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1989 Dodge Dakota Overview

Ever curious to know how the cargo sitting out in your pickup bed feels as it's cruising along the highway? Well, in 1989 you could could find out, with the introduction of the Dodge Dakota convertible. That's right, realizing that the mid-size truck was being used just as much for fun and adventure as it was for hauling, Dodge produced the first convertible pickup since the Model T. Most buyers loved the addition of the manually operated top and roll bar, although it was difficult to see out of the murky plastic rear window when the top was up. Added to a Sports Package that included fog and offroading lights and a sports suspension, the convertible was purely a pleasure-oriented truck.

Amid criticims of underpowered engines, the 1989 Dodge Dakota got another new addition, the unique Shelby Dakota, built on the shorter 112-foot wheelbase and Sport suspension. This high-performance pickup got its extra zip from the same 5.2-liter, 175-hp V8 engine that sat in the Ram. It was paired with a new 4-speed automatic, that was also available in the other Dakotas, replacing the 3-speed automatic. The Shelby sported the Shelby badging and supposedly hit 0-60 in 8.7 seconds, solving the labored acceleration problems from previous years.

Another change in the 1989 Dakota was a base model upgrade to a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder, 99-hp engine. The 3.9, 125-hp V6 was still offered, and all models came as standard 2WD, with a 4WD option in V6 or higher engines. All Dakotas received rear-wheel ABS brakes in 1989.

The convertible was a big hit with those who bought it, saying it added an adventurous and fun spirit to the mid-size pickup. 4WD Dakotas were highly valued for their ability to conquer rough road and weather conditions. The fact that the 1989 Dakota handled like a smaller truck but had a large cargo bed was also a plus, as was the hard-to-kill engine. Drivers still complained of a lack of power, the sluggishness of the 4-speed, and problems with paint decay.

Updated by Anonymous

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Dodge Dakota Questions

Motor Mounts When Converting 89 Dodge Dakota 3.9 To A 78 318 Engine

I’m wanting to put a 1978 318 motor in my 89 dodge Dakota 3.9 4x4 what kind type of motor mounts do I need to order to bolt the 318?

How Do You Remove The Front Drivers Side Door?

1989 Dodge dakota, front door removal/replacement


89 3.9L V6 Dodge Dakota Starting Problem

I have a 89 Dakota 2wd 3.9 v6 it was running sluggish so I changed the spark plugs only then it would crank and idle fine but when I put it in gear it would shut off so I was trying to up the idle ...


Fuel Pump Assembly Replacement With Which Years

I have an 89 Dakota 2w 3.9ltr V6. I need a fuel pump assembly but its discontinued. What year will interchange or is there any other vehicles that will.