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Dodge Dakota: Problems & Solutions



  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (roper2) Certainly changing to Mobil1 can be beneficial for your engine. DO NOT USE ANYTHING BUT THE RECOMMENDED 5W30 VISCOSITY. The clearances within the 4.7L engine are designed for 5W30.

    Changing every 5,000 miles would be fine. Changing any sooner would be wasting your money, time, and the environment.

    As posted in these and other forums, the 4.7L engine has proven to be VERRYY reliable, dependable and long-lasting.
  • roper2 - I have a 2K Dak and switched over to Mobil 1 at 7.5K miles. Since that time I have stayed at the 7.5K mile changes (currently at 50K miles) and also have used a Mobil 1 filter. The truck runs like a top. I would agree with bpeebles that you would be better off with 5W-30 Mobil 1. I have read some research papers that showed that Mobil 1 in controlled tests did not lose any of its lubrication efficiency at 18K miles. I would never go that far without a change but I do think that 7.5K miles between Mobil 1 changes is doable.

  • While we are on the subject of oil caps I have a question. I have a 2K Dak with the 4.7 and have the new cap with baffle. This cap is extremely difficult to remove; the last 2 times I took it of I had to use a pipe wrench to get it off. I have tried silicone spray and then some white grease and it still is extremely difficult to remove. Has anyone else had this problem and are there any recommendations to make the cap removal process easier.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    First, I strongly support Bpeebles caution regarding the upward deviation from 5W-30. The 4.7 is a tighter than normal Detroit engine and increasing the viscosity at low temperatures might put lubrication at the margin of sufficient flow. Believe me, most lubrication mistakes effecting premature wear or longevity are made increasing viscosity, not reducing it.

    Since my vehicle does not have the luxury of garage protection I use Mobil 1 0W-30 in the winter.

    The oil cap on my 4.7 is harder than most to turn, but I've yet had a problem requiring a tool. It most certainly is not an item on a 4.7 that's going to fall off right away!

    Best regards,
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (ronslakie) That was the sympton of the 1st revision of the oil-cap. (when the o-ring started to decompose and make the cap stick) Using silicone or some other lube will only prolong the agony.

    I have the 3rd-generation oil-cap that replaces the o-ring with a 'flap' to make the seal. I have not encounterd any problems with this design cap for over 2.5 years.

    You ask for suggestions.... get the latest-revision oil-cap with the 'flap' for a seal.
  • roper2roper2 Posts: 61
    Lots of good information but the reason I picked 10/30 is I live in texas and the weather is mild to real hot summers.Would the 5/30 be ok year round and with medium towing? I guess the 10/30 is more for the big block engines.Just a guess. Next time I go buy again I will switch to 5/30 and stay with a wix filter.Thanks again Dennis
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (roper2) All motor oil starts as the LOWEST number and is 'modified' to behave like the upper number when it is hot.

    5W30 is a 5-weight oil with viscosity modifiers
    10W30 is a 10-weight oil with viscosity modifiers

    It is more difficult to engineer a motor oil with a WIDER viscosity range. Thus, in general, 5W30 is technically superiour to 10W30.

    It is a fact that most engine wear occours during warmup while the various metal parts are expanding at different rates and the lubrication is not up to temperture. This is when the "5W" is more important than the 10W.

    It is ONLY the upper number that means anything once the engine is warmed up to operating temperture. A cheep oil will shear down under heavy use and end up as a single-grade oil. (close to its base viscosity as mentioned above)

    The above is a simplification. You can get more details from the "engine oil bible" here;
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    but I have read good comments on redline and amsol oils too.

    For filters I have for the past few years stayed with either WIX or Purulator.

    I avoid, like the plague, filters found at discount stores and "big box" stores.


    Because you get what you pay for! Sure wally world can offer "lowest price" but when you spend 20K or more for your truck, why penny pinch on a filter? Fram unfortunately, is now sold at wallyworld. And yes, they are cheap, about half price of a wix. But I have read far too many horror stories about this filter plus took apart a few myself to see if it was ax grinding on the part of the webmaster or was it indeed true just how poorly they are made.

    Its true.

