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Unfortunately the off-road aftermarket never glommed onto them, though the street market certainly embraced these little screamers. In the original '97-'99 models, Dakotas and Durangos used an AMC Model 35 front centersection.
The front suspension on 4WD Dakotas and Durangos is a torsion-bar-sprung A-arm setup that is nothing to get excited about. Though they're not as common to modify as a Chevy or Ford V-8, you can really get a lot of power and torque from the Magnum V-8 engines. If you're looking for something a bit different, then you could always try a Dodge Dakota 60hp shot nitrous kit from NOS. Unfortunately Dodge made it a bit tricky for the aftermarket when it changed things underneath a bit in 2000.
If you are going to use your Dakota or Durango mostly on the trail, then it might be a good idea to swap in a solid axle.
In fact, we have one here in our Off-Road stables, and it might just be a matter of time before we crack into a really trick long-travel 4wd suspension for our Durango. With a completely stock 5.9L engine - save for an ignition coil, air intake, and headers - our Durango makes over 300 hp at the flywheel.
It was relatively weak, and owners reported breaking them on the street before even hitting the dirt.

All models we've ever seen used either a 46 RE automatic transmission for the V-8s or an NV3500 for the manual trannies. With our IFS lift kit, we get around 8 inches of travel and are grateful for even that much from the factory. Superchargers are available, and we've even found a turbocharger kit for these engines online, but we've built these engines before in the past and have made good power improvements with improved exhausts and an ECU tuner.
A new rack-and-pinion steering and differential required lift-kit redesigns, and some companies that already had kits out for the '97-'99 chose not to address the '00-'03. This particular pictured Dakota had a solid-axle swap built by WFO Concepts, but it was definitely more costly than just bolting on some IFS lift. You cannot beat a solid axle for rockcrawling or other slow-going off-roading, and this might be just the ticket you need to talk yourself into a Dakota or Durango. We've seen pretty insane 2wd long-travel suspension builds on some Dakotas, and now we think we're going to have to try our hand at building up a 4wd long-travel Durango suspension. They have a great power-to-weight ratio (with the right engine package) and a well thought out physical build as far as handling and maneuverability go. All-wheel-drive with a 360ci V-8 and 9.25 rear axle, this midsize rocket was quick and strong enough to give any decent tuner car or luxury import a run for its money. And we know for a fact that we didn't gain 55 hp from an ignition coil, air intake, and headers!

In 2000, Dodge made a number of changes to the Dakota and Durango platform, and one of the upgrades was a new Chrysler 8.0 front differential. We have heard rumors that there were a few first-year 5.9L engine models that came with an NV4500, but our research leads us to believe that Dodge stopped using the NV4500 behind its V-8 engines in 1996 (before the '97-'03 body style was available). Off the top of our heads, we'll tell you that Tuff Country has a kit for the '97-'99s, and Rancho has a kit for the '00-'03s. With full coilovers, a four-link, and solid axle, this Dakota was more than ready for some hard-core trail use. And when modified with a supercharger or turbocharger, a Dakota would take a Ford Lightning's lunch money. We could not find many stories of complaints with this centersection, and we will tell you that ours has survived mild off-roading so far.

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Comments to «Can you tell gear ratio from vin number»

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