Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2008 Dodge Dakota Review Update.

This also applies to the 2004 through 2011 Dodge Dakota and Mitsubishi Raider quad cabs. There are some minor differences, but will still hopefully be useful for the purposes mentioned.

After about 3000 miles of driving, four new tires, a new headlight, an oil change and some interior repair I can hopefully give a little better impression of this truck. As business vehicle, it works for what I do; minor home repairs. It does a fair job of hauling the family and depending on the weather, excels at hauling groceries. I HATE the aftermarket Pioneer radio that changes colors and is too difficult to see in the daytime, plus having to use an aftermarket GPS that fits on the windshield. I'm looking into fixing both of those as soon as I can get my hands on a system that will fit into the dash. The fact there is no backup camera, especially with a toolbox that eats up a third of visibility of the rear window is also a bit disconcerting. I intend on installing one with the aforementioned head unit, AND replacing the toolbox with a topper as there is precious little storage space inside the cabin with any rear seat passengers, which is often. The best solution would be to get a regular work van and relegate this truck to what it does best, which is at home. Another solution would be buying a trailer, but this would mean installing a hitch and spending $2000 for a trailer and hooking up a brake control. For now, I'm going to make do.

In mixed driving, I get about 16 miles to the gallon in 2 wheel drive. It also requires a light foot on the accelerator, or else the rear tires spin. This was very evident with the poor gripping of the Kelly Safari AT's, which I replaced with Fuzion's (Firestone) posthaste. The grip is better and the noise is a lot less pronounced. Obviously, the past owner also had issues as the rears were nearly bald when I got the truck. Sure, they were 8 months old, but they were some crap tires. The drivers side door liner/armrest is being held together with Goop at the moment. A new one is about $250 delivered and there are no used ones available. Eventually, this will get fixed, but I've already spent $500 for proper tires on this beast.

Thus far, this truck has been very reliable. It has started and ran with no malfunctions save for the chintzy stereo, which nearly killed the battery. It stayed on when the dealership replaced the driver's side airbag inflater. I found out went I went to pick up the truck and the stereo was still on. A bad relay is the likely culprit, and again, this is getting changed as soon as I can locate a decent stereo. Maranatha!

Feeling the Heat: Preventing a Service Call on Your Range, Cook Top, or Oven

Happy December everyone. The holidays are well upon us and many of us are entertaining guests. Some of us have to cook a fair deal as it is, and being without a range is more than an inconvenience. It could be a major expense for some of us if meals need to be ordered in as well as the actual expense of repairing the range itself. Some are minor, while others destroy the range or result in hundreds of dollars in damage if the parts are even available. This is how people do it unwittingly every day.

  • Allow foods to boil over on cook tops. This can foul up a burner or igniter or short out a switch on gas ranges. With plug in style electric ranges, this can tear up elements, sockets, and switches. Not attending cooking is a big cause of house fires. 
  • Use aluminum foil to "protect" drip pans and line ovens. This voids your warranty on a new range and can destroy the liner already in it. It also causes drip pans to corrode. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2011/10/curses-foiled-again-lining-your-oven-can-void-the-warranty/index.htm
  • Place a hot lid directly on a glass cook top. When it cools after a moment, it can break the cook top. http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/pdfImages/5d/5df17660-b7a6-4068-9c8d-a375bb43f1d4.pdf
  • Use the self clean feature on your range. You can do this, but you should have a fan blowing against the oven and do this after the festivities are over. Too much heat can cause the thermal fuse to blow. This puts the entire range out of commission and these are not convenient to get to to replace.