The distributor pickup plate commonly fails causing intermittent stalling, or the engine may not start (usually when the engine is hot).
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Newest reported 1990 Dodge Dakota problems
Various drivability problems can be caused by vacuum leaks. This engine has plastic tubes that become brittle and crack over time. These tubes can be replaced by normal vacuum hose but be careful when changing the Tee fittings or hose connectors because some have built in restrictor orifices (usually color coded). If the restrictions are missing, drivability problems will most likely result.
The AC/heater (HVAC) system may unexpectedly switch to the defrost mode when accelerating. This system is operated by engine vacuum and should be inspected for any vacuum leaks if this problem develops. There is also a revised vacuum check valve available to address this concern.
If the threads strip where the front brake caliper mounts to the steering knuckle, a steering knuckle repair kit is available. A new steering knuckle is not normally necessary.
Fuel pump failures are common on higher mileage models, Resulting in a crank no start condition.
A water leak from the roof seam at the rear of the cab can look like the windshield seal is leaking at the upper corners. If the water leak is not from the windshield, the roof seams and fasteners holes should be sealed.
Clogged or restricted oil cooler lines can cause premature automatic transmission failure. If the transmission fails due to lack of lubrication, the oil cooler and lines should be inspected for kinks, blockage or restriction.
The timing belt may need replacement at 60,000 miles or sooner in hot climates. The square-toothed design and high heat contribute to the accelerated wear.