Yesterday, I took my 1992 Dodge Dakota's passenger side door apart to
see if I could fix it so that my key would work the lock button again.
Sure enough, I discovered that a rod coming out of the back of the key
tumbler had become disconnected from a lever which operates the lock
button and door lock. It had become disconnected because it was
originally held on with a cheap, plastic keeper that was doomed from the
start to fail at some point due to its inevitable material
decomposition. I replaced it with a suitably sized and slightly modified
metal throttle linkage keeper and now it will never come apart again.
However, while I had the door apart, I noticed that there are other such
plastic keepers used in other places, so this is probably going to be an
ongoing problem over time with other connections.
Chrysler could just have easily have used a metal part. That they didn't
shows me just how truthful that "Quality Engineered by Chrysler" label
on the floor really is. I know, I know, I can hear the standard reply
now, "It was done to save weight and contribute to improving mileage."
Bullshit. The total amount of weight saved couldn't have been more than
a couple hundred milligrams. It was done to contribute to planned
obsolescence and for no other reason.
As the friend who traded this thing for my Husky dirtbike said when I
told him I was repairing such problems, "John, you can only polish a
turd so much."
He refuses to buy any more Dodge products and has moved over to being a
Ford man. Don't know if that's any better but he hasn't complained about
either his pickup or his new Focus.
It's doubtful that it will be possible to get the Dakota's emissions
down to a level that will pass I&M without having to spend several
hundred dollars or even over 1k to do so. That being the case, I would
then be stuck with an immovable white elephant taking up space unless I
were able to sell it to a junkyard.
I hope Dodge is building their rigs a lot better these days. If they're
not, they're going to head the way of the dodo. Word spreads and they
seemed to have totally forgotten this back in 1992. Maybe they've wised
up since. I certainly hope so.
By the way, I read somewhere that you can reset the "Check Engine" light
on these particular models (my '92 Dakota) by disconnecting the negative
terminal on the battery, then turning on the ignition key for 20
seconds. Has anybody else heard or done that?