Originally Posted by Johann
Thats about it!
I've got a 2000 Dakota Quad cab 4.7, 5 speed. It's a decent size for commuting. A little small for towing. 4.7 is not a great engine and prone to sludge if not cared for by the PO. Low gas mileage that gets even worse when pulling a 6x10 trailer. But since they are wide for a mid size it pulls straight and stable.
Its had its share of repairs. Had the rear end rebuilt twice. Had to swap in a junkyard trans when the pilot bearing ate the nose of the main shaft. Had to replace the AC system when the condenser and pump went. But looking back it has still been cheaper than a truck payment.
If I was to do it over I'd get a full size. It just doesn't have the pull when you need it going up a hill. I cant even think what the V6 is like.
i owned a 1997 Dakota identical to the OP truck for 14 years. i would probably still be driving it if that bitch hadnt been texting, run that red light and spun me into a concrete wall.
In all the years i drove it, ill break down what i did:
new mopar performance timing chain tensioner, timing chain and cam sprockets (easy to do really)
new clutch in 2004.
new rack and pinion steering (easy to do)
a couple years before it was totaled, i needed a new ECM and a new fuel pump. both pretty cheap parts and the fuel pump wasnt hard either.
new power steering pump (easy to do, i did 7 of them in a two week period because the rebuilds from vatozone were shitty)
i swapped in a throttle body from a V8 318 and did a thottle cable mod from a jeep and that made the biggest performance upgrade of all. with the stick you can get up and go with that thing. was a pretty fun vehicle.
all in all, my dakota was the little truck that could. the paint went when i stopped carring about washing it. for about the last 8 years, aside from the fuel pump and ECm, all i did was change the oil. it was totalled with 242,000 on the clock. and i wouldnt have ever hesitated to drive it all over the country. it took 4 trips from Texas to Atlanta, one up throug Tenessee and even went to Mardi Gras from San Antonio a couple of times.
for 4k and knowing that someone has gone through the truck and it in good running shape, i think you could do a lot worse. The stick shift is what makes that truck. if it was an automatic, id say to pass.