2003 Dodge Dakota Sport 3.9 V6 from North America
Great solid truck!
Connection at HVAC fan resistor is damaged from a previous 'short/burn out", and it works intermittently. Have to wiggle the wire harness at times to get it going again.
I bought this truck for very little money as a well used fleet vehicle for some engineering/tunnel construction firm.
As soon as I got it, I gave it thorough maintenance. I put on new brake pads, shocks, tires, oil change, rear diff fluid change, a K&N air filter, plugs, and polished/mildly ported the throttle body.
Since it had higher mileage, I did a compression test on the engine before sinking money into it with shocks, tires, and the intake work. Even with 270,000kms, the compression was at 140 and even across all 6 cylinders. That confirmed the test drive where the engine felt strong and the transmission ran perfectly.
I can't say what the history of the vehicle was exactly. I can tell the truck was used and abused, as it is full of dents, the box is all bashed up on the inside, the interior dirty and worn. But it does seem it was maintained mechanically as there are new brake lines, the transmission fluid looks clean, coolant fresh, the rear diff fluid seemed good, brake rotors were newish, and I don't think most companies keep a vehicle for over 250000kms without maintaining it.
Performance wise, I have to say it is more than acceptable. The old V6 is solid and has torque down low. You do not need to rev this engine much past 2000 ever, and because of that, gas mileage seems to be really good. I live 6kms from work, and with my mainly city driving (odd trip to the mountain biking trails through the country), I get an average of around 13 l/100kms. This is over the spring and summer however, I imagine it would be much worse in the winter.
The truck handles great, tight turning radius (2wd), and the brakes are strong and discs on all corners.
For a truck, it is a smooth, comfortable, quiet ride. I thoroughly love it ergonomically as I am 6'3".
The truck is a club cab, and it can be a real work horse as well. I put an air ride system on the back (2 inflatable bladders that help out the springs), and I have had loads of over 3000lbs in the back (interlock bricks). With overdrive off, the truck handles it no problem. Highly recommend the air ride system!
I think these trucks can last forever with regular maintenance. I know the Dodge/Chrysler transmissions have a bad rep. But for whatever reason, this one is still smooth as new and seems to know exactly when it should shift!
My Dad had an 95 Dodge Ram full size with the same engine. He overloaded that work truck all the time with hard wood, hay bails, and towing trailers with cows. And even without ever changing the fluid, the transmission never gave him one problem. Maybe part of the reason is that the 3.9 is only sending so much power through it... Not sure... but I would say the Dakota with a 3.9 is not going to give you much trouble at all.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 21st July, 2010