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Dodge Dakota
2nd Dodge Dakota.jpg
2rd-gen Dakota crew cab
Manufacturer Chrysler
Production 1987–present
Assembly Warren, Michigan, United States
Class Mid-size pickup truck
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive

The Dodge Dakota is a mid-size pickup truck from Chrysler's Ram division. From its introduction through 2009, it was marketed by Dodge. The first Dakota was introduced in 1986 as a 1987 model 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 and Chevrolet S-10 but below the full-sized pickups such as Dodge's own Ram. It is a conventional design with body-on-frame construction and a leaf spring/live axle rear end. The Dakota was the first small pickup with an optional V8 engine. One notable feature was the Dakota's rack and pinion steering, a first in work trucks. On November 4, 2009, Fiat announced that the slow selling truck would be discontinued in 2011.[1] Dakotas have been used by police and fire departments, as off-road vehicles, patrol cars, or even brush trucks.

First generationEdit

See also Shelby Dakota
First generation
87-90 Dodge Dakota.jpg
1987-1990 Dodge Dakota regular cab
Also called Dodge Shelby Dakota
Production 1987–1996
Body style(s) 2-door pickup truck
2-door convertible
Platform N/AN
Engine(s) 2.2 L K I4
3.9 L (238 cu in) LA V6
2.5 L (150 cu in) K I4
5.2 L (318 cu in) LA V8
3.9 L (238 cu in) Magnum V6
5.2 L (318 cu in) Magnum V8
2.5 L (150 cu in) AMC I4
Transmission(s) 3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 111.9 in (2842 mm)
123.9 in (3147 mm)
130.9 in (3325 mm) (ext. cab)
Length 1987-1990: 185.9 in (4722 mm)/204.4 in (5192 mm)
1989-1990 Club Cab: 211.1 in (5362 mm)
1991-93: 184.2 in (4679 mm)/202.7 in (5149 mm)
1991-93 Club Cab: 203.2 in (5161 mm)
1994-96: 195.3 in (4961 mm)/213.8 in (5431 mm)
1994-96 Club Cab: 214.3 in (5443 mm)
Width 1987-88: 68.4 in (1737 mm)/68.1 in (1730 mm)
1989-1996: 69.4 in (1763 mm)
Height 1987-1993: 64.2 in (1631 mm)/67.1 in (1704 mm)
1989-1993 Club Cab: 64.7 in (1643 mm)
1991-93 Club Cab 4WD: 67.7 in (1720 mm)
1994-96 4WD: 67.3 in (1709 mm)
1994-96 Club Cab 4WD: 68.5 in (1740 mm)
1994-96 2WD: 65.0 in (1651 mm)
1994-96 2WD Club Cab: 65.6 in (1666 mm)
Curb weight 3051 lbs
Related Shelby Dakota, Jeep Comanche

The Dodge Dakota was conceived by Chrysler management as the first "mid-sized" pickup combining the nimble handling and fuel economy of a compact pickup with cargo handling capacity approaching that of full-sized pickups. To keep investment low, many components were shared with existing Chrysler products and the manufacturing plant was shared with the full-sized Dodge D-Model. The name Dakota means "friend" or "ally" in the Sioux Indian language.

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 2 m and 2.4 m beds were offered. Fuel injection was added to the 3.9 L V6 for 1988 but the output remained the same.

In 1988, the Sport package was added as a mid-year release. Exterior colors came in Black, Bright White and Graphic Red. Available in both 2wd and 4x4, the Sport included:

  • AM/FM Stereo radio with cassette player
  • Carpeted logo floor mats
  • Center armrest bench seat
  • Charcoal/Silver Deluxe Cloth interior with fold-down arm rest
  • Color-keyed leather-wrapped sport steering wheel
  • Deluxe wipers
  • Dual remote control outside mirrors
  • Floor Carpet
  • Gauge Package
  • Mopar Air Dam with Bosch Fog Lamps
  • Mopar Light Bar with Bosch Off-Road lamps (4x4 only)
  • Unique bodyside tape stripes
  • Euro-style black out grille and bumpers
  • Sliding rear window
  • 3.9 L V6 engine
  • 15" aluminum wheels (5 bolt)

