Last post on Oct 05, 2003 at 5:08 AM
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Dodge Dakota, Exterior, Truck
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#1842 of 1886 Tundra/Dakota meditations
Aug 27, 2003 (5:24 pm)
Dusty, your opinion is informed, and I read your notes with interest. I don't doubt that the 3.9 can be tweaked for zip, but if zip I want, I'll get the more modern design in the 4.7. Speed from the stoplight isn't a concern. I'm more likely to annoy the folks behind me with a light foot on the gas pedal. The new 3.6 for 2004 interests me (cheap dog that I am) and since it's accompanied by captains' chairs, I'll look it over as soon as it shows up at an area dealers. (When do the 2004s ship, anyway?) I agree that the Dakota QC is a vastly better value then the Toyota Tundra. It's actually a surprise to me that the Tundra is bigger then the Dakota QC, I'd'a thought the bed space was similar, but the QC has more useful proportions (IMHO). ... since you're buying a dealer as well as a truck, the other concern is his service dept. The nearest Dodge large dealer had the most dimwittedly carnivorous salesmen I've met in years; the pitch I got for a new Ram was aggressive and clumsy to a point that would have made a good comedy skit. So I gotta find a good guy. Quadder45, the Colorado/Canyon twins sound interesting, but I am not sure they're going to be in the same size bracket as the Dakota. The proportions seem more like a Ranger or even Tacoma. Compare vehicle width. An inline engine is fine and I don't need to tow, but, it'll be brand new. New vehicle, new engine and drivetrain, let the first hundred thousand early adopters help GM debug it. GM build quality, y'know, not always something that leaves you crazed with enthusiasm. Anything new has gotchas no matter who builds it. GMC's warranty is still 3/36K, isn't it? Even the 3.6 is a bit of a gamble, as a new powerplant. I drive around 16K-18K a year, could easily have low mileage when the 7/70K warranty runs out even on the 3.6. As far as gas mileage goes, I don't assume that gas prices stay at current levels. The Niddle East is unreliable, and becoming more so. You could open a dozen ANWRs and not replace Saudi Arabia, and the Russians are a decade of building away from replacing them. Good gas mileage is good insurance. Dusty, perhaps you can suggest some options on the Dakota QC, if I bite. I go offroad as a surfcaster. Beach driving means deflated tires, a cautious foot on the pedal,an offroad package for the sake of clearance and skid plates (Montauk is rocky) and a locking differential. It's nice to be able to run an air compressor off the engine to reflate. Installing any appliance upstream of the differential may void the warranty, and especially with a new 3.6 I don't want to do that. Can the Dakota be hand with a power takeoff at the differential? (That salesman? Didn't know what I was asking about.) The frame design is old. The new one for 2005 will doubtless use the same hydroforming that the Ram does (hydroforming's a bragging point these days, it's the truck version of a bigger bust) but till then, would those sway bars you mention be a good idea? I'd also like to stuff an extra battery under the hood, or under the cap I'd put on the cab. No fun needing a charge if you're below the high tide mark. Put a solar panel on the roof for a trickle charge if need be. Lockable storage inside the cab would be nice for the binoculars, someday I'll own an expensive pair.
Pass through so I can keep an 11' surf rod inside while I doze. What's your take on D/C rust resistance - aftermarket undercoating worth it? And headlights that I can switch off, and low powered foglights, will keep me from getting killed by colleagues if I come down the beach late while they're already fishing. Did I miss anything?
Aug 28, 2003 (12:12 pm)
Interesting torque specs between the two:
3.9 = 225ft.-lbs. 3200 rpm
3.7 = 235ft.-lbs. 4000 rpm
The 3.7 seems to be better suited to a lighter vehicle than what's needed for a truck.
Aug 28, 2003 (12:57 pm)
Are you from Long Island? If so avoid Neil Dodge of Medford like the plague. They are by far the worst dealership I have ever encounterd, of any vehicle, by far. I drive a 2000 Quad on Smithpoint Beach and I have no problems with the 4.7.
#1845 of 1886 Brian................
Aug 28, 2003 (1:28 pm)
The "new" 3.7 (226cid) derivitive of the polyhead 4.7 V8 has actually been out for two years, I am pretty sure. I know a fellow that has one in a 2002 RAM. From what I can tell, the 3.7 is a solid engine and I know of no genetic problems.
