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5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey. I just recently bought my first Mopar a few months ago!
2000 Dakota Sport 3.9L
261K Miles and still running strong!
Amazingly enough the Owners Manual AND the original widow sticker was in the glove box when I got it.

But here's the thing, the only mechanical experience I have is all body shop related, mostly fixing structural and wiring issues, which I have no problem doing. As far as doing actual engine diagnostics, I'm a bit lost in the sauce.
The most engine work I've honestly ever done was replacing the heads on a Chevy 350, and installing a new engine and transmission in my old 1982 Chevy C10. Which doesn't have nearly as many vacuum lines and sensors and plugs and whatnots.

I'm not use to dealing with EFI systems, or even dealing with ECM/PCMs.

So if anyone knows about these 3.9L Magnums, please share some knowledge.
I mean, theres nothing wrong with it, except for 1 engine code which is P0601 (ECM Check Sum Error) which I know needs to be replaced.

But if anyone has tips to help keep this sucker going for another 200k+ miles (besides regular maintenance things). Maybe something you have bypassed or added to increase your fuel mileage.

Future plans for my Dakota:
1. Entire drivetrain swap-5.3 Vortec w/ 4L60E Trans.
2. Static drop, lowrider look.
3. Paint it Mopar orange (like the Gen. Lee)
4. Install wider rear axle and add dually flares.
(Remember I do body work, this I can do lol. Eventually)

I was honestly surprised by how well this truck drives, it rides super smooth and there is literally like 0 wind noise when cruising with windows up.

But if y'all have any tips and tricks to get the best out of this 3.9 please let me know!

02 4.7l Dakota
260 Posts
Welcome! Looks like a nice truck, I love the dually idea 馃槀

16 Posts
First off, I like your ideas about body work and axle.
If you really have limited mechanical and electrical experience, why would you try
installing a GM drive train??? It would be much easier to use a 5.2 or 5.9, with the
trans you want (auto or manual). Many of the parts and wiring are still very available.
Good Luck, Daddyododge1

5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, my idea is to rip all the existing electronics out completely. I have a donor truck thats been totalled that I'm going to pull the 5.3 and the 4L60E from, complete with the stock wiring. The interior of the Dakota is staying the same, except I'm going to have a friend of mine build a gauge cluster for the A/M gauges I'll have to buy. The Chevy ECM that will be used is going to only do its limited job of running the engine and transmission.
I'm not going into this build completely blind, I've got 2 people helping me on it, one being my dad who has 30+ years of mechanical experience from repair jobs to custom jobs, and a guy he has known since he was like 15, who also has an unknown number of years of experience working with custom hotrods, the 5.3 Vortec, being his absolute favorite to fiddle with.

I do appreciate your concern, but as for my part, I will be dping what I know, which is the body work and basic installation of things.

16 Posts
I hope I didn't offend you? I have had two step side Chevrolets when I was younger. One that went
fast from gas station to gas station and not much further. And a every day driver. I have worked with
Dodge over thirty years. In the middle of installing a Hemi in place of a 3.9. Good luck with your project.
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