The N-body platform was the result of operational efforts by Harold K. Sperlich, who was in charge of Chrysler's Product Planning in the early 1980s; in which Japanese-inspired compact pickups of the time lacked the size and features necessary to meet the demands of American buyers. In the late-1970's, Chrysler was still recovering from their near-bankruptcy and resources were in short supply. Sperlich challenged the N-Body team to search for all opportunities to reuse existing components to create the Dakota. The resulting highly investment-efficient program enabled Chrysler to create an all-new market segment at low cost. Key individuals involved in making this product a reality included Glenn Gardner, Glen House, Robert Burnham, Don Sebert, Jim Hackstedde, and Clark Ewing.[citation needed] The basic Dakota vehicle was ultimately used as a foundation to create the Dakota extended cab version and the Dodge Durango SUV.

1989 saw the unusual Dakota convertible. The first American convertible pickup since the Ford Model A, it featured a fixed roll bar and an uncomplicated manual top. Roughly 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.

Dodge Dakota 1994 SLT

1991-1996 Dodge Dakota Club Cab

For 1991, the front of the Dakota received a new grille and hood which extended the engine compartment to better fit the optional 170 hp (127 kW) 5.2 L V8, which was inspired by the earlier Shelby Dakota V8 option. By 1992, the standard square sealed beam glass headlamps were phased out for the aerodynamic style molded plastic headlamps attached to the grill components. It was equipped with halogen lights, making 1991 the only year for a unique front-end for the Dakota. Also debuting in 1991 were six bolt wheels (replacing the earlier five bolt wheels) based on Dodge's marketing attempting to differentiate the Dakota from competing manufacturers' trucks and the upcoming new Ram introduction. 1991 was also the first year for an optional driver side airbag (made standard in 1994) and the last year for the Dakota convertible.

In order to fulfill the Dodge Division's commitment to the American Sunroof Company (who were responsible for the modifications to these trucks), production of the "drop top" Dakota was extended into the 1991 model year. Production was extremely limited, with just 8 produced in total, making them the most rare of all Dakotas. Unlike the previous years, colors and options varied more than before as the manufacturer picked each of these trucks in a somewhat random fashion. No advertising was given to these trucks, and they do not appear in sales literature. This is most likely due to the fact that the majority of them were "pre-sold" before hitting dealer lots.

Both of the V-configuration engines were updated to Magnum specs the next year, providing a tremendous power boost. Along with the introduction of the Magnum engine came multi-port Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI). The EFI computer ( called a PCM by Chrysler techs ) was partially responsible for the improved performance. The new engine/computer combination produced about175 kW.

1994 saw a few minor changes, with the most notable being the addition of a driver's side airbag, located in a new, two spoke design steering wheel (also found in the Ram). Other changes included the discontinuation of the "SE" and "LE" trims. In following with the all new Ram full sized pickups, top end trim was changed to "SLT", with these models (along with select others) wearing the new chrome finished, styled 6 bolt steel wheels styled similar to the 5 bolt type found on the larger Ram. Other changes included revisions to color and overall trim options.

In 1996, the first generation's final year, the base K-based 2.5 L SOHC I4 engine option was out of production and had been considered vastly underpowered compared to the competition, so Dodge replaced it with another 2.5 L I4 engine; this being of American Motors heritage with an OHV valvetrain and rated at 120 hp. This was the only major change for 1996, and the AMC 2.5 L would also be carried over as the base engine in the new, larger 1997 model.

EnginesEdit

  • 1987-1988 - 2.2 L (135 cu in) K I4, SOHC, 97 hp (72 kW)
  • 1987-1991 - 3.9 L (238 cu in) LA V6, 125 hp (93 kW)
  • 1989-1995 - 2.5 L (150 cu in) K I4, 99 hp (74 kW)
  • 1991 - 5.2 L (318 cu in) LA V8, 170 hp (130 kW)
  • 1992-1993 - 3.9 L (238 cu in) Magnum V6, 180 hp (130 kW)
  • 1991-1993 - 5.2 L (318 cu in) Magnum V8, 230 hp (170 kW)
  • 1994-1996 - 3.9 L (238 cu in) Magnum V6, 175 hp (130 kW)
  • 1994-1996 - 5.2 L (318 cu in) Magnum V8, 225 hp (168 kW)
  • 1996 - 1996 2.5 L (150 cu in) AMC I4, 120 hp (89 kW)

