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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello All,

Been reading around for a while now. I am looking for a used SUV to pull my snowmobiles and ATV's with, as well as having a four wheel drive vehicle for the winter months here in Canada as I drive a cts-v through the dry months.

I have been reading feedback and reviews and all appear pretty positive aside from the fuel consumption due to the 8 cylinder.

Couple questions I have from some of the current owners are as follows:

1) How do the older used models hold up? Im looking for something between 98-00. I dont want to spend a great deal
2) Why are these selling for so little used for the same years compared with other brands in Ontario, Canada?
3) Are there any chips that can help reduce the fuel consumption?
4) What are the most common failures or necessary replacement parts for the used durangos from the earlier years?
5) How is the ride quality and road noise (using a fairly standard tire)?
6) How can you tell the difference between the part time awd and the full time awd option?

To be honest the fuel usage is my biggest concern. I know roughly what to expect from an 8cyclinder but these are pretty big displacement engines with the 5.2 or 5.9 litre engines.

Thanks for your assistance.
 

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Mine is newer so I can't really tell you much about the older ones. But here goes untill someone with an older one chimes in.

1)Other than transmission and ball joint issues I don't see any real patterns with anything else going wrong. You can skip the trans issues if you wind up with a 4.7 engine. The 4.7 trans seems to hold up much better.

2) Why they sell for less....I have no real evidence but it seems to me the Chebies and ferds as well as the imports sell for more only because of name recognition. I know explorers have a few more frills on them when compared year to year but from my experience at ford they are junk. There is no way I could ask an explorer to do what I routinely do with my D. As you can see in my sig I love Dodges but as someone said in a thread I recently read here our D's don't do any one thing great....but they can do everything well. The jack of all trades but master of none.

3) I added a high flow muffler and air filter along with my superchips tuner and have seen about 3-4 mpg improvment long term. Once on the highway I can reset my computer and get around 18-20 mpg once at cruising speeds. The average city/highway is around 15.5-16.

4)Ball Joints, Intake Gasket and trans on the 5.2 or 5.9.

5) I have zero road noise running stock wranglers. Mine are rotated as needed and wearing great even at 68k. I have heard some very loud ones when driving around but imo thats more a lack of tire rotation/alignment vs vehicle characteristics. My wife trips on me when a vehicle is coming close to me and I pipe up about them needing a rotation. My only noise complaint would be in high winds at highway speeds my roof rack makes a light whistling noise. it's only noticable when the wind is really kicking up though. I have had many people go on and on about the ride in mine. My father in law has always driven new chevy trucks/suv's that are never more than a couple years old. He loves riding in my D. A couple months ago when he was looking for a replacement he made a comment to the effect he wished they still made the Gen 1 D's. He won't buy used but hates the new body style. (hint hint DC...another lost sale d/t you trying to get the soccer moms to buy an awd minivan/suv).

6) I have awd on mine and the selector has no 2wd options. If you have the 2wd option on the selector you should also have full time 4wd as an option. Full time 4wd is basically awd. There are some slight differences but basically with awd you do not have the ability to be in 2wd. With the full time case you can go to 2wd. Thats about it in a nutshell. From what I have read there may be a slight mileage penalty in the awd models although I have seen this disputed several times. I love awd. With it my handling and accelleration is very consistant wether it's wet, dry or snowy. I have to work at getting tires to break loose in most circumstances. The rears are planted and thats all there is to it. They will not spin unless I punch it in the snow or very heavy rain. Even then it regains traction very quickly. I can spin the fronts in the rain but again I have to work at it. I have to turn the wheel hard then punch it just to get one front tire to break loose and once the wheel is straightened I have traction again. When I first added the mods we wet down the shop floor and I tried to spin the tires. Even on very smooth wet concrete they would break loose for maybe an instant then I would just launch forward. AWD is awesome :).

Fuel mileage wise you either need a vehicle that can do alot of things well or you don't. If you don't need towing capacity and only kinda like a D don't do it. you probably will not be happy down the road with it. As for me Yes I am concerned with mileage..hence the mods and strict air pressure monitering..but mileage was not why I purchased her. I wanted a vehicle that can do moderate off roading, tow, haul all the kids, dogs and gear we need when camping/vacationing, plow through the snow, (she does awesome in the snow) as well as look good for a night on the town when necessary. I have to say after 3 years I am quite satisfied with what my D has/can do.
 

