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1st Gen Dakota '96 & Older Dakota's
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**FAQ -----General Info, Common problems, Factory Service Manuals**

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Old 08-29-2006, 06:03 AM
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Arrow **FAQ -----General Info, Common problems, Factory Service Manuals**

Please post your suggestions/ideas/etc. in THIS POST
If you need further assistance with any of the issues below, please do not hesitate to make a new thread.

For performance and modifications check the FAQ2

Also check www.photobucket.com or www.tinypic.com and use the photo link that uses the [IMG] tags.
Or upload it to the post by going to the "Go Advance" post tab next to "post reply" at the bottom then to "Manage Attachments" near the bottom. Then "Browse". Find th picture on your computer files. Then Upload.

Do I have 2WABS/RWABS Rear Wheel ABS or 4WABS/AWABS All Wheel Anti-Lock Brakes? HERE

Which are the best oil filers to use. Click HERE.

Which are the best air filters to use. Click HERE.

Fuel gauge doesn't work- A common problem in these trucks are gas gauges that put out erroneous readings. (This problem is common to not just the Dakota, but also the Rams, and many other Dodge vehicles) Some people have had luck with running fuel system cleaner (such as "Chevron Techron"), that might at least help the issue. The tabs the unit rode up and down on were messed up, he simply snapped/bent them back in place, and his gauge works again. Here is a GOOD write up. HERE
Unfortunately, at some point, they integrated the fuel sending unit with the fuel pump, so not all years have a separately serviceable sending unit.

Here is a quick write up on a replacement gauge float. Here

My automatic transmission is not shifting properly. - A common cause of improper shifting can be caused by a miss adjusted Throttle Valve (TV) Cable. To adjust it properly click HERE. Don't forget a low fluid level can cause shifting problems. This cable can be refereed as the Detent cable, Down shift cable. The TV cable can adjust shift points. You can try doing a transmission fluid change. Go HERE for a diagnostic chart.

Truck will not start.- A common problem in the trucks, primarily ones made between 1993 Through 1995, was failure (corrosion) of the splice that feeds battery power to the automatic shutdown (ASD) and fuel pump relays. If these relays do not get battery power, your truck will not be able to start. This could also cause intermittent problems, or could possibly "kill" the truck when driving down the road. The splice is located underneath the Power Distribution Center (PDC), which is the black box located behind the battery. To Troubleshoot

Another common problem is a bad fuel pump or bad wires/feed. Go HERE to Troubbleshoot.

My 4wd doesn't work. - It uses a CAD up to 1993. Central Axle Disconnect, which is vacuum operated. It could be a vacuum leak or a bad CAD actuator. There are no locking hubs. Click HERE.

I feel a vibration. Check out this diagnostic chart. Click HERE!

Daytime Running Lights (DRLs), how do I disable?- Simply disconnect the electrical connector from the DRL module. The module is located on the passenger-side inner fender (engine compartment) near the firewall. You should probably cover both ends (on the unit and on the connector) with protective tape.

My dash lights do not work, but they illuminate my radio and heater controls- The connector on the back of the instrument panel is not making good contact. You need to remove the instrument panel and make sure the connectors are clean. Also, you should probably add some di-electric grease to the contact. Visit this post to read more.

I can not find lower control arm bushings. Go HERE

My truck idles odd, or does not idle at all- It could be an Idle Air Control (IAC) motor problem. This is mounted on the back of the throttle body. It has a pintle that moves in and out (to control air flow to the engine when the engine is idling). You can take it off and clean it up and see if that helps. Go Here for a pre Magnum engines 88-91.

My heater blower doesn't work on all the settings- Chances are that the blower resistor block is faulty. The resistor block is located on the passenger side firewall. It's very easy to change out.


General Information

My check engine light is on- Go HERE to check your codes. If you need help with a code, please post the code, don't just say, "the code said something about ______"
While 1996 model years ARE fully OBDII compliant (code scanners will work), you still have to use the "count the flash" just like previous years. HERE Here Or HERE is a list of what the new, OBDII codes mean.

Bolt Sizes Click HERE

My Maintenance Required Light is on - Go Here

My ABS and Brake light is on Go HERE

What size of gas/fuel tank do I have? Go HERE!

My Engine oil light is on/ Engine Oil Pressure Gauge is low. Most likely the Oil Pressure Switch is bad. Replacing it best. For pressures with a new gauge go HERE.

