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My 2000 Dodge Durango IS A LEMON!



    Add me to your list. 98 Durango, 65,000 miles. Driving back to Charleston, SC from Atlanta on Saturday morning, New Years Eve weekend. 20 miles out of Atlanta my "check gauge" light came on and then suddenly off. This happened several times within the next few minutes. When the light came on I noticed that the oil pressure gauge would go down and then just as suddenly back up and light would go off. I felt confident my oil was fine since it had been changed recently and I had checked it that morning before beginning my trip.

    However, I quickly used my cell phone to call my local dealer. The response was that it could be a faulty gauge and that if I was not hearing any engine noise I was probably Ok. He added that they would be open the Tuesday after new years and that I should bring it in then (if I was lucky enough to make it back).

    Less than a minute after hanging up the phone I heard some pinging. Believe it or not as I was approaching the next exit to get off of I-20 out of Atlanta I saw a Dodge dealer. As I was exiting and reducing speed the noise became louder and louder. I pulled into the dealers service lot 10 minutes before they closed. Bad news, he immediately said I probably would need a new engine. Good news, they had one rental so I could get my family home. Bad news, with the rebuilt engine and rental car (for almost a month), it set me back $6,800.

    I have had many vehicles, and most of them I have put a lot of mileage on. I had them serviced and I have never had this kind of a major problem. I felt a bit held hostage since I was out of town and out of warranty. I just thought my luck had run out, and it was my turn to pay out. However, after doing some research and reading I think there may be more to this.

    A business associate that had been in the auto parts manufacturing business told me to find out who the regional Dodge factory rep is and contact him/her. The point being is that most people (including me) do not have $5,000. to $7,000. sitting around to fix a vehicle that failed way before its time. So if hell is raised with the right people, many times they might meet you half way on the cost. Don't know if it will work but my fight begins tomorrow.

    Any other suggestions would be helpful.
    P.S.and FYI Before returning the rental car I had it washed in and out. In return, after spending $6,800 at the dealer I received my red Durango back with a months worth of dust and dirt on it. Now that is customer service.
  • My '98's transmission has changed it's shifting pattern. Specially when shifting from 2nd to 3rd. It takes a longer time now to change. has anyone had this problem and what did it take to correct it? The dealer's service department says they don't know what is wrong and that I need to rebuild the tarns.
  • Only in your subject line did you mention sludge. Did you change your oil as specified by the owners manual? If so, what was the mileage intervals? Did you tow/haul or do a lot of short distance or off-road driving? Did you use dino or synthetic oil? Where were the oil changes done, dealer or other? Do you have receipts? Why did they say you were responsible for the repairs/was it under warranty?
    i think the common denominator with sludge, at least from Dodge's viewpoint, is that sludge is caused from neglect. I ask these questions to see if they right?
  • maryg2maryg2 Posts: 33
    I was just reading through some of the topics and included this one because I like the looks of the Durango. (BTW, I am a short woman who just bought her fifth Accord, so was not intending to buy one.) But this is one of the most depressing sites I have looked at. I can't believe Dodge is still in business. I remember having a problem-plagued Pontiac in the early 70's, then finally discovering Japanese-made cars (got one of the first Datsun B-210's). People loved them because they didn't break down every other week. I guess American auto makers just get darn sloppy, and Union workers (who made great money thirty years ago compared to others) aren't motivated to give it their best. I've had friends with nightmare American cars and have just stayed with my Hondas. You guys really have my sympathy and my empathetic outrage.
  • at least not yet I am happy to say. Actually bought in 98, has 35k miles and no problems yet. I did notice the temp was running high and took it in, they changed the thermostat gasket and that took care of it.

    Unfortunately, I think that when 1000s of individual cars are put out some are bound to have problems, my sympathy to those of you that had problems.

