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Old October 18th, 2007, 11:21 AM   #1
Troll53
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Need some experienced input

I'm looking at a possibly buying a new/used vehicle. I've always been a Ford guy but this time I'm also looking at the Dakota and Liberty. My biggest concern with a used vehicle is reliability. I have never had any issues with my Ranger and it has run up 218,000 miles. Are either one of these vehicles as reliable? If I go the Dakota route I'm looking for a v-8. Any major issues here? Will either of these last as long as my Ranger? First hand experienced input please.
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Old October 18th, 2007, 11:42 AM   #2
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What year vehicles? Engine trans combos?
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Old October 18th, 2007, 11:49 AM   #3
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Sorry, Dakota- 02-05 4.7 prefer manual trans but that may be a pipe dream.
Liberty- any year probably 3.7 but I really like that diesel option they
had (may also be a pipe dream)
Both would be 4x4
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Old October 18th, 2007, 12:03 PM   #4
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Do you plan on doing any towing?

Are you actually going to have a need for the truck bed?

Both vehicles have the sames trans (4.7L and 3.7L), and it's a relatively solid transmission. You'll see close to the same gas mileage with both vehicles, probably slightly better with the Liberty.

I owned an '02 Liberty Renegade and the only issues not caused by me lifting it and beating the piss out of it was a TPS sensor and small EVAP leak which were both covered under warranty. I took it up to roughly 75,000 miles.
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Old October 18th, 2007, 12:11 PM   #5
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I've got 96K on a 2000 Dakota Quad Cab (2wd) with a 4.7.

I just put the first "non routine" (i.e. tires / brakes) money into it last week (ball joints - which Chrysler paid for, TREs, and a leaky pinion seal. It's never been to the dealership other than to collect on the free ball joints. It gets crappy mileage (never better than 20 mpg, ever - normally 16-17 mpg). Pulls 22 foot boat at 70+ mph with no issues - tows better than the 5.7L Tahoe it replaced. The Dakota uses a lot of full-size Ram components, so it's fairly heavy duty for it's size, but heavy.

My only beef (other than unimpressive mpg) is size, since it's become the primary family vehicle for several years and there's not a lot of room for four or five people, their gear, and 4 ATVs (one of which is in the bed). But for the other 90% of the time it's reliable and great.
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Old October 18th, 2007, 12:17 PM   #6
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I think I would go for a older style quad cab Dakota. If you like those.

I have driven all the vehicles in the year ranges you are asking about. The older Dakota's are comfortable, extremely practical for a truck, and pretty good looking. The 4.7L auto was faster than the 5.9 Dakota R/T in the 1/4 mile according to (car and driver magazine??) They Tow pretty good, handle great for a truck, and have enough bed space for "most" of the things you would need to haul.

Now for the Liberty. They are solid vehicles, but I don't feel real comfortable in them. I don't like the interior layout. Chicks and Greasemonkeys seem to like them though. I just feel like I'm sitting on a milkcrate while driving them. The Dakota feels more like you are sitting on the floor and can stretch out a bit. I drove a 3.7l auto for a couple of weeks and could not crack 20mpg with it. It was in the 19.6 range babying it to Indiana and back. The diesels are great on fuel, but I'd be leary of long term issues you might run into with one.

Either choice is good, but I'm a fan of the quad cabs. As a matter of fact that might be my next vehicle after my Ram.

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Old October 18th, 2007, 12:24 PM   #7
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My woman has an '02 dakota ext. cab with 4.7L
It's been a real good truck although she only has about 40k miles on it.
Doesn't get very good mileage, only a couple mpg more than my 3/4 ton Chevy.
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Old October 18th, 2007, 04:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Do you plan on doing any towing?
Yes, some towing (sand rail & Raptor to Silver Lake) once or twice a year

Quote:
Are you actually going to have a need for the truck bed?
It does come in handy but is not a necessity at this point.

Thanks for the comments guys, much appreciated.
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