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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
02 Dakota 4x4 Quad Cab

Howdy folks :wave:

Wife and I are new to the Dakota world but not new to Dodges. We just picked up our new Colorado trail machine. It's an 02 Dak: 5.9/360 Magnum, auto (46re), AWD, 3.92 gears, a limited slip rear, and has just over 129k miles on the clock. Not a bad little machine and real nice inside. Has what appears to be a 'basic' 3" lift, and major bonus points is it was about 15 minutes from my house. All in all in pretty good shape - has some normal hail damage but it runs very well and cruises clean at 80 mph. Has the tan interior we really really wanted. Got it for $4200 - thought that was a pretty decent price. Should be a real good platform to start with.

Will be a long while before doing anything major to it - we'll just wheel the local lighter trails and get a good feel for it - do some minor maintenance and maybe put some tires on it. Meanwhile we'll keep an eye out for some of the major hardware destined to go under it etc.

Eventual plans (like maybe two years or so from now) are to go decently big with it by doing a front solid axle swap (SAS), probably an Atlas t-case, Ford D60 front and GM 14 bolt rear, 5.38's, and 40" radials.







 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
...looked close underneath and the truck is about as 'rust free' as it could be - pretty happy with the overall condition -











Here are a few cool comparison shots next to the truck this Dak is 'replacing' ;) - what was most interesting (and deceptive) is both trucks are nearly the same length while the Dakota (currently) has about a foot shorter wheelbase -









 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
...and this is an 'artists rendition' of what our little Dak wants to be like when he gets all grow'd up (and big props to the original builder - I 'shopped the original photo and stretched the rear wheel well and moved the rear axle back about 6 inches...) -

 

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I followed your build over on pirate, excited to see what you do with the Dakota. If it's anything like the other build I'm sure it'll be spectacular.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks TJ - We're looking forward to a quieter, more comfortable, more street-friendly machine...but we're sure gonna miss the monster capability of Bud - that thing is just spectacular fun off road - but when the Dak is all grow'd up it aught to be pretty dern'd fun too. :)

Gave the truck a real close inspection yesterday and found a couple items that need to be addressed. First the trans dipstick tube was all wobbling around - the retainer tab to the block had broken the spot welds loose - so pulled the tab, drilled a hole in it, reinstalled it, and used a hose clamp to keep the dipstick rigid - primitive but effective.

Also noticed coolant oozing down the edge of the timing cover/block, so looks like the engine needs a water pump. I just don't feel like doing it so called my local mechanic and a water pump R&R is only $350 soooo made an appointment for that :eek:nethumb:

Other than that everything underneath looks to be in decent shape. First trail run is in two weekends so we'll see how well the little dude does there.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
And thanks to D-D member Ed 'RXT', he's done some fun photo-shopage and I've made a couple personal touches, and come up with the next evolution of our family trail machine - the lift may be a little tall but it's pretty close to what we're thinking -



...and a few more comparisons with the Dak on 40s -



 

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Discussion Starter #8
no worries Ed :)

So one thing I really want to try to improve with the truck is the 'hang time' in each gear. The PO told us the transmission was rebuilt about 5000 miles ago, and it sure seems like the kickdown linkage is adjusted 'light' - needs more time in each gear. I haven't looked real hard yet but I think I saw a mechanical 'old school' cable that I might be able to tighten up to keep the transmission in gear(s) longer. It's shifting at 'diesel' rpms not V8 rpms - gotta cure that.

I also think the oil pressure gauge might be old - while there aren't any numbers on the gauge (grrrr) it seems at lower rpms the pressure guage is lower than I'd expect (at the 1/3 hash mark) - might just be 'old' - simple enough to replace, but not an immediate requirement.

Any inputs or suggestions from anyone on either of those items will be muchly appreciated :)
 

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Hey Sam
You ever resolve this? As I recall it, my Dakota (before SAS'ville and Cummins'ville) also seemed to shift at "diesel" rpms. I contributed this to an economy biased program. Maybe it's a PIA, but whenever I wanted to run hard and fast, I manually shifted and that seemed to help. The old 318 in mine pulled great up into 5000 rpms, shifting it manually, but in "D" mode the shift point seemed to happen at about 3000 rpm. I don't know if you can change shift points with these new computer controlled transmissions, but maybe you might want to look into a good shifter as well as seeing if you can adjust the shift points.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #10
...not yet - I haven't had time to really get under the truck and see if the kick down linkage is adjustable, but I am using the od/off-on button to keep it in a more 'usable' rpm range.

One other thing that really drives me nutz is it engages lockup pretty much immediately after going into 3rd - I'd love to be able to control lockup with a button same as the OD...but that may be a bridge too far. It's 'okay' enough for now.