    I personally have owned foreign and domestic and have never had one that did not need some sort of repair. Many of the beloved "foreign" cars are actually made here as well, check out the Edmunds Honda info, your precious Accord is made in Ohio.
  • maryg2maryg2 Posts: 33
    A propos of nothing, I know that most Accords are made in Marysville, but the workers are not unionized, and the engineering is still done in Japan. Look at the quality of materials in a Honda and then compare them to the materials in a Ford. Check out the maintenance sites here on Edmunds for both. But back to the Durango--you get a sense of what people are experiencing with these cars, and it seems the Durango has more than its share of lemons. Like if you read the VW sites, you'll see that while some folks love their Jettas and Passats, many are experiencing multiple problems, so reliability is evidently an issue. I mentioned this to a good friend who loves her Jetta, and she said, "Yes, I was lucky. My neighbor bought one a month after I did, and she has had nothing but serious problems with hers." So you have to go with the odds. If a brand has a lot of lemons, you're more likely to get one. And I hope you have many safe and happy years in your Durango. My brother in law drives a Dodge Ram and has had great luck with it. Nobody can predict, but the bad luck is expensive.
  • Hi all, hoping you can help me. After reading some of your posts, I'M TERRIFIED! I have always wanted a Durango, more so for the looks and the convienence of the 3rd seat. I have 4 boys and a dog and need the space (well 2 of the boys live with their mother). I currently have a Dodge Intrepid. It for the most part has been a great car. Did have to have the transmission replaced but that was the only major thing. It is going on 5 years old. Other than that I've had in the last year had the check engine light come on only to find out it was an oxygen sensor. As for oil, I use Mobil 1 synthetic so oil sludge has never been a problem. Again, I'm talking about my Intrepid as overall a Chrysler product. I have in the past owned all GM Motors vehicles and have been very disgusted. I SWORE I'd always buy and Chrysler product in the future. Ok, so now I'm in the market to buy a bigger vehicle. I have been looking at the Expedition, Tahoe/Suburban, and the Durango. I drove the Durango today and love it. It's a 2001. I'm not sure I like the way the 3rd seat basically sits on the floorboard but for the most part, I won't need it unless I have my stepboys. Some of you mentioned windshield noise. Now, that is one thing I hate about my Intrepid, it's very noisy that what you are talking about? After reading all you posts, I'm VERY nervous and wondering if it will be worth my trouble to go check more into it. The one I'm looking into is a 2001, SLT package and he said he'll sell it $500 over invoice (should I believe this?) at $28,327. Just really wondering if I should go with this vehicle now. Also, can anyone tell me how they hold up in value come trade in? Would appreciate ANY information...especially on the newer models. I know they only came out in 97 so maybe (hoping) they've gotten all the kinks worked out!
  • I have read the horror stories, lemons aren't just restricted to one manufacturer, they all have them. I had real good luck with my 98 Durango, I had no more problems then normal, plus with it being loaded to have more things go wrong. I bought an extended warranty, this paid for it self when the upper & lower control arms decided to go out at 58000 miles. I traded mine at 61000 miles, mainly because I was nearing the end of my warranty and the Dodge Durango has a few options right now on rebates and financing.
    I looked around compared and settled on another Durango. I wanted the 3rd seat option and didn't want to go to a full size suv. So far we are very happy with 2001, plus I also bought an extended warranty for this one too for 5/100000 mi. and 0 deductable if you bring back to the selling dealer
    and if taken to a differant dealer, it would be a $50 deductable. My 98 was a 4wd, Slt Plus, my 01 has basically everything except the R/T package & the 5.9. Wish you all the best of luck with your durangos.