Assuming that Dodge will use the same specs in the Dakota as they do the RAM, the ratings are as follows:
3.7 = 215hp + 235 lbs. ft. torque
3.9 = 210hp + 225 lbs. ft. torque
As Dakowner points out, the 3.7 makes more horsepower and torque but at a higher RPM. This is not normally the best way for truck engines to be tuned. I know a fellow who has a Jeep Liberty with the same engine and he says its a "rocket" power plant. It may not have the same HP and torque specs as the RAM version. I don't know.
A lot of folks have complained about the old 318-based 3.9 motor, but in my opinion they had all the torque one would need in a mid-size pickup.
As to recommendations for your purposes, the first thing I would mention is a limited slip differential. Dodge now calls it "TracLoc" (use to be Sure Grip). The Sport Plus versions come with the front a rear sway bars and much larger tires, probably both a good option for your needs.
Beyond that I think its pretty much personal preference for anything else. It ought to make a very nice platform for fishing the ocean, although many would probably feel safer transversing sand with a 4x4.
When it comes to rust resistance, Dodge is the leader in my opinion. The Ford F150s are very good, too. I don't think the Rangers are quite as notable, however. The GM versions in any size are the first to pop holes around here. S10 platform-based vehicles rust aggressively. My sister-in-law has a '99 Blazer that has a hole in the driver's door skin already. We use road salt here in the winters.
Best of luck,
#1846 of 1886 Dakota frames..................
Aug 28, 2003 (2:10 pm)
....are fairly strong and rigid. My extended cab shows no signs of flexing on off-level approaches, despite it being longer. I don't know about the Quad version, but I haven't heard one complaint either. I think you are right, Brian. The next generation Dakota will likely receive a hyroformed frame assembly.
#1847 of 1886 brianbm Re: Beach ready
Aug 28, 2003 (3:40 pm)
Brian, I would assume that you are considering a 4X4 for use on the beach. On LBI, a beach buggy permit will not be issued for 2X4 vehicles. And, the LSD is imperative. A jump start battery with built in air compressor can be purchased at Sam's Club for around $40.00. I never leave home without it. Good luck in finding a truck. I love my 2000 4X4 Quad with LSD , 4.7 and the 5 speed (3:55).
#1848 of 1886 Horsepower for 3.9
Aug 29, 2003 (4:56 am)
dusty - I believe you need to check the horsepower you listed for the 3.9 at 210; the Dak brochures I have as well as the data sheets show the 3.9 horsepower at 175. The torque you show is correct.
Aug 29, 2003 (5:48 am)
I was looking at the specifications/fuel mileage estimates for the Chevy trucks and comparing them to the Dakota specs. From what I read there isn't much difference in the EPA fuel economy ratings between a chevy regular cab and the Dakota Quad Cab.
Chevy short box regular cab curb weight = 4147 lbs
Dakota Quad Cab curb weight with auto trans = 4248 lbs
The lightest Chevy crew cab weighs 5488 lbs. (excluding the Colorado, couldn't find specs on it). No EPA estimates are posted for the 2500 series Chevy trucks.
EPA fuel economy estimates:
Dakota Quad with 3.9 auto trans 18/19 mpg
Chevy 4.3 with auto trans 16/20 mpg
Given these specs I don't think the fuel economy (with curb weight figured in) is out of line with the competition.
I couldn't find any specs on the Colorado.
#1850 of 1886 Ronslakie...............
Aug 29, 2003 (10:43 am)
Yes, you are correct. The latest horsepower version of the 3.9 Magnum motor is 175 hp.
Thanks for the correction.
#1851 of 1886 Brian..............
Aug 29, 2003 (10:50 am)
Well, apparently Chrysler has already mated the 545RFE transmission to the 3.7 V6. According to Rapid Response Transmittal #02-024 (11 Nov 02), 188 of the early 2003-built 545RFEs left the manufacturing site with potentially defective Pressure Sensor Transducers. This applied to Dakota, RAM, and Jeep Libertys. The Jeep Liberty only gets the 545RFE auto with the 3.7 engine.