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1998 Dodge Dakota Base Reg Cab 112 WB Sport

1998 Dodge Dakota
Trim Info:
Rear Wheel Drive, Reg Cab 6.5'
20 mpg city / 25 mpg hwy
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July 10, 2013, 4:15 pm

Craig H

Question: Exhaust manifold + Power steering?

Alright dodge junkies, here's a good one.

My dad gave me this 2001 dodge dakota that he bought brand new just this year. It's a nice truck, been threw a lot with an added overload in the rear suspension to let it haul some extra. Ever since it left the car lot the exhaust manifold has been trouble. It's been replaced half a dozen times, but last year I took it to the shop and they were able to tighten a bolt that was supposedly loose. This kept the manifold from failing every few months (which was where it had gotten to at a point). Apparently this kept the manifold from overheating or something. I'm always paranoid about it though, and especially with the summer season about I'm always listening to the engine to hear if that darn manifold it gonna go bad again. Is there anything a know-nothing kid like myself can do to know what this thing does, where it is located and whether or not it is going bad? the only indication i know is how loud the engine is (and this engine is inherently loud) and whether i start to smell fumes in the vehicle (only if it's gone bad for a long time).

ALSO, and more importantly, I believe my power steering pump is bad. I was driving on the interstate for about a half hour today and all of a sudden, when I went onto the exit ramp and my power steering stopped working. Only after I idled it in a parking lot for a few minutes did the power steering come back. What I found was a nasty leak when I got home. I don't know where it is exactly, except that after a few minutes of running the vehicle the leak drips every half a minute or so. The leak comes from the back of the power steering pump, and appears to leak fluid all over everything under the pump.

One thing that I didn't know was that after doing some research, whining from turning the steering wheel is a bad sign. Always heard it, never did anything about it. Could this have caused any problems with my power steering, and is this a problem with the pump at all??

My vehicle is a 2001 Dodge Dakota, extended cab manual 2.5 liter L4 engine, one of the few that exists (apparently only .4% of all dakota sales of 2001 was this configuration). I know it's a lot to ask but maybe you guys can help.

July 11, 2013, 8:55 am

Richard W
Expert Mechanic

If you see the power steering leaking from the pump it needs to be replaced. Also power steering fluid is highly flammable your car can start on fire from the leak. So it need to be fix right away. On the exhaust it should not loosen up. There are special nuts or bolts you use so they don't loosen up. The shop should have got the exhaust stuff from the dealer. If not that could be why it keeps loosing up. Exhaust should be a one time fix in less you have 75,000 to 100,000 miles between fixes. So I would find a new shop to fix your car. The way you check exhaust leaks is listening to the exhaust. The exhaust manifold is on the passenger side of the car and engine. You mite want to have a shop show you where things are. Most of them will do it when you get the car worked on. If they don't I would try another shop.

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