  • I have a 99 SLT 5.2 4x4. I would really appreciate any responses. My 1999 Forest Green "D" was hurt yesterday morning at 3:40 am on my way to work. I was going down a steep dry hill (one hill I travel everyday), the road was dry and when I went to turn right on the street close near the bottom of it...STEERING WHEEL WOULDN'T BUDGE! And sickening to say, my Beautiful Durango ends up in a ditch hitting a very large boulder. Bye Bye to my nerf safari bar and hella black magic fog lights, not to mention the front end. This Durango is my baby...gots the graphics, sidebars etc. If it were a child, this child would be considered spoiled rotten. Since I was going down a hill, I guess I panicked alittle bit and stepped on the brakes to avoid the ditch. The brakes locked and took me straight into the ditch. Heck, we took pictures and everything....the skid marks are long and straight. I had my AAA tow her into the Dodge Dealer from the scene. When I called the dealer to let them know what happened, I got the feeling they are not going to take blame for this accident.
    Unfortunately, my "D" has had many, many problems. Engine kept overheating and on the 4th visit to the dealer; had the head, cylinder and gasket replaced from an internal leak, also has spark plugs rewired, power window motor replaced, fog lamp replaced d/t moisture inside the lens, and annoying and continuing rattle in the upper right corner of the dashboard, she shifts hard, runs high rpms and has loose seats. But I was a die heart for my "D". Well, now i'm scared....big time of her! Don't know what happened to the steering as to why she wouldn't turn so I am asking the Durango owners today for help. And I hope to God this does not happen to someone else. One thing more to add is that I have been having trouble with the steering since last march. When I first start her up in the morning or after she sits for a few hours the steering is "hard" to turn...kinda have to force it (feels like manual steering instead of power steering) and it will turn but with alot of effort on my part. After a few miles she steers just fine. Noticed it getting worse lately and taking longer to "warm" up. Took her into the dealer back in March last yr and they were unable to "duplicate the problem". I have continued complaining about the steering and the "rattle" but they can't seem to find anything wrong. The steering does not do this in warm weather and also is unpredictable when it does descide to go stiff".
    I have had more things go wrong with my durango its unbeliveable. I know the repair guys by their first name. I did attempt to "lemon" my Durnago, but lost is arbitration last august. My problem then was, she kept overheating. On the 4th visit to the dealer on that problem, she was fixed! Major engine repair....and i payed how much for this durango??? I service my durango every 3000 miles and i have the 75,000 mile extended postive note! My durango sure has been in the repair shop more than the average. Have to admit that the service department has been very kind and patient with me, but i think things are about to change now that i could have been killed with this last complaint.
    Anyone out there have problems with their steering?????
    I'll let you know what Dodge says.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    From what you posted re the skid marks the front brakes were locked. There isn't a vehicle in the world that will steer with the wheels locked up. I would suggest that you were going too fast (the skid marks were long...), locked the brakes up (...and straight), and your vehicle obeyed the laws of inertia and gravity.
  • I was not going too fast at all. I guess i need to more specific on the incident. The hill is steep and there was alot of cinders used to create traction and melt the ice and snow during several recent winter weather conditions. Pacement was dry, and my durango could not get the traction when i could not steer i panicked and hit the brakes. But thanks for your scientific response. I live off of this road and I have taken the turn many times. Your evaluation of the situation Just might be one Dodge will try and use against me.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    My apologies. I must have misunderstood your original post. I didn't realize you were driving down a steep hill covered with loose cinders when you locked up the brakes and kept going straight.
  • From the first day of purchase there has been a series of repairs. They range from window motors, steering problems, knocking engine, to replacement of the steering column. I had a persistent noise that was undetectable and after 5+ attempts for the dealership to repair my vehicle, I am still left with a deadbeat durango. Following the rules of arbitration and correspondence didn't help either; Chrysler is still ignoring the problem and there is no current resolution.

