Durango Engine/Transmission help. 4.7 vs 5.2 vs 5.9 - JeepForum.com

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post #1 of 7 Old 10-10-2013, 12:10 PM Thread Starter
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Durango Engine/Transmission help. 4.7 vs 5.2 vs 5.9

Sure it's not a jeep but I'm looking at buying a 1st gen Durango and wanted to know which year, engine and transmission I should go with to achieve the best reliability. This is going to be my daily driver and I need to be able to count on it.

What mileage is too high?

What questions should I ask to make sure my drivetrain isn't about to crap out?

What are red flags or things I can do to avoid problems?

Should I even bother with one of these rigs?

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post #2 of 7 Old 10-10-2013, 12:46 PM
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The 4.7 is crap. If it goes slightly warm or even a quart low on oil its done.
5.2 & 5.9 are good motors just not economic.
Gen 1 Durango and Dakotas had a lot of a/c problems.
Google the yr model customer reviews. Also Google for recalls.
My best friend had Durango and loved it. Had 5.2. Fixed the a/c twice in 5 years.
Hope this helps

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post #3 of 7 Old 10-10-2013, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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I'm mainly concerned about catastrophic transportation issues. I need to know if I should be going with the 4.7, 5.2 or 5.9 Durango. I heard the 42re is the 4.7 the 44re is the 5.2 and the 46re is in the 5.9. People have given me mixed signals on which is best. Right now I'm looking at a 1999 5.2 w 130k and a 2000 5.9 with 87k on it. I know that my ex gf had a 02 ram 5.9 and the trans crapped at about 107k. I'm mainly worried about engine and trans reliability
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post #4 of 7 Old 10-10-2013, 01:05 PM
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I think Chris's was a 99. It was 5.2 and never had trans problems he traded it when it hit 180k.
I'm sure there are forums that are better suited to help. Sorry

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post #5 of 7 Old 10-11-2013, 08:52 AM
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I'd get the 5.8 if it was me, as for trans problems thats all on the user... Trans problems are usually caused by heat and lack of fluid changes when it gets to much heat.

If it's been stuck in sand and or mud or snow and people just keep trying and trying to get out then it overheats the trans and then you NEED to change the fluid right then and no one does, then it builds a varnish and slowly dies or then they change the fluid 5k miles later and it cleans out the build up and that kills it also.

Also overheating the motor overheats the fluid for the trans.

There aren't any specific bad issues with them that cause them to just leave you stranded, but the 4.7 has no aftermarket support if you want to add power to it later.

1995 Jeep gc ltd, 2005 Jeep gc ltd , 71 Dart, 73 RR 440-6pk, 78 Mag GT, 85 Power Ram W-350, 92 Daytona, 99 Dakota, 08 Ram 2500

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post #6 of 7 Old 10-14-2013, 10:41 AM
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You're looking to buy an older higher mileage vehicle that will last a long time without needing any high bucks maint for a long time? Good luck. Me, being that I own a 2001 Durango R/T, which I bought new, I'd go with the 5.9/46RE. I tow the Jeep a lot with it (6000 lbs w/trailer), including towing 2041 miles from NY to NM when it had 85k miles. The trans finally went at 94k last Oct and I didn't hesitate to pay $3200 to have a high end rebuild done. I actually spent $5,500 on mine in the past 12 months (trans, tires, bilsteins, full Magnaflow, ign work, etc). When the motor goes, I'll fix that too.

In your shoes I'd be looking for a D with a good body, nice interior, features you want. Anything wrong with the drive train is fixable. You can use any known drive train issues to negotiate the price down.

'93 YJ, '02 GM 4.3V6, SOA, dual ARB's, 8.8+D30(WarnHubs), 4.88s, 35" BFG KM2s, AX15, NP231+4:1+SYE+2LO, York OBA, Warn M8000.
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post #7 of 7 Old 10-14-2013, 02:48 PM
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I've owned both 5.9L and 4.7L Gen-I Durangos. Both fine drivetrains if maintained. Though it may seem strange, the 545RFE is probably a bit more tolerant of lack-of-maintenance; the 46RE needs the bands touched up or it gets into trouble.

The '03 got a brake upgrade, which IMHO is worth trying to get. A registration check shows that both my '99 and my '03 are still on the road somewhere in the hills of Massachusetts.

There is a thread about this very topic running at dodgedurango.net, and there are a LOT of current or former Gen-I owners there. There are many >200K-mile Gen-Is there.


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