Dakota Forumz banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am having a hard time finding good advice on the best source for a suspension lift kit for my son's Dodge Dakota. It is a 2 door regular cab, not an extended or quad cab. We go off roading and I don't just want a body lift.

Any ideas where I can buy something to lift my Dakota 3 inches or so? 4X4
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
408 Posts
I am having a hard time finding good advice on the best source for a suspension lift kit for my son's Dodge Dakota. It is a 2 door regular cab, not an extended or quad cab. We go off roading and I don't just want a body lift.

Any ideas where I can buy something to lift my Dakota 3 inches or so? 4X4
Ok, for what it's worth, here is my advice. At present, I do not believe that there are any suspension lift kits for a 2001 Dakota regular cab 4x4. The closest "kit" available would be the 5.5 inch Tuff Country EZ ride for the 97 to 99 models. Heres the thing, the suspension lift would physically bolt on, except for the steering system. In 2000 Dodge, in it's wisdom, changed the entire steering system on the 4x4s to a new Rack & Pinion unit which the suspension lift will not accommodate. So to get any kind of suspension lift on an '01, you'll need to dump the entire rack & pinion, and install an older style steering system from a 97-99 Dakota 4x4 in it's place.

OK, now lets say you are considering this just so you can add some lift and I'm assuming some bigger tires. While it's possible to get more lift out of this Dakota, you're going to run into other "issues"
I know we love our Dakotas here, but the reality is, there are several weak points you should be aware of.

First weakness is the front differential housing. It's made out of aluminum. That means if you are in a situation where the load on the front end is exceeded, the housing can explode. This can happen with larger tires and a lot of power being applied. Or a shock load, such as when a tire is spinning and suddenly gains traction.

The next weakness is the axle half shafts. These half shafts are very tiny. The biggest weakness is the rubber CV boots. They are vulnerable and very necessary, if you tear a boot, it won't be long before you'll be replacing the entire half shaft because the CVs will wear out very quickly

After that, the next major weakness are the wheel bearings, known as unit bearings. And it's a big one. They are supposed to be lubed for life and supposedly do not require service. However, they are not the best design at all.
If you take them in deep water or mud, water will get inside and theres no way to purge contaminates out, because they do not come with grease fittings. Next, they do not support larger tires or rims with a lot of offset. The cages inside are made out of plastic and will wear out quickly. And to replace them, it's a PIA type of job and the bearings are about $130 a pop.

In short, the Dakota isn't designed to handle larger tires or do any difficult off roading. (Which is probably a good reason why you probably shouldn't try to lift a Dakota)

In my opinion, your options are; Do not add much lift. The biggest tires you should go is about 32" or 33" max (And thats really pushing it) Use factory rims. They have the correct offset. If you have to have a lift, a body lift is probably your best option. It's cheap, theres no issues with the steering and it will make room for a 32"-33" tire. You can get more bang by keeping the truck close to stock which is it's strongest condition considering the front end issues. I would probably suggest either a limited slip or locker in the rear for some kind of capability.

You can also take the truck in another direction, that is to go all out and install a solid axle. This way you have no limits.

Ed
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Ed, great info and thanks so much for taking the time to provide the detail we need. I'm sorry to hear that the Dakota is so limited for wheeling because we love the truck and the mods have already begun regarding the exterior (roll bar and lights going on this week).

I have a JK with a lot of mods and got the Dak so my son and I could go off roading, but it appears we will be limited. Thanks again! Huge help...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
408 Posts
Just to make it clear. Your son can still have fun, but don't try to make the truck something it's not designed to do.

If I were to suggest a build, this is what I'd recommend. 3 inch body lift and a set of 33 inch tires. Put a Detroit locker in the rear axle, unless the truck is daily driven on snow and ice, in which case, I'd suggest a Limited Slip. A winch would be a nice accessory

Keep the truck out of deep mud if at all possible. Your son can have a lot of fun with a set up like this

Ed
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks...still love our Black Dak

Thanks again, Ed...

We don't have much snow and ice here in Charlotte, thankfully, and no mud bogging or deep water fording for us, even with my lifted JK with 35" tires. We go to Uwharrie and a few other places, so I'm sure your last recommendation will be perfect and I appreciate the advice. Very sound and exactly what we needed.
 

Attachments

1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top