    I am seriously considering trading the durango for a different type of SUV.

    Unsatisfied and Upset
  • rc44rc44 Posts: 4
    I've had my Durango for about 34 months now and I don't have anything really bad to say about the car. I've experienced problems with the fog lights blowing out after only a couple of months. But that is all, considering I got into an accident after only three weeks of owning her.I needed a whole new front (hood,grill,lights,radiator,and air bags etc)and the car still runs like a champ. My lease is up in june and I'm considering getting an 01. Does anyone have anything nice to say about the new '01 Durango?? Let me know. rc44
  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    have rack and pinion steering? That sounds just like what happens to GM "x" and "A" and etc. cars when their steering racks start to give out.They get easier to steer after they've warmed up until eventually they don't warm up at all and there is no power assist.
  • Yeah ! Congratulations Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth
    You did it, U Won ! Worldwide consumers have paid there hard earned money and you provided worldwide consumers with the worst Engineered vehicles on Earth...

    Got to hand it to Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth you have Won beaten all your consumers.

    Wise old saying you can't read a book by its cover :O)
    Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth great looking vehicle unfortunately for the unsuspecting consumer even to date Transmission failure, head gasket failure , too many more serious problems Etc...
    Just read this Newsgroup 2% Satisfied , 98% Unsatisfied . Surf the internet U will find 100s of thousands of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth vehicle owners that are Big Losers. Telling there Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth vehicle Horror stories.

    Now that Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth consumers have read the book by owning one of the worst Engineered vehicles on Earth. Consumers worldwide learned a costly but valuable lesson.

    Now we have come to realize. Yes Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth they are the Winners.

    Yep we the "Consumers of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth vehicles are the BIG LOSERS" !

    Were losing vehicle trade in, Value its Awful.
    Quality Automobile Dealers don't want your Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth vehicle offering 50% of Galves Trade in if in Mint Condition.
    Even Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth Dealers are offering 50% of Galves. Now we are driving around in a nearly worthless Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth vehicle and paying for Major repairs :O(
    Its not going to get any better cause Smart Consumers are not Buying a New or even thinking of buying a used Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth vehicle.

    We sure learned a Valuable Lesson > Never again buy Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth vehicles. For those few Die Hards remember( Only a Fool Loses Twice )

    Rejoice fellow Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth vehicle consumers now it is our turn to Win.

    Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth your profits are gone, Stocks are dropping to an all time low Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth is just hanging on by a thread bankruptcy is near Hooray - Yeah !
    Now how does it feel to be a LOSER ! Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth :O)

    Worldwide automotive consumers buy smart be a Winner don't become a Loser like the rest of us who owned or still own the worst engineered vehicles on Earth.
    Let Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth become the final Loser.
  • Help! I just bought a new 2001 Durango SLT 2WD on WEDNESDAY (yes, just 4 days ago). Yesterday on my way home, a nice fellow motorists pulled beside me and said that my car was leaking something. I pulled over, and to my surprise I had been leaving a trail of some green liquid. My Durango was smoking in the back ( I think the liquid may have just been hitting the tailpipe and burning there). Anyway, I am not mechanically inclined, so I have no idea what this may be. Any suggestions, or has anyone had this problem before? Please tell me it's not a sign of things to come.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Green fluid is usually coolant (antifreeze), on most cars anyway (Toyotas use red, but most cars use green).
  • We live in NY and have traveled to Wyoming, Montana, California and Colorado towing a 1,800# pop-up camper...with a manual transmission Isuzu Rodeo and NEVER HAD ANY PROBLEMS! Thought we'd upgrade to a Durango for our trip last summer to Montana....more room for kids, more power on the mountain back roads we like to take. WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT! We actually had to stop and pull-over 8 times because the transmission overheated! They must have roadtested the towing capacity for this thing on a flat highway. Even on the interstate in Wyoming with a gradual incline, it still overheated. Dodge dealer informs us there is no transmission cooler we can even buy to add on! Other problems we've had have been with a really annoying noise in the steering wheel/column that they tell us "is just part of the way it was designed". Even with the biggest engine that we have the towing doesn't match the ability of our Rodeo to get up and down longer hills!
  • If the steering wheel was hard to turn, the engine might have quit ... I didn't read all the posts to you. If it was IMPOSSIBLE to turn, it sounds comparable to a GM power steering problem of several years ago wherein a VERY small amount of dirt in the power steering fluid caused the steering wheel to lock up. GM lost a lawsuit after a major accident - after having won about 22 in a row. They then got that loss thrown out on appeal. This may be completely different, and in any case the problem was very rare. The lesson from that is that it is expensive to fight an auto company, and you would need an automotive apecialty lab to find and repeat the problem. You should try arbitration, then write the VP for maintenance in Detroit. But if they are no help, at least write the National Transportation Safety Board. Trade the Durango in at your Chrysler dealer if the problem is not discovered and corrected. Perhaps arbitration or Chrysler HQ will consider an extra discount on a new vehicle to make the problem go away. You will have a tough time selling it on your own since you likely must reveal known defects (most states). Give the Dodge guys the problem. They will then have to reveal the problem to a prospective buyer.
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    Of course there are transmission coolers that can be added. Its just that Chrysler doesn't sell them.

