred sticks in the past, but I am in love with this new auto. I drove the V6 auto several years ago (don't believe they have changed it) and it seemed sluggish to me also, but it may have just been a lack of power in the 3.9 engine.
  • bcarter3bcarter3 Posts: 145
    4.7, auto, CC, 2001, 8000+ miles. No engine or transmission problems except for sensor leak when new. Will buy again except will add two more doors!!
  • gregp5gregp5 Posts: 51
    Yeah, I'll second that, or is it third ?
    Anyway I only have 2K miles on my QC, but the 4.7 and the 45RFE combo have been nothing but smooth for me also. When it comes to maintenance on the trans, I'll just look at it as the cost of doing buisness.
    I have also driven sticks for about 15 years combined (2 VW's a Datsun and a Fiat) and I'm tired of shifting in the heavy N.J. traffic.
  • zonkzonk Posts: 208
    I have to add my approval of the auto tranny I have in my 01, 4.7L, 2wd QC. I have about 8600 miles on it. It has always shifted smoothly, not a single complaint about the engine or transmission. Having lived and commuted in the Washington DC area to the Pentagon when I was in the Army, I, too, did not want the hassle of a manual shift.
  • whiattwhiatt Posts: 4
    Well, my electrical problem came back today. Here is a detail symptom list:

    1) Radio stays on with key out
    2) Courtesy lights do not function when doors open
    3) Lights on A/C control on when headlights are off, off when headlights are on
    4) Cigarete/power adapter not functional when headlights are turned on, when turned off, they are functional. Eventually they stop working
    5) Power door locks click at CTM, but no lock/unlock (Even with transmitter)
    6) When you turn the key in between the Start and Off position, you can hear the blower motor make a whining type sound.

    Anyways... Any ideas guys?

  • Electrical - Multiple Systems Inoperative

    NO: 08-10-98
    GROUP: Electrical
    DATE: Mar. 13, 1998

    G202 Ground Diagnosis

    1997-1998 (AN) Dakota
    1998 (DN) Durango
    Electrical - Multiple Systems Inoperative

    Inspect the G202 ground connection when multiple electrical complaints are encountered, such as the following:

    Blower Motor Inoperative
    Power Door Locks Inoperative
    Dome Light Inoperative
    Chime Inoperative
    Keyless Entry Inoperative
    Cigar Lighter Inoperative
    Power Outlet Inoperative
    Console Lights Inoperative
    Radio Inoperative
    Overhead Console Inoperative
    Instrument Cluster Gauges Inoperative

    The G202 ground connection uses the same bolt that secures the right and left lower instrument panel to the side cowl panel (Figure 1). After verifying that the mating surfaces of the
    ground connections are good, re-torque both right and left lower instrument panel bolts to 28 N.m (250 in. lbs.).
    Good Luck,Ger
  • danodwdanodw Posts: 63
    You need to let your dealer and Dodge know about this problem you are having.
    With all the problems I am having and can't get them to fix it right, I wish they would take the pice of crap back. I'm 44 years young and have owned many cars and trucks. Never had this much trouble. I do like the looks and power but the rest sucks. If only Dodge would address these problems and come up with a fix. Of course I have owned mostly Nissans And toyota and not once have I had a problem. Take that back, I had a cracked spark plug at 60K and the trans sensor had to be replaced on one. That was done the first time I took it in and didn't cost a thing. Guessing I have about 1,000,000 miles total on the nis and toy. Took about an hour to fix. Bottom line, get rid of it and stay away from Dodge even if you like the looks and power, its not worth the headaches. I would not complaine so much it I had paid 10k to 15K but I paid over 20k and I expect it to at least last 1 year or be fixed without a repeat with less than 3k on the fix.
    What a joke.
  • danodwdanodw Posts: 63
    From day one I have had brake problems on my '01 Q/C. They fix and it does not last.

    I have read over the past few months about others having the same problems. Yes they came up with a fix of aftermarket parts which seem to work. The problem is, I want do this myself after paying over 20K for the truck. Its un safe. I'm asking everyone that has are having brake are any other problems to report this to are you may start at the home page at Please do this if you are having problems. This is the way to get a recall and make Dodge address the problem. If nothing else is done it will at least be on record so it the brakes are whatever cause's someone to get hurt, you have something to stand on. Thanks and still mad at this junk truck. I really thank I got a lemon.
  • I responded months ago to the NHSTB about brakes in my 2001 DAK 4x4. Haven't heard a thing from them. I will try again! My rotors turned blue at 9k and 18k. DoDge refuses to address problem.

    My neighbor had two serious mishaps with brakes on Grand Cherokee. Rotors shot at 8k. She wrote NHSTB. I read the response yesterday. The letter was an insult and typical of a government agency who are afraid to beat the drum. SHE UNLOADED VECHICLE AFTER PAYING $500 FOR BRAKES.
    Dealer said it was normal wear and tear despite having low mileage.
  • danodw, brake rotors should "NEVER" turn blue. Metal turning blue indicates a tremendous amount of heat has been generated to the point the metal is probably glowing orange. I would suspect that you either drive with your foot on the brake or the calipers in your truck are sticking. This is NOT a normal condition and is not a common complaint for Dakotas. Rick
  • plato4plato4 Posts: 1
    Hello Everyone: I have a stock 2001 Dakota Quad V6 sport and I was wondering what kind of mpg I should be getting . I have had this truck since July ,at first I was getting about 14 mpg but as the temperature drop so did my gas mileage. Right now I am getting 12mpg Is this normal for this truck or is there something wrong .I expected at least 16 mpg any comments.This is pretty poor mpg for a V6 "
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (plato4) Sounds about right for that 1960's based V6. Do not forget that in cold weather, more fuel is injected to make it run smoother. AND the AC compressor is running when the defroster is turned on.

    If you had asked us before you bought your truck, we would have overwhelmingly told you to get the 4.7L V8 hemi. It gets better MPG than that ol'v6 and is a lot more fun to drive too.

    I have touched 20MPG on long trips with my V8.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news...
  • New 2002 QC sport 5.9L engine. 1350 miles.
    Getting 14.5 mpg. Whine in rear end getting louder! Any fixes?
  • maddog,
    I posed a similar question in the Quad Cab forum. I noticed the high pitched whine as well. 5 star dealer mechanic said its the fuel pump working and that it should get more noticeable as the fuel tank empties. Only got one response to my query and someone else also agreed that it is probably the fuel pump. Have you questioned your dealer. If you take it just play dumb and see if they also say its the fuel pump. Otherwise my 4.7 manual runs like a dream.

    Re: fuel mileage, 3rd tank 17 mpg, 4th tank 18 mpg. Not bad so far! My goal is to make 20!
  • I stand corrected. Consensus of our group said rotors are VAPOR BLUE.

    Calipers not the problem nor driving habits. Consensus of group is cheap inferior quality rotors inherent to Dodge Dakotas and Jeep Cherokees. The garage (junk yard) is loaded with
    burnt out rotors including a set that was scorched black (Mine). Came off a Chevy Cheyenne that literally caught fire as a result of seized calipers. Pulled over by State Trooper out of Orlando. Rotors heated to cause plastic hub to melt and fuse to metal.

    Current rotors on my DAK obviously cannot dissipate heat as designed. Hence Vapor Blue Rotors.

    I am told there is not enough metal left to turn rotors. I am willing to take book that my Dak (rotors) will fail as soon as it hits near 26k.
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    is to get away from the OEM Mexican garbage and buy some powerslots, Rayboestos, or Bendix rotors.
    Other Dakota forums also discuss this subject and what I learned from reading the posts is that aftermarket is the only way to go.
    Yes, DC definitely used inferior parts and/or design in the brakes. I know, I have been down the replacement scenario four times and I have not even turned 25K on the truck.
    Maybe I should move to Kansas where I won't have to use the brakes as often? Seems like W PA hills are too much stress on Dakota brakes.
  • gregp5gregp5 Posts: 51
    Also depending on where you live, in winter yor gas might change. You might be using an oxygenated gas which will decrease your mileage.
    Just a thought.
  • ahasherahasher Posts: 236
    well i was at my local Pep Boys getting a part for my FORD van and low and behold... up on the wall were... gasp! Raybestos ceramic pads for the DAK... the guy opened the packaging so i could look closer.. oooh ahhhhh only $70... my wallet almost flew open.. but the FORD parts were enough $$ to abort the sale (till later).
    Altho I dont have the immediate problems you have had.. i am watching my setup closely and will upgrade as time/money permits.
    So. what are your thoughts on rotors? slotted, brand?? I figure if the pads are upgraded, so MUST the rotor...
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    Then pads and rotors.
    My loyalties tie to Bendix since I have had good luck with them in the past.
    However, I am open to what works on the Dak. Consensus is slotted works well.
    ANd pads are a going too! I am tired of that nasty black dust.
This discussion has been closed.