Dodge Dakota Problems
RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Dodge Dakota as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.Refine by vehicle
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.
Fuel pump failures are common on higher mileage models, Resulting in a crank no start condition.
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 3.7L V6 and 4.7L V8 engines the camshaft position sensor may fail causing the engine to crank but not start or it can cause intermittent stalling. A failed camshaft position sensor will require replacement.
On the 3.9L V6 and 5.2L V8 it is often misdiagnosed as a leaking oil filter gasket, the oil filter adapter can seep from between the adapter and engine block.
If the automatic transmission intermittently stays in second gear (will not shift into a higher gear), restarting the engine may fix the condition temporarily. Updated software for the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) can solve this concern.
The transfer case in the Dodge Dakota has multiple gear ratios, which can be selected by moving the switch in the cabin to 2Hi, 4Hi, or 4Lo. It has been known to shift to 4Lo without warning, at any speed, and whether the vehicle is on or off. If this occurs at highway speeds, the result can be catastrophic failure of the transfer case.
This is caused by a faulty four wheel drive shift motor, selector switch (in the cab) or the wiring between the two. The most common cause is the transfer case switch, which is an electric motor mounted on the transfer case.
To correct the issue, inspect the wiring to the transfer case switch motor for damage, and replace the shift motor if needed. Disconnecting power to the shift motor will lock the transfer case in its current setting.
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 HVAC (heater) housing is not properly sealed at the bulkhead (firewall), water can leak into the passenger compartment. Foam sealant should be used to seal any gaps and the evaporator drain tube can be modified to prevent further water entry.
On the 3.9L V6 and 5.2L V8, rerouting the ignition coil wire and spark plug wires can help solve a misfire and/or surge problem that occurs at approximately 45 mph. A service bulletin was published that outlines the specifics of the repair. It states the rerouting procedure should be performed before other repairs are done for misfires, surging or spark knock.
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.