Dodge Dakota Info Sheet.
Modified: 11/17/95 (denoted by *)
* This document was originally designed to be nothing more than a spec
* sheet. Soon after I finished that portion, I added a few notes about
* things I found interesting about my truck. These sections, along with
* a history of my modifications now make a major part of this document.
* This will be the final posting of the Info Sheet. All the information
* contained within is being transfered to a Dakota FAQ.
* Since I do not have all the specs on all models of Dakotas, I am now
* asking for any and all owners, mechanics, and fans to submit all the
* little tidbits of knowledge you have.
My own history:
I own a 1994 Dakota SLT with the V8 and the manual transmission. She
is currently a regular cab shortbed with P235's. All my impressions are
based mainly on this style, but here is all the info I can find in my
various reference material. Beware, some dates may be off due to mid-
I've upgraded to 31x9.50R-15 SuperSwampers in May. Got a Rhino Coat
bedliner in August.
* On November 15, 1995 I retired the Swampers in favor of a more street
* friendly tire. Why? The hum and poor handling just became a pain on
* long trips, and with the miles I'm going to run this winter to and from
* ski resorts, I wanted something friendlier. Off came the Swampers and
* the stock rims, and on went a set of 15x7 American Racing aluminum rims
* and a set of 31x10.50-15 Mickey Thompson Baja Belted HPs. Fit great with
* no change in the torsion bars and the ride is fantastic on the road.
* Off-road and snow trials will occur early in December.
87 - 96 (10 Years in the making)
The Dakota was introduced in late 1986 as a 1987 model. It was a
new idea in light trucks. Something a little bigger than the
compacts, but not so large as a full-size, the first mid-size
pick-up became a reality. Only problem, nobody noticed, or cared.
Sales were low, and the truck didn't offer much in power, looks,
or ability which was not surpassed by other offerings of the time.
It came with a choice of a carbureted 2.2 liter L4, or 3.9 V6.
Dodge held on to the model unchanged for two years, and then in
1989 Dodge added the extended cab, a Shelby performance edition,
and a true convertible. The TBI V8 in the Shelby was popular, but
it wasn't available in the extended version and didn't offer much
over the V6. The convertible sold slowly in the south, but
basically nothing changed. The 4 cylinder engine was stroked to
the current 2.5 liters and both it and the V6 gained a TBI system.
1990 lost the convertible and the Shelby V8. In 1991, the V8 became
available again across the line, but still turned poor numbers.
1992 was the first year of the Magnum engines. These V6 and V8
engines are multiport injected and produce much better performance
than the TBI engines. The truck became a success, finally offering
the true benefits of the mid-size vehicle.
1996 has added a clutch interlock to the starter so you can't start
the truck while in gear. Damn Lawyers!
Things have stayed fairly constant since. Look for a complete redo
of the Dakota in 1999 to look more like the new Ram and use a coil
spring suspension rather than the torsion bars on the 4x4.
- 1987 - 1988
- 2.2 Liter (136 cid) L4 w/Holley 6520
- 3.9 Liter (239 cid) V6 w/Holley 6280
- 2.5 Liter (151 cid) L4 w/TPI same as 2.2 except longer stroke
- 3.9 Liter (239 cid) V6 w/TPI
- 5.2 Liter (318 cid) V8 w/TPI Shelby package only 153 HP
- 2.5 Liter (151 cid) L4 w/TPI
- 3.9 Liter (239 cid) V6 w/TPI
- 2.5 Liter (151 cid) L4 w/TPI
- 3.9 Liter (239 cid) V6 w/TPI
- 5.2 Liter (318 cid) V8 w/TPI 157 HP
- 1992 - 1996
- 2.5 Liter (151 cid) L4 w/TPI
- 3.9 Liter (239 cid) V6 w/MPI
- 5.2 Liter (318 cid) V8 w/MPI up to 223 HP
Many of these transmissions are serving in other places in the Jeep,
Dodge, and other Chrysler lines.
