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
×
Choose your vehicle
37
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.

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).

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.

The distributor pickup plate commonly fails causing intermittent stalling, or the engine may not start (usually when the engine is hot).

Under certain conditions, some models may shift into neutral even though reverse is selected with the gear selector. A software update to the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) will allow reverse engagement as long as the transmission has sufficient hydraulic pressure.

Front and rear differential pinion seal leaks are common. The leaky pinion seal and differential fluid will need to be replaced.

On the 3.9L V6 and 5.9L V8 the engine oil leaks at the distributor can be misdiagnosed as leaks from the intake manifold seal, oil pan gasket, or rear crankshaft (rear main) seal. A revised distributor is available if oil is found inside the distributor.

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.

If the vehicle has been parked for an extended period, and the transmission takes a few seconds to engage when shifting into gear from park, it may be caused by the torque converter draining back into the transmission. If the fluid level is correct, a "drainback relief valve" is available that installs in the oil cooler pressure line.

Common areas for engine oil leaks include the camshaft plug, camshaft seal (sprocket end), valve cover gaskets, cylinder head gasket and distributor.

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.

Coolant can leak from the area where the water pump mates to the water pump housing because the sealant degrades over time. Coolant can also leak where the water pump housing mates to the engine block, which is sealed with an O-ring.

 

Black smoke from the tail pipe, hard starting, and a rough idle can be caused by a leaking fuel injector. With the air cleaner removed and the engine idling, fuel can be seen leaking from around the injector (O-ring leak), or from the nozzle (fuel injector leak).

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.