Like many vehicles, the 2nd gen Dodge Dakota has its own common faults that owners have run into. This post covers the most common Dodge Dakota problems on the 2nd generation, years 1997 to 2004.
Top 5 2nd Gen Dodge Dakota Problems (1997 to 2004)
1. Rough Idle Only at Idle
Symptoms of Rough Idle Problems
- On the 3.9L V6 and the V8 engine, rough idle when idling that tends to clear up when accelerating
- Check engine light for code P0300 followed by more misfire codes like P0301, P0302, etc. for each cylinder
Causes of Rough Idle Problems
The intake valley pan, which sits underneath the intake in the block of the engine, is a metal pan with 8mm bolts and a gasket. The gasket tends to pop out, causing the engine to suck in air and cause a rough idle. The one vacuum line on the side of the intake can also split and cause all of the cylinders to misfire.
How to Fix Rough Idle Problems
Check the vacuum lines for splitting or tearing. If it is torn and a new one doesn’t fix the rough idle and if changing the distributor cap, rotor, and plugs doesn’t clear the misfire codes, the intake valley pan probably needs to be replaced.
2. Faulty Crank Sensor
Symptoms of a Faulty Crank Sensor on a 2nd Gen Dakota
- Check engine light for code P0131 and sometimes P0340
- Excessive cranking and no start
- Engine stalling
- Engine misfires
Causes of a Faulty Crank Sensor
The crank sensor tends to fail on the 1997 to 2004 Dodge Dakota. It tends to corrode, causing the magnets to fall off. Once the magnets fall off, the powertrain control module (PCM) will not have a reading and will have no signal to send to the distributor, so it will not be aware that the engine’s cranking.
How to Fix a Faulty Crank Sensor
The crank sensor is in the bell housing. It should be connected to a red, green, and black wire. To remove it, disconnect the wiring harness and remove the bolts. Reverse these steps to install a new one.
3. EVAP System Leak
Symptoms of an EVAP Leak
- Check engine light for code P0455
Causes of EVAP Leak Code P0455 on the 2nd Gen Dodge Dakota
An EVAP code means the evaporative emission control system (EVAP) is failing to purge excess fuel vapor sufficiently. The hoses on the EVAP purge canister tend to break and dry-rot internally. A faulty gas cap, bad fuel filter, and corroded fuel filler lines can also trigger a check engine light for an EVAP system leak.
How to Fix an EVAP Leak
First check the gas cap and fuel filler neck. Pull the gas cap straight back to test how secure it is. Remove the gas cap and inspect the gas cap gasket for cracking, tearing, or broken pieces. Inspect the fuel filler neck for rust or corrosion. Tighten the gas cap and test its ability to ratchet.
Disconnect the lines from the purge canister and inspect the black rubber inside for corrosion or breaking. Tap the end of the hose and see if debris falls out. If gasoline leaks out of the canister, it is soaked with fuel and it needs to be replaced.
You can also test the EVAP system for leaks with a smoke machine.
4. Manual Transmission Problems
Symptoms of Manual Transmission Problems
- Manual transmission growls and clicks before shifting gears
Causes of a Manual Transmission Problems on the 1997 to 2004 Dodge Dakota
The throw-out play on the crank tends to fail on the 2nd gen Dakota. The crank runs through the center of the engine and can sometimes have play.
How to Fix Manual Transmission Problems
Check the clutch. Inspect the slave cylinder for leaking. Check the front of the bell housing for leaking fluid. If it is leaking, check the master cylinder’s seals and check it for low fluid.
If the clutch parts are in good condition, find a large pry bar and check for play by gently pushing out against the harmonic balancer and gently pushing in against the sway bar.
5. ABS Light Is on
Symptoms of ABS Light Problems
- ABS light is on
Causes of an ABS Light Turning on
The ABS sensor, also known as the speed sensor, tends to fail on the 1997 to 2004 Dodge Dakota.
How to Fix an ABS Light
The ABS sensor on the 2nd gen Dakota is in the rear differential. You can test the sensor with a scanner. If you remove the sensor and find metal shavings on the magnet piece, there are bigger problems than the speed sensor.
Fix Your 2nd Gen Dakota with 1A Auto’s How-to Videos
Tackle a number of repairs and diagnosis on the 2nd gen Dodge Dakota with step-by-step instructions from mechanics in 1A Auto’s how-to videos. Fix parts like the brakes, wheel hub assemblies, distributor cap, ignition coil, and more.
- Top 5 2005 to 2010 Dodge Dakota Problems (3rd Generation)
- Is your Transmission Slipping, Jerking, or Low on Fluid?
- Signs of transmission failure and ways to prevent it
- P0300 code: Mechanic advice to diagnose and fix
- Gas Cap Throwing a Check Engine Light? [Diagnose & Fix]
- Symptoms of a Bad ABS Speed Sensor
- How to Diagnose an Engine Misfire
- How A Crankshaft Position Sensor Works And Where To Find It
- How to Replace a Crankshaft Position Sensor