How to properly shift your transfer case into 4WD, 4HI, 4LO. Ect. Click Here

How do I check my automatic transmission fluid level?- Start engine and bring it to operating temperature (usually done by driving a several miles). With engine at operating temperature, park on a level surface. Shift the transmission through all the gears, and shift into neutral. Set the parking brake and pop the hood. Check transmission fluid (remember, engine must be running, transmission must be warmed up, transmission must be in neutral, and parked on level ground). Adjust as needed using only ATF+3 or ATF+4, DO NOT OVERFILL! For clarification purposes, the use of "ATF+4" on transmission fluids labeled as such (not to be confused as "recommended where ATF+4 is called for") is strictly licensed from Chrysler. All ATF+4 fluid is synthetic.

What automatic transmission fluid should I use?- Use ONLY ATF+3 or ATF+4 fluids! As stated in the above paragraph: For clarification purposes, the use of "ATF+4" on transmission fluids labeled as such (not to be confused as "recommended where ATF+4 is called for") is strictly licensed from Chrysler. All ATF+4 fluid is synthetic.

What can I do to increase performance and/or MPGs?- V-8 swap? See FAQ 2 for list of possible mods!

What size speakers do I have?
Regular cab and Club Cab
Door: 5.25" Round
Rear: 5x7" Oval

How much can my truck Tow/Haul? Go Here

What kind of hitch do I need? It depends on what your going to tow. Check this list of hitches by classifications. HERE

Tune-Up, What to do?- Spark plugs (avoid "multiple-electrode" plugs [such as Bosch+2,+4]), spark plug wires, distributor cap, distributor rotor (located under the cap), air filter, PCV valve, and crankcase breather filter fuel filter are all things to change or at least inspect. Autolite 3923's are best for performance.

Where can I request a build sheet for my truck? Go Here Write Build sheet request. Write in your last 8 digits of your VIN number.

Water leak from the rain. Passanger/Driver Front/Rear floor. Go HERE

My speedo is off after installing larger tires. Go HERE

Info on stock fog light assemblies. HERE

Fuel Rollover valve replacement for OEM. https://dodgeforum.com/forum/1st-gen...fuel-pump.html
Fluid Capacities:

(1990 model year)
  • Fuel Tank: 15 gallon, 22 optional
  • Engine oil: 2.5L 4.0 quarts, 3.9L 4.0 quarts
  • Cooling System: 2.5L 9.8 quarts, 3.9L 14.0 quarts, 3.9L with 26" wide core 14.3 quarts
  • Automatic Transmission: A500 (3.9L) 10.2 quarts
  • Manual Transmission: NP-2500 2.0 quarts
  • Transfer Case: NP-231 2.5 pints
  • Front Axle: 7-1/4" 2.6 pints
  • Rear Axle: 7-1/4" 3.0 pints, 8-1/4" 4.4 pints
  • Power Steering: 2WD 1.7 pints, 4WD 2.5 pints
(1995/1996 model year)
  • Fuel Tank: 15 gallon, 22 optional
  • Engine oil with filter: 2.5L 4.5 quarts, 3.9L 4.0 quarts, 5.2L 5.0 quarts (subtract .5 quarts for no filter)
  • Cooling system: 2.5L 9.3L, 3.9L 13.3L, 5.2L 13.5L
  • Automatic Transmission: 42RE and 46RE 9.0L-10.4L "dry fill" (dropping the pan and replacing the filter takes about 4-5 quarts)
  • Manual Transmission: NV3500 2.0L, AX15 3.1L
  • Transfer Case: NP231 1.2L
  • Front Axle: 7-1/4" 1.4L
  • Rear Axle: 7-1/4" 1.4L, 8-1/4" 2.1L (if equipped with a limited slip differential, make sure to add LSD additive, available at your dealer, check the bottle of gear oil, as some are LSD-friendly out of the bottle)
  • Power Steering: 2WD .81L, 4WD 1.18L
2.2L Carb. 96HP 1987-1988
2.5L TBFI 99HP 1989-1995
2.5L TBFI 120HP 1996 (1)

3.9L Carb. 125HP 195TQ 1987
3.9L TBFI 125HP 195TQ 1988-1991
3.9L MPFI 180HP 225TQ1992-1993
3.9L MPFI 175HP 220TQ 1994-1996 (2)

5.2L TBFI 175HP 270 1989-1990 (Shelby models only)
5.2L TBFI 170HP 265 1991
5.2L MPFI 230HP 290TQ 1992-1993
5.2L MPFI 220HP 280TQ 1994-1995 (2)
5.9L MPFI 245HP 330TQ (The 5.9 did not come in the 1st Generation Dakota's but just for reference.)

