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Dodge Dakota - General Topic



  • kingquad1kingquad1 Posts: 37
    for those who UPGRADED, how are these rotors holding up in regard to longevityand braking performance?
  • malcolm1malcolm1 Posts: 4

    In my haste typing the message Sunday, I misstated the year of my truck. It is NOT a 1994, but a 2004 with a 4.7 V-8 engine. I do not believe that 2WD option is available on this truck. The switch indicator has three (3) positions: (L) AWD, (C) H4WD, and (R) L4WD. The salesperson at the dealership told me that it is possible to shift into the center position of H4WD while going 30 mph or less. However, the truck must be stopped prior to selecting the (R) L4WD position.

    In other words, this truck apparently does not have 2WD as an option. Does anybody have an experience with this type of system? Does the truck drive in AWD constantly except when the switch is shifted to the other 4WD options? When should the other 4WD options be engaged?

    Basically, we liked the overall appearance and maneuverability of this truck more than another 4.7 V-8 truck that I think had the 2WD option. What are the good and bad points with this type of operating system. I have heard that gas mileage is not good with the AWD operating system constantly engaged, nor is it optimum with the other 4WD options engaged.

    I read one member's posting describing some differences between the AWD on the truck and the so-called normal AWD of vehicles (Subaru), which supposedly have a different differential. What is the track record with my type of truck, and how many miles can I expect in AWD? Sorry for posting the incorrect year; indeed, that would make it a collectible relic for the museum. Any feedback concerning these or other issues with this specific model of truck will be greatly appreciated.
  • malcolm1malcolm1 Posts: 4
    Hi bpeebles:

    Seems as if you have been recommended by a few of the members for expertise with the Dakota truck systems. My posting today will reveal that my truck is actually a 2004 model SLT with a 4.7 V-8 engine.

    My control panel inside the truck does not offer a 2WD option, but AWD and 2 4WDs. There appear to be differences, according to some postings I have perused, between the AWD of lets say a Subaru and the truck. What is your opinion of the AWD system on my truck?

    One of the 4WDs can be switched on at 30 MPH or less, but the other has to be switched on when the truck is completely stopped. This is the first time that I have owned a truck with these specific options, and there are several questions:

    1) How is gas mileage with the AWD versus the 4WD options? It probably is not as good as the truck with the 2WD option.

    2) Is the AWD system in this model truck a good one, or are there shortcomings?

    3) What is the longevity of this specific model if maintained and used properly?

    We have driven approximately 300 miles since it was purchased a week ago. It seems to handle quite well and has more than sufficient horsepower. We both really enjoy the truck so far, but because of the short time of ownership, are not familiar with the nuances.

    Please provide any other information that you think might be helpful as far as proper maintenance and care. I plan to keep the truck for some years at this point. My wife and I did not want a very large truck, nor did we want something as small as the Ford Ranger. Therefore, when we observed this truck at the dealership and test drove it, it seemed to be precisely what we needed in terms of size and power.

    I was thrilled when I discovered the Dodge Dakota Owners forum online, since I lack knowledge as to the truck capabilities, etc.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    To answer your specific questions;

    1) How is gas mileage with the AWD versus the 4WD options? It probably is not as good as the truck with the 2WD option. You are correct. You really have "full time four wheel drive" which is soaks more power from the engine than Rear wheel drive would.

    2) Is the AWD system in this model truck a good one, or are there shortcomings? I personally dont care for that type of system. (I used to own one) It is simply an "open differential" in the xfer case. If any one wheel does not have tracion-- you are not going anywhere. (SURPRISE -- it is really ONE WHEEL DRIVE)

    3) What is the longevity of this specific model if maintained and used properly? You will find that "full time four wheel drive" tends to wear the tires and drivetrain components more than rear wheel drive would.

    Make no mistake the Dakota "full time four wheel drive" is not like the Suberu system which truly puts the power the wheels with the most traction. Instead, your Dak will always put the power to the wheel with the LEAST traction. (That is exactly what an open differential does)

    As for longevety, keep an eye on the front brakes. Also my shock-absorbers were junk after about 2 years. (leaking fluid) I got over 60Kmiles on the original tires. (you wont be so lucky 8-( with that "full time four wheel drive" system)

    On the plus side, The 4.7L engine has proven itself to be VERY reliable. (and somwhat effiicent -- I have seen 20MPG on the highway.) The body also tends to rust much less than other trucks.

