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Buying 98 Dakota as first truck- yes or no?

3582 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  hockeygeek21
I'm 16 and have saved enough money to buy a truck. My dad had a 92 dakota years back and it was very reliable. He had the v6 with a 5spd. Had 180k before he sold it. Anyway, I am looking to buy my first car and someone at my dad's work has a 98 Dakota. It has the 3.9 v6, 5 speed, extended cab and only 67,000 miles. It needs ball joints though. The guy is pretty firm at $2500 My dad said its not the greatest condition cosmetically (pretty scratched up), but the low miles are drawing me in. For 2500 it doesn't seem like a bad deal to me. I have looked up review on the web and there are alot of bad ones. Are the trucks bad or are the happy people just being quiet? I have seen alot of bad ball joints, cat converters, trannys (although they don't worry me as the one im looking at has a 5speed), and brakes. So i have some questions for you.

How is the truck in general? High operation cost? Bad Reliability?

What should i expect in mpg from this engine/tranny combo?

How hard are the ball joints to put in? How much will they run me?

Should I worry about the bad reviews?

Lastly, given the details, what are your thought? Buy it?
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Honestly, I would say no. I'm not ever going to buy a chrysler product again just because of this truck. I have run into problem after problem with this truck and wouldnt reccomend anyone getting one.
for a 1st vehicle and being 16, I'd say go for it; realize that miles aint everything though. I have seen vehicles with 250K miles in better shape than others with 40K miles....
don't worry about a few scrapes if it is structurally sound.

I have owned 4 kinds of vehicles since I was 16 in 1983, and that's all i will own; Chryslers Dodges plymouths and Jeeps. I refuse to buy a front wheel drive anything. 4X4? I have 3 now (one is my son's) and will probably never be without at least 1.

I have a 78 Plymouth Fury Sport (yeah 2 door) sitting in storage waiting for road salt season to finish itself..... one many would call a "boat" but I love it. and a 2nd plymouth awaiting my new job to start, so I can resume my resto project.

I have had better luck with some of them I have owned, than others, yeah; and I prefer older models in any case. but trucks are machines>>> and machines of any kind, need MAINTENANCE, to be expected to last!
dont let the ball joints scare you; when I was an alignment guy for a living (18 years worth) I did plenty of them on all vehicles. get the best you can afford, there are many cheap brands that have popped up in the last 5 years that i would not trust farther than I can throw. Go with MOOG, TRW, or SPICER. Nobody else. I don't care about "lifetime warranty' these brands are proven/// and getting a cheap price dosen't top the aggravation of having to redo a job because you saved a few bucks. You do get what you pay for.
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I've owned 9 dakotas in a row,and 1 ford. I never had a serious problem with any of them. My 99 ex cab,v-6,5 spd,was one of the nicest truck I ever had.Owned it for 2 years,and only put a water pump on it,at 135,000 miles. I say,BUY THE DAKOTA!!!
17.5 mpg
Ball joint do require some mechanical skill,I suggest you find someone with some experiance to tackle that job.
I've owned 3 dodges all 3 were and are trucks and 2 are Dakota's.... Presently I own an 02 Dakota... I'd say go for the truck if it's what you like and it may have a few problems but problems occur in all vehicles... Some big and some small... Just check it all out before you buy...
Go for it.

Im 17 and my I have a 1998 Dakota 3.9L V6 4x4 and I love it, but I do regret buying this specific one because I replaced the transmission in it the 2nd month I had it. But that was my fault since the ad on Craigslist said rebuilt trans... obviously it was done the wrong way. Anyway I love this truck. I get about 16 MPG with a heavy foot so you will probably get 16-22 depending on if the one your getting is 4wd. Looking to sell it now tho, planning on getting a Jeep Wrangler. Best of luck to you!
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