How Fast Can a V6-powered Dodge Dakota Go?

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No matter your engine choice, this thread is pure gold if you’re thinking about building a fast Dodge Dakota!

For quite some time now, the consensus has been that if you want to make a Dodge Dakota fast, you throw a V8 in it. And it makes a ton of sense. After all, V8 power is cheap, easy, and provides the best bang for your buck. But what if you want to stick with, say, a 3.9-liter V8 in your second gen Dodge Dakota? And what if you want to extract maximum power from that motor in an attempt to go drag racing? Well, that’s the dream of Dodge Forum member tdcubbage, anyway.

“I got my Dodge Dakota for $400, abandoned in the brush. I’ve gotten it to where you see now. It has the V6 now and I have gone back and forth forever on a V8 swap. I know most here prefer the V8, as do I. But as we all know, it all costs money. I’m considering keeping the V6 for these reasons. One, I already have it. Two, it has a better power to weight ratio and it’s lighter. It runs good, and I have a hard time pulling a good running engine. And since I have a 2wd regular cab, I feel the 225 lbs of torque moves the little truck fairly well. I also found that Hughes was advertising the cams for the V6 again.”

Dodge Dakota

Well, the OP makes a pretty good case so far. But his ultimate goal still seems a little lofty.

“My question is, can a V6 run 10s in the 1/4 mile with these mods, or even close to that? I’ve seen where another R/T owner did it with only around 500 hp. I know a V8 could do it easier, BUT. Hypothetically speaking, the truck should have between 275 and 350 hp N/A and close to 500 on the juice. If I could get the Dakota to 500 hp, even if it means a lot of spray, I’d be happy.”

Unsurprisingly, some folks have already tried to make a V6-powered Dodge Dakota this fast. And so far, they’ve failed. Including magnethead.

“With everything done to mine, I’m in the 17s in the quarter and 10s in the 1/8. At 4,400 pounds with me in it. Only thing I changed was swapping from the POS stock trans to a Powerglide ($4,500ish investment so far) and swapping 3.55 gears for 4.10. I gained two tenths on the 1/8 blowing through the converter. Gear swap obviously could be worth more with the stock low gear. But I didn’t feel like rebuilding the trans a third time.”

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