Dodge Dakota

The Dakota is a midsize pickup truck from DaimlerChrysler's Dodge brand. It was introduced in 1987 alongside the redesigned Dodge Ram 50. The Dakota was nominated for the North American Truck of the Year award for 2000.

The Dakota has always been sized above the compact (Ford Ranger, Chevrolet S-10) and below the full-sized (Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado) pickups and Dodge's own Ram. It is a conventional design with body-on-frame construction and leaf spring/live axle rear end. The Dakota has also long been the only midsize pickup with an optional V8 engine. One notable feature was the Dakota's rack and pinion steering, a first in work trucks.

1987

The first generation of the Dakota was produced from 1987 through 1996. Straight-4 and V6 engines were offered along with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. Four wheel drive was available only with the V6. Both 6.5 ft (2 m) and 8 ft (2.4 m) beds were offered. Fuel injection was added to the 3.9 L V6 for 1988 but the output remained the same.

1989 saw the unusual Dakota convertible. The first convertible pickup since the Ford Model T, it featured a fixed roll bar and complicated manual top. Just 2,482 were sold that first year. Another important addition that year was Carroll Shelby's V8-powered Shelby Dakota, his first rear wheel drive vehicle in two decades.

An extended "Club Cab" model was added for 1990, still with two doors. This model allowed the Dakota to boast capacity for six passengers, although the rear seat was best suited for children and shorter adults.

For 1991, the front of the Dakota received a more aerodynamic grille and hood, and Dodge added the 5.2 L V8 as an option, inspired by the earlier Shelby Dakota option. This engine produced 170 hp (127 kW). Both of the V-configuration engines were updated to Magnum specs the next year, providing a tremendous power boost.

In 1996, the first generation's final year, the K-based 2.5 L I4 engine was out of production and had been considered vastly underpowered compared to the competition, so Dodge borrowed the Jeep 2.5 L I4 (rated at 120 hp) and installed it as the base engine in the Dakota. It was the only major change for 1996, and would be carried over as the base engine in the new, larger 1997 model.

Engines:

  • 1987-1988 - 2.2 L K I4, SOHC, 96 hp (72 kW)
  • 1987-1991 - 3.9 L LA V6, 125 hp (93 kW)
  • 1989-1995 - 2.5 L K I4, 99 hp (74 kW)
  • 1991 - 5.2 L LA V8, 170 hp (127 kW)
  • 1992-1993 - 3.9 L Magnum V6, 180 hp (134 kW)
  • 1991-1993 - 5.2 L Magnum V8, 230 hp (172 kW)
  • 1994-1996 - 3.9 L Magnum V6, 175 hp (131 kW)
  • 1994-1996 - 5.2 L Magnum V8, 220 hp (164 kW)
  • 1996 - 2.5 L AMC I4, 120 hp (90 kW)

1997

The second-generation Dakota was built from 1997 through 2004. It inherited the semi truck look of the larger Ram but remained largely the same underneath. 1998 saw the introduction of the R/T model with the big 5.9 L 250 hp (186 kW) Magnum V8.

Four-door "Quad-Cab" models were added for 2000 with a slightly shorter bed, 63.1 in (160.2 cm), but riding on the Club Cab's 130.9 in (332.5 cm) wheelbase. The smaller V8 was replaced by a new high-tech V8 as well.

2002 was the final year for the four-cylinder engine in the Dakota, as Chrysler was ending production of the former AMC design. Most buyers ordered the V6 or V8 engines, which were considerably more powerful and, in the case of the V6, which was made standard for 2003, nearly as fuel-efficient with a manual transmission.

2004 was the end of the old OHV V6 and the big R/T V8.

Engines:

  • 1997-2002 - 2.5 L AMC I4, 120 hp (90 kW)
  • 1997-2003 - 3.9 L Magnum V6, 175 hp (131 kW)
  • 1997-1999 - 5.2 L Magnum V8, 230 hp (172 kW)
  • 1998-2003 - 5.9 L Magnum V8, 250 hp (186 kW)
  • 2000-2004 - 4.7 L PowerTech V8, 230 hp (175 kW)
  • 2004 - 3.7 L PowerTech V6, 210 hp (157 kW)

2005

The redesigned 2005 Dakota shares its platform with the new Dodge Durango SUV. This model is 3.7 in longer and 2.7 in wider, and features a new front and rear suspension, and rack-and-pinion steering. There are one V6 and two V8 engines available: The standard engine is a 3.7 L PowerTech V6 (specs below). Two 4.7 L V8 engines are available as well. The Dakota is built at Warren Truck Assembly in Warren, Michigan.

