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What year did the Dakota body style change? Was it 97? We owned an 02 Dakota and I really liked that body style. I'm kind of looking for another on but I want either a 3.9 or would prefer the 318 (5.2). Thanks
 

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Thanks, Matthew. Was the 5.2 available until 2000 or 01? I know the 02 was only available with the 4.7. I'm not a real fan of that engine. The 02 4x4 reg cab, only had the 3sp auto with overdrive, and maybe the 03 with the 4sp auto & overdrive was better. I couldn't get any kind of gas mileage 16-17 MPG. It would downshift going down the road at every bump it seemed like. I had it checked a couple of times and everything was working fine. Guys with the 5.2 that bought the 4.7 would complain about the mileage and even the performance vs the 5.2. The 5.2 is easier to work on. I don't want too new of Dakota so I'll start looking for a 1998 or 99.
 

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No problem.

Here is a list of the engines available in the gen 2 Dakotas, and the years they were available...

2.5L I4: 1997 - 2002

3.7L V6: 2004

3.9L V6: 1997 - 2003

4.7L V8: 2000 - 2004

5.2L V8: 1997 - 1999

5.9L V8: 1998 - 2004
 

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Thanks for that info. I pretty sure I will look for and 98-2000. I'm always alittle leary of first year models. I guess if a 97 came along at a good price I'd have to consider it. I would settle for a 3.9 V6 or 5.2 V8.
 

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If I had to do it over again, I would go with a bigger engine......the 3.9 gets crappy mileage. I'm only averaging 17-18 mpg......Not very good for a small V6. Go bigger! At least that is my opinion.......
 

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ya, i hear ya on that. my mild mod(heads/cam,ect) 5.9 gets 18 or better hwy when not on Cali gas. Cali gas maybe 17.
 

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When I was test driving trucks (2003) the truck I had at the time was a '95 cc dak w/3.9 and the same 3.9 in the '03 felt like a 4 banger. The 4.7 was unreal compared to the '95's 3.9. I was told they detuned them for gas mileage. Did you have a 4.7? If not give it a fair shake. I have it and love it. Mixed driving getting 16-17.5 and that is not babying it.
 

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Dakotafan said:
When I was test driving trucks (2003) the truck I had at the time was a '95 cc dak w/3.9 and the same 3.9 in the '03 felt like a 4 banger.
The 4.7 was unreal compared to the '95's 3.9. I was told they detuned them for gas mileage. Did you have a 4.7? If not give it a fair shake. I have it and love it. Mixed driving getting 16-17.5 and that is not babying it.
Our 02 was a 4.7 with the 3sp auto with overdrive. It llacked power IMO. It ate spark plugs ever 25-30,000 miles. Gas mileage was 14-16 MPG. this was an 02 Dakota reg cab 4x4 with 3.54 gears.
Thanks for the heads up on the 3.9. I'll have to drive one. With the info you guys have given me I will most likely lean towards the 5.2 or 5.9.
Thanks again for the input.
 

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Good luck. It is hard finding a 5.2/5.9 out there. They are fading fast. If you do find one, they are usually pretty beat up. The nice ones, however, will cost you some $$. Might be better off building your own or droppin in a crate motor...
 

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88D250 said:
Our 02 was a 4.7 with the 3sp auto with overdrive. It llacked power IMO. It ate spark plugs ever 25-30,000 miles. Gas mileage was 14-16 MPG. this was an 02 Dakota reg cab 4x4 with 3.54 gears. Thanks for the heads up on the 3.9. I'll have to drive one. With the info you guys have given me I will most likely lean towards the 5.2 or 5.9.
Thanks again for the input.
You identified why it gave such lackluster performance: auto tranny, 4x4, and 3.55 gears. If it would have had 3.92 axles you would have noticed a world of difference, *and* have gotten better MPG.

The spark plug consumption isn't an issue if you replace them yourself and use Autolite 5224 plugs: $10 for parts and a little bit of your time. This ignition doesn't need those expensive platinum plugs, so there's no need to spend $4 (or more) each.
 
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