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91 Allante (gone), 06 SRX (gone)
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4,396 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
A buddy of mine is selling his 02 Dakota club cab, RWD, v6, auto, base level truck, with 89K. I've been thinking about a small, used chore truck. (It needs to be low enough for my wife to transfer in from her wheelchair.) I'm mainly a GM and Ford person due to family connections. Opinions on the Dakota?
 

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1992 STS / 2005 MB G500 / 2003 STS / 2006 XLR-V
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11,694 Posts
Man I can't say it enough times when it comes to Chrysler products. Transmission, transmission, transmission. Why can't Chrysler rub 2 cents together to build a REASONABLY reliable transmission in ANYTHING automatic? Beats the shit out of me! But all I know is that it is one of the FEW stereotypes of a product that I know to be ABSOLUTELY true. I'm not saying the truck is BAD, but I'm saying that I hope when you purchase it you are getting a good enough deal that you will be able to set aside enough for a transmission repair if/when it breaks if he hasn't had it overhauled/replaced already.

I really like the 2002 Dodge Ram V6 little work truck that I just bought. But it only has 75k miles, was well cared for, and already it does strange transmission things every so often (I live 2 blocks from work so it's still cold when I pull into my office parking lot, and it slams into R and D when I'm maneuvering around to park occasionally, sometimes the shifts on the road can be too firm as well). My Escalade with 13000 more miles has the strength and reliability you expect out of a GM trans. In any case, at the purchase price I got the Ram for I pretty much am accepting the fact that SOMEWHERE down the line I'm gonna need a trans-rebuild. I really do love the truck as basic as it is, but drivetrain-wise Chrysler products just lack. I REPEAT, I LIKE THE TRUCK.

My 1997 Grand Cherokee that the Dodge Ram replaced, had to be BOUGHT BACK by the selling Jeep dealer because the transmission was already toast when they sold it to me (again, perfectly cared for, 1 owner truck... the dealership didn't detect the problem because it only happened once the truck was good and warm from a half-hour of driving) at 113k miles (and don't even try to tell me 113k is the expected service life of a transmission you Mopar fanatics). I made 100.00 in my pocket on that deal since I had already cashed the check they originally sent me for the overage in taxes, but still, unacceptable.

That's a long-winded way of saying that the Dakota will be perfect for what you want it for, but you better be getting a HELLACIOUS deal on it.
 

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Premium Member
2006 STS V8 AWD, '95 Ford Ranger
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28,985 Posts
Back in the day, the Torqueflite 727 was the standard by which all other transmissions were judged. Now all they can produce is junk.
 

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None yet!
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1,025 Posts
Can't say it enough times. Stay away from automatic Chrysler trucks. Just not reliable enough. If you can find one with a stick, though, they are fine vehicles.
 

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1992 Town Car Cartier & 2014 Accord LX MTX
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34,087 Posts
Back in the day, the Torqueflite 727 was the standard by which all other transmissions were judged. Now all they can produce is junk.
Yep, wasn't that a real quick shifting tranny too? I remember reading somewhere that when used in the Roadrunners and GTX's, it actually shifted faster than a manual with a good driver.
 

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91 Allante (gone), 06 SRX (gone)
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4,396 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
S-10, Ranger, or Dakota extended cab - which is most reliable? No foreign, no full size, no 4 cylinder.
 

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1992 Town Car Cartier & 2014 Accord LX MTX
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34,087 Posts
The S-10s with the Vortec 4.3L will go thru oil cooler lines, intake manifold gaskets and something related to the front suspension (I can't remember if it's wheel bearings or ball joints), but other than that, they're fairly solid. That 4.3L is a beast....feels like a small V8....loads of torque, great reliability, but when something is based directly off the 5.7L you know it's gonna be solid.
 

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1991 Sedan Deville
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2,932 Posts
The S-10s with the Vortec 4.3L will go thru oil cooler lines, intake manifold gaskets and something related to the front suspension (I can't remember if it's wheel bearings or ball joints), but other than that, they're fairly solid. That 4.3L is a beast....feels like a small V8....loads of torque, great reliability, but when something is based directly off the 5.7L you know it's gonna be solid.
Well that is a pretty huge V6, considering there are a number of V8's with much smaller displacement then that. Yeah, the 5.7 it an amazing engine.
 

