Dodge has a problem with their DRL's and have caught fire. This was the first thing to be removed from my truck.
Ball joints replaced at 160,000 KM with greaseable Moogs. No problem since.
Front brake pads at 160,000 KM.
Tranny governor pressure solenoid and governor pressure sensor at 240,000 KM. You should replace both at the same time, regardless of which one goes.
Battery at 241,000 KM. It was the factory battery, so I can't complain at all.
Replace the front shocks every Spring. These trucks (all Dakota's from 97-04) eat front shocks. So buy ones with lifetime warranties, so you only have to pay for them once, and learn how easy it is to do the job yourself.
I love this truck. A buddy bought a 2000 with a 4.7, and I just laughed at him when he came over one day, because of all the crap Dodge had been building in the way of their Caravans, Shadows, and all the FWD crap they make. And being a mechanic, I had no faith in their stuff, because I had made a lot of money fixing them.
Well he had it for a little over a year and a half, and had no problems. I liked the looks and the ride, and generally how easy it is to work on. So I found a 98 at a great price with a little higher miles on it than I wanted, but the price was great.
Anyways, everything out there has problems, some more than others. If you buy a Dakota made from 97-04, here are a list of things that are known problems:
The trannys are not the greatest. Get yourself a big tranny fluid cooler and install it, and you should not have any problems.
Change the tranny fluid and filter every two years if you don't tow. If you do, then every year is a good idea.
Ball joints are a joke for a truck this size. Get good ones like Moogs with grease fittings. If you don't have grease fittings, then get a grease gun and a needle tip, and pierce the ball joint or any other ball joint type IE: outer tie-rod boot, and fill it up with grease. I love Lucas Thick and Tacky Red grease.
As said before, they eat front shocks. Get ones with a lifetime warranty.
They can be hard on brakes when you brake heavy. Well learn to look ahead, and if traffic is slowing, then lift off the gas, and when you have to brake, then slowly apply the brakes. Don't just put it to the floor.
Same thing about the gas pedal. I have a 5.2 auto with a 3.55 rear end, and on the highway I get 25 MPG, and in town about 15 MPG. HOW you might ask??? Well roll on the gas like there is an egg under your foot. Brake and gas pedals are not on off switches like most think. Try it for a tank, and I'll bet you get a lot more miles out of it.
The IAC gets carboned up a lot, and causes a lot of problems.
The distributor cap always builds up electrolysis on the terminals for some reason.
All Dodges run rich, and because of that, they eat catalytic converters. Do not replace them with the same thing that came from the factory; get an aftermarket high flow from someone like Magnaflow.
Keep it in tune: spark plugs and wires, clean fuel and injector cleaner, clean the throttle body and intake.
I have added a lot of mods to this truck; after market seats, cam, rockers, intake, tires, lowered it, thicker sway bars, electric cooling fan, stereo, and it handles great and goes great. I love it
Learn more at http://www.dodgetrucks.org
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 8th October, 2007