    Since you are still braking in the engine -- do not forget to follow the recommendation to use BURSTS OF FULL THROTTLE ACCELLERATION followed by decelleration. This will help seal the piston rings and reduce oil-consumption as the engine ages. You will find that the MPG may increase for up to 20K miles -- this indicates that the engine is still breaking in and the pistons rings are sealing up.

    I hope this helps answer your questions.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I can only offer some recounting on the 4.7 (287) engine. Like many other Chrysler engines, the 4.7 appears to take longer to break-in. After break-in they are very efficient, as Bpeebles commented. But so far I've found them to be strong, durable, and exceptionally reliable engines. I've talked to a few owners with 80K plus, and one with 110K, and they reported absolutely zero problems. Even the dirty fuel injector problems that plague other engines seems to be near absent. My local Dodge tech. told me that they've only had one apart. That engine suffered a premature oil pump failure (about 1100 vehicle miles). Since then he's replaced one water pump on a 4.7, out of warranty (as of December, 2004 when I last spoke to him on the subject).

    Bpeebles also mentions a little realized apparent fact...that Dakotas of any year seem to be stubborn resistors to rust. I see seven and eight year-old S10s all the time with rust perforation. I don't even see rust on a eight year-old Dakota. Dakotas are the longest lasting mid-size truck on the road, in part to the fact that they stay rust free longer than their competition. Probably another reason why Dakota resale values are higher, at least in around here.

    Best regards,
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    When comparing the AWD and the 4WD (part time), the MPG differences are probably minimal since the hubs on the 4WD Dakota don't disengage when in 2WD mode. When a 4WD is in 2WD mode, the front axles, differential, and driveshaft are still all turning. The AWD and 4WD Dakotas will get less MPG than a true 2WD Dakota.

    As far as tire wear is concerned, I have a co-worker with the AWD option on his 02 QC Dakota. So far, he has gotten over 80K miles out of his original Wrangler RT/Ss. Granted, he does a lot of long distance highway driving, but I seriously doubt that the tires on an AWD Dakota will wear significantly faster than the 4WD or 2WD variety.
  • malcolm1malcolm1 Posts: 4
    How many total miles does it take to break the 2004 Dakota truck in fully? I've heard that one should alternate between bursts of full acceleration and deceleration during the break-in period, but do not know exactly how long that period is.

    I am relieved to hear that the body of the Dakota truck is resistant to rusting, especially here in Maine where winter salt is used on the roadways. It is not always feasible to remove the salt residue immediately, and therefore, the residue may remain on the truck for a few days prior to rinsing off. We have now owned the truck for three weeks and its been great driving so far. Since we own two other vehicles, we are not driving the truck full-time of course.

    We intend to keep the truck for a period of five plus years, or until it starts to have major problems beyond normal servicing and maintenance. Glad to see that somebody posted a note regarding the best type of sparkplugs to use in the truck.

    On May 3rd, we have an appointment to install Rhino lining in the truck bed. Are there any suggestions about the benefits of Rhino lining versus the traditional bed lining? Also, are there any benefits to having a cover or shell installed, or does that primarily depend upon the normal purpose for which the truck is used? We do want to place some type of lining in the bed of the truck, and think that the Rhino dealer also sells regular beds.

    The shells to cover the bed of the truck probably vary in design. I have observed some covers that simply cover the truck bed and are exactly the same height as the rim of the bed. There are undoubtedly some disadvantages in having a shell/cover installed as well as some advantages. We would like to hear from other owners about their experiences with covers and shells. One apparent advantage, of course, is the capacity to carry things in the truck bed during snowy or otherwise inclement weather.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Your owner's manual will contain reference information on break-in. I'm sure opinions will vary, but I believe the best way on Mopar V-series blocks is to take it extremely easy for the first 500-1000 miles. After that moderate driving -- including heavy acceleration bursts -- should be okay. I would not use full throttle, long duration bursts until you have a few thousand on the engine.

    The 3.7 and 4.7 engines have a reputation for more than average miles to complete break-in. I think mine was done around 17K or so. Since it's never used a drop of oil I can't tell for sure, but after that mileage fuel consumption stabilized.

    Good luck with the new Dak.

    Best regards,
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    In past posts, most of your questions have been answerd.

    However, I have some comments pertaining to our inqueries about a cap. I have a cap on my Dak, It was orderd/installed within 500 miles of taking delivery of my custom factory-orderd Dakota.