    WIX filters, also available as NAPA gold, by contrast are sold at NAPA auto parts stores. And they are not sold based on being "price point" or "loss leader". Thus, there is little if any pressure on WIX to cut costs because NAPA is pushing for the lowest possible cost. That's wally world's job and the reason much of their merchandise is approaching that of big lots quality. This includes their automotive parts.
  • mtrialsmmtrialsm Posts: 159
    The dealer found a faulty ignition switch on my
    '01 Quad. Fixed problem I noticed when I repositioned the steering wheel, my radio and turn
    signals went off. Short in switch connection/wiring. Replaced switch, so far so good. Miles 35750, owned 35 months.
    I still plan on keeping this truck 4 or 5 more years? I also have extended warr.
  • mhall02mhall02 Posts: 38
    The real question here seems to be how often do you change the oil? If your filter is on your vehicle for 5,000+ miles, yeah I can see maybe gettting a 'higher quality' WIX filter, however, what about those us us that change every 3,000 miles? I have used the Fram oil filters for nearly 10 years and have not had a problem, however, I do change every 3,000 miles using Castrol GTX or Quaker State. First vehicle, '78 F-100, totaled at over 220,000 miles, using the Castrol and Motorcraft filter, ran great too much damage to mess with. Second vehicle, 1991 Dodge Shadow, used Fram PH-16 filter and QS oil, sold with over 180,000 miles on the clock and the second owner took it to over 200,000 miles. Third vehicle, 2000 Jeep Cherokee w/ 83,000 miles, Fram oil filter w/ QS oil, runs great, and the Final vehicle which put me on this board, 91 Dodge Dakota 124,000 miles Castrol GTX w/ Fram PH-16 filter. All vehicles ran/run great and never had sludging nor filter failure, however, changed oil every 3,000 miles. The longer you leave the oil in and the dirtier it gets, so this is what I would consider when selecting a oil filter.

    Just my 2 cents worth.
  • haselhasel Posts: 64
    I spent 21 years working on fleet vehicles (Police Cars)we changed oil and filter every 3000 miles used Fram Filters never lost an Engine due to oil contamination.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Since the first of the year I've run across two high mileage Dakotas worth noting. A '97 extended cab with a 318, 216,000 miles. This engine was super quiet. I asked about repairs and he said that he had the intake manifold gasket problem, but everything else was untouched (except for ignition parts and filters). Said the transmission was "rebuilt" at 190K, but NEVER changed the fluid or the filter.

    The other one had just turned 100K, but it's notable because this is the first 4.7 I know of to get this far. This owner hasn't touched a thing except for plugs. I think this was a '00 or '01. He is a line inspector for the local utility company.

  • bcarter3bcarter3 Posts: 145
    I agree with Mike. My daily driver is an '89 Mitsubishi with over 223,000 miles. The engine has never been opened. The valve cover was off one time to change the seal. Fram filters and Quaker State oil with changes at 3,000 miles. I am using Mobil 1 with Purolator PureONE filters on my 01 Dak 4.7 and changing at 6,000 miles. The auto transmission on the Mitsubishi has never been opened either. The Service Manual for it does not give a service interval. Having been built in Japan it has a drain plug and I occasionally change the oil.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    Well, my dealer finally got around to fixing my 02 4.7 QC's intermittent screeching following a cold start. I had to leave the truck at the dealer for 10 days. They finally determined that the fan clutch was the culprit. They replaced the water pump last fall, but the problem didn't go away. The problem has not occurred in the last 8 cold starts since the fan clutch was replaced.

    I also pulled the oil filler tube baffle to check for "snot" the other day. There was only a thin film of emulsion on the baffle. It wasn't as bad as I was expecting it to be given the cold weather of the past month.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    There were a few times in January when temperatures were -20 F or lower when I heard a faint sound similar to a belt squeal. It went away after about 10 minutes of driving.

    Since the belts look like they're still in excellent shape, I wonder?

    Was there somebody else in here that reported a fan clutch noise problem? I can't remember.

  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    The noise I had sounded was a loud screech that sounded like a bad bearing, not the squeal that you would get with a bad belt. The dealer's technician applied some belt dressing while the noise was occurring, and it didn't change in frequency or intensity. At that point they suspected the fan clutch.

    The noise was temperature and RPM dependent. It would usually go away after 2-3 miles of driving. The head tech at my dealer claimed to never hear anything like this from a fan clutch before.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    My 2000 Dak (4.7L) has done this every winter since new. In my case, it definately sounds as if the power-steering pump is moaning for about 10 seconds.

    The steering is VERY stiff for several minutes too. If one does not concensensly wiggle the steering wheel back and forth for about 2 minutes before moving, there will be NO steering. (so stiff that a muscleman could not steer it)

    Of course, we all know that DC changed over to using SYNTHETIC PS fluid in 2001. So many of you may not encounter this problem.

    I am STRONGLY considering changing over to SYNTHETIC PS fluid this summer.
  • my 2003 is not a cold weather friendly truck, synthetics or not, as I have discovered over the last month or so.
    I couldn't believe how hard the steering was, and still is, on cold mornings or after it's been sitting for awhile. Also, sometimes (like when you forget to plug in the block heater or the power goes out for the night) the truck doesn't want to move without putting your foot halfway to the floor (at which point you still can't steer it easily... yikes). Feels like the brake is on, but it isn't.
    The transmission takes what seems like forever (well, at least 20 minutes of highway driving, usually more) to reach that operating temperature where it will shift like it should, before it will shift up past 3rd gear (2800 rpm vs 1600 on the highway).
    ...and to be picky, the defrost location in the centre of the windshield wasn't the best idea either.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I haven't had the sensation of increased steering effort when cold on my 2003. When we had temps down to -30F my 545RFE took about 5-6 miles of driving before it went into the normal shift pattern with overdrive and lock-up. I don't warm it up before driving, either. I'd say that the temperature sensor in your transmission is faulty if it took that long.

