A fabulous value
* I had to replace the calipers and rotors three times. With the OEM calipers, sticking pistons seems to be a problem. Last had them completely overhauled at NTB at 130,000 miles and have had no problems since.
* The radiator failed at 155,000 miles, but since the system had only been purged once in 10 years, I cannot really complain.
* A minor oil leak allowed oil to short out the starter at 150,000 miles.
* The overdrive selector quit working at 135,000 miles, but the transmission itself works fine.
* I had to have the cylinder head pulled when a spark plug that had been overtightened at the factory and had not been coated with anti-seize compound cracked. It let the electrode drop into the cylinder. That happened at about 30,000 miles.
Overall, I have been quite pleased with this truck. I had originally wanted a Ranger, but the asking price was too much. However, the Dakota has been an outstanding purchase and frankly outperforms the 2002 Ranger that is its replacement.
The engine has never failed to start except when the starter itself failed (as noted previously). Acceleration is still strong at 173,000 miles. Transmission operation has been excellent. Fuel economy still beats my new Ranger with a 3.0 V6!
The truck handles very well if its stock tire size is maintained. Ride is generally smooth and emergency handling is predictable and safe.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 20th November, 2003