    As with the rest of my truck purchase, I did a lot of research before settling on a cap. (I plan to keep my Dakota well over 12 years- 150,000 miles)

    I selected a cap that is the same hight as the cab. It has ONE knob to open/close it. It is held on with aluminum clamps so it can be easilly removed if I need to take it off for awhile. I orderd my Dak and the cap with sliding windows so there is access from the cab to the cap.

    I opted for a rubber bedmat that can be removed and hosed off when it gets cruddy. (spray-on bedliners tend to let the cargo slide around and are VERY hard on the knees when loading/unloading cargo)

    A futon matress fits in the bed of my Dak perfectly. My wife and I have camped inside the cap.

    In the winter, (I am in Vermont) It is very nice to not have to shovel snow out the back of the truck to use it. The cap also helps a canoe strap to my Dakota securely.

    The ONLY drawback I have ever encounterd is the need to crawl in on my knees to load cargo. I have never had a time where the height of the cap kept me from hauling cargo. This includes beds, dressers, and other various furniture. I also have a cargo-bar (rubber feet on the ends of a bar that keeps cargo from sliding forward during a hard stop) That is used to keep groceries near the tailgate.

    The cap has made my Dakota an all-weather hauler. It has hauled a bedroom set over 700 miles thru all kinds of weather. It is LOCKABLE for security. A cap gives better MPG than a pickup without one.
  • tcsmpsitcsmpsi Posts: 31
    I have an '05 quad cab, 2wd, 3.7, auto. Had an '01 basically the same (both black) but with 5 speed.
    My best mixed driving thusfar in the '05 has been 19.5 mpg.

    Was struck with many the same decisions as you. Have had same height tops on other trucks with the most pleasing results. Have had every type of bedliner.
    Except one which I did not know of until I started looking for the '05. After researching, eavesdropping on several forums, etc., I opted for the Bedrug which is heavy marine carpet bonded to closed cell foam (impervious to most everything except fire). I am VERY pleased with it. It is made for the model and can be taken out when/if necessary. Less 'slide around' than other liners I have had, and has a padding effect on cargo AND humans.
    I have thrown firewood, building materials, parts, etc. into it. A vaccum and/or spray wash cleans it right up. Cost me about $339 delivered from

    I looked at every contingent of bed cover. Thought about some type of tonneau cover (trying mostly to save a buck), but finally 'came to my senses' and got what I really wanted to to begin with. I have an ARE Mpulse cab high (one of the very first ones molded for the '05), with the option of the fold down "picture window" in the front. This allows the cleaning of both the rear truck and front camper window.
    I've had the sliding windows in truck and camper, but since we can't have people in the campers (while rolling) any more, I believe them to be redundant...and they were always hard to keep sealed between cab/camper.
    I also had the Sport Rack installed on the camper top, which I am also very pleased with (the sliding racks each have key locks to keep them from 'disappearing'. That whole package installed ran about $1400.

    The Bedrug continues from the bed to the tailgate, so this acts as a tailgate seal, as well as the way it fits up against the sides of the tailgate.
    The A.R.E. top fits superbly both asthetically and functionally.

    You can see my truck on the A.R.E. website ( in customer's trucks, #2552.

    I also installed BAK pro caps on the bedrails, tailgate and front of bed before I had the top installed. The guys who installed the top wanted to know what type of bedrail caps they were because they fit so well and were the most compatible with tops that they had seen. (did a lot of research on them, too)

    I don't spend money lightly, and these were all major decisions for me.
    Yep, including replacing our '01 dak with an '05. It is a very different vehicle and having spent quite a bit of time underneath it (just being there and checking things out), I am even more convinced it has had notably significant research.

    One of the 'little' things which is (to me) a telltale note on that, is the fact that the oil filter is at the front of the engine, and has a molded oil 'spout' under it so that when you take off the old filter (which can be done so easily), it channels the drips away from everything else.

    Though I have installed a receiver hitch, the way the ball hole in the rear bumper is set up, it disperses into the frame, and not on the bumper.

