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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Repairpal verified 1997 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.
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.
If the engine cranks but does not start, or starts and stalls, the fuses should be inspected, especially the power door locks fuse. The power door lock fuse provides power to a module that sends the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) the "OK to start" signal.
On 3.9L V6 and 5.9L V8 engines, the intake manifold gasket may leak and cause increased oil consumption and a spark knock during acceleration; the gasket should be replaced.
Engine overheating can result from coolant leaks which are commonly found at the thermostat housing gasket, water pump, heater return tube O-ring at the water pump, intake manifold gasket, and timing cover gasket. Our technicians recommend a complete inspection of the cooling system after any repairs are made to be sure there are no other leaks.
Front and rear differential pinion seal leaks are common. The leaky pinion seal and differential fluid will need to be replaced.
A loud buzzing or whining noise when the transmission is in reverse may be caused by the regulator valve in the transmission valve body. A revised regulator valve was released that does not resonate. Careful diagnosis should be performed because other issues can create this same type of noise.