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I am planning on buying a used 2004 Dakota 4WD Automatic this fall. I have two young boys (age 1 yr and 4yrs). Our Maxima hauls the kids 80% of the time but I still need space for the kids and car seats occasionally. 80% of my miles consist of me driving 20 miles on the highway to work by myself. Bed wise I need to haul a 400cc ATV in the back with the tailgate down.

Power wise I don't haul anything real heavy right now but in the spring we plan to buy a boat on a single axle trailer in the 3500# range. We currently have a 3seat jet ski (total wt 800#) that I will haul with the ATV in the back on camping trips etc.

Weight and traction, I do a bit of ice fishing and hunting etc and will haul a 600 lb trailer onto the lake for sturgeon spearing a couple times a year, sometimes there is a couple inches of snow on the ice, sometimes a foot of snow.

So, what is going to work for me? Originally I had decided a Quad Cab 4.7 was the only way to go. Now based on some research maybe I can get away with a 3.7L to save costs (in this area the six sells used for about $1500 less than the eight), and if I can look for one with a higher numerical rear axle ratio maybe I can get decent enough power and torque and save the upfront cost and possibly some fuel economy?

Also, can young kids ride in comfort in non-quad cabs? My kids are young now but by the time this truck is gone they'll be pushing 10 years old.

Oh yeah, manual vs auto, I've never owned a Dodge but their auto trannies have a bad reputation, is this a concern on the 2004 models?

Please give me some help on this, I know I am all over the map on this but this truck needs to be a lot of things for our family and I want to make the best possible decision.
Thanks in advance!
Jim

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Go with the QC. I have both a CC and a QC and when carrying extra passengers, the Quad Cab is far superior than the Club Cab. My stepson's are older now, (17 & 21), but even when they were younger and smaller, the ride in the back of the CC was tight and the extra doors make getting in & out much easier, especially if you have to use child seats.

As for power; I'm partial to V8 w/ manual transmission combo.

The CC is 5.2L/5 speed manual & the QC is 3.9L/5 speed manual. The QC is my wife's and she ordered it with the 3.9L and wishes now that she had ponied up the difference for the 4.7L. The gas mileage difference is negligable (sp) between the two.
 

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gixxerjim said:
I am planning on buying a used 2004 Dakota 4WD Automatic this fall. I have two young boys (age 1 yr and 4yrs). Our Maxima hauls the kids 80% of the time but I still need space for the kids and car seats occasionally. 80% of my miles consist of me driving 20 miles on the highway to work by myself. Bed wise I need to haul a 400cc ATV in the back with the tailgate down.

Power wise I don't haul anything real heavy right now but in the spring we plan to buy a boat on a single axle trailer in the 3500# range. We currently have a 3seat jet ski (total wt 800#) that I will haul with the ATV in the back on camping trips etc.

Weight and traction, I do a bit of ice fishing and hunting etc and will haul a 600 lb trailer onto the lake for sturgeon spearing a couple times a year, sometimes there is a couple inches of snow on the ice, sometimes a foot of snow.

So, what is going to work for me? Originally I had decided a Quad Cab 4.7 was the only way to go. Now based on some research maybe I can get away with a 3.7L to save costs (in this area the six sells used for about $1500 less than the eight), and if I can look for one with a higher numerical rear axle ratio maybe I can get decent enough power and torque and save the upfront cost and possibly some fuel economy?

Also, can young kids ride in comfort in non-quad cabs? My kids are young now but by the time this truck is gone they'll be pushing 10 years old.

Oh yeah, manual vs auto, I've never owned a Dodge but their auto trannies have a bad reputation, is this a concern on the 2004 models?

Please give me some help on this, I know I am all over the map on this but this truck needs to be a lot of things for our family and I want to make the best possible decision.
Thanks in advance!
Jim

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Hey Jim,.. welcome to the website.

Is there any reason you want a 2004 model?
- the reason I say it is,... 2003 would be your best bet... 2004 was the last year of the Gen III dakotas... and also, if you ever want to say,... get a power programmer or something... the only one thats out is for the 2003 model year, BUT,.. you DON'T want a 2002 or older because 2003 was the first year for standard 4 wheel disc brakes.

I would suggest getting the 4.7L!
- The reaosn I say this is,... a 3.9L dakota(which is in the 2003 model year), or the 3.7L (which is ONLY for the 2004 model year) are not going to be much better gas milage... ESPECIALLY if you get a quad cab(more weight = worce gas milage). If you MUST get a v6... make sure it has 3.92 gears installed there after(most of them have the 3.55's). I have no opinion on which v6 is better. One is older and has lots of performance parts (3.9L), but one is newer and more efficient (3.7L).

I would suggest getting a quad cab!
- The reason I say this is,... a club cab... while very versital as compared to a regular cab... just DOES NOT have very good seating for anyone compared to the quad cab... plus... if you're a big fisher,... and want to bring some of your buddies along for a weekend of lazieness... you can bring two more in the quad cab as compared to the club cab,... which definately makes you pick a best friend for the weekend.

IF you can find it,... I suggest getting a manual tranny!
- the reason I say this is,... a manual tranny is MUCH more fun... when your wife asks to drive your truck,... she'll soon change her tune when she realizes it's manual(unless she's one of the few women who know how to drive a manual... to which I give big props). Plus... when and if your wife and you want to take another couple somewhere for an evening... your wife most likely won't suggest taking the truck. IF you drive a lot of stop and go driving... I suggest getting the automatic. I haven't heard much about the dependablity of automatic trannies... but lets put it this way... my brother has a 1993 dakota with an automatic... it has OVER 285,000 miles... he hasn't changed the tranny fluid in 150,000 miles. It still runs like a champ.

