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Dodge Dakota, Truck
#4374 of 5120 Future owner of a Dodge Dakota?
Feb 18, 2003 (11:25 pm)
I am currently a ford ranger owner and am seriously considering buying a 2003 Dodge Dakota Quad SLT for my next vehicle.
I like everything about it so far and will probably have it special ordered from the factory.
I had a question though and appreciate any help you can offer.
I want to get a Quad 4x4, I was told NOT to get the v8 engine because it tends to 'search' to much in 4x4. Has anyone experienced this problem? The dealer that I test drove one at this weekend said that all tranny problems were taken care of in '99, and that a v6 would not be enough power for a quad.
I'm not going to be doing heavy towing, I just like to take my trucks out into the dirt and up into the mountains, My ford has a v6 and it has no problems with power. so do I really need to spend the money on a v8?
Thanks in advance for any input!
#4375 of 5120 RE: Future owner of a Dodge Dakota?
Feb 19, 2003 (4:26 am)
glenn973 - for a Quad Cab, go with a V-8. The 4.7L has probably the best balance of power and economy relative to the other engine choices. I have not had any problems with the engine "searching" while in 4x4. I suppose you mean transmission "searching". Yes, the 45RFE and 545RFE transmissions are more responsive than any other transmission I've experienced recently, especially GM transmissions. While in 4th gear with the torque converter locked up, the 45RFE/545RFE will be very quick to unlock the torque converter with just a slight increase in throttle. My experience with GM transmissions in the same situation is that they would require a lot more throttle opening to get the torque converter to unlock. Overall, I'm very happy with the 45RFE in my QC. My advice would be to go drive a 4.7L/auto QC. If you don't like it, but still want the 4.7L, you could always go with the 5-speed manual.
Feb 19, 2003 (9:18 am)
The 4.7 is a new design engine, and the power to economy is great. I have the 4.7 5spd with 3.55 lsd and just love the power and economy I get with it. After 57K miles, I would get the same options again.
Feb 19, 2003 (3:11 pm)
The 4.7L V8 typically realizes BETTER MPG than the 1960s-based V6.
You do not HAVE to spend the xtra money for the 4.7L V8... but it will not cost any more to run it and will still be worth more when it comes time to sell it.
As for "tends to 'search' to much in 4x4".... WHAT THE HECK DOES THIS MEAN??? I have been following 4 different Dakota websites since 1999 and have never even HEARD of this. Perhaps if you explain what you mean by the term "search"...
Let me make some guesses:
*)With 4X4 engauged, The tires tend to follow the ruts in the road.
*)You have to look really hard (search) to see the road?
*)You cant predict which tire will spin next?
Seriously though.... Your salesman must not know what he is talking about when it comes to the transmissions. The Dakota did not even OFFER the 4.7L and associated tranny in 1999!
1st of all.... each engine comes mated to a DIFFERENT tranny. The 4.7L V8 auto tranny has seen some 'teething pains' since introduction in the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It has gained another forward gear and now has synthetic fluid from the factory. All in all, it has matured quite well and is no worse than any other DC tranny. (I still like my MANUAL tranny!!)
I special-orderd my Dakota too. (I wanted the manual tranny with the V8 and LSD.) It took less than a month from ordering to delivery. It was pretty cool seeing the window sticker that said "This truck built for Bruce Peebles"
#4378 of 5120 Re:Transmission "searching"
Feb 19, 2003 (3:52 pm)
Well, like Bruce I'm not exactly sure what the definition of "searching" is. And also like Bruce this is not a complaint I've ever heard about the Dodge automatic transmissions.
I do own a 4.7 V8 Dakota with the 545RFE transmission and can tell you it is the most responsive, reactive and smoothest transmission I've ever driven, bar none. And that includes our current '99 Toyota Avalon which might be one of the worst auto transmissions I've ever driven.
As far a gas mileage, I think more conservative drivers do realize better fuel consumption with the 3.9 engine, but more 'youthful' and impatient drivers might not see that much of a difference. The 4.7 has plenty of power! In a Dakota Quad you might be happier with the 4.7.
Like the previous recommendation, drive a few and see what you like.
#4379 of 5120 As an ex dak owner, I can weigh in I suppose
Feb 19, 2003 (5:08 pm)
glenn973, Not to take away what others have said about the 45RFE (or 545RFE) but in my case with a 2000 club cab, I will say it was not one of mother mopar's better efforts in terms of smooth shifting. perhaps now as others have mentioned, it has "matured" and shifts better.
