Old man bought a used Dakota.

Joined
Aug 30, 2007
Messages
1,784
Location
Bonnyville, AB
He bought a 2000 Dakota Sport 4WD with all of 55,000 miles on it. It has a leaking front main seal, axle seals, some ugly faux "ram air" intakes glued to the hood, etc. It looks like some guy bought it to haul around a dirt bike and party with. We just pulled all of the wiring from his old bass system out. We took the whole interior apart tonight and replaced all of the broken clips and cleaned it out. He has done the plugs (Champion Double Platinum), changed the oil, checked air filter. The transmission, transfer case and differentials were done just before we bought it. It starts and runs good, tons of power, but an absolute pig on fuel. 19 mpg flat land cruising with the AC off. I was wondering: - Any mileage ideas? Obviously it'd probably be smaller tires (has 31x10.5x15 tires), and swap the 3.92 gears for 3.55 or 3.21. - Can I get a UOA that would tell me for sure the fluid in the transmission is ATF+4? It shifts too soft and I don't want to see a transmission get burned up on the wrong fluid. - Any trouble spots to look at? It drives fine other than needing front shocks, but it looks like anything plastic has seen hard use.
 
Joined
Jun 5, 2009
Messages
965
Location
San Antonio, Texas
-I'd check the throttle body, clean if needed. -Throw some good fuel treatment in the tank for two or three tanks to get everything cleaned out. -Then change the fuel filter. -Do an intake and combustion chamber treatment with some Seafoam. -Pop out the O2 sensors and see if they're really dirty, if so clean them off. -Make sure the cats are still good. Cocge had a big problem with the cats going bad and/or coming apart pretty quickly. -
 
Joined
Feb 17, 2007
Messages
3,738
Location
Clermont, Florida
Call a local Dodge dealer, give the Service guys the VIN and see if your dad's new truck is included in the recall Dodge issued for the upper ball joints on 4WD Dakota's. If not, check the ball joints yourself. If you replace them use greaseable Moog parts. If the dealer does it I guess Dodge makes them use OE parts, which are sealed. Depending on the engine, 19 MPG is very good in a Dakota, especially with 31's on it. There are a lot of mods you can do on the Magnum engines to get better performance. You might visit over at http://www.dodgeforum.com and check out the second generation Dakota pages. You can take a look at http://www.dodgedakotas.com too, just look out for all the trolls, flamers, Amsoil lovers and haters with their flame wars and otherwise smart-aleck idiots on there. I use that site for info and reference but I rarely post there. It's full of idiots. You can search it though for good posts from the pre-idiot days at http://mark.dodgedakotas.com. http://www.dakota-durango.com is a good site too, and is indexed very well. If you need shocks, Monroe Reflex work really well on Dakota's. I have a set on my 2WD Dakota. If you plan on using the truck off road, there are a lot of choices. A lot of guys like KYB and Rancho's, it just depends on your dad's budget I guess. I'm not sure about the UOA on the trans fluid. If it isn't shifting right, maybe just go ahead and dump it for a fresh fill of ATF+4 and new filter. I'm not really familiar enough with the automatics to know much about them. My '01 Dakota has a 5-speed manual. Dakota's are good trucks and the magnum engines may not be the fastest or most fuel-efficient engines on the street but they are solid and reliable. Once you get it fixed up, your dad will have a pretty good truck there.
 
Joined
Sep 5, 2006
Messages
19,479
Location
Chicago Area
If you have larger tires, your odometer and speedometer are probably off. This means your gas mileage readings are off. In this case, it means you are getting better gas mileage than indicated - you are traveling farther than indicated.
 

MGregoir

Thread starter
Joined
Aug 30, 2007
Messages
1,784
Location
Bonnyville, AB
The tires are the OEM size. They were used on off road pack Dakotas and Durangos that year.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 4, 2007
Messages
2,340
Location
La.
If you bought the truck at a good price, you are allright. The fuel mileage I think you're stuck with.
 
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
502
Location
Canada
The 4.7 is a good motor but 19 MPG is the best you can expect. That's actually better than average for that vehicle and engine combo. If anything the wrong fluid will make it shift harsh. That trans is designed to shift very smoothly. (it's based on the A604 design)and the PCM uses "torque management" to make it shift even smoother. Basically the PCM reduces engine power just as the trans up shifts. Especially under hard acceleration... They always feel mushy and there ain't much you can do about it. Do check the upper ball joint like mentioned. Very common to fail.
 
Joined
Dec 16, 2006
Messages
2,131
Location
Maryland
Try full synthetic differential fluid in the differential. It may help a tiny bit. Also, how do you guys know the fluids were changed? If it were my car, I'd do all the fluids over again with the fluid of my choosing and consider the previous owners fluid change (if he actually did the change) a cleanse and rinse phase.
 

MGregoir

Thread starter
Joined
Aug 30, 2007
Messages
1,784
Location
Bonnyville, AB
I know the fluids were changed because they have the receipts and checking the fluid levels they were all clean and full. The only fluid change it needed was a oil change, it got a Wix filter and Quaker State high mileage 5W-30. It's very likely this truck will see under 5,000 miles per year.
 
Joined
Jun 5, 2009
Messages
965
Location
San Antonio, Texas
Personally, if I'm looking at a used vehicle I rather the fluids not have been changed. I like to see the old fluids in there so I can see just how bad the owner lets tham get before changing them.
 
Top