Second generationEdit

Second generation
2nd-Dodge-Dakota-extcab.jpg
2nd-gen Dodge Dakota SLT extended cab
Production 1997–2004 (North America)
1998-2001 (Brazil)
Body style(s) 2-door pickup truck
4-door pickup truck
Platform N/AN
Engine(s) 2.5 L AMC/PowerTech I4
3.9 L Magnum V6
5.2 L Magnum V8
5.9 L V8
4.7 L PowerTech V8
3.7 L PowerTech V6
Transmission(s) 4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 111.9 in (2842 mm) (reg. short)
123.9 in (3147 mm) (reg. long)
131.0 in (3327 mm) (ext. cab)
Length 1997-2001 Regular Cab: 195.8 in (4973 mm)
1997-2001 Regular Cab & 2002-04 Quad Cab: 215.1 in (5464 mm)
1997-2001 Club Cab: 214.8 in (5456 mm)
2002-04: 196.0 in (4978 mm)/215.0 in (5461 mm)
Width 71.5 in (1816 mm)
Height 1997-99 4WD: 68.0 in (1727 mm)
1997-99 & 2002-04 Club Cab 4WD: 68.5 in (1740 mm)
1997-2001 2WD: 65.6 in (1666 mm)/65.3 in (1659 mm)
2000-01 4WD: 67.9 in (1725 mm)
2000-01 Club Cab 4WD: 68.6 in (1742 mm)
2000-01 Quad Cab Sport 4WD: 68.8 in (1748 mm)
2000-01 Quad Cab Sport 2WD: 66.3 in (1684 mm)
2002-04 4WD: 67.3 in (1709 mm)
2002-04 Club Cab 4WD: 67.4 in (1712 mm)
2002-04 Quad Cab 4WD: 68.5 in (1740 mm)
2002-04 2WD: 64.7 in (1643 mm)
2002-04 Club Cab 2WD: 64.9 in (1648 mm)
2002-04 Quad Cab 4WD: 65.6 in (1666 mm)
Related Dodge Durango

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. At the time of its introduction, it was seen as one of the most radical in its class, not only for its styling, but for the fact it remained the only truck in its class with an available V8 engine that rivalled many V8s found in full size trucks with payloads of up to 1500 pounds.

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 aging 5.2 L Magnum V8 was replaced by a new high-tech 4.7 L SOHC PowerTech V8. The Quad-Cab featured a full-size flip up rear seat to provide room for 3 passengers in the back or lots of dry, interior room for cargo.

In spring 1998, a new limited edition R/T package was available as an option on the Dakota Sport model. This version is considered a true street/sport truck, only available in RWD. Factory modifications such as a 250 hp 360 cid/5.9 liter V8, heavy duty 46RE 4 speed automatic transmission, performance axle, limited slip differential, sport suspension and steering, uprated brakes, performance exhaust, special cast aluminum wheels, monotone paint, bucket seats, and many other standard options came with the package. Chrome wheels were available on 2002 models. Some of the last models made in 2003 came with the new stampede lower body cladding package and chromed version of the original cast aluminum wheels at no extra charge. This version of the R/T Dakota was produced through 2003, with the newer 2003 R/T trucks designated as their own trimline and no longer as part of an option package on the Dakota Sport trim.

Dodge Dakota Quad Cab Sport

Dodge Dakota Sport Quad-Cab

2000 saw the introduction of the 4.7 liter V8 and 45RFE automatic transmission.

2001 saw a fairly extensive revision of the Dakota's interior, including a completely redesigned dash, door panels and revised seats. Other minor trim revisions were made, including redesigned aluminium wheels on various models.

2002 was the final year for the four-cylinder engine in the Dakota, as Chrysler ended 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. Also, an automatic transmission was not available with the 4-cylinder.

2003 was the end of the old OHV V6 and the big R/T V8; the 2004 model year vehicles were available with a new 3.7 L PowerTech V6 engine to go along with the 4.7 L V8 variant.

This generation was also assembled and sold in Brazil from 1998 to 2001.

