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.

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Known Problems

On the 3.9L V6 and 5.2L V8, an intermittent connection in the crank position sensor wire connector can cause poor engine performance or the engine may crank but not start.

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, 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.

Fuel pump failures are common on higher mileage models, Resulting in a crank no start condition.

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.

A clunk or popping sound heard while turning may mean the intermediate steering shafts need realignment. Replacement of the upper intermediate shaft may be necessary.

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.

3.7L V6 and 4.7L V8
Exhaust manifold bolts commonly break, exhaust manifold gaskets should be replaced and replace bolts as needed.

The upper ball joints may fail due to moisture damage. Our technicians tell us 2000-2001 models were recalled for this issue. For more information on this recall, please click here»

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.

The outer exhaust manifold studs can break and cause exhaust leaks. The outer studs, clamps, and nuts will need to be replaced and are now being tightened to a reduced torque value (20 Nm/180 in lbs).

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.

On the 3.9L V6, 5.2L V8 and 5.9L V8 the Oil leaks commonly from the valve cover gaskets, intake manifold gaskets (front and rear), timing cover gaskets, distributor O-ring, and the rear main seal area. Using fluorescent engine oil dye can be helpful in determining the source(s) of the oil leak.

A surging or bucking during acceleration can be caused if the distributor is moved or mis-indexed. This is a result of the cam and crank position sensors being out of synchronization. Wear of the oil pump drive gear can cause similar symptoms because it allows excessive free play in the distributor drive. The distributor drive gear and bushing should be replaced if the rotor tip moves back-and-forth more than 3/16th of an inch when checking drive gear free play.