The Dakota has come with any of the following autos. (all are of the
same case style, just slight differences)
A-998 Three speed V6 only
A-500 Four speed w/OD V6 only 2.74 1st, 0.69 OD
42RH Four speed w/OD
46RH Four speed w/OD only V8 rated auto
1988 - 1991 I have no information, ID is on driver's side below
- 1992 - 1993
- L4 and V6 AX-15 5-speed
- V8 No Manual trans offered.
- 1994 - 1996
- L4 and V6 AX-15 5-speed
- V8 NV3500 5-speed
- Ratios: 1st 4.01
- 2ond 2.32
- 3rd 1.40
- 4th 1.00
- 5th 0.73
- REV 3.55
The Haynes manual also refers to a model NP241, but no other info
can be found, may be misprint.
- NP207 Low range ratio 2.72:1
- 1988 - 1996
- NP231 Low range ratio 2.72:1
Axles / Suspension
- Front : IFS 7.25" torsion bar supported. (4x2 coil springs)
- Some models use central axle disconnect similar to
- Wrangler, others have no disconnect system. No model
- uses any type of locking hub. Beware of front shock
- spacing, its tight.
- Rear : 7.25" (4x2 w/I4 and V6) 8.25 (all others)
- Both are sprung by leaf packs over the axle. (4x2 is
- sprung under the axle)
- L4 and V6 7.25 and 8.25 used
- V8 Chrysler 8.25" HD.
- * Lock Right has a Locker for the 8.25 axle.
- Ratios: Dakotas came with 3.21, 3.55, or 3.90. The 3.90 is an
option on all. 3.21 std on V6 and V8 3.55 std on L4,
optional on V6 and V8.
Standard Dimentions as published by Dodge (1991 - 1996) on std tires.
Pre-'91 have slightly smaller dimentions as nose was extended for Magnum
Wheelbase Length Width Height
Regular Short 112" 189.1" 69.4 65.0"
Regular Long 124" 207.5" 69.4" 65.0"
Club Cab 131" 208.1" 69.4 65.6"
Pickup Box Length Width Depth Tailgate Wheel house
Regular Short 6.5' 59.6" 17.5" 58.5" 45.0"
Regular Long 8.0' 59.6" 17.5" 58.5" 45.0"
Club Cab 6.5' 59.6" 17.5" 58.5" 45.0"
Ground Clearance 4x2 4x4
Front Rear Front Rear
Regular Short 7.5" 6.5" 6.8" 6.3"
Regular Long 7.5" 6.5" 6.8" 6.3"
Club Cab 7.5" 6.5" 7.4" 6.9"
Angles Approach Departure Breakover
4x2 4x4 4x2 4x4 4x2 4x4
Regular Short 28.6 35.5 12.1 15.7 15.0 15.4
Regular Long 28.5 35.2 10.7 13.8 13.3 13.8
Club Cab 28.5 35.2 15.7 15.7 13.1 13.1
I have driven my truck for 12,500 miles in the first 8 months. During
that time, I've drawn up the following impressions. Over all, the truck is
a great vehicle. The V8 offers far more power than the truck can apply to
the ground when empty. With the standard transmission, chirping and even
smoking tires into fourth gear isn't hard. Off road, the low 42:1 low
range first gear ratio make for easy climbs and very slow ground speed.
The overdrive allows highway speeds of 65 while turning a nice 2000 RPM.
Standard on 4x2 is P195/75R15
Standard on 4x4 is P205/75R15
I am running a SuperSwamper Radial 31x9.50 on the stock 6"
rims with absolutely NO clearance problems.
- P215/75R15 + 0.3" in GC over std 4x4.
- P235/75R15 + 0.9" in GC over std 4x4.
- Will fit:
- 30x9.50R15 + ~2" in GC over std 4x4.
- 31x9.50r-15 + ~2.5" in GC over std 4x4. (NO RUB!!!)