EnginesEdit

  • 1997-2002 - 2.5 L (150 cu in) AMC I4, 120 hp (89 kW)
  • 1997-2003 - 3.9 L (238 cu in) Magnum V6, 175 hp (130 kW)
  • 1997-2000 - 5.2 L (318 cu in) Magnum V8, 225 hp (168 kW)
  • 1998-2003 - 5.9 L (360 cu in) Magnum V8, 250 hp (190 kW)
  • 2000-2004 - 4.7 L (287 cu in) PowerTech V8, 230 hp (170 kW)
  • 2004 - 3.7 L (226 cu in) PowerTech V6, 210 hp (160 kW)[2]

Third generationEdit

Third generation
Dodge-Dakota-extended.jpg
2006 Dakota extended cab
Also called Ram Dakota (2010-2011)
Production 2005–present
Body style(s) 4-door pickup truck
Platform ND
Engine(s) 3.7 L (226 cu in) PowerTech V6
4.7 L (287 cu in) PowerTech V8
Transmission(s) 4-speed 42RLE automatic
5-speed 545RFE automatic
6-speed Getrag 238 manual
Wheelbase 131.3 in (3335 mm)
Length 218.8 in (5558 mm)
Width 71.7 in (1821 mm)
Height Club Cab: 68.6 in (1742 mm)
Quad Cab: 68.7 in (1745 mm)
Related Mitsubishi Raider
Dodge Durango

The redesigned 2005 Dakota still shared its platform with the new Dodge Durango SUV (which is now similar to the Ram platform). This model is 3.7 in (94 mm) longer and 2.7 in (69 mm) wider, and features a new front and rear suspension, and rack-and-pinion steering. This new generation model also reverted the wheels back to five lug wheels from the prior generation's six lug wheels due to cost and assembly time saving measures. The Dakota is built at the Warren Truck Assembly plant in Warren, Michigan.

There were a V6 and two V8 engines available: The standard engine is a 3.7 L PowerTech V6; the two 4.7 L V8 engines are the standard PowerTech V8 and the V8 High Output or HO. The 3.7 L V6 produces 210 horsepower (160 kW) and 235 lb·ft (319 N·m) of torque. The standard output 4.7 L V8 produces 230 hp (170 kW) and 295 lb·ft (400 N·m) of torque. The High Output 4.7 L V8 produces 260 horsepower (190 kW) and 310 lb·ft (420 N·m) of torque. Both the 3.7 L and standard output 4.7 L V8s were available with the 6 speed manual transmission in 2005 and 2006. For 2007, that option was deleted on the V8 models.

In addition to a refresh of the Dakota's styling, the latest generation is not offered in a regular cab model. Only the club cab and quad cab configurations are available. 2006 saw the Dakota R/T return, however only with cosmetic modifications. Despite the "R/T" moniker which signifies "Road and Track", the newest Dakota R/T is simply an option package, characterized by a non functional hood scoop, exclusive gauge cluster, and hockey-stick style side stripes. The package was available on both 2 and 4 wheel drive models.

2008 Dodge Dakota

2008 Dakota crew cab

The facelifted third generation Dakota was unveiled at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show. The Dakota received another facelift and interior upgrade along with a few other upgrades including built-in cargo-box utility rails, heated bench seats, best-in-class towing (up to 7,050 pounds), the largest and longest standard bed in the class, and the largest mid-size truck cab. Its new 4.7 liter V8 produces 302 hp (225 kW) and 329 lb·ft (446 N·m) of torque. The standard engine remains the 3.7 liter V6 with 210 horsepower (160 kW) and 235 lb·ft (319 N·m). of torque. Production began in August 2007. On November 4, 2009, Fiat announced that the Dakota will be discontinued in 2011.[1] A new unibody truck called the Ram Rampage is expected to take the place of the Dakota in 2012.

As of 2010, the Dakota is considered a part of the Ram lineup. However, the "DODGE" emblem still exists on the tailgate.

U.S. sales figuresEdit

Calendar Year Sales
1999[3] 144,148
2000 177,395
2001[4] 154,479
2002[5] 130,712
2003 111,273
2004[6] 105,614
2005 104,051
2006[7] 76,098
2007 50,702
2008[8] 26,044
2009[9] 10,690
2010[10] 13,047

ReferencesEdit

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