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2003 Cadillac Seville STS 73k Miles, '90 Chevy 1500 Reg Cab
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725 Posts
The 4.3 Vortec is a heck of an engine.....worked on/owned the following vehicles with it
-95 Chevy Blazer 4WD-Oil pressure bottomed out at 80mph after 168k miles....other than that absolutely no problems other than routine maintenance.
-03 Chevy Astro-Running strong at 120k miles, haven't done a thing to it yet
-94 GMC Safari-260k miles, most involved thing that it has required so far is a starter, still mom's daily driver.
-89 Chevy Extended Cab S-10 4WD, 210k miles, had a problem with the ignition module, but after getting that replaced its back to running like a champ.

About the only thing to know on the 4.3's is that the water pumps generally fail around 130-150k miles, we just got in the habit of replacing them every 125k miles and avoiding the dreaded anti freeze puking in the parking lot 300 miles from home. They've got a ton of power, very reliable and generally easy to service if required.

Personally I'd stay away from the Dakota....just too many tranny problems.....the S-10/Colorado would be my preference, though even though I'm a Chevy guy the Ranger is a decent truck as well.
 

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1991 Sedan Deville
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2,932 Posts
The 4.3 Vortec is a heck of an engine.....worked on/owned the following vehicles with it
-95 Chevy Blazer 4WD-Oil pressure bottomed out at 80mph after 168k miles....other than that absolutely no problems other than routine maintenance.
-03 Chevy Astro-Running strong at 120k miles, haven't done a thing to it yet
-94 GMC Safari-260k miles, most involved thing that it has required so far is a starter, still mom's daily driver.
-89 Chevy Extended Cab S-10 4WD, 210k miles, had a problem with the ignition module, but after getting that replaced its back to running like a champ.

About the only thing to know on the 4.3's is that the water pumps generally fail around 130-150k miles, we just got in the habit of replacing them every 125k miles and avoiding the dreaded anti freeze puking in the parking lot 300 miles from home. They've got a ton of power, very reliable and generally easy to service if required.

Personally I'd stay away from the Dakota....just too many tranny problems.....the S-10/Colorado would be my preference, though even though I'm a Chevy guy the Ranger is a decent truck as well.
Yeah, the Ranger is better than the F150, considering its mostly made by Mazda
 

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'03 STS (RIP), '89 Eldorado, '13 Malibu, '89 Grand Wagoneer
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2,191 Posts
Back in the day, the Torqueflite 727 was the standard by which all other transmissions were judged. Now all they can produce is junk.
As much as it pains me like nothing else when the planets align, subsequently causing Koz and I to agree on something... The fast of the matter is he is spot on.

The Torqueflite 727 is quite possibly the most bullet-proof transmission to have ever been put into production. The Grand Wag has the venerable old 727 three-speed and she still shifts as if she were new 20 years and 120,000 miles later. Mated to the big, burbling 360 - it's the perfect combination ever put into the SJ Jeeps.

As far as the Dakotas go, I believe the base models used the 42RE, which were iffy at best (although you can always end up with a fluke that slipped out and runs well forever).

However... I do know that the Dakota R/Ts of that era (as did the '98 Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limiteds) used the 46RE trans, which was actually a direct derivative of the 727 and as such, generally faired much better reliability wise.
 

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1992 STS / 2005 MB G500 / 2003 STS / 2006 XLR-V
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11,694 Posts
As much as it pains me like nothing else when the planets align, subsequently causing Koz and I to agree on something... The fast of the matter is he is spot on.

The Torqueflite 727 is quite possibly the most bullet-proof transmission to have ever been put into production. The Grand Wag has the venerable old 727 three-speed and she still shifts as if she were new 20 years and 120,000 miles later. Mated to the big, burbling 360 - it's the perfect combination ever put into the SJ Jeeps.

As far as the Dakotas go, I believe the base models used the 42RE, which were iffy at best (although you can always end up with a fluke that slipped out and runs well forever).

However... I do know that the Dakota R/Ts of that era (as did the '98 Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limiteds) used the 46RE trans, which was actually a direct derivative of the 727 and as such, generally faired much better reliability wise.
Accurate statements all around there. The 42RE is a pile of garbage, I now understand why my V8 Grands were so good while only 1 of my I6 Grands was reliable. My 2002 Ram has the 545RFE??? I believe, which made its debut on the WJ Grand Cherokee and is another questionable piece.

On a side note, my XJ Cherokees all had the AW4 Japanese transmission I believe, which has nothing to do with Chrysler at all. Outside of solenoid failures, those are very solid.

TRANSMISSIONS... THEY'VE BEEN AROUND FOR DECADES CHRYSLER. IT'S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.
 
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