I will outline what I felt were strengths and weaknesses of the dakota:
*Robust engine design 4.7L was a smooth revving and tough piece of work! It beats the 318 in every measureable performance criteria. And as bpeelbes stated, it gets better MPG than the v-6 Sparkplugs were a challenge and the skid plates limit easy access to the oil filter but otherwise, its a honey of a motor.
*Very well laid out climate control and other controls and switches. Excellent displays esp. at night.
*Decent ride for a pickup. I understand the quad cabs ride a bit better.
*Nice towing and hauling capacity w/o having to spend a fortune in upgrades.
*Good looking tires but traction in snow with the Goodyear eagle 31x10.5x15 RTS tires leaves much to be desired.
*Rims were sharp and drew lots of compliments.
*my unit was carefully assembled and well finished.
*Strong, rigid frame....like the big 94-2002 Rams
*Good old fashioned manual 4WD....and it worked very well for me with no problems.
*Torsion bar front suspension....IMHO....the finest concept of suspension design ever bestowed on a motor vehicle.
*Liberal use of Denso USA components...DENSO is very highly regarded in the industry as making the best electrical components.
*MPG I hit 19.4 on the higway with the 3.92 axle at 70MPH and the AC on.....ran about 13.5 to 14.1 in the city....a little less in cold weather.
*Brakes....they work but watch out for severe rotor warpage...aftermarket (which was where I was headed next until I traded the rig)is the way to go. Others on this board will testify to this.
*A/C drain plug known to clog however I never had this problem.
*Leaf spring clips can and do come apart and I had to have mine replaced.
*Watch the rear drums too....like the rotors, they were for the 2000 model year sourced from Bosch of Mexico.....and believe me it showed!
*PCM MAY need to be reprogramed to cure excessive spark knock and/or poor idle along with stalling after cold start. I went thru this 3 times before Chrysler got the coding right.
*Headlights, esp on high beam are a bit weak. Not sure if anyone would agree but this is my statement.
*Watch the "mayo maker" oil filler tube. ITs plastic (a truly dumb design here)and thus stays cooler than the rest of the engine which allows condensation to build up and create a not so attractive "goo" I would estimate that frequent observation of PCV performance is a MUST in cold climates.
*Not necessarily a weakness here but be advised the fan clutch will roar on cold starts until the silicone fluid warms up....lots of complaints on this board and others on this and mine did it too but I never found it to be a problem. Rather, it was a sure fire indication to me that the fan clutch was working!
*Heater a bit slow to warm on the cold days but once warm, generated good heat.
SO there you have it. Good luck with your decision....I from time to time miss the Dak but I don't miss the problems I had. Be advised that others here have stated no problems or issues at all. So it really is then a crap shoot.
BTW.....Mine was built on a Friday, December 19, 1999! At 5:45 p.m. no less!
#4380 of 5120 Extension Mirrors
Feb 21, 2003 (1:37 pm)
Has anyone found extension mirrors that will fit the Dakota QC's 6x9, power, heated mirrors? I'm looking for the kind that attach to the existing mirrors. I'm towing a 7'-6" wide trailer and the extra visibility would be nice.
#4381 of 5120 Future Dakota Owner
Feb 22, 2003 (10:13 am)
Thank you everyone for your input! It has been very valuable in helping me make a decision about what engine/transmission I am going to get.
I'm going to go with the V8 but with a manual transmission. The don't think the price difference is enough to sacrifice power/mpg etc to warrant buying a V6. I also really don't like automatics anyway, I thought it was great when I saw that they would offer the V8 with a manual transmission. It looks like if I want that I'm going to have to special order it though, all of the dealerships around me only stock automatics.
and yes the 'searching' description was about the automatic transmission, sorry I didn't clarify that properly in my first post
Thanks again for eveyones input! I'm going to order my new Dodge Dakota in a couple of days!
Take it easy!
#4382 of 5120 Glen's Order
Feb 24, 2003 (9:19 am)
Glen, if your still worried about gas mileage, make sure you order the 3.55 lsd rear end. The 3.55 will give you better gas mileage, and the lsd will help you keep from leaving too much rubber when you take off around a corner. I have the 4.7 5speed manual 3.55 lsd and I love that combo.
#4383 of 5120 Re:Glen's Order
Feb 24, 2003 (3:32 pm)
Dodge has started to use the 3.21 axle ratio with the 4.7 Dakota. This would probably buy you more MPG, especially if your highway driving is a good part of your daily use. I don't know if it's available with limited slip.