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Dodge Dakota, Truck
#1571 of 4362 New to Dodge with questions
Mar 31, 2002 (10:03 pm)
So, I recently inherited a Dakota from my late father and have a number of questions. I must preface by saying this will be my second American made vehicle. The first was an '87 Pontiac Bonneville I bought in 1991 and the engine caught on fire at about 80,000 miles. Last US vehicle I bought. I currently have a '89 Toyota Camry (everything original) with 287,000 and looks and drives just like I bought it in 1996 with 93,000 miles and have only put minimal money into it since for normal wear and tear.
So, this Dakota now has 18,000 miles and is a 2001 SLT model. It is a 2wd, club cab, 4.7L V8 with an automatic 45RFE tranny. It has the Heavy Duty Service Group and a class IV Reciever.
So here come the questions. My father was sold on the synthetic oils, and used Quaker State Full Synthetic 5w-30 with every oil change. I always put the cheapest 10w-30 in my car and no probs for 287,000 so I just had the dealer do an oil change and let them put whatever it is they use.
Any thoughts on the Synthetics?
Also, at low speed, over bumps, there is a "mouse type" squeek coming from behind the drivers seat somewhere. People riding with me have asked me what that is and I have no clue. Doesn't bother me, just wondered. I figure it is somewhere between the bed of the truck and the cab.
Also, at 14,000 miles both headlights burned out?
Is that normal?
Is there a grill that I can buy to put over the foglights? They really take a beating and crack (I don't drive off road).
My final question. The oil pressure gauge stays at the first HIGH mark on the gauge. It never goes higher than the mark, always sits right on it. The dealer said these are high compression engines and that is ok. I figured it should stay in the middle, but I just don't know.
Any input would be greatly appreciated!!!
I must say that I like the seats. Very comfortable for my 6'1 frame and the power of the 4.7L is nice. I like the truck, but have concernes over reliability. I can't afford a money pit right now, and wonder if I should sell it. I'd like to keep though.
#1572 of 4362 Time for brakes
Apr 01, 2002 (12:26 pm)
I've got almost 26000 miles on my 2000 DAK 4x4 and starting to get the pedal pulse and grind everybody is talking about. I consider myself fortunate that I've made it this far but the time has come. I think i've decicded on ceramic pads but i'm not sure about which rotor to get. Slotted/Drilled/regular...just not sure. Any input would be appreciated....Also any group buys going on that I may get in on....
#1573 of 4362 nwdodgeguy...........ya gotta trust your gut on this one
Apr 01, 2002 (1:26 pm)
I decided to take the plunge and get out but your situation is different from mine and I'm sure you have different expectations for your Dak.
Just think it thru is about all the advice I can offer then go with what works best for you.
Apr 01, 2002 (2:13 pm)
You only have 18,000 miles on the vehicle, you have warranty until 36,000 or 3 years. I'd suggest you try it for a while, who knows??? You might like it!! Rick
#1575 of 4362 I have been graciously asked by bpeebles and bookitty
Apr 01, 2002 (3:56 pm)
to provide some feedback on the Vitara as it compares to the Dak.
I've only got 210 miles and three days under my belt with it. So here goes should anyone be interested. I have a built in bias for Mopar products so bear with me.
Climate control operation: Dak wins hands down. Suzuki, like many Asian makes, has too many quirks like bleeding residual air from the panel vents even though you may select floor, windshield or windshield/floor. The temp and fan sliders are not lit so in the darkness, you have to grope a little
Headlight clarity and pattern: Advantage slightly to Suzuki especially on high beams, the pattern is more spread out and very even when compared to the Dak. Downside, side to side adjustment is NOT possible! Why? Dunno, but if this thing takes a hit in the front end, the bodyshop better get out their micrometers to make it all fit properly.
Engine: Well, gosh, I am comparing a hamster to a thoroughbred so I'll focus here on service. It runs an aluminum block and head with chain driven DOHC on a cross flow type head. Engine mgmt is by Suzuki with port injection and EGR. Like our daks, the coils mount directly to the plugs with one screw and changing them should be a breeze. NGK or Denso plugs are recommended by Suzuki. CLutch has hydraulic activation (not good!). The major electical components are Denso (like the Daks) and thats good. The oil filter is in an absurd location right above the frame member. Thanks to the guy who managed to find that location for a filter, I'd like to meet him someday.