    Just go to any RV or Hitch outfit (like U-Haul towing centers). Shop around of course.

    You can even buy one from Pep Boys, Auto World, etc. They have them on the shelf. But you have to be mechanically adept to install it.
  • I have a fully loaded 98 Durango slt plus. It is currently getting a new transmission ($2400).
    I was also told it needs a new front end (ball joints), 3 months ago I had to put in a water pump, I had it in for a window motor, etc...
    There are 60k highway miles on it and I do NOT tow anything with it.
    Chrysler said "we can't help you, you should have purchased the $2500 extendend warrantee"
    We also used to own an Intrepid ES in which the transmission went at 40k miles along with the air conditioning system...
    My Limited Grand Cherokee - ditto.
    Needless to say I will NEVER own another Chrysler product again. And I hope whoever is reading this will do the same.
  • taasstaass Posts: 40
    I'm not sure if "cupping" is the correct word. Basically, the leading edge of every tread stud is raised higher than the trailing edge - on the front tires only. This happened on the factory GY Wrangler RTS tires, and is now occurring on the new Michelin LTX. The right front seems to be developing this condition slightly faster than the left front, but both are certainly exhibiting this condition. The dealer's solution was to rotate the tires more frequently (great, then ALL the tires cup the same!). From experience, and reading, I believe that this can be caused by alignment and/or bad shocks. The alignment was checked and is good, and a simple rebound test doesn't indicate that the front shocks are bad. Tire wear is even and consistent across the entire treadface, but, is more pronounced nearest the sidewalls. I know this wear isn't normal, but I can't find any obvious signs of a problem.

    The rear tires are perfect and don't have any signs of abnormal wear.

    Has anyone else experienced this problem? Would stiffer shocks help this condition? I'd appreciate any input and/or suggestions.

    In defense of the Durango, though (since so many people post just their problems), the vehicle has been a flawless performer. Whether for long-haul road trips, around town go-getter, daily commuter, or off-roader, my Durango does all that it is asked and more. The only problem I've ever had after over three years and 40,000 miles is a dead battery - which was replaced under warranty. Everything works like a champ. No interior rattles, no engine problems (5.9L ooomph!). Following the scheduled maintenance costs more than owning a car, but that is the price of owning a 4WD. I change the oil and filter myself (die hard Mobil1 fan) every 3K, and do other minor maintenance. I treat the car well, and it has treated me well.