- 31x10.5R15 + ~2.5" in GC over std 4x4. (may rub a little)
* Running Micky Thompson Baja Belted HPs 31x10.50 on American Racing
* 15x7 rims. These do not make contact either, but the MT is only
* 30.2" tall. A more accurate 31" tire will likely rub as mine do come
* awful close.
- 1987 - 1990 used the 5 on 4.5" bolt pattern, later models use the real
- hard to find 6 on 4.5" pattern. The number and types of aftermarket
- rims is limited but rising. Have only seen 15x7 and 15x8.5.
- There is also a 15x10 rim now available.
- * Rim selection is growing like crazy lately. There are many choices
- * now from all the major builders.
- * Pre '91 owners have a wide variety of rims available as the bolt pattern
- * used is the same as many compact pickups and SUVs on the market today.
The low axle gear combined with the low first gear in the transmission
makes the gear almost useless. I tend to start in second often. The only
time I use first is to start on hills, or when I need to move off the line
quickly. First gear redline comes pretty quick.
All isn't perfect. The radio (a pricey Infinity system) is junk. I
can't wait to get rid of it. The tape deck stopped working two weeks ago.
The radio audio drops out and back in while sitting still.
The Michelin tires are horrible. At 40psi the sidewalls still roll too
much and contribute to rather unsteady cornering. At 30psi, their street
holding ability is still poor, allowing lockup at hard braking, and
difficult acceleration from a stop. Much of this can be due to the V8,
but still, a better tire is needed.
The ride is smooth, the hood seems to levitate over the road with
little or no notice of the bumps in the road. The rear then gives a nice
solid kick. Speed bumps are kind of interesting, the front wheels move
over smoothly, and then the rear seems to leap off the road.
The throttle works well with so much power on tap. The first inches
on the gas produce little change in rpm, but as the halfway point is
reached, the increase is more pronounced. This allows for easy engine
control over rough ground as the foot bouncing causes little engine
After driving Jeeps for the past 6 years, driving such a quiet and well
sealed vehicle can be quite a learning experience. Cross winds on the
highway seem to sneak up on you. Oh well, I guess I'll get used to
talking to my passengers at normal tones, and will stop doing 85mph
because of the lack of road feel.
Sept 9, 1995
Now at 25,000 the truck still runs like new. The new 31" tires do
not affect the power much at all. In fact, they have tamed the engine
a little on the line. Perhaps I'm getting used to the truck, or the
softer rubber is gripping better, but I'm just not spinning these tires
much. 0-60 times have increased by about a 1/4 second, but I think that
has more to do with the larger tire than anything.
Rhino Coat bedliner is way cool! Nothing slides around anymore. Should
be an OEM because the life of the bed will be almost infinite now!!
Got to tow this summer, hauled my sailboat around. It only weighs about
800 lbs, but you'd never know it was on the back from the way the truck
handles. I'm getting a tow bar soon, cause the bumper is a little high
for the small trailer I have. It will reduce my off-road departure angle
a little, but I need a better rear hook anyway.
* November 17, 1995
* The truck is over 28,000 miles now. The new Mickey Thompson's are a
* wonderful addition, the ride is better than stock. I can't wait to see
* how they perform in the rough stuff. Wet traction is fantastic, and on
* the dry pavement, they hold like slicks.
* A few problems have come up. I had trouble with the transfer case not
* wanting to shift at all. It turned out to be some corrosion on the
* shift linkage, and with some grease and a little work, it is back to its
* smooth operation.
* All of a sudden the cold cranking time has shot way up. I have a
* dealer lined up to look at it over the Thanksgiving week. I am also
* having the dealer check into a creaking noise that only occurs when a
* passenger is in the truck. I can't find the cause, but it seems to be
* suspention related.
* The seal on the rear of the transfer case at the slip yoke is leaking
* again, this is the second one. The seals are cheap at the dealer (<$20)
* and replacement is a fairly simple job. (I did it during my lunch hour
* in the parking lot at work)
* It is getting near time for another tune-up at 30,000 miles, but there
* is no sign of wear in engine performance. With the exception of that
* pesky cold start issue, I have had no trouble with the engine. And, with
* the exception of lube on the transfer case linkage and the rear seal, the
* drivetrain has given no trouble. Basicly, no major failures.