Engines:
  • 2005 - 3.7 L PowerTech V6, 210 hp (157 kW) at 5200 rpm and 235 ft·lbf (319 N·m) at 4000 rpm
  • 2005 - 4.7 L PowerTech V8, 230 hp (172 kW) at 4400 rpm and 290 ft·lbf (393 N·m) at 3600 rpm
  • 2005 - 4.7 L HO PowerTech V8, 260 hp (194 kW) at 5200 rpm and 310 ft·lbf (420 N·m) at 5200 rpm

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The Dakota is built at Warren Truck Assembly in Warren, Michigan. [1] The Neon will be replaced in the spring of 2006 with the 2007 Dodge Caliber, which is based on the shared Chrysler/Mitsubishi Motors GS platform. Two 4.7 L V8 engines are available as well. DaimlerChrysler discontinued the Neon line, with the final cars assembled on September 23, 2005 at the Belvidere Assembly plant in Belvidere, Illinois. There are one V6 and two V8 engines available: The standard engine is a 3.7 L PowerTech V6 (specs below). The ACR and R/T models were discontinued for 2005. This model is 3.7 in longer and 2.7 in wider, and features a new front and rear suspension, and rack-and-pinion steering. In 2002, the front clip was changed to match the R/T and ACR front clip.

The redesigned 2005 Dakota shares its platform with the new Dodge Durango SUV. In Australia, the Chrysler Neon was discontinued in 2002, due to declining sales and expensive price compared to its competitors. Engines:. In an attempt to rid the car of its reputation, the Neon's name was changed to SX 2.0 in Canada in 2003, though the Dodge Neon was eventually brought back. 2004 was the end of the old OHV V6 and the big R/T V8. The Neon never did get rear power windows, making do with manual rear windows and front power windows. Most buyers ordered the V6 or V8 engines, which were considerably more powerful and, in the case of the V6, which was made standard for 2003, nearly as fuel-efficient with a manual transmission. This was improved a year later.

2002 was the final year for the four-cylinder engine in the Dakota, as Chrysler was ending production of the former AMC design. A four-speed automatic made its way into the Neon in 2002, with moderately poorly set up gearing. The smaller V8 was replaced by a new high-tech V8 as well. However, this hurt gas mileage and made the car noisier on the highway, and eventually the original gear ratios were restored along with the original gas mileage. Four-door "Quad-Cab" models were added for 2000 with a slightly shorter bed, 63.1 in (160.2 cm), but riding on the Club Cab's 130.9 in (332.5 cm) wheelbase. Originally, the second generation Neon featured a five-speed manual transmission using the former ACR gear ratios to make up for the acceleration loss caused by greater weight. 1998 saw the introduction of the R/T model with the big 5.9 L 250 hp (186 kW) Magnum V8. The 1.6 L unit is a variation of the 2.0 L SOHC engine designed by Chrysler and built jointly by Chrysler and Rover.

It inherited the semi truck look of the larger Ram but remained largely the same underneath. Besides the 2.0 L engine, it also used the same Tritec 1.6 L unit found in the BMW MINI prior to 2007. The second-generation Dakota was built from 1997 through 2004. In Europe, Australia, and Asia, the car has always been sold as a Chrysler, as Dodge and Plymouth were not available there. Engines:. When DaimlerChrysler discontinued the Plymouth brand in 2000, the former Plymouth Neon and Dodge Neon were briefly sold under the Chrysler name in Canada until 2002. It was the only major change for 1996, and would be carried over as the base engine in the new, larger 1997 model. This, along with the discontinuance of the DOHC engine, caused the second generation car to be less competitive on a race track.