    Anyway, just wanted to put a positive plug in for the D. Again, if anyone has some insight as to the tire problem, please let me know.
  • I purchased a 2001 Durango back in August and am quite disappointed. Torsion Bars have been replaced, security system replaced, leather seats are cracking and after 6 months my replacement seats have finally arrived. The entire suspension squeaks like a pig, numereous interior rattles, and their is a thumping noise which sounds like a bad tire in the front driver side however it is not a consistent noise, so the Tech's have not been able to diagnose the problem. I owned a 1999 Durgano and had minor problems - traded up and the 2001 Durango rides much smoother but I can't stand all the rattles and squeaks. Is there anyone else having these same problems, if so what should I do? Thank you for suggestions.
  • Thanks to everyone for bringing me up to date on some of your Durango problems. I have owned my 1999 Durango since December of 1998. I have 43000 miles on it, it receives routine maint., and I haven't had any problems with it until just last week. I took it in for it's normal oil/tire rotation and two days later, it would start but as soon as I took my foot off the accelerator it stalled. I had to have to towed. The garage hooked it up to the computer and determined it was #5 & 6 fuel injector...played with the connection and it started just fine for them. Again, two days later, I have the same problem. It starts but doesn't stay running. I "played" with the connections, but no such luck this time. I will have to have it towed again. Has anyone experienced the same problem? Any suggestions?
  • I have a 2000 Durango and after having it for only 2 weeks it over heated. They said it was a faulty gasket. So they replaced it. When the towers came, they told me that I was the third 2000 Durango that they towed that week that had over heated. Now, after almost a year, I am smelling antifreeze every time I turn on my SUV. I don't think, I know I got a lemon.
  • u02cm62u02cm62 Posts: 1
    I bought my vehicle in March of 1999. My receiver for the keyless entry/security system, went out 2 weeks after I bought it. Both remotes also went out and I don't mean batteries either. Then I had the recall for the differential fluid, because I walked out after work and there was a pool of differential fluid that had leaked out onto the ground because it overflowed out the pressure release cap. Had it towed. Recall fixed it, but not until 2 times after bringing it in (first time mechanic just filled it). Security system keeps getting confused because I can't even use the key to get into my vehicle without the alarm going off. The programming on that option was finally turned off to allow the key, but for some reason it keeps returning, saying I can't use the key to open the door. Then the transmission gasket started to leak. I have 40,000 now, and all my problems were at 12,000 miles. Bought the extended warranty to 60,000 for 800 knowing full well, it would be worth the investment. It was no honda and I knew that. The factory put the spark plugs in so tight, that when I tried to take them out, the threads broke away from the plug, but the plug came out. Had to use special technique to get the damn threads out. Days later, without the help of a mechanic, I was able to get the spark plug out using a cancocksion that was a broom handle, and reverse threaded tool and some hefty pulling. Never knew it would be a 2 day event to change spark plugs. Had to change the wiper blades twice, once a year, because they fall apart. HEATER CORE went out and that is why you smell antifreeze or it leaks from another source. I owe $25,000 on a lease today, leased for 2 more years and they say it is worth 18K at the end, when it is 18K now that it is worth. Also, have 11,000 miles over on lease, hopefully will catch up to by the time I get rid of this piece of junk. My 1986 Toyota pickup had a better electrical system and engine that this thing. Have 5 other friends that have them and all have had similar problems.
  • ok, i see that there are many problems with iol sludge, electrical, clunking, etc.... but i have a minor problem that has really started to be a pain..... THERE IS SO MUCH NOISE from the front of the truck that i can't even hear the radio... never even used the AC, and turn fan off for heater... still NOISE, any ideas.??? bug deflector help? History... owned a 98 Tahoe LT 2 years 55k miles 4wd, great truck! made the mistake a got a 2k 4.7 4wd durango... 2 major complaints ( ours has the overhead concole ) POOR GAS MILAGE !!! computer says 13 as average, reset and couple hundred miles later 13 mpg again.... other problem is WIND NOISE. We are in process of selling/trading and eating the loss, will get a 2001 Surbaban. Never again will i by a Dodge, should have learned on the Stratus. GOOD COMMENTS, our durango does look good, big tires, handles very good in snow, fun to drive,...... BAD>>> get it on the highway going 75 mph and better put in ear plugs and hang on with both hands, like driving a jeep cj5 with soft top.

    PLEASE RESPOND with any ideas about Wind Noise.. thx.
  • I own a 1998 Durango SLT with 49,000 miles.. My "Check gages" light came on a couple of times during my warranty, but the dealer could not find a problem. Now my it comes on all the time! The Temp gage rises to 260, but then immediately goes back to normal after a few seconds, just about ever time I stop, the light comes on?????? My husband is going to check the thermostat tonight, but says it shouldn't have gone bad yet!! Also, he replaced my front brakes/linings, and still, it sounds like metal grinding everytime I stop..he again says the back brakes only need to be changed about once for every two-three times that the front brakes do.unless they are just crummy and this correct???? Thanks for any
  • I have a 98 Durango V8, I previously wrote message #120 regarding my "check gages light coming on every few minutes while driving. The temp gage would go up to 260 and then back down again to normal within seconds, my oil gage went to empty and back up quickly to normal a couple of times too. My husband replaced the thermostat and found that the collant had leaked out all around the gasket and also that oil had leaked out all over the engine, he is looking into that problem tonight! I only have 49,000 miles and also had to get a new battery at 37,000 miles. I have had to replace front rotors at 40,000 and still have a bad grinding noise when I brake most of the time..when I get that checked out, I will let you know what that is. It sure is discouraging already have so many problems, and right after warranty goes out.
This discussion has been closed.