Watch the Axle Breathers, they only extend to the top of the frame. Why
can't Truck companies add an extra foot and a clip higher on the body?
Extensions are easy, be sure to reuse the filters.
Best addition to increase MPG is to get a bed cover of some type. After
I added mine, along with a K&N air filter, I now get 19 - 21 MPG with a
V8! (17ish with the new damn fuel.)
* Average mileage for the summer months was back to 19+. I expect a
* slight increase due to the more street friendly rubber this winter.
* The summer increase was probably due to a change to all Synthetic
* fluids in the gear boxes and axles.
* The NV3500 Transmission uses a fluid only listed as a part number
* in the Mopar manuals. With several calls to Detroit and talking with
* several engineers at Dodge, I found that this fluid is just a high
* quality motor oil. they could give me no reason why a good synthetic
* wouldn't work and said it sould be OK. I took the gamble and changed
* the fluid to Castrol Syntec 5w-50 like I run in the engine, and it has
* worked like a charm. I have a Mobile 1 ATF in the transfer case and
* Valvoline Synthetic 75w-120 in the axles. The thump when you let off
* the gas and the drivetrain reverses its load is much less with the
* thicker and better quality synthetics.
No tow hooks are available from the factory. I added one on each side
of the frame in front. To allow access, I cut off the outer sections of
the lower air dam. To plan the cuts, mark the back of the plastic air
dam while on the truck. This mark can be judged from the bumper bracket.
Then remove the dam. Position standard tow hooks on the front frame horns
with the hook curving out to the sides. Strap clips are required in this
position. Drill holes so that front hole is at least one inch from end of
frame horn. Bolt on hooks and replace air dam.
* Several people have added high quality brush guards which have places
* for tow hooks.
Rear hooks are harder. You will need to allow the strap to rub on the
bumper, so cover the sharp edges of the bumper with an old vaccume hose
split down one side and then fitted over the edge. A little silicone will
hold it in place. Now, you can mount hooks using the existing bumper mount
holes. Hope to replace step bumper with a piece of pipe by summer.
* Didn't get the pipe bumper as I couldn't find a pipe I liked. The
* stock one is holding up well. It has been dragged over the ground,
* backed into trees and even bumped by a Jeep. It has yet to rust on
* the outside.
Mounting a 2 way radio requires the removal of the ash tray. There is
really no other place to put the unit. The ash tray bracket can be
modified to act as a radio mount, just do a lot of test fitting before you
cut or drill. Watch the transfer case shifter for clearance.
The new one-hander CB radios fit nice under the dash bolted to the metal
support for the steering wheel. I then ran the mike cord up by the heater
and hang it just under the dash on the driver's right knee pad. I used the
radio antenna for the CB with the $15 JC Whitney "hidden CB antenna"
adapter. Works great!
I found that if you remove the stock jack, the jack storage area can
hold almost all the tools you will need on the trail. Yes, I had to
leave the torque wrench home. What about a jack? Bolt a Hi-Lift to one
side of the bed (inside) using Pop-Nuts. also fits the new Alpine CD
3" available for V6 models only. V8 requires some funky rework of
Trail Master offers 4". Requires Offset wheels w/ bolt plate to
tire restricted to 3.75". Pushes tire way outside wheelwell.
Also requires cutting of one frame crossmember. Kit replaces
with stronger one, but return to stock is impossible.
* Cranking Torsion Bars.
* Although major cranking will shorten the life of the CV joint and
* be harsh on the road, mild lifting in the 1/2" - 1" range have proven
* to work OK for several people.
Keeper of the info sheet:
Christopher Siano | Work Sucks... I'm going
CSiano@Banyan.com | Camping, Mountain Biking
| Sailing, Snowboarding, Wheeling.
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Jon N. Steiger / email@example.com