Paul
 
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Discussion Starter #4
So nobody can promote the 3.7l or 3.9l?

Evidently the quick consensus is go with the 4.7l. What difference is there between the 2003 and 2004 model years? I was planning on going 2004 just to get one less year of use and abuse by the previous owner, but specifically what are the gains and losses between the two?

If I went 6cyl I likely would want the 2004 for the 3.7l, right?

Thanks again!
Jim
 

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gixxerjim said:
Evidently the quick consensus is go with the 4.7l. What difference is there between the 2003 and 2004 model years? I was planning on going 2004 just to get one less year of use and abuse by the previous owner, but specifically what are the gains and losses between the two?

If I went 6cyl I likely would want the 2004 for the 3.7l, right?

Thanks again!
Jim
The difference between the 2003 and 2004 model years are their computers. If I'm not mistaken, dodge STILL hasn't released all of the computer data for the 2004 model years... so sense no data has been released.... no computer chip programming company can play with the settings to get some more power outa the truck. ALSO... I know on the dodge neon's that have the newest computer... they have a torque limit... meaning that once the engine feels x amount of torque it starts messing with all of the computer settings to decrease power(dodges words... "for your safety") We are still not sure if this type of computer is installed in the 2004's... but there is a greater chance they are in the 04's as apposed to the 03's.

You are correct... if I had to pick a v6,... it would DEFINATELY be the 3.7L with the 2004 model year... and the only reason, is because it's MUCH more efficient,... and the future awaits that motor... more performance stuff will EVENTUALLY come out for it.

Also... if you get a 4x4 quad cab v6 with an automatic,... I will kick you in the knee or something. That truck will be so un fun, and so slow it's not even funny. If you get a v6... for gods sake,... get a standard tranny!!!!!

Paul
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the insight...I think it will be the manual trans 4.7l...

IF I can find one! Most people in these parts get power and fun robbing automatics.

The people I've spoken with locally completely back up your statements, get the Quad, get the V-8. I should be able to find a nicely equipped 2003 with under 30k miles in the $15k range...

I drive 20 miles each way to work, either 2lane blacktop 55mph limit (I go 62) or 4lane interstate 65 limit (I go 70)..what should I expect for fuel economy? Currently my 205hp 3.2L Isuzu Rodeo 4WD with 95k gets about 18mpg plus or minus a half mile per gallon. From what I am hearing I won't see that with the Dakota, but I will be happy with anything over 16.0!

Thanks again, I am really looking forward to upgrading and having an open bed for hauling!

Jim
 

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I'm getting 16mpg cruising at 65mph to and from school on the back roads every day with my 99 Rango 4x4 (5.2l V8) completely stock.

If you get an air intake, exhaust, and couple other extras you should be able to get 18 at LEAST if not better, especially since you get more gears with the automatic. My 5.2l is less fuel efficient (from what I was told) than the 4.7 so it shouldn't be too hard for you to get 18mpg. With some good motor upgrades, like headers, super chip, spark plugs and wires, 180 or 160 thermostat, your gas mileage goals should be well achieveable especially if you get those taller gears.

Hugh
 

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I have a 2004 3.7 auto reg cab and i haul my qaud and that engine does'ent even know it is back there. I would get the 4.7, but the 3.7 is a damn good engine. I get about 20 mpg with a mix of freeway and city driving. I do more freeeway driving, but it also do like 90 mph alot and i have 3.92 gears. The truck is quick, but it is also a rag cab, 2WD so it is light. I am not bashing the 3.9, but if you are going to get a v6 go with the 3.7. 3.7 210hp SOHCreal good running engine, I have drove both alot and in stock form the 3.7 is faster and smother then the 3.9. 3.9 175hp. i would get atleast a club cab since you have kids.
 

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Go with the 4.7L you'll love it..

I have an 04 CC and have pulled a 6x12 foot UHaul covered trailor loaded and the bed load across the Smoky mountains and had NO problems whatsoever, I was passing trucks pulling smaller trailors.... I get about 19-20 mpg (I drive 95+% on interstates at 75mph).

The Club Cab has an aprox 6.5 foot bed whereas the Quad Cab has an aprox 5.5 foot bed (my buddy has an 04 QC)
 

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I would go with quad cab with the 4.7. the auto trannys in the dakota now from what I heard is a really great tranny. my sister had a 99 CC dak with the 3.9. she had nothign but probs with this truck when her son was born. no room what so ever. I have a QC and plenty of room and also the car seat is easy to get too. one reason I got a QC is if I get in to an accident I can get to my son easy. dont have to fight with the seat of a CC. if you are going to do any towing I would get the v-8. heard too many people with the v-6 complain about not having enough power. also the MPG between the V-6 and the V-8 isnt that much of a difference. as far as yo uhauling a 4wheeler in the bed if a QC I dont know. but I did haul a 250 dirt bike in the back and had to leave the tail gate down.

so if yo uhave 2 kids get a QC. if not you will regreat it.



heres a pic of a guys 2003 QC with a 4 wheeler in the back. he also have a tool chest on the back and still hauls one in the bed of the truck. hope this atleast answers one of your questions.
 
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