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Dodge Durango common problems (2000-2003)

Dodge Durango

Back at the end of the 1990s the large SUV craze was getting into full swing, and any manufacturer that didn’t have one was going to get left behind. So, Dodge took one of its RAM pick-ups and gave it a full-on SUV makeover to appeal to families who wanted four-wheel-drive ability, loads of space and a great view out.

Being based on a rugged pick-up means the first-generation Dodge Durango may not be the last word in on-road refinement, but it’s certainly capable.

However, it isn’t free from the odd glitch here and there, and that’s where Haynes can help. We know you don’t want to spend more than you need to on repairs, and we also know it’s a whole lot cheaper to fix the car yourself. So why not invest in the Haynes Durango manual and let us guide you through everything you’ll need to do to your Dodge?

Paying a few dollars for a manual will certainly save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in workshop labor bills. Buy now, don’t pay later.

Dodge Durango

What recalls has the Dodge Durango been subject to?

Airbags have been the source of a couple of recalls for the Dodge Durango over the years. A huge number of cars were recalled because the front airbags could rupture when triggered, potentially spraying metal fragments around the vehicle’s interior.

A number of early cars were recalled because they’d had the wrong clockspring installed during assembly, and it had to be swapped for the correct item.

Then the car was recalled to have the PCM reprogrammed, because it was unable to detect faults with the exhaust catalyst.

Some examples were recalled because an uncovered electrical connector could cause a fire in the cabin, and an upper ball joint fault caused another recall.

And a dodgy windshield wiper motor generated another recall – it could allow water in and potentially fail just when you needed it most.

What common problems does the Dodge Durango have?

The Dodge Durango Mk1 has been around for almost a quarter of a century now, so there is lots of data around detailing what goes wrong.

For a start, a number of owners have reported a problem with the steering, which generates a clicking noise in the cabin as you turn the wheel.

And you don’t want to get into your Durango Mk1 to find the carpet and interior soaking, but some Durangos have this issue.

Security is a concern for anyone who has to leave their vehicle parked at the curb overnight, so it would be doubly worrying if your Durango mysteriously unlocked itself. Unfortunately, some do.

In this day and age, you don’t want to turn on your lights only to feel like you’re peering into the murk and following a couple of candles, but a fogging issue with the lights on some Durangos can cause exactly this.

And modern cars such as the Durango have multi-adjustable seats to allow you to tune your driving position just so, but when you can’t adjust it, that’s when problems start.

Dodge Durango

Does the Dodge Durango Mk1 have steering problems?

When your Dodge Durango is moving, the steering wheel will be moving – it’s a fact of life. However, it’s deeply annoying if every time you turn the wheel, there’s a distracting clicking noise from somewhere between your knees. But that’s what can happen with the Durango Mk1.

The problem is that there isn’t enough lubrication on the upper flex coupling in the steering’s intermediate shaft.

Your first task would be to remove the trims on the steering column to expose the joint, then spray it with lithium grease.

If this fails, you’ll need to replace the column, but this is a task that we cover in depth in the Haynes Durango manual, so just read up and away you go.

Dodge Durango

Does the Dodge Durango have leaking problems?

The weather’s a bit dank, so you sprint from the front door, unlocking your car as you go. Jump in to get out of the rain as quickly as possible and, splosh. The carpet’s soaked and there’s a layer of water on the floor.

Unfortunately, this is an issue that a number of Durango owners are familiar with. The issue is faulty sealing on a gap where the roof joins the top of the B-pillar. And it’s quite easy to go looking for the leak in the wrong places, such as around the windshield or in the kick panel area.

The only thing you can do is to inspect the areas around the windshield and in the kick panel area, and if there are no obvious signs of water ingress, then it’s the top of the B-pillar that’s at fault. So check the area carefully for pinholes in the sealer, and if you find the fault, cover it with windshield and glass sealer.

Then, of course, you’ll need to dry out the carpet as soon as possible.

And if you want to check the fluid levels on your Dodge Durango, watch our FREE video below.

Does the Dodge Durango Mk1 have locking problems?

Walking up to your Dodge Durango only to find it already unlocked is a source of concern for a number of owners. The issue is that water can seep into the front-door and liftgate locks, initiating a short-circuit and causing them to open. You’re most likely to notice this after you’ve driven the car through heavy rain, or if you’ve been through a car wash.

However, Dodge has produced replacement parts that remedy the problem (passenger-side door lock: part number 56049278AA, driver-side door lock: part number 56049279AA, liftgate lock: part number 56049280AA).

All you need do is look up the bodywork & fittings chapter in your Haynes Durango manual and we’ll guide you through how to remove the old locks and replace them with the new, watertight ones.

Dodge Durango

Does the Dodge Durango have headlight problems?

Headlights have two jobs – allowing you to see the way ahead and allowing others to see you approaching them.

Unfortunately, fogging of the light is going to impair the light’s ability to carry out both of those tasks, and it’s a problem that affects the first-generation Dodge Durango.

The headlights can become fogged up, in damp conditions, and it only gets worse when the temperature drops. It’s the sealing of the sealed unit that is at fault, and unfortunately there’s no way to re-seal the unit, so you’ll be forced to replace it.

The good news is that it’s a pretty simple task, that will require you to undo a few bolts, unplug the light and replace it with the new one. And again, it’s something we carried out during the strip-down for the Durango for the Haynes Durango manual. Just follow the images and you’ll be fine. You’ll save money and you’ll be safer. Win win.

Dodge Durango

Does the Dodge Durango Mk1 have seat-adjustment problems?

Being comfortable at the wheel is essential to any journey you take in your car. Not only does it mean you’ll suffer fewer aches and pains, but you’ll end up less tired and be safer as a result.

But on Durangos, the lumbar adjustment in the seat backrest can fail, so you could end up with a sore back.

The problem is that the adjustment system under the seat can become separated at the coupler.

The easiest way to fix this is to remove the seat from the vehicle so you’ve got proper access to the adjustment system, then snap it all back together and make sure it’s properly attached to the seat.

Then you’ll simply need to put the seat back into the vehicle. Hopefully, no spare parts will be needed.

We’ve covered how to remove the seats in the Haynes Durango manual, and even better still, we’ve also covered how to put them back! Just follow the instructions and you’ll soon be enjoying full comfort and support once more.