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.
Problems for specific Dodge Dakota years:
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Most reported Dodge Dakota 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 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.
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.
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.
If the transmission delays initial gear engagement after being parked overnight or longer, it may be due to a suspect transmission cooler return filter. If the transmission was recently serviced and the part number for the cooler return filter contains an "AB" suffix at the end, a new filter should be installed.
clearcoat coming off have noticed quite afew dodge dakotas with this problem
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.
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 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.
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.
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.