In 1996, the first generation's final year, the K-based 2.5 L I4 engine was out of production and had been considered vastly underpowered compared to the competition, so Dodge borrowed the Jeep 2.5 L I4 (rated at 120 hp) and installed it as the base engine in the Dakota. The more refined interior and greater size did, however, come at the cost of increased weight. Both of the V-configuration engines were updated to Magnum specs the next year, providing a tremendous power boost. Numerous other NVH refinements led to a much quieter and enjoyable passenger car. This engine produced 170 hp (127 kW). Frameless windows (which would pull away from the door in a strong crosswind) were replaced with a full-framed door. For 1991, the front of the Dakota received a more aerodynamic grille and hood, and Dodge added the 5.2 L V8 as an option, inspired by the earlier Shelby Dakota option. It was advertised that the second generation Neon had over 1,000 refinements from the original generation.

This model allowed the Dakota to boast capacity for six passengers, although the rear seat was best suited for children and shorter adults. The second generation was much more refined than the first-generation car. An extended "Club Cab" model was added for 1990, still with two doors. In some regions, including the United States, the sole engine was the 2.0 L SOHC engine, with an optional Magnum configuration (including an active intake manifold) that produced 150 hp. Another important addition that year was Carroll Shelby's V8-powered Shelby Dakota, his first rear wheel drive vehicle in two decades. The second-generation Neon was only available as a 4-door sedan. Just 2,482 were sold that first year. Sales of the second generation model started with model year 2000 and production ended with the 2005 model year.

The first convertible pickup since the Ford Model T, it featured a fixed roll bar and complicated manual top. In Europe, the car was also available with a 1.8 L engine. 1989 saw the unusual Dakota convertible. In the United States, the lineup started out as Base, Highline, and Sport, with different styles and options in each line, but the lineup titles changed frequently (other trim lines included Expresso, SE, ES, SXT, ACR, and R/T). Fuel injection was added to the 3.9 L V6 for 1988 but the output remained the same. Later, the LX model was replaced by the LE with the updated model in 1999. Both 6.5 ft (2 m) and 8 ft (2.4 m) beds were offered. The Australian-market Chrysler Neon came in two models, the SE and the better equipped LX.

Four wheel drive was available only with the V6. The mid-level Highline models were well known for their unique "bubble" hubcap design. Straight-4 and V6 engines were offered along with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. These covers would not shine like paint, but they absorbed scuffs and scrapes with less notice. The first generation of the Dakota was produced from 1987 through 1996. Certain color Neons, such as red and black, had bumper covers molded in color rather than painted. . The air conditioning evaporator proved to be prone to failure after warranties expired (a problem apparently addressed in later years) which is an expensive repair since it is relatively inaccessible.

One notable feature was the Dakota's rack and pinion steering, a first in work trucks. Owners often would disable the contact on the selector knob allowing them to use the defroster without air conditioning. The Dakota has also long been the only midsize pickup with an optional V8 engine. Also, the car automatically turned on the air conditioning whenever the defroster was used, regardless of which side the fan control was set own. It is a conventional design with body-on-frame construction and leaf spring/live axle rear end. The latter caused less conscious drivers to drive consistently with the air conditioner on, which greatly hurt power and gas mileage, since the unit was quite powerful. The Dakota has always been sized above the compact (Ford Ranger, Chevrolet S-10) and below the full-sized (Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado) pickups and Dodge's own Ram. Neons also suffered from some interesting design choices, including the impossibility of gaining power windows in the rear doors, and a climate control system which had drivers move the fan knob in one direction for air conditioning and the other for vent.

The Dakota was nominated for the North American Truck of the Year award for 2000. Unfortunately, the Neon's early reputation for poor reliability persists even today, possibly because Chrysler failed to adequately publicize its improvements or proactively reach out to customers who had experienced failures. It was introduced in 1987 alongside the redesigned Dodge Ram 50. Either way, by the end of the first generation, most of the major problems had been sorted out and the Neon proved to be a reliable car. The Dakota is a midsize pickup truck from DaimlerChrysler's Dodge brand. Many early Neons suffered from poor paint jobs, where the paint became brittle and peeled off in sheets, partly because of teething problems with a new environmentally-friendly "dry painting" process. 2005 - 4.7 L HO PowerTech V8, 260 hp (194 kW) at 5200 rpm and 310 ft·lbf (420 N·m) at 5200 rpm. There were also rumors that 1 of the 8 head bolt holes had been drilled slightly too shallow on many of the blocks, so when the bolt was tightened it simply "bottomed out" instead of holding the head to the block with the correct amount of force.

