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Discussion Starter #1
I had a 93 Dakota 318 auto 2wd truck for a short while in the 90's. I bought it with 26k miles on it and when I found the stash of dealer receipts and looked through them, I was worried. In 26k miles it was on it's third transmission and shortly after I bought it in 1998; it was already having tranny problems.

I just got another Dakota last week; it's a 318 1999 4wd Club cab with the 5 speed. It has 70k miles on it and other than a few cosmetic things, I've not found a single flaw with it. I am enjoying being back in a V8 Dakota.

I've been searching the net for the last week and have noticed that a lot of people have problems with there auto transmissions. Did I do good at buying the 5 speed manual; and are there any quirks I should be on the lookout for with it or the truck in general?

The truck has aproximately 2600 miles left of the dealers 3 month 3000 mile warranty.

It has the 3.55 gears with open differentials, I'd like to stick with the 3.55's but just for street driving, it really needs an LSD in the rear end. It came with the optional 31x10.50R15 tires on it.

In my first tank of gas; I got 15.6 mpg combined.

I'd like to use this thing to start pulling a smaller; like 15 foot, camping trailer maybe next year sometime.

Do I need a transmission cooler on it for this? Every listing I've found, they were only for auto transmissions.

I went to a local Dodge Dealer today and got a print out of it's options. It does have the "trailer tow group and heavy duty engine cooling". It also says it has "Heavy duty service group" I'm not too sure what that means.
 

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The NV3550 in that dakota is very stout IMO for a half ton truck. I hear that there are some small plastic part that like to break, but that can be expected.
When i did a NV3550 swap earlier this year in a YJ, the yard i got the tranny from said he has never seen one come back, but has seen just about every other tranny busted. IMO, its the tranny I would swap into my truck becuase of the easy shifting, but still will hold up to some power.

Only things I would worry about in the dakota is the plenum gasket that leaks in the motor, the timing chain that gets alot of slack by 30k, the very crappy ball joints, and the C clip that likes to pop off the transfer case.

And I am jealous of your MPG. I have a 1500 ram with a 318 auto and my fill up today was 10.1 mpg. With gas at $2.31 a gallon at the cheapest place around, its $55 every week to fill up. More ramen for me :(
 

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Discussion Starter #3
When I had my 93 Dakota; I once saw 10mpg city in it. But I averaged 17 mpg on the highway and maybe 13mpg city. I did a cheap air intake mod and put a cat back exhaust on it; my highway mileage went to a steady 21mpg. I don't remember what the city mileage bumped up too.

IIRC; the truck had the 3.94 gears out back.

The exhaust I put on it was a 2 chamber single in/dual outlet Flowmaster with two 2 1/4 inch pipes exiting under the back bumper with a couple of big chrome tips.

I checked the upper ball joints and greased the lower ones; they all seem to be fine, I couldn't find any play in them at all. And I'm not hearing any unusual noises coming from the front end.

"Only things I would worry about in the dakota is the plenum gasket that leaks in the motor, the timing chain that gets alot of slack by 30k, the very crappy ball joints, and the C clip that likes to pop off the transfer case."

What are the symptoms of the c clip popping off in the transfer case? I heard about the plenum gasket that likes to leak; I checked and it doesn't look to be leaking.


Thanks for the help.
 
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