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2001_Dakota
Dodge Dakota
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7/18/2014
16:14:22

Subject: Symptoms after head gaskets replaced..
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Message:
I'm not overly knowledgeable about engine repair,
but I wanted to bounce my situation off of you
guys and see what you think.

I have a 2001 Dodge Dakota, 3.9L engine. For years
and years I've sporadically gotten error codes
about misfiring cylinders. My normal mechanic has
replaced all the spark plugs twice, but every year
he resets the error codes and drives it the
necessary miles to get it pass inspection. Once I
tried to get it inspected elsewhere, but that
mechanic said I had a cracked head gasket and he
couldn't get it to pass (that was about 5 years
ago). Except for the inspection headache, the
truck drove fine until last week and now has 193k
miles on it.

The one symptom it had was about once or twice a
month it would have a very rough start. When I
gave it any gas, it sounded like the engine (maybe
transmission?) was straining and it didn't want to
go into 2nd gear. The only thing that "fixed it"
was to keep driving it, and within 2 blocks it
would always smooth out (all of a sudden, like
someone switched a flip), change gears, and sound
perfect. Several times I tried leaving it idle for
5-10 minutes thinking it needed to warm up...never
worked. Always had to drive it those 2 blocks. It
was usually during one of these rough starts that
the engine light would come on, so I assumed they
were related. Only patterns I noticed was that it
happened less in warmer months (I think, could
have been my imagination), and tended to happen if
the vehicle hadn't been driven for several days or
weeks.

Fast forward to two weeks ago, truck started
making a horrible noise when cranked. Checked
fluid and I had almost no engine coolant. By the
way, truck is in a garage and I hadn't noticed any
leaking. So, added coolant (sounded much better)
and drove it to the mechanic. We both assumed it
was just a slow leak that needed to be addressed.

He came out a few minutes later and said it was a
broken head gasket. After discussion, I decided to
fix it. A few days later he called and said both
head gaskets were cracked, so it ended up costing
a little more (he gave me the parts at cost). I
generally trust this guy a lot, but I don't know
what I'm looking for on the matter.

Have it home, and have only driven it for a few
short rides. However, that bad start behavior has
occurred EVERY time I've driven the truck, which
is way more frequent than ever before. Engine
light has not come on. The "bad start" behavior
now even occurs when I'm out running errands,
every time I turn off the engine and turn it back
on. That's new...before if it happened, it only
happened the first crank of the day.

So, I'm just looking for thoughts on what you
think it might be. Related to the repair?
Something that sounds especially concerning? I
haven't called my mechanic yet, but we have a good
relationship and I'll do that next week. Just
wanted some (virtual) second opinions.




Rambo
Dodge Dakota
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7/18/2014
22:01:19

RE: Symptoms after head gaskets replaced..
IP: Logged

Message:
Junk that P.O.S., but before you do smash all the windows and kick in all the doors!



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