97 Dakota Road Test Article

From: Dave Clement-LDC009 (Dave_Clement-LDC009@email.mot.com)
Date: Fri Aug 23 1996 - 11:07:05 EDT

To: Dakota Mailing List
From: Clement_D on Fri, Aug 23, 1996 11:14 AM
Subject: 97 Dakota Road Test Article

This months issue of Four Wheeler has a several page road test (not a
preview) on a 97 Dakota 4x4 Sport with the 5.2l engine and automatic. There
are several interesting tid bits in the article in light of the recent
discussion on torsion bars and the Dakota's off road capabilities.

- All of the article pictures show the Dakota climbing over some pretty
rough terrain and they were quite impressed with the offroad capabilities.

- The front torsion bar suspension has been revised to accomodate larger
tires (still looks the same). The test truck had the optional 31/10.5-R15
Wrangler RT/S tires on the optional 15x8 wheels (real good looking cast
aluminum items). Standard size is still 215/750R15 on 15x6 wheels.

- The front differential housing is now aluminum to save weight.

- The air bag sensors are mounted on the transmission tunnel so not to
interfer with the mounting of a plow, winch or brush bars.

- There is a new 4spd automatic.

- Comes standard with gas shocks and a rear sway bar is optional. The rear
spring mounts and geometry have have been revised to improve ride and

- Frame has been revised to make it stronger with less torsional flex.

- They still listed the power of the 5.2l at 220hp/295ft-lbs but the air
filter assembly has been revised. There is now an air box in the right front
corner of the engine compartment with plumbing to the throttle body. (You
won't be able to use the K&N from your older Dakota on this baby). Also,
they showed a shot from the left side engine compartment, the flat spot in
the Y-pipe to clear the front drive shaft and differential does not appear
to be there. These items likely account for the increase to 230hp reported
else where.

Dave Clement

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