Sunday, November 3, 2013

Best Thing That Ever Came Out Of Michigan

I was thinking today the best thing that ever came out of Michigan was the Dodge Dakota.  They made over two million of those trucks and most of them are still on the road.

I have mentioned my three Dodge Dakota pickups in many of my blogs.  They have all served me very well and the third one is just broke in at 118,000 miles.  I got 21 MPG on the last tank so some of them did get decent gas mileage.  The first one did, too but it was a five speed.  That is the last manual transmission I owned, the fall after we bought this farm in 2004.

It's pretty easy to get 200,000 miles out of a Dakota and 300,000 is not too difficult if you are willing to spend some money in repairs.  The automatic transmission will probably go first but that is true of most any vehicle I know of.  Automatic transmissions are weak links in most cars and trucks today.

I like the size and design of this truck, it fits me like a glove to drive.  I will admit I can drive the Buick or Silverado longer without stopping but the Dakota has made a nice scouting and farm truck for me.  It's a real grocery and parts getter.

I wish I had bought the quad cab when I started looking for a replacement in 2004.  We found a nice one and it even had the 5 speed manual but I didn't want to spend that much money right then with a new farm payment.  In hindsight I should have but the 01 club cab served me well and is serving a friend of mine right now.

Many people say the last design killed the sales of the truck and I think they are right.  It looks too fancy for a Dakota and I still can't get used to it.  The second version I had in the 01 and now in the 04 is the most popular looking Dakota.

I do thank Chrysler for the minivan and the Dakota and especially for the one million dollars they just donated to my favorite charity, the National FFA Organization.

Have you ever used a smaller truck in your day to day operation or are you a full sized pickup driver?



  1. Ed, I had a 2000 Dakota quad cab at on time.Very sharp truck. How did we ever get along with just a regular cab truck. I have Ram 2500 quad cab now, would never go back to regular cab.

  2. Personal experience has not left me with a very high opinion of the automatic transmission in the Dakota. Pretty hard to beat the old GM TH350 automatic. I've been using the same truck since 1986. If GM still built them today I'd buy a new one tomorrow.

  3. Same here. GM transmission in the Silverado and other 350 type engines have been my most reliable. I have trouble with the transmission with every Dakota except the one I drive now but give it time and it will fail also.

    I would like to write a transmission blog. What do you guys think of flushing to extend life when the transmission has hit 100k plus and starts acting up?

    I've heard the Allison in the newer Chevy's are pretty bullet proof Ralph but mine has the GM transmission and after hauling 3000 lb loads most of it's 87k life it still shifts like new. I just did the regular GM service of 3 quarts and the filter and check the screen last week.


    1. I don't know if the trans flush is good or bad. I have never done a thing to the 4L60E automatic in my 97 Blazer 4x4 and at 150,000 km it is still working as new so I am reluctant to touch it now.

  4. Maybe I should give the Dakota another look. The 95 Dakota V6 automatic was a dog. No power and 9 mpg around the farm. I couldn't wait to get rid of it, I finally gave the truck to a kid going to college. I've been a full size man every since. 08 dodge ram 3500 and a 06 GMC 2500 Duramax.

  5. Why ram it when you can powerstroke it?

    I have the diesel smoke from a 7.3L with a chip, exhaust, down pipe, and air box is a beautiful thing.also a heavyier duty tranny completes the package. (Making the Tim Taylor sound)

    The scarey thing is my 6.7 gets better millage, has more power and blows no smoke...still love to drive the 7.3l and its the major chore truck. The 6.7 will tow 30k and not know its back there.

    4 door dually diesels are sure fun to park at Walmart and try to maneuver around the city. My wife's escape is fun...I pulled a u turn In just 3 lanes vrs 40 acres either of my trucks woulda took.

    I just haven't ever been a dodge person, a little pickup would be nice but need a diesel to pull things, ton is nice when you put a bale bed on, the 4 doors are nice for car the dog.

  6. Oh Mitch they are kind of over the hill now. This quad cab averages 20 MPG and I wonder if the balance of the truck and the lid over the bed makes that much difference. I have gotten 23 and never under 18 even running on E-85. I would sure drive one long enough to discover its potential MPG before I bought it though.

    I lost the diesel bug on the 7.3 Turbo Diesel. It went through 3 expensive transmissions and nearly killed my whole family. It would snap good serpentine belts and there you were with no power steering or brakes. Gas trucks are much more to my liking but to each his own. There are so many Duramax's and Cummins around here now they call Fords Phords and powerjokes. You go to other areas and it's just the other way around.

    The pickup has changed the farm from that first flathead V8 Ford dad bought in the 50's.