2005 - 4.7 L PowerTech V8, 230 hp (172 kW) at 4400 rpm and 290 ft·lbf (393 N·m) at 3600 rpm. By November 1998, the head gasket had been replaced with a new MLS (Multi Layer Steel) design which proved to be much more reliable and was standard in most 1999 models and was also retrofitted to earlier models. 2005 - 3.7 L PowerTech V6, 210 hp (157 kW) at 5200 rpm and 235 ft·lbf (319 N·m) at 4000 rpm. Early Neons had from a number of reliability problems, the most famous being head gasket failures. 2004 - 3.7 L PowerTech V6, 210 hp (157 kW). Even second generation Neons had a strong racing record. 2000-2004 - 4.7 L PowerTech V8, 230 hp (175 kW). The computer-controlled top speed limiter was removed entirely on 1995 ACR models and raised from the standard 190 km/h (118 mph) to 210 km/h (130 mph) on both the ACR and R/T models for subsequent years.

1998-2003 - 5.9 L Magnum V8, 250 hp (186 kW). Both the ACR and the more feature-laden R/T (introduced in the 1998 model year) models, each available as either a sedan or a coupe, featured four-wheel disc brakes; performance-oriented suspensions with shorter, stiffer springs, beefier swaybars, and fast-ratio steering; and a 5-speed transmission with a numerically higher 5th gear and final drive ratio for quicker acceleration. 1997-1999 - 5.2 L Magnum V8, 230 hp (172 kW). The no-frills SOHC or DOHC-equipped ACR (ACR = American Club Racer, sedans and coupes, respectively) variants are well-known as affordable amateur racing cars. 1997-2003 - 3.9 L Magnum V6, 175 hp (131 kW). First-generation Neons are highly competitive in Solo I and Solo II autocross racing. 1997-2002 - 2.5 L AMC I4, 120 hp (90 kW). In addition, the Neon made a sizable profit - the only recent American car in its class to do so.

1996 - 2.5 L AMC I4, 120 hp (90 kW). The Neon's torque was also higher than competitors. 1994-1996 - 5.2 L Magnum V8, 220 hp (164 kW). Often neglected in discussions of the Neon is the relative horsepower compared to other cars of the day - the Civic DX at 102, the Civic EX at 125, the Sentra and Sunbird at 110, the Escort at 88, the Corolla at 115, etc. 1994-1996 - 3.9 L Magnum V6, 175 hp (131 kW). The Neon was available with a 3-speed automatic transmission or a 5-speed manual transmission and was sold as a Dodge and Plymouth in the United States, as a Dodge and Chrysler (also under the name 2.0SX) in Canada, and as the Chrysler Neon outside of North America. 1991-1993 - 5.2 L Magnum V8, 230 hp (172 kW). It was powered by either a 132 hp SAE (98 kW) 2.0 L SOHC or a 150 hp SAE (112 kW) 2.0 L DOHC 4-cylinder engine.

1992-1993 - 3.9 L Magnum V6, 180 hp (134 kW). It was available as a 4-door sedan or 2-door coupe. 1991 - 5.2 L LA V8, 170 hp (127 kW). The first generation Neon was introduced in January 1994 and manufactured for model years 1995 to 1999. 1989-1995 - 2.5 L K I4, 99 hp (74 kW). . 1987-1991 - 3.9 L LA V6, 125 hp (93 kW). The Dodge Neon came in many different versions throught its production, but the most lusted-after model is the Dodge SRT-4, due to its low price and better than average performance.

1987-1988 - 2.2 L K I4, SOHC, 96 hp (72 kW). It was produced as a front wheel drive car to replace the Dodge Shadow and Plymouth Sundance, as well as the Dodge/Plymouth Colt series. For a brief time in Canada and export markets outside the United States, it carried Chrysler badges. The Neon (also called the Dodge SX 2.0 in Canada) was a compact car built from 1995 through 2005 by DaimlerChrysler's Dodge and Plymouth brands.

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