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1993 and 1995 Dakota

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Old 07-08-2015, 09:12 AM
tooltime
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Default 1993 and 1995 Dakota

I maybe looking at some Dakota's and would like some info please. The 2 i found is the yrs in the title. The 95 is a 4 cylinder and the 93 is a 3.9. What kind of pros and cons with these motors? I had a 88 full size with the 3.9 and it did not get good mpgs. That is what i want maybe getting a job and have to drive 45 mins if not longer 1 way. What to look for etc? thanks
 
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Old 07-08-2015, 05:50 PM
onemore94dak
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It depends on how well it is maintained and how well it drives. I would go for the 93 because it has the bigger exhaust and motor. They shrunk the exhaust down in 94. The 4 banger will probably get better mileage. I donít Know anything about them. On the 3.9L Look in the Throttle body for oil on the bottom of the butterfly or pooling inside it. The intake plenum gasket fails because the plenum is stamped steel and the intake is aluminum. Differing expansion rates destroys the gasket oil gets in and MPGís down the tube. Hughes Engines has a fix it kit with a 1/4 plate alum plenum. Have they changed the Crank sensor, cam sensor or any of the sensors in the Throttle body? When? Why? Ask if they recently did the Timing chain and if they have did they install a tensioner. They were built without them but there is a TSB and tensioner designed for it. Look for oil leaks at the top back of the motor. Look for cracks in the exhaust manifolds and off color coolant. Coolant overflow should be to the full line. Make sure it shifts smoothly and is able to hold a steady speed at 25-35 mph then the same at hwy speeds and on hills. It should shift without you having to do anything unless itís manual. Check that the off on button for OD works by driving up into OD then turning it off. It should kick down then back up when you turn it on. Pay attention to the tach that you are not losing RPMís when trying to go faster. You can check the codes by turning the key on and off (Not starting) three times in succession then back on and count the flashes of the check engine light. It will be on for a few seconds when you turn it back on the 4th time then it will go off and the code flashes will begin. Codes are 2 numbers. There is a series of flashes followed by a pause and the next number comes in flashes, the next code will be after a longer pause. 12 means the battery has been disconnected in the last 50 or 100 starts and the 55 means the codes display is over. Look under general info common problems link at the top of this forum. There you can find a list of all codes and common problems. If you get a 12 code be extra suspicious as you snoop, disconnecting the battery erases codes and codes that have not been fixed donít come back right away so it may not show all even after you test drive it. If it is a critical thing consider paying a reliable mechanic or spending more for a newer vehicle. Good Luck.
 
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Old 07-09-2015, 06:54 AM
RalphP
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I'll add that if you're looking for good gas mileage, the Gen1 Dakotas are NOT the answer!

They're about as aerodynamic as a brick wall ...

THAT said - I'd opt for the 3.9. It still doesn't do as good on highway and in town driving as the 5.2/318 would (it's just overtaxed by the weight and the lack of torque), but at least it'll move the truck on its own.

RwP
 
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Old 07-09-2015, 08:24 AM
tooltime
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On www.fueleconomy.gov the 3.9 is listed as combined 16,15 city,19 highway. The 2.5 is 22 combined, 20 city,25 highway
 
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:32 AM
onemore94dak
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On my 3.9 after having done all the things i listed to check I am getting over the last couple fills 18mpg on 16 gals, 20mpg on 14.75 gal it depends on what I am doing all in town or hwy and there is still something I need to overcome as far as how well it runs. I have seen people claim they are getting 22+mpg in their 3.9. The main thing you want is to be sure its running good. I would have gone an entirely different route with this thing if I had known the issues it had instead of slowly discovering them as my wallet emptied out. I could have put in a new motor for the 3K I have spent and I still have a motor with 143K miles on it.
 
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Old 07-09-2015, 01:51 PM
tooltime
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Originally Posted by onemore94dak View Post
On my 3.9 after having done all the things i listed to check I am getting over the last couple fills 18mpg on 16 gals, 20mpg on 14.75 gal it depends on what I am doing all in town or hwy and there is still something I need to overcome as far as how well it runs. I have seen people claim they are getting 22+mpg in their 3.9. The main thing you want is to be sure its running good. I would have gone an entirely different route with this thing if I had known the issues it had instead of slowly discovering them as my wallet emptied out. I could have put in a new motor for the 3K I have spent and I still have a motor with 143K miles on it.
May i ask what was wrong with it?
 
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Old 07-09-2015, 02:27 PM
onemore94dak
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I got it cheap $900 138Kmi and it seemed like it would need a tranny. Then it ran out of gas after only 175 miles on a full tank. That lead me here and I began discovering the issues with these motors. I could have gotten away without the timing chain or replacing all the sensors. I just did that to make it run better and last. The gas mileage doubled (I got 385 miles in the next full tank) as soon as I did the Plenum/timing chain job. Turns out I have a clogged Cat which would have explained a lot of RPM issues. I had done a vacuum test and it passed do I assumed it meant the Cat was good. I hit the Cat with a temp gun and its 168 at the front weld and 125 at the back. It should be reversed hot in back cooler in front.
 
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Old 07-11-2015, 11:06 AM
tooltime
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I talked to the guy with the 95 truck and may look at it tomorrow Sunday. What to look for and ask about. Said the motor/trans is fine paint bad on top and hood. It is a auto and to check the fluid let it warm up put in N and check on level ground? Anything else and thanks
 
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Old 07-11-2015, 05:35 PM
onemore94dak
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Look at the FAQ page. I just ran into another common problem with these the exhaust manifold bolts and studs like to break. They also have a head and exhaust manifold cracking issue. In 94 they reduced the exhaust ports in the manifold and made the pipe smaller as well. basically from a almost 3inch down to a 2 inchish. Apparently they did not change the head at all. I wonder if that causes the exhaust mani probs. IDK why the heads are cracking I expect design flaws. Anyway I would pay attention to the coolant color smell it for signs of oil. You don't want to end up with a bunch of extra work you cannot afford or do not want to do. I like learning new things but I do not like having to spend the time and money.
 
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