(1) In 1996, Dodge dropped the former 2.5L K-model engine, in favor of the AMC (Jeep) 2.5L.
(2) In 1994, the 3.9L and 5.2L got a slight reduction in power because the exhaust manifolds and exhaust tubing was reduced in size.
TBFI = Throttle Body Fuel Injection
MPFI = Multiple Point Fuel Injection

The Dakota has come the following autos. (All are the same case style, just slight differences)
1987 32RH 32RH (A-999) Three speed V6 only
1988-1991 42RH (A-500) Four speed V6 only

1992-1995 had the following two:
42RH Four speed "V6 only" (1st 2.74, 2nd 1.54, 3rd 1.0, 4th 0.69, Rev. 2.21)
46RH Four speed "V8 only" (1st 2.45, 2nd 1.45, 3rd 1.0, 4th 0.69, Rev. 2.21)

1996 has the following two:
V6 42RE Four speed
V8 46RE Four speed

The 42RE and 46RE series, stands for: The 4 = 4 speed. The 2,6 = torque load level the tranny can take (higher= stronger). R = Rear wheel drive. E = Electronic or H = Hydraulic

Here is a nice article about the 46RH + 46RE + 727 + A518 evolution

Here is a list of Auto Transmissions by make and year.

1987 - 1991 New Process A535 / NV2500 (same transmission... the name changed when the company was sold) A good NV2500 post Here.

1992 - 1993:
L4 and V6 AX-15 5-speed (1st 3.83, 2nd 2.33, 3rd 1.44, 4th 0.79 Rev. 4.22)
V8 No Manual trans offered.

1994 - 1996
L4 and V6 AX-15 5-speed
V8 NV3500 5-speed (1st 4.01, 2nd 2.32, 3rd 1.40, 4th 1.00,5th 0.73, Rev. 3.55)

Here is a list of Manual transmissions by make and year.

Here is a list of manual Transmissions with descriptions of different transmission.

Transfer Case
1987 NP207 Low range ratio 2.72:1
1988-1996 NP231 Low range ratio 2.72:1

Decoding: NP=New Process or NV=New Venture (Manufacturer) // "2"= # speeds // "3"=Torque load rading (strength,1-7) // "1"= part-time 4WD
("2" = full-time 4WD)
Here is a list of transfer cases by make and year
Good articles:

Axles / Suspension
Front: 4X4 IFS Chry 7.25" torsion bar. 4x2 coil springs (The 1st gen. Viper suspension. was based off of the Dakotas). Some models use central axle disconnect (CAD) similar to Wrangler, others have no disconnect system. No model uses any type of locking hub.

Rear: Chry 7.25" (4x2 w/I4 and V6) (Octagon Diff Cover)
Chry 8.25" (V6, all v8s) (Oval Diff Cover)
4X4 sprung by leaf packs over the axle.
4x2 is sprung under the axle
Ratios: 3.21 (rare), 3.55 (normal), or 3.90 (rare). LSD Track Lok Optional
Differential Identification

What gear ratio do I have?
Jack up one tire if you have an open diff, or both tires if you have a working posi or locking differential. Rotate the tire one full revolution for posis and lockers and 2 full revolutions for open diffs. Carefully count the number of full revolutions the driveshaft makes. This is your gear ratio. In other words, if the drive shaft turns 3 turns, you probably have a 3.73 gear ratio. Turning the tire for twice the number of full revolutions and dividing the drive shaft revolutions by two will give you a more accurate reading.

Do I have a posi (LSD) or a locker?
Put the transmission in neutral and jack up both tires. Turn one tire. If the other tire spins the opposite direction you have an open differential, and if it spins the same direction you have a posi (LSD) or a locker.

Wheel bolt pattern:
1987-1990 5 x 4.5" (lots use this bolt pattern from Chevy's to Toyota)
1991-2009 6 x 4.5", 6 x 114.3 (rare, hard to find)
Wheels that will work for the 6x 4.5:
91-04 Dakotas, 98-03 Durangos, All Vipers, and 05-08 Nissan Pathfinder/Frontier/Xterra, 04-05: Cadillac SRX, Suzuki Equator 08-09.