AC is a rather small compressor by .......well I don't really know cause I cannot see the tag too well. Sanden or Denso perhaps? The ac has its own electric fan that kicks on when the AC clutch is engaged. Oh, and for those who don't like the fan clutch noise on a Dak when cold, take this to heart my friends. The Vitara does the exact same thing! SO, don't fault your dak too much on this ok? Its all part of the cooling process.
Interior amenities: I was more at home in the Dak. Apparently, someone in Japan thought it nice to include SQUARE cupholders that just don't work with round containers! OIl pressure and battery gauges are strangely absent here too. tsk tsk...bad bad bad move Suzuki! The radio came with a single CD player and it works fine but I like the Dak setup better where I chose whether or not the time or frequency displayed. Here, the time will be displayed whether or not you want it.
Other ammenities: Advantage to the Dak slightly. Underhood light on Vitara, not present nor is it an option. No glove box light either. And the prop rod for the hood is cheesy in my opinion.
MPG: Advantage Viatara only by virtue of a much smaller engine. But it supposedly gets only 22 city 25 hiway. i don't see this as an advantage since fuel mileage was never an issue on the Dak for my anyway.
Carrying capactiy issues; Remember, this is a mini ute therefore ya just can't put aunt martha in the back and off you go. Advantage to Dakota in total WEIGHT carrying ability and advantage to Vitara in useability. The seats fold down, and I can fit two medium size dog cages back there for hunting purposes. However, a gun rack is simply out of the question as there isn't a good place to mount one. Shucks!
Ride and handling: Advantage Suzuki again by virtue of smaller size. I thought the Dak did well in that aspect but the Vitara is more nimble and easiler to live with day to day in this regard.
Transmission: Not a fair comparision here since I had an auto in the Dak and this is a five speed. I willsay however, that I am done with the 45RFE and all its quirks and issues.
Design, overall: Yes, bpeebles, your voice and words hovered nearby when I went shopping. I visualized you saying, look for a full box frame and a manual 4wd and five speed. I learned and did just that. So that eliminated the CRV the RAV4, the KIA, and the Escape quickly. ALso bpeebles you know when they ask, "What will it take to get you to buythe car today"? Well, I got a free FSM, 2 free oil changes, and free floor mats! Yes, I think I did learn something here.
Ok, the Vitara is body-on-frame with fully boxed full length frame members. Steering is rack and pinion with the rack mounted up front like the dak on the crossmember. The 4wd is indeed mechanical, which is fine by me. I think the low ratio is someting like 1.71 to 1??? Not sure of the exact numbers but a brief test showed it to be about as low as the dak was. There is some undercoating in key areas like wheel wells and such. Brake rotors are approx same thickness but same diameter as the DAK! And this is a much smaller vehicle. Hey, Chrysler, are you reading this?
The GM influence (CAMI is a joint venture tween Suzuki and GM in Canada) is readily apparent in the feel of the brake pedal. Its mushy, provides little feedback, and likes to pauses before the binders start their work. At least the rotors haven't warped............yet. So in terms of brake feel and modulation, advantage goes to Dak.
Emergency brake is a handle in the console.
Ride: Advantage to Vitara slightly. It bounds and pitches a lot less than the Dak, but I don't fault the Dak for the way it rode. I bought the Dak as a truck for god sakes and yes, I fully expected it to ride like a damn truck. All I am doing is simply saying the Vitara does ride better and corners slightly better. Simple as that.
Conclusion: Well there is none since I only had the Vitara since saturday and I had the Dak for two full years. I'll have to get back to you on a long term evaluation. WHat I like is the lack of mechanical issues that ruined my experience with the Dak. So, we'll have to just drive this thing and see what happens. There are some areas where the Dak and other american cars do well,such as climate control operation where the Asian makes just don't get it. But overall, I am pleased with my choice, very sad and unhappy that I did this out of necessity, not necessiarly by choice. But hey, I'll get over that and move on.
Good luck and god bless everyone here on town hall forum.
