2002 Dakota Questions

Hi, I'm new to the group but just sifted through about 12k messages. My 2002 Dodge Dakota (3.9 V-6, 5-spd, 2WD, Club Cab) was my first ever new vehicle purchase. It'll be paid off around this time
next year and currently has about 95,000 miles on the odometer. It's primary use is commercial (pest control) here in DFW (TX) area.
My primary question for the group involves the fault code: P0601
I know that this code indicates a failed PCM, but I'm wondering A) Is there any way to suspend the code long enough to pass inspection (since my sticker has already expired)? And, B) What's the deal with "flashing" a new PCM unit?
I'm told that "flashing" is a method of installing my specific truck's parameters onto the new PCM. One fellow (online forum) said that a new PCM would be about $300 plus $100 to "flash" it. My local Autozone has a PCM for my Dakota in stock for $237.00. A call to my dealer returned an estimate of $535.60 (no mention of flashing), with a $100 core charge if we didn't bring in the original PCM, *and* they didn't have one in stock (3-5 days from the warehouse).
Can anyone here shed any better light on this issue? I'm looking for the correct, but least expensive solution.
My secondary question involves oil pumps: On my 3.9 V-6 is it possible to replace the oil pump with a high volume unit without raising the engine? I don't mind getting my hands dirty but I'm trying to estimate the down time for such a job since I use the truck for work.
Like several other 3.9 owners have posted, my Dakota started experiencing oil pressure and sludge problems at about 60k miles. And as in Brant's case (a.a.d.t. - 12/26/2005), a local shop informed me that a total rebuild was necessary. This despite regular oil and filter changes. Fortunately, a local transmission expert (whom I was seeing on unrelated issues), recommended draining the oil and refilling with a combination of transmission fluid and Valvoline. Apparently transmission fluid has something like 17 unique cleansing agents and is much, much less harmful to a typical gasoline engine than kerosene would be. The routine was to change it, drive it half an hour or so, flush, rinse, repeat. After three times I refilled with Valvoline and a new filter. The fellow also explained that Jiffy Lube and similar oil change shops buy bulk oil in drums and that the quality, no matter the brand name, is inferior to the stuff we buy at Autozone, Napa and WalMart. He recommended Valvoline as the top non-synthetic motor oil, and in my case recommended a slightly thicker weight to compensate for the high temperatures of Texas summers.
I had been taking my Dakota into the shops for oil changes simply because I was in a hurry. Now I make time to perform my own oil changes using Valvoline exclusively. In any case, I continue to have the occasional loss of oil pressure after a while and just accept that as an indication that it's time for an oil change... which always solves the problem. Apparently when the oil breaks downs and loses viscosity, it becomes too thin to retain pressure.
No big deal, but I'd like to install a high-volume pump just for extra piece of mind (especially after reading Mr. Lusardi's comments on Chrysler's tendency to use small-volume pumps on everything).
Additionally, I may need more clarification on the heat/ac fan problem, since my truck appears to share this same issue (fan only works on high). Reviewing some of the pertinent posts it sounds as if the most common cause is a "blower motor resistor?" Which is usually "located on the passenger side firewall near the A/C accumulator?"
Other than these things I haven't had much trouble with my Dakota. The (manual) driver's side window is hard to roll down for some reason, and like an idiot I failed to take it in while still under warranty. My transmission has this odd tendency to pop out of first gear on initial acceleration from time to time. I had a P0455 fault code that was traced to a U-shaped hose under the truck that connects to the canister (so other owners might check that area first if they see that code). And I had to replace an entire front hub once when a wheel bearing went bad, but overall it's done pretty well.
Anyway, thanks in advance for any help ya'll might be able to provide and it's nice to find a group dedicated to Dodge trucks.
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In your case, it's in the passenger compartment. See this link for details and photos: http://www.thegatesofdawn.ca/wordpress/?p `
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On Wed, 12 Apr 2006 04:39:45 GMT, "Tom Lawrence"

Awesome! Thanks Tom! :-)
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GeekBoy wrote:

Here in Arizona they charge $8 a month for each month past registration due date. Have to have a vehicle smog tested and have insurance in order to register it. Driving without proof of insurance is a $400 fine.
Too bad he's got 95K. The emissions warranty is 8yr/80,000 I believe and that would cover PCM issues.
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Hehehe, I'd love to, believe me. Unfortunately, I'm the owner/operator of a [very] small, family owned-business that I'm in the process of purchasing outright, so there's not a lot of profit after expenses. I'm lucky that the business is able to make my $400 monthly truck payments for me. Maintenance, incidentals and repairs are my problem. At least I'm not draining the economy via welfare. Thanks for the advice though.
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I wouldn't use one from a junk yard. The PCM and the BCM won't be able to talk to one another. The VIN is burned into both and when they go into the "handshake protocol" they wont read one another due to the different VIN's. Once the VIN is burned in, thats it, no going back. This is what the flash process is about. I would use the Mopar part for sure. Yes its a little more expensive up front, but how many times do you want to replace a Autozone part? even if does have the waranty you'll pay to flash it every time. Most decent mechanics won't use Autozone stuff (I don't care what anyone says, the place is only good for oil and car polish) and would steer you clear of that just for the agravation of it all. As for the dealer flashing the the part, they will have the most up-to-date software so that is a plus too. I send my DRBIII (Chrysler scan tool)st once a month for the most updated flashes for that reason.
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I was not aware of that. I know you can change out those devices in GM vehicles without problems.

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Umm..yes, and no. Depends on what year it is. Everyones going to this way.

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Well Arizona is becoming more like California as more white californians leave to escape that state then to turn around to make it like it the state they left.
Texas is nothing like California or Arizona. In Texas you can get away with stuff like that. And in Texas there are only like 3 places that have smog checks. Houston and Dallas/Ft Worth areas and I think San Antonio.
As for insurance, there are ways to get out of that. It's called burden of proof of the state to proove one did not have insuance at the time of operation in a court of law. Are they going to call 100s of thousands of ins. companies to see if you do business with them?
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snipped-for-privacy@hehe.com says...

WRONG!
Financial responsibility laws put the burden of proof on the driver. Some of us think it's totally wrong-headed, un-American, and overall bad legislation, but our elected representatives did it anyway. Go to court with your theory, you will find yourself walking for quite awhile and with a much lighter wallet.
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says...

RIGHT!
I did and the prosecutor dismissed ALL my charges even those I was clearly guity of.
Those laws do not cancel out the US Constitution, now go back to NASAR , beer and being a sheep
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It's something similar here in Texas, Miles. As GeekBoy explained, there's not much penalty for expired inspection sticker, but the registration sticker is different. Which is why I have to resolve this issue soon now. My inspection sticker expired in January, but my resistration sticker expires this month. My insurance NEVER expires, or I'd park the truck. But as you said, it'll have to pass inspection before I can register it again.

Yeah, I saw that on another online forum.
Basically I'm just looking for experience and/or suggestions before I go spend a few hundred dollars. I thought maybe someone here had a similar situation and might offer the most reasonable solution. For example, if I were to purchase the $237 Autozone PCM, would I then have trouble getting a shop or dealership to "flash" it for me (since I didn't buy it directly from them)? Is there a more inexpensive source for quality PCMs? Is the only correct solution to take it to the dealer? Stuff like that.
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