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Someone else should pipe in here but iirc the full time/2wd case has the floor shifter where the awd has just the knob on the dash.
 

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Pimp On Sir Don
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My 03 has PT4WD (hi/lo) and 2WD selections. You can tell because instead of the usual 2 or 3 selections with 2wd/4wd or 2wd/4wdHI/4wdLo you will have the following selections... 2wd/AWD(or FT4WD)/4WDHI(or PT4WD)/4wdLO OR it will say AWD/4WDHI/4WDLo if you do not have the selection for 2wd.

EDIT: oh yeah, ALL R/T's are AWD with no 2wd option...
 

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You emphasized fuel economy. You're not going to find it in a mid-sized truck with a V8. Try a V6 ricer, or a smaller V6 truck. Just do not expect to tow much.

Ya can't have it all, but the gen 1 D is very close. Fuel economy? Forget it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hello all,

Thanks for the feedback. My comment about fuel econmy was not to make it sound as though that was the breaking point it was just a concern, but like I mentioned or atleast meant to mention its going to be the same regardless of the vehicle purchased with a motor of this size, I just wanted to ensure it wasnt underpar in comparison to others.

It sounds as though current owners are more then happy with their durango's and thats important to hear. I just wanted to ensure that I wasnt purchasing something that I would end up running into problems with or that had known notable issues. You can ANY vehicle and run into problems, but some vehicles are just more reliable plain and simple and thats important.
 

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King Daddy D.O.G!!!
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80,000 miles on my D and nothing major has gone wrong with it. This is on of only two vehicles I have owned that I can say is VERY dependable. I can't even gripe about the fuel mileage due the fact that it WILL start everyday for me and is more comfortable than my easy chair at home.

Best damned vehicle I have owned next to my old 1979 Thunderbird.
 

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As for reliability, I'm with JP. In five years, I've replaced the TPS, the belt tensioner, and a freeze plug (for way less than $500). Since this was my first American car in a very long time, I did not have very high expectations. My D has really surprised me with very good fit & finish, excellent reliability, and the robust qualities necessary to hold up to my nasty habit of heavy modifications. Plus, they are the best looking SUV on the road (IMHO).
 

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I am your Father
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I use my 98 Durango for towing snowmobiles also. I would suggest you consider the trailer before making your final decision. For example:
With a 1st Gen Durango, you can tow ANY size trailer, regardless of whether it's open or enclosed, as long as the weather is good. As a snowmobiler, I have come to expect that I will be towing in the absolute worst snow/wind/ice conditions.

If you have an open snowmobile trailer, then look no further, the 1st Gen Durango will tow the thing just fine, even in the worst weather.

If you have an enclosed snowmobile trailer, then you really need to start thinking.
2-place enclosed trailer = OK
3-place enclosed trailer = OK
In-Line enclosed trailer = OK
4-place side-by-side enclosed trailer = find a bigger truck

The Durango is a very capable towing platform, but the chassis is too small to tow one of the 4-place (101+ inch wide X 26+ feet long) trailers during one of our much loved snow/wind/ice storms for two reasons:
1. You can't see behind you, because the truck is too narrow.
2. A fully loaded trailer of this size will allow the wind to move the Durango right off the road, spoiling your snowmobile vacation.


...And to answer your questions about reliability...
I have a 98 Durango with the 5.9 liter, 245,000 miles towing my 4000 pound 3-place enclosed trailer.

No major repairs, original transmission, etc...

 

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Bill Lawrence said:
...And to answer your questions about reliability...
I have a 98 Durango with the 5.9 liter, 245,000 miles towing my 4000 pound 3-place enclosed trailer.

No major repairs, original transmission, etc...

Damn dude! That's impressive!
 

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245K without a trans (esspecially on a 44/46RE) is definitely the exception...

No thanks on the for sale thing from me! I'm trying to get my miles built up without buying them... :D I'm at 49K now, ON MY WAY!
 
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