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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently have a 93 Dodge dakota with a v8 automatic transmission and 4wd. I currently have 32x11.5x15 tires on it,with a rear limited slip.Its a great truck, other that having to turn off the OD to go up a hill or pass something so the transmission doesn't try to shift every 2 seconds.That being said I might be a bit spoiled by my 310hp/686lb-ft cummins backed by a 5 speed, the 230 hp 5.2 with an automatic doesnt really feel that fast.It kinda moves if you manually go through the gears.I'm trying to use the truck to go camping and it does alright but the fuel mpg is horrible.It gets about 10 mpg in town,maybe 14 on the highway, and about 5 mpg tooling around the woods.So I started looking for something with atleast a manual transmission.I found a 94 dakota in the same body style as mine(club cab) with a v6 and a manual transmission.It seems to have some syncro issues because it wont go into 4th gear and it whines a bit so I am thinking its low on fluid.So at the very least before I buy it I want to pull the shifter off and see how dry it is.Other than that how bad would a v6 with a stick be offroad with 32" tires vs the v8 and the automatic?Yea fuel costs are important to me but I would rather not have to fill up the main 22 gallon tank and carry extra fuel cans just to go camping for the weekend.I test drove the truck and it seemed to move ok but I really didn't beat on it too hard because it had just be woken up from a year and a half slumber, that and the stock tires dont really put much a load on it..
 

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My 99 4wd reg cab short box with a magnum 5.2 auto was a gutless wonder too, pulled itself fine, but the 5.2 is a bit weak for a 4wd in my opinion.
They pull a 2wd nicely though, but seems a front diff and transfer case is too much for a 5.2.
This truck also got 14hwy.

If mileage is a major concern, get a 2wd. The v6 I would think should move around fine, but will never be a wonder of power. The 5.2 will do better.
Main benefit of the v6 would most likely be less weight. Easiest cheapest way to add power is to reduce weight, and throw a cam init with headers and two into 1 exhaust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yea, but I use the truck to go camping off the beaten path.Occasionally 4wd is required.
 

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If it's whining and it won't go into 4th gear it may have some countershaft bearing issues. Is there a power take off plate on either side of the case? If so you need to remove it and see if you can pry up on the cluster gear to check for movement. Any movement,up or down, side to side will point to bad countershaft bearings.
 

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I have a 04 Dakota CC 4x4 with the 3.7 V6. It's gutless and the MPG isn't much better than the V8 due to always being on the skinny pedal to keep a constant highway speed on the slightest of inclines. Fortunately, it's not my daily driver. Just for snow days and hauling this or that. I should have looked for a 5.9 V8 Dakota.
 

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...well...the 5.9 may be bigger but it isn't necessarily a powerhouse either, and also has the crappy mpg's to match.  I think the best I ever got was about 13 on the highway - I didn't even bother checking city or off-road.

My two cents, leave that good ole' 318 and 46RH right where they are {cool}...and carry extra fuel.  Unless you drop in a 4bt Cummins or other fuel-sipping diesel I don't think you'll ever come close to appreciable gains in fuel economy with another gas engine transplant.  If it were me I'd buy (or have built) the biggest side-saddle auxillary fuel tank that you can get and put it wherever it will fit, or just carry jerry cans or better the rotopax tanks.  It is for this very reason (not running out of fuel) that I literally out-boarded the rear 2/3 of my 02 Dakota's frame so I could bolt up a second gas tank.  Yah a lot of fab sure, but the same reasons apply - an extra 24 gallons of fuel {cool}.  And I'm doing a 440...which will probably get the same mpg's than any of the small blocks...and a bunch more power....but I digress.

- Sam
 
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