    As the the defroster air flow, yeah, I think I agree with you. Since my drive to work is only 5.5 miles (normally) my Dakota isn't driven long enough to purge moisture out of the cab. This is especially acute with my short trips and getting snow and slush on the carpets from getting in. This past weekend I put the most on the Dakota in one straight line since about the day before Christmas. With the heat on high for about 15 miles I think I lowered the moisture back to normal level...for a while.

    Best regards,
  • ahhhh... a degree or two above freezing makes all the difference in the world. ;-)

    The problem with doing repairs this time of year, with all the salt stuck to everything under there, I think I'd be asking for troubles down the road, opening things up. so... I'm keeping a list.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Not to mention laying in a snowbank trying to work on your vehicle.... 8-(
    I dont like getting frostbyte while changing the sparkplugs or replacing the brake pads.

    Here in Vermont, we get at least 2 weeks of summer.... plenty of time to change the sparkplugs and brakepads. (only if one can stand the muskeetos and gnats)
  • I usually use those same two weeks to go camping.

    Unfortunately, I also usually get half way to where we're going camping when the brakes start grinding to remind me I was going to change the brake pads before the muskeetos and gnats got too bad... Not to mention before we set off on a road trip... but I tend to forget to do it then because I'm fishin'.

    I work as a lineman, so I'm sort of immune to the frostbite... but that doesn't mean I want to spend my off hours laying in a snowbank...
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    >>>Here in Vermont, we get at least 2 weeks of summer.... plenty of time to change the sparkplugs and brakepads. (only if one can stand the muskeetos and gnats)<<<

    That really made me laugh! Some people around here think summers are not much better.

    Been to Vermont in the last few years. It really is a beautiful state. It's populated the way I like, too.

  • Posting for a friend. His blower motor quit. No warning. Where is the fuse? Cab or under hood? Do you access it from under hood or under dash if you want to get to the motor? Says he can hear the dampers move to change positions but no motor. Since there isn't an off on the speed selector that would'nt be it right? Selector switch that can turn it off works. Any other ideas? He said beer could be involved if I help fix it so HELP ME! HAHAHAHA!
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Really need more information as to the year.

    On '02-'04s the five ampere fuse for the heater blower fan in number nine (9) in the electrical junction block. The block is located on the side of the instrument panel, driver's side. It is easily removed by using a finger. If you cannot locate this, the owners manual has a diagram showing the location.

    If the fuse is not the problem, it is most likely the blower fan resistor block that has failed. This is located in different areas depending on the year.

    Good luck,
  • bcarter3bcarter3 Posts: 145
    Check to see if the blower will work on the highest speed setting. If it works then it is probably the fan resistor block. On later models of the Dak it is located on the blower case on the passenger side under the dash. Lots of these are failing on 2001 models.
  • I'm hoping someone can help me with this problem. My husband has a 2001 dakota quad cab 4wd. He has had a problem with the 4 wheel drive not engaging since he got it (ordered the truck in 2001). When he switches to 4 high the green button flashes several times and then kicks back to 2wd. When truck was still under warranty, he took it to the dealership for this problem several times. It never happened to them, it always went into 4wd like it's supposed to. It will work for him once in a while but it's not consistent. Has anyone else had this problem? How can he fix it?
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926

    I need to know a couple of things. First, is this a automatic or manual transmission? Second, does the 4-wheel drive control switch on the instrument panel have a "AWD" position?

    The little flashing green light is the mode selector indicator lamp, or correctly termed, an "LED" (light emitting diode).

    A flashing LED indicates that there is some condition preventing the selection. There are a host of conditions, but the paragraph below from the Dakota service manual might be helpfull:

    "A flashing operating mode LED for the desired gear indicates that a shift to that position has been requested, but all of the driver controllable conditions HAVE NOT been met. This is an attempt to notify the driver that the transmission needs to be put into neutral, the vehicle speeed is too great, or some other condition outllined elsewhere is not met."

    I can give you a few more specifics, but I need you to answer the two previous questions.

    Best regards,
  • I have a 2K Dak 4x4, 4.7 5 speed. About 3 months ago I changed the rear differential fluid using RedLine 75W-90 (for LSD). Since everything went so well I am now going to do the front differential, manual transmission and transfer case. I know this has been discussed here before but before I purchase the new RedLine products I wanted to verfy that I have the right ones. For the front differential I am planning on using RedLine 75W-90NS; for the manual transmission RedLine MTL and for the transfer case Redline C+. Can anyone verify that I have the right products lined up.

  • Dusty,
    His Dakota has a manual transmission and it does not have an AWD position - 4 high and 4 low. He also noticed that it seems to happen more in damp or wet conditions. I hope you have an idea what the problem might be.
This discussion has been closed.