really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
113,000 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. had to pay for new engine (3 reports)
1997 Dodge Dakota engine problems

engine problem

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1997 Dodge Dakota Owner Comments

problem #3

Sep 012004

Dakota 3.9L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


Oil Pressure just dropped out and motor seized, due to sludge buildup, dealership said not covered on extended warranty because they said I did not change oil every 3000 miles "I did". Installed new engine and still have the problem. Like clock work every 3 to 4,000 miles oil pressure will drop out. I have begun to use synthetic oil and a 10 minute sludge flush every oil change....Dodge says not a defect with the engine/cooling design, I say bull...seems funny that its happening to the new engine now...

- Bob Z., Akron, OH, US

problem #2

Jun 062007

(reported on)

Dakota EX-CAB 3.9L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles

Oil sludge caused the engine to overheat, cracking the cylinder heads, which leaked oil with the anti-freeze and killed the engine. After some research, I found that it's a common problem with the 3.9L engine due to a flawed cooling design. The engine block doesn't cool adequately, resulting in hot spots which cooks the oil to sludge in some areas. The sludge builds-up and restricts oil flow which raises the engine temp even higher. Dodge replaced the oil pressure sending unit because it was indicating a loss of oil pressure when there was enough oil. I soon learned there wasn't anything wrong with the sending unit because it was alerting me that a serious problem was occurring. Dodge denied the engine had a design flaw and accused me of not changing the oil regularly. I'll NEVER buy a Dodge or Chrysler again!

- davema, Natick, MA, US

problem #1

Feb 192007

(reported on)

Dakota Sport 3.9 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,000 miles

I bought the Dodge Dakota new in 1997. It's a 4x4 sport extend cab with a 3.9 V6. The engine locked up in it at 36,000 miles it was not under warranty because of the year. It happened again in 2002. The engine shop said the oil pump quit pump because of sludge. I told them I changed the oil every 3,000 miles. The engine shop said it is a problem on those 3.9 V6. But the Dodge will not own up to it. I had a new engine put in it. I have 80,000 miles on the new engine and it locked up now.

- pirk, Killeen, TX, US

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