It was leaking coolant down the timing case cover, and I didn't want to tear all of that apart to fix it, so we took it to a good local shop and had them R&R the timing cover, and they installed a new water pump and a radiator (had a crack in it and was also leaking), and no more leaks, and it's warrantied so if it leaks again I can just take it back :eek:nethumb:

First wheeling trip is this weekend - aught to be a proper shake down run.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
...another thing I noticed this weekend is that the "AWD" is effectively useless when driving in icy-snowy-wintery weather.....unless something in the t-case is straight-up broken. The "AWD" in this truck very definitely does not mean 'all wheels driving' - at least not what I expected it to be like - the back end was trying to pass the front end just like it was in 2WD. But, flip it into 4WD and it squares up like I expected it to and drives perfectly.

Granted the tires are definitely not new and they are not A/Ts either, but I still expected the front end to be trying to 'pull' the truck straight, but there was no indication the front end was engaged.

Maybe it's supposed to act like that but I expected it to be MUCH better in the snowy/icy conditions. So unless the 244 that's supposed to be under it was swapped for a 233...well something's not right in t-case land...
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
....so THIS is weird - I just checked the tag on the t-case, and it says 233D....tho the switch on the dash reads [AWD-4HI-4LO]..... :huh: so, the most likely explanation is at some point in this trucks' history the AWD NP244D t-case has been swapped out for the 4WD NP233D part-time unit, or I suppose it's possible the truck was a part-time chassis to begin with and the dash switch was swapped out for the AWD version (unlikely...)....or I suppose it's also possible the factory bolted up the wrong t-case or dash switch (even less likely but who knows...) - but, I wanted the part-time version anyway. Oh yeah - also apparently the 'AWD" dash switch will indeed auto-magically 'control' the 233 just like a part-time switch normally would. I was worried the 244 had internal damage, but apparently that ain't the case so woot! - drinks all around!! :banana2:
 

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Now that is weird! Did the last owner tell you it was an AWD? I "think" there should be an equipment identification sticker, thats located on the underside of the hood that lists the hardware that came on your truck. If it' was originally a NP233 or NP244, the sticker should list it.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Now that is weird! Did the last owner tell you it was an AWD? I "think" there should be an equipment identification sticker, thats located on the underside of the hood that lists the hardware that came on your truck. If it' was originally a NP233 or NP244, the sticker should list it.

Ed
I've seen the sticker but didn't pay close attention to the t-case id because based on the dash switch I presumed it was a 244. The PO didn't say anything about it nor did I ask simply because of what was on the switch...

So yah it's definitely a quandary....but at least it works :eek:nethumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
...the sticker didn't 'print' completely but I do think it was originally an AWD chassis. Meh - no matter 'cause I wanted the part-time t-case anyway...and it's working :eek:nethumb:

On another note I got the windows working. It wasn't the switch - it was a 'loose' connection (with the bigger of the two connectors - the one that controls the windows but not the mirrors and locks) between the individual wire end terminals and the pins into the switch. The plug is tight into the switch but pull lightly forward/backward on the wires into the connector and there is intermittent contact. I used some long needle nose pliers and slightly 'twisted' the pins into the switch, and along with some dielectric grease for good measure reconnected the plug and all is well.

I need to find a new master switch bezel as mine is busted up pretty good - mostly held in place via gravity...

But hey - I have working windows, no coolant leaks, a part-time chassis, and we're going wheeling this weekend so overall I'm pretty happy :)
 

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:eek:ne thumb: Looking great! In light of your upcoming off road adventure in your new ride…..



One other thing that really drives me nutz is it engages lockup pretty much immediately after going into 3rd - I'd love to be able to control lockup with a button same as the OD...but that may be a bridge too far. It's 'okay' enough for now.

One of the things that drove me nuts was that you can shut off O/D manually when you're off roading it, but it wouldn't stay off if you turned off the engine. If you stop and take breaks, every time you restart the engine, the O/D defaults back to being "on". If I remember correctly, the O/D & L/U won't operate in 4WD low range, but in 4WD high range it will. If you go slow, in high range you can override L/U by shifting into 2nd gear, but the O/D button is a PIA to remember….Having said all that, I don't know what yours is going to do if that t-case was swapped from an AWD unit. Theoretically, it should work like a factory t-case, but who knows what wiring or rewiring had taken place?

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Honestly...it's the lockup I'd like to be able to manually control (ie. via a toggle switch/button). Ed do you know of a way to re-wire the lockup so I could turn it off/on manually with a toggle switch? If I cut the LU wire into the trans plug could I simply splice that into a wire I could control it from the cab same-same as I can control the overdrive? It's probably a ground trigger via the PCM same as a 47RH, and the solution to manually control the LU and OD for a 47RH is to run the LU and OD trigger wires to individual grounds via toggles in the cab, so if that LU wire were spliced into a ground wire toggled from the cab that should make the LU completely manually controlled...ja?

If I could get the transmission to not lockup then the converter could give me a lot of flash stall and that would greatly improve the driveability because it wouldn't be bogging down the engine.....which would be way more awesomer.
 

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I've researched this a few years ago because I was thinking of doing this myself. As I recall it, you could splice in your switch at the PCM. I read a how to on this (maybe at RCC)…but I can't seem to find it now. But it should be that simple.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #19
...maaaaan I thought you had this voodoo already figured out already...??? :nerd: :biggrin:
 
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