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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I know I'm new here but I would appreciate some input on a '91 Dakota that was just offered to me for free. Sorry I have somewhat limited information on the truck but will tell you everything I know.

1991 Dodge Dakota Sport 3.9L Automatic with 100,000 miles
Owner (coworker) says that he can't get it to start and it has been sitting in the parking lot at my work for about 2 months now. A quick inspection shows a truck in decent shape, however once I got under the hood I noticed a couple red flags. The coolant is completely empty, there is only a very small amount of coolant at the very bottom of the reservoir. There is coolant all over the bottom of the block with drips hanging from the oil pan. I pulled the dipstick and it looked pretty clean with fresh oil but at the time I was primarily looking just to make sure it had oil in it and not for metal shavings. When I tried to start the truck it made a sparking sound and then would slowly turn over but sounded like it was struggling, seemed like either a resistance to turning or not enough power. Sometimes it would turn over once or twice, but most attempts at starting it wouldn't turn at all, sometimes all I would get is a loud "clack" sound.

Connections to the battery were clean, no corrosion. I attached my jumper cables and let it sit hooked up to my other vehicle for a while but this didn't seem to have any noticeable effect. Accessories in the car worked; radio, lights etc.

Currently I'm leaning toward the engine being seized and am hesitant to put any money into it. Going to get the starter tested tomorrow.

Would love to hear what you all think.

Cheers,
Jeff
 

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How cheap can you get it?

The 1991 has a LA based TBI motor in it; if the frame is good, and you can get it cheap enough, you can either rebuild that LA motor, or convert to a Magnum (find a 92/93 donor truck ideally!) and send it.

RwP
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The truck is basically mine for free if I want it. Not sure if I want to do a complete motor swap. More just looking to find out if a cheap DIY repair can get me rolling again or if the motor is done and I need pass on the offer.
 

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Try rolling it over with a socket and breaker bar on the damper pulley bolt. If you can turn it easily then there is hope. If it turns really hard to the point you are turning the bolt but not the engine, then you have a serious drag somewhere. Do you know the details as to why it was left there for two months? Was it running normally when he parked it?
 

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You will also need to find the source of the coolant leak. It could be as simple as a water pump or even freeze plugs (they rust out). Depending on where you live, freezing could also be a concern. Buy a cheap hydrometer from the auto parts store and determine the freeze protection of the remaining coolant. If it's above your lowest temp for the last 2 months it could have frozen and cracked the block, or moved the freeze plugs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hey that's not a bad idea. I will give it a shot and report back. All I know is what I wrote above. Basically it rolled into its current parking spot and then would not start back up. Given some personal things the owner has going on it was just left in the lot for a while. Now he just doesn't want to deal with it.
 

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If it turns over at all its not seized because of the over heat.

I would do what Ralph states and just replace the engine. Otherwise you're looking at a head gasket replacement and or engine rebuild.

Drain the oil and refill. You may know quite a bit by looking at a frothy, grey oil meaning water leak into the crank case. See if you can get it to turn over after the oil change. If still slow, check the battery capacity. It may be shot. Worth the $20 at this stage.
 

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Hello,

I know I'm new here but I would appreciate some input on a '91 Dakota that was just offered to me for free. Sorry I have somewhat limited information on the truck but will tell you everything I know.

1991 Dodge Dakota Sport 3.9L Automatic with 100,000 miles
Owner (coworker) says that he can't get it to start and it has been sitting in the parking lot at my work for about 2 months now. A quick inspection shows a truck in decent shape, however once I got under the hood I noticed a couple red flags. The coolant is completely empty, there is only a very small amount of coolant at the very bottom of the reservoir. There is coolant all over the bottom of the block with drips hanging from the oil pan. I pulled the dipstick and it looked pretty clean with fresh oil but at the time I was primarily looking just to make sure it had oil in it and not for metal shavings. When I tried to start the truck it made a sparking sound and then would slowly turn over but sounded like it was struggling, seemed like either a resistance to turning or not enough power. Sometimes it would turn over once or twice, but most attempts at starting it wouldn't turn at all, sometimes all I would get is a loud "clack" sound.

Connections to the battery were clean, no corrosion. I attached my jumper cables and let it sit hooked up to my other vehicle for a while but this didn't seem to have any noticeable effect. Accessories in the car worked; radio, lights etc.

Currently I'm leaning toward the engine being seized and am hesitant to put any money into it. Going to get the starter tested tomorrow.

Would love to hear what you all think.

Cheers,
Jeff
the resistance is most likely in the starter, replace it, as far as the coolant goes that's an issue, where is it coming from? you may have leaking heads or as simple as a hose. pull the engine oil pan, if no water or whitish oil good to go.
 
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