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Replace 03 Dakota engine w/ rod knock or buy new car?


We need advice. I have an 03 Dodge Dakota V8 quad cab, 170000 miles. I’ve been told by 2 mechanics that it has a rod knock, a bad rod bearing on 1st pistol, and needs a new motor :frowning: Neither mechanic wants to repair my engine. Mechanic can get a replacement used engine w/ about 100000 miles and install for $2500-3000. KBB priv party sell value is only about $5200. Do we put the money into getting the new used engine or try to sell it as is and buy a different used vehicle from somewhere. Would love to get a couple more years out of my truck, but at what point is it good money after bad?


The price sounds high to me for a 100k miles engine that may or may not be better than the one you have. If one could hear that engine run in advance and it sounds fine then not a problem. Otherwise, it’s a coin flip.

You might consider checking with a larger salvage yard. Some yards will install what they sell for a nominal fee and guarantee the part to be good. This could be a much less expensive route and is something to consider anyway.

If the oil consumption is not bad, say less than 1qt per 1000 miles, all you really need is to drop out the crank, have it turned, and put in new bearings. find a mechanic who knows what this entails, and get an estimate, this might be the best way to go, or not, but the guys you are talking to sound more like remove and replace guys, rather than full fledged mechanics to me.

When i was a teenager (long time ago, remove and replace was the preferred method in dealing with bad engines, but, In those days the junkyards had a return policy, bad engine? bring it back and get another or get your money back (keeping in mind that changing out an engine in those days was 5 to 10 kids and a weekend). My suggestion is that you use those engine fix-it additives and run the truck until the engine tosses a piston, you can always get a junkyard engine after that if you want to. You may be able to keep it running until the sale value reaches the about nothing point.

thank you very much for your thoughts and advice.