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1998-2003 Dodge Durango powertrain and powertrain electrical systems

5.9-Liter OHV SMPI V-8 Engine

Durango's optional 5.9-liter V-8 engine has the largest displacement and the most power of any vehicle in its class. Its displacement and power are exceeded only by optional engines in vehicles derived from full-size pickup trucks. This is the same basic engine used in 1998 light-duty Ram pickups and Ram Van/Wagon models and includes a new camshaft that raises peak power and torque to an estimated 245 bhp (183 kW) and 335 lb-ft of torque (454 N·m), respectively. The 5.9-liter engine gives Durango a best-in-class 7,300-pound trailer towing capacity. EPA fuel economy ratings with this engine are estimated to be 12 miles per gallon in the city and 16 miles per gallon on the highway.

5.2-Liter OHV SMPI V-8 Engine

The 5.2-liter engine is the second most powerful V-8 in Durango's class (second to the 5.9-liter Durango engine). It is the same engine available in Dakota pickups, giving Durango brisk acceleration and a maximum trailer towing capacity of 5,600 pounds. Sequential multipoint fuel injection and a camshaft designed to give a broad, flat torque curve provide responsive performance. The 1998 ratings are estