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Fluid level checks Dodge Dakota 1997 - 1999 Petrol 5.2 V8

OnDemand step-by-step maintenance & repair BETA

Dodge Dakota 1997 - 1999  | 5.2 V8 Fluid level checks

  • time 5 to 30 minutes
  • difficulty 1
Note: The following are fluid level checks to be done on a 250-mile or weekly basis. Additional fluid level checks can be found in specific maintenance procedures that follow. Regardless of intervals, be alert to fluid leaks under the vehicle, which would indicate a fault to be corrected immediately
Note: Fluids are an essential part of the lubrication, cooling, brake, clutch and windshield washer systems. Because the fluids gradually become depleted and/or contaminated during normal operation of the vehicle, they must be periodically replenished. See the specifications below before adding fluid to any of the following components. Note: The vehicle must be on level ground when fluid levels are checked

Engine oil

1 The engine oil level is checked with a dipstick that extends through a tube and into the oil pan at the bottom of the engine (see below)
2a The engine oil dipstick is clearly marked (5.2L/5.9L V8 shown, 3.9L V6 similar)
2b On the 3.7L and 4.7L V8 engine, the engine oil dipstick is located near the firewall
3 The oil level should be checked before the vehicle has been driven, or about 5 minutes after the engine has been shut off. If the oil is checked immediately after driving the vehicle, some of the oil will remain in the upper engine components, resulting in an inaccurate reading on the dipstick
4 Pull the dipstick out of the tube and wipe all the oil from the end with a clean rag or paper towel. Insert the clean dipstick all the way back into the tube, then pull it out again. Note the oil at the end of the dipstick. Add oil as necessary to keep the level between the MIN and MAX marks or within the SAFE zone on the dipstick (see below)
5 The oil level must be maintained between the marks at all times - it takes one quart of oil to raise the level from the ADD to SAFE mark
6 Do not overfill the engine by adding too much oil since this may result in oil-fouled spark plugs, oil leaks or oil seal failures
7 Oil is added to the engine via a funnel after unscrewing the oil filler cap - always make sure the area around the opening is clean before removing the cap to prevent dirt from contaminating the engine (5.2L/5.9L V8 shown; on the 3.7L and 4.7L V8, the cap is on the right front of the engine)
8 Checking the oil level is an important preventive maintenance step. A consistently low oil level indicates oil leakage through damaged seals, defective gaskets or past worn rings or valve guides. If the oil looks milky or has water droplets in it, the cylinder head gasket(s) may be blown or the head(s) or block may be cracked. The engine should be checked immediately. The condition of the oil should also be checked. Whenever you check the oil level, slide your thumb and index finger up the dipstick before wiping off the oil. If you see small dirt or metal particles clinging to the dipstick, the oil should be changed

Engine coolant

Warning: Do not allow antifreeze to come in contact with your skin or painted surfaces of the vehicle. Flush contaminated areas immediately with plenty of water. Antifreeze is highly toxic if ingested. Never leave antifreeze lying around in an open container or in puddles on the floor; children and pets are attracted by its sweet smell and may drink it. Check with local authorities on disposing of used antifreeze. Many communities have collection centers that will dispose of antifreeze safely
Note: Non-toxic type antifreeze is now manufactured and available at local auto parts stores, but even this type should be disposed of properly
Caution: Never mix green-colored ethylene glycol antifreeze with silicate-free antifreeze that is red or orange
1 All vehicles covered here are equipped with a pressurized coolant recovery system. A coolant reservoir located in the engine compartment is connected by a hose to the radiator filler neck (see below). If the engine overheats, coolant escapes through a valve in the radiator cap and travels through the hose into the reservoir. As the engine cools, the coolant is automatically drawn back into the cooling system to maintain the correct level. Warning: Do not remove the pressure cap to check the coolant level when the engine is warm
2 The coolant reservoir is located above the radiator - keep the level near the Full mark of the reservoir dipstick
3 The coolant level in the reservoir should be checked regularly. The level in the reservoir varies with the temperature of the engine. When the engine is cold, the coolant level should be below the FULL mark on the dipstick. Once the engine has warmed up, the level should be at or near the FULL mark. If it isn't, allow the engine to cool, then remove the cap from the reservoir and add a 50/50 mixture of ethylene glycol-based antifreeze and water
4 Drive the vehicle and recheck the coolant level. If only a small amount of coolant is required to bring the system up to the proper level, water can be used. However, repeated additions of water will dilute the antifreeze and water solution. In order to maintain the proper ratio of antifreeze and water, always top up the coolant level with the correct mixture. Do not use rust inhibitors or additives
5 If the coolant level drops consistently, there may be a leak in the system. Inspect the radiator, hoses, filler cap, drain plugs and water pump. If no leaks are noted, have the cooling system pressure cap pressure-tested
6 If you have to remove the cooling system pressure cap, wait until the engine has cooled, then wrap a thick cloth around the cap and turn it to the first stop. If coolant or steam escapes, let the engine cool down longer, then remove the cap
7 Check the condition of the coolant as well. It should be relatively clear. If it's brown or rust colored, the system should be drained, flushed and refilled. Even if the coolant appears to be normal, the corrosion inhibitors wear out, so it must be replaced at the specified intervals

Windshield washer fluid

1 Fluid for the windshield washer system is located in a plastic reservoir in the right side of engine compartment
2 In milder climates, plain water can be used in the reservoir, but it should be kept no more than 2/3 full to allow for expansion if the water freezes. In colder climates, use windshield washer system antifreeze, available at any auto parts store, to lower the freezing point of the fluid. Mix the antifreeze with water in accordance with the manufacturer's directions on the container. Caution: Don't use cooling system antifreeze - it will damage the vehicle's paint
3 To help prevent icing in cold weather, warm the windshield with the defroster before using the washer

Battery electrolyte

These vehicles are equipped with a battery which is permanently sealed (except for vent holes) and has no filler caps. Water doesn't have to be added to these batteries at any time. If a maintenance-type battery is installed, the caps on the top of the battery should be removed periodically to check for a low electrolyte level. This check is most critical during the warm summer months. Add only distilled water to any battery

Brake and clutch fluid

1 The brake master cylinder is mounted on the upper left of the engine compartment firewall. The clutch cylinder used on manual transmission models is mounted next to the master cylinder
2 The translucent plastic reservoir allows the fluid inside to be checked without removing the cap (see below. Note that the clutch system is a sealed unit and it shouldn't be necessary to add fluid under most conditions. Be sure to wipe the top of either reservoir cap with a clean rag to prevent contamination of the brake and/or clutch system before removing the cover. Note: The clutch fluid level may actually rise in normal use as the clutch wears
3a Never let the brake fluid level drop below the MIN mark
3b The clutch fluid level should be kept at the top of the slotted window - never let it drop below the MIN mark, but do not overfill or siphon off fluid
4 When adding fluid, pour it carefully into the reservoir to avoid spilling it on surrounding painted surfaces. Be sure the specified fluid is used, since mixing different types of brake fluid can cause damage to the system. See Recommended lubricants and fluids below or your owner's manual. Warning: Brake fluid can harm your eyes and damage painted surfaces, so use extreme caution when handling or pouring it. Do not use brake fluid that has been standing open or is more than one year old. Brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air. Moisture in the system can cause a dangerous loss of brake performance
5 At this time, the fluid and master cylinder can be inspected for contamination. The system should be drained and refilled if deposits, dirt particles or water droplets are seen in the fluid
6 After filling the reservoir to the proper level, make sure the cover or cap is on tight to prevent fluid leakage
7 The brake fluid level in the master cylinder will drop slightly as the pads at the front wheels wear down during normal operation. If the master cylinder requires repeated additions to keep it at the proper level, it's an indication of leakage in the brake system, which should be corrected immediately. Check all brake lines and connections for damage
8 If, upon checking the master cylinder fluid level, you discover one or both reservoirs empty or nearly empty, the brake system should be bled and thoroughly inspected


Note: Listed here are manufacturer recommendations. Manufacturers occasionally upgrade their fluid and lubricant specifications, so check with your local auto parts store for current recommendations
Engine oil type API grade "certified for gasoline engines"
Engine oil viscosity See accompanying chart
Coolant 50/50 mixture of Mopar 5 year/100,000 mile Formula antifreeze/coolant with HOAT (Hybrid Organic Additive Technology) and water
Automatic transmission fluid type Mopar 9602 ATF Plus 4
Manual transmission lubricant type, NV1500 or NV3500 Mopar manual transmission lubricant part no. 4874464
Transfer case lubricant type DEXRON III automatic transmission fluid
Differential lubricant type SAE 75W-90, GL-5 gear lubricant or Mopar ATF+4
Limited slip differential Add Mopar hypoid gear oil additive friction modifier, or equivalent, to the specified lubricant
Brake fluid type DOT 3 brake fluid
Power steering fluid Mopar power steering fluid or Mopar ATF+4
Chassis grease type NLGI LB chassis grease
Front wheel bearing grease NLGI GC high-temperature wheel bearing grease
Wheel bearings and chassis NLGI GC-LB chassis grease
Engine oil viscosity chart - for best fuel economy and cold starting, select the lowest SAE viscosity grade for the expected temperature range
Cooling System
  Four-cylinder engine 9.8 qts
  3.9L V6 engine 14.3 qts
  5.2L/5.9L V8 engine 14.3 qts
  3.7L and 4.7L V8 engine 17.0 qts
Engine oil (with filter change)
  Four-cylinder engine 4.5 qts
  3.9L V6 engine
    2000 models 4.5 qts
    2001 and later models 4.0 qts
  5.2L/5.9L V8 engine 5.0 qts
  3.7L and 4.7L V8 engine 6.0 qts
Automatic transmission
  Drain and refill
    42RE, 46RE 4.0 qts
    45RFE, 545RFE 5.0 qts
  Dry fill 9.0 to 14 qts (depending on model and options)
Manual transmission
  4WD 4.2 pts
  2WD 4.8 pts
Transfer case
  NP231 and NP231-HD 2.5 pts
  NP242 (Dakota) 2.5 pts
  NP242 (Durango) 3.0 pts
Front axle (4WD)
  2000 3.0 pts
  2001 through 2003 3.5 pts
Rear axle**
  8-1/4 inch
    2000 4.4 pts
    2001 through 2003 4.7 pts
  9-1/4 inch 4.9 pts
*All capacities approximate. Add as necessary to bring up to the appropriate level.
**Add four ounces of friction modifier if equipped with a limited slip differential.
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