Bolt pattern all makes and years:

Where can I get wheel spacers/ Adapters? http://www.ezaccessory.com/category_s/178.htm or www.ebay.com

Where can I find more information?- As gb6491 pointed out, many libraries have access to repair manuals, either in print, or on-line. AutoZone.com has a web page with some information (at AutoZone.com, click on "Repair Info" on the left side of the screen, and just follow the prompts)

Here are fuel injector flow rates and fuel pressures of several truck years. HERE
AllPar (All Mopars)
AllPar (1st Gen Dakotas)
Engine Performance: Tips and Tricks
All Dakota Info
3.9, 5.2 and 5.9 Engine Specs
Mopar Engine Info... Changes through the years
Gear and Tire Calculators
Wheel Bolt Patterns
2nd-gen-ram/171765-injectors.html?highlight=fuel+rate"]Fuel Injectors, Fuel Rates

PDF Downloadable Service manuals

1995 Dodge Dakota Factory Service Manual PDF

1996 Dodge Dakota Facory Service Manual PDF

1996 Dodge Dakota Powertrain Dianostic Chart

46rh (A500) / 42rh (A518) Auto Transmission Service Manual.

More Service manuals/Universal

You can get Haynes. It is similar to Chilton's in price and material, it will run you $25 at most parts stores. For $19.00 you can get a full service manual on-line at https://www.alldatadiy.com/index.html http://www.autozone.com/shopping/repairGuide.htm
OR get the paper Full book at any dealership parts stores for $80. I got 1, I love it. Or http://www.helminc.com/helm/homepage.asp?r
Or www.ebay.com OR here are a few sites that have some good manual stuff.

http://search.ebscohost.com/ 3 accounts to try
#1 User Name:tech
#1 Password:tech

#2 User name: library
#2 Password: library

#3 User name: greatfalls
#3 Password: publiclibrary

#4 User name: roselle
#4 Password: library


When it asks for the login just type any letter and any 12 digits
ex. a 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 2 3 (with no spaces)(Michigan state drivers license number)

For library card number enter 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 (with no spaces) submit, chose the Cincinnati/Hamilton Library submit, scroll down to AUTO REPAIR REFERENCE CENTER, pick year, make and model. It even has manuals for atvs and other small engines


Wiring Diagrams (Note: The service manuals contains the wiring diagrams as well.)
1990 Dodge Dakota(PDF, 5.6MB)

1994 Dakota wiring diagrams (non-Chrysler made), PDF, 1.4MB

1996 Dakota wiring diagrams, PDF, 6MB

http://www.the12volt.com/ (Radio wires)

http://www.bulldogsecurity.com/ (Car alarm/ remote starter wires)

Not what your looking for? Keep in mind that if your truck is close to that year, it's wiring is probably similar. You can also try this Auto Zone web-page.

Vacuum Diagrams You will now have to register (free) and log into their system in order to view the repair info

Part Manuals:

1986-1987 Dodge

1988-1989 Dodge

1990-1993 Dodge

1994-1996 Dodge


Transmission Diagnostics:

https://dodgeforum.com/forum/2nd-gen...is-charts.html (Transmission Diagnostic Chart)

Dodge Truck VIN Decoder!


Last edited by Crazy4x4RT; 02-24-2014 at 10:10 PM.
Old 05-02-2010, 02:41 PM
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Special Edition Dakotas

Shelby Dakota

Zimmer Dakota
(No links)

Lil Red Express (1990- 1992 by LER industries, made after factory)

1987 Dakota Express


Indy 500
(Not a Indy 500 pace car!) Its a Limited Special Edition! http://www.indypacecars.com/faq.html

http://www.geocities.com/MotorCity/D...1/warrior.html (Site Down, may be up sometime)

Midnight Express
(No links)

Mark III

http://www.sportruck.com/readers/7/topless.htm (Not all about the Mark III)
http://www.v-sales.com/pro_ge.htm (Body kit for dodge but doesn't say Dakota)

There were no Shelby Dakota Convertible. These site say they did put stickers on it.

Look for any production Numbers http://www.productioncars.com/

__________________________________________________ ______________________________

Select Pages From the Factory Service Manuals (For Quick Reference)
__________________________________________________ ______________________________

Fuse Box

1992-1996 Dodge Dakota

1990-Down Dodge Dakota

Power Distribution Center (PDC)


PCM Connector Pinouts


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3.9 & 5.2L

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Firing Order Dodge Magnum engine 5.2 & 5.9 v8 & 3.9 V6

Attached Thumbnails **FAQ -----General Info, Common problems, Factory Service Manuals**-90dakotafuse.jpg   **FAQ -----General Info, Common problems, Factory Service Manuals**-90realy.jpg   **FAQ -----General Info, Common problems, Factory Service Manuals**-2eyden8.jpg   **FAQ -----General Info, Common problems, Factory Service Manuals**-coolant.jpg  

Last edited by Crazy4x4RT; 06-03-2013 at 10:58 PM.
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