#1576 of 4362 mopar67 Re: Dakota/Vitara Comparison
Apr 01, 2002 (5:36 pm)
Ben, good to hear from you and your comparison seemed objective and fair. But, we on this forum expect to hear from you no matter what you drive. Your opinions were always solid and well thought out. They were respected as well. Your experience is invaluable, and expertise is welcomed and needed on this forum. You have earned the right of
"input" and paid dearly for it. So Ben, keep reading and stay in touch.
#1577 of 4362 thanks bookitty.....for that I WILL stay in touch!
Apr 01, 2002 (6:00 pm)
I can assist in the following manner(s). I have 2 years and 26K of experience, both good and bad.
And, drum roll please, I subscribed to ALLDATA for TSB. I can for one year only, look up any TSB for the 2000 Dak. SO if anyone has a dealer, like mine, that just doesn't understand and doesn not want to search a TSB, ya'll post here, I'll read and respond in kind.
I figure its the least I can do to help others here who might have issues they cannot resolve with the dealer.
Between the talent here and some detective work, I think collectively, we can be as good or better than any CR, C&D, and BBB.
Apr 01, 2002 (6:59 pm)
Good luck with your "Zuki"! We test drove one, seemed nice. I thought the motor (hamster) was rather busy at highway speeds, but other than that was a nice mini ute.
We decided to stay with Mopar and ordered a Neon R/T but will purchase the wrap around DC warranty which covers everything like the factory 3 year 36,000 warranty. There is a $100 deductible and covers the little bugger for 7 years/100,000 miles (Best deal I found on this so far is $1040.00 for those interested).
Your problems with brakes as well as others has caused me to do a lot of web site reading. One thing I have picked up about disc brakes is quite a few people suggest that you never turn the rotors. If they are scored enough to require re surfacing or warped just replace them.
We also talked about using a torque wrench in earlier posts and that came up quite often as well.
Many other brands are having similar problems as the Dakotas and to me one common thread is the majority of the brake warping problems are the discs that do not have the integral hub/bearing races. The center section of our discs appear rather thin and I wonder if the flanges on the hubs are warping and over time the new discs are conforming to the warped flanges and in turn warping themselves.
If there are others having to replace discs over and over maybe having the hub itself checked for runout would be a good idea.
Well anyway you hopefully are rid of brake and transmission problems, hope you don't get bored with your new ride. Rick
#1579 of 4362 mopar67 TSB LOOKUP
Apr 01, 2002 (7:12 pm)
I will take you up on that offer...
My intermittent wipers have a mind of their own. It has been this way since I bought my 2000 Dak. but seems to be getting worse lately. (2wipes-long pause, 1wipe-short pause,another wipe-long pause, no wipe-another pause, 2wipes-short pause...etc etc)
I see that there is a TSB 08-022-01 intermittent wipers-eratic operation
Can you look up the text of this TSB for me?
#1580 of 4362 TSB on wipers for bpeebles
Apr 01, 2002 (8:21 pm)
Nope, the one you quoted is it. The brief details involves installing a jumper harness but the TSB does not give the detail on exactly how or where this is done.
If I recall, there is a device called the Central TImer MOdule that has some input in the operation of this wipers. Mine did this less than 30 days after delivery and the switch itself (wiper) was replaced and the problem went away.
I'll check the TSB updates for further devlopments.
Addendum..........DUH.....would help if I read your whole post....my fault.
Ok the details for some reason on how to do the repair are lacking. But here it is.
Intermittent wipers may operate erratically. When the intermittent wipers are set, the wipe interval may speed up or change to constant wipe.
It the condition is present or customers indicate that condition has occurred as described above, perform the Repair Procedure. The parts package contains detailed instructions. Install the jumper harness using the procedures outlined in the instruction sheet.
Thats it...the TSB does not give any more details.
For Iowabigguy......yes, the hampster really runs hard at hiway speeds. Matter of fact, per 'Zuki, max HP comes at 6 grand.......whew! Thats a lot of hamspter feed. Below 3 grand, its a dog for sure though. Thank god for manual shift......!
Yes, I did a lot of checking on rotors and what I found dovetails exactly with your post. Bookitty advised I get a torque wrench and I will study the FSM on the 'zuki and see what the lug nut torque specs are. Plus, I plan on personally supervising every tire rotation and brake inspection and if I even see an impact wrench within 10 feet of my vehicle......well......lets not go there shall we?
Ok, Free TSBs to all takers, step right up!