    I reckon that's probably enough for the moment. ;)
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    Has anyone heard anything about True Flow air intakes True Flow? They use the existing airbox and replace stock connection between the airbox and throttle body with a powdercoated steel tube. They also use a re-usable foam filter that supposedly flows better than paper or cotton gauze and still traps more dirt than either. They posted some dyno results for a 4.7L Ram which had a 9.6 hp and 13.2 ft-lb increase Dodge Ram 4.7. Those are also rear-wheel HP and torque numbers. Most of the power gains are between 2000 and 4600 RPM. They appear to have some testing to back up their claims. If I had a couple of hundred bucks wanting to be spent, I would probably give them a try.
  • krewerouxkreweroux Posts: 4
    I am looking to buy a 2005 Dak quad cab SLT in the next week and I want the 6 speed tranny, but none of the dealers around New Orleans have one. I am very reluctant to buy one without driving one. i like shifting for myself and more importantly, by not opting for the $1,000 auto, I can afford the V8. Are there any brave souls who have the new getrag 6 speed. Also, I will be pulling a boat, and i can't get the Limited slip differential with the 6 speed. Boat weighs about 2500 with motor and trailer. Which do you think is more important, the 6 or the LSD? Thanks.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Build your own for under $20 from Home Depot.
  • preeypreey Posts: 4
    Hi just wondering if you can help me?
    I’m looking for a speed censer The one that goes in the back axel
    for a 1999 dodge ram 350 5.9 diesel but I live in the uk ? or do you no of any wear I could get one from mail order?
    Thanks for your time


    preey, "Dodge Ram Owners: Problems & Solutions" #1783, 14 Jun 2005 6:02 pm
  • bcarter3bcarter3 Posts: 145
    Dave, Try

    Good Lock, Dick
  • preeypreey Posts: 4
    hi thanks im new to all the internet stuff i have had a look but not found it do you have a different word for it in the us ? lol
  • bcarter3bcarter3 Posts: 145
    After you enter your vehicle info and link to the catalog "click" on
    -Powertrain Control
    -Vehicle Speed Sensor
    I'm not sure that it is the part you are looking for but you can "click" on the "?" under the price and send them an E-mail.
    Good luck, Dick
  • bc20bc20 Posts: 2
    Has anyone had issues with the radio and turn singles turning on and off as you drive? Typically in the morning I can turn over the truck and the radio and turn lights work fine. The past couple months in the morning it will all start fine but then the radio and turn lights will stop working, a mile down the road they would start again. If I play with the key in the ignition, turning it forward everything comes back on, when I let it go it will turn back off. When I head out for lunch or when I head home everything works fine.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    I finally got around to replacing my original 265/70-16 Goodyear Wrangler RT/Ss after 56K miles. After much research on the, I settled on the Kumho Venture ATs. I wanted something with with better performance in the snow than the original GYs and these appeared to fit the bill. However, after 600 miles, my mileage has dropped by 1.3 MPG. The 500 miles before I put them on, my mileage was 15.3 MPG. The 600 miles after, it has dropped to 14.0. It's very depressing. Given the current price of gas, and how many miles I drive per year, they could end up costing me $150-$200 extra per year. These are the first all terrain type tire that I've ever purchased and I was wondering if reduced mileage was typical of all terrain type tires?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    The "rolling resistance" of tires is an important measurement that needs to be considerd when purchasing tires. Generallty, tires that have CONTINOUS rubber around the circomfrence will have LOWER rolling resistance but also less traction in snow mud and rain.

    If I recall correctly, the original Wrangler RT/Ss have several continous rubber strips around their circumfrence. The Kumho Venture ATs also have continous rubber around them.

    Before blaming the tires, make SURE that you have the PSI up at the max allowable. (see sidewall on tires) That is the very best way to get the most MPG out of your tires. Of course, one must sacrifice "ride quality" for MPG... there is nothing free in this world.

    My research for tires to put on my Dakota led me to the only obvious choice.
    Nokian Vattiva They are perhaps the very pest choice for a road/snow tire for the Dakota. They are FAARR better than the Wrangler R/Ts. They are NOT available at '" either.

    When I am looking for MPG -- I take my wifes family car... it gets over 50 MPG all day long on the highway. It is SOOOO NICE to get over 650 miles per tank of fuel. It is crazy that most people are not driving turbocharged diesel engines.... Europe has already switched over to this superiour power source.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319

    Right now, the tires are inflated 32 PSI front and 30 PSI rear. This is what I ran with the old Wranglers and the tires wore pretty evenly. This weekend I run them up to 35 PSI and see what happens. If things don't improve, I'll probably be looking for a new set of tires soon.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    I can see where you are coming from with this... same pressure as with the last tires.... worse MPG.

    I hope you bump the 30PSI in the rear up when you are hauling a load. 30PSI is dangerously low for anything but an empty bed..

    BTW: My owners manual (2000 Dak with the 31X10.5LT15 tires) says to run 40 PSI all the way around.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    Yes, I do inflate the rear tires to 35 psi when carrying a heavy load. My owner's manual recommends 30 PSI all the way around for the 265/70-16s.
  • I own a 2001 Dakota 3.9L v6, it has power to it and all, but i want to increase it, i orignally wanted a R/T cause of the 5.9L but insurance was gonna be too high, so i ended up geting a v6 dakota. i was wondering what would be the best thing i could do to increase the horsepower and etc.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    A bolt on supercharger would do it.,,,but power costs money (either in insurace or otherwise.)
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I don't know if there's a chip set available for the 3.9. I heard from someone who installed a larger throttle body on a 3.9 with some success.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    You can't put a dollar figure on something like this.

    If it were me, I'd ask that the guy apologize to you and his boss in the presence of the sales and service staff.

  • bookittybookitty Posts: 1,303
    canadiancrude, dustyk, in addition to what Dusty came up with, also allow him to award you with a 7 year (70K mile) no deductible warranty. Paid for in part by him to show true restitution. In my younger days, it would have been much worse as I followed him into his office and he met with an accident. But, that would be a meaningful way of showing remorse. When I bought my present Quad, they changed my order from 3.55 differentials to 3.92. The salesman explained that the order manager told him to change the specifications (unbeknownst to me), because the 3.55 was not available with 4.7, 4WD and the 5 speed. When the truck was delivered, I did notice the difference and called in the salesman. He explained to me about the availability, and I asked him if he was willing to bet the price of the truck (I told him that the order manager would be happy to pick up half of the bet). He squirmed about and called the order manager, who showed me the restriction. It was actually an inventory restriction meaning that components were not available at the moment (we had many of these in the initial production of the Quad cab Dakota) and there would be a delay until they were in stock. I did not take the truck, the two of them were sent out for re-training, the salesperson lost the commission as the truck manager re-ordered and took over, and I received a 7 year, 70K extended warranty ($100.00 deductible). Everyone who was on this forum remembers the incident. The truck manager was so nice as well as honest, that I sent several customers to him.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    In the RAM forum I commented the other day that my number 1 Bosch 4418 Platinum+4 had the electrode tip burnt down to the insulator tip. After looking at a new Bosch Platinum it appears that from the factory the electrode tip does not protrude past the tip of the center insulator, so my memory had failed me once again. I guess I forgot what they looked like new, which is probably a good sign in a way since they been in almost 40K now..

    I pulled another plug yesterday and it looks like these 4418s are running in the correct heat range The two plugs I've looked at have a light grey appearance on one half of the plug with a greenish haze on the other. All four ground conductors still have relatively sharp ends. The center insulator tip was just slightly brown or medium tan.

    Although some say these are "100,000" mile plugs, I plan on changing them out at 50K, which is just a few thousand away. My 4.7 seems to be running fine with fuel consumption running average, especially considering that the air conditioning has been on a lot lately. My last ten tanks have averaged 16.38, down slightly from last year at this time, but I've increased my city driving and also use of the air conditioning.

    How's everyone else doing on plugs? Any recommendations for another type? I'm not necessarily locked into Boschs.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    My son has been home from Germany the last few weeks and is now heading back to Iraq. In the period he was home he had use of his friends '04 Silverado. I managed to get some seat time in this vehicle and thought the comparison to the last generation Dakota was interesting.

    I found that despite the hype the new style Silverado only rides marginally better than my '03 Dak. Except for engine noise, this Silverado sample was quiet and rattle free, something of a first in my experience for a Chevy truck. It was also completely absent the wind noise that I hear so many Chevy-GMC owners complaining about. It did have a slight and low vibration which apparently the dealer can not track down.

    The big thing worth commenting on is that this 5.3 motor was a complete dog. I mean a real dog. In a side-by-side contest (on a closed circuit track, of course!) my Dak launched about twelve feet ahead of the Silverado off the line and by the time I was up to sixty the Silverado was filling my rear full mirror. Where the lack of performance really was apparent was on hills and overtaking cars at expressway speeds.

    The transmission shifts were often, pronounced, and inconsistent. For the 600 plus miles my son put on this truck he never got over 15 MPG, and his average was 12.8. I hated the radio and thought the "Odometer" message in the instrument cluster was distracting and nonsensical. This Chevy still had noticeable body shake reminiscent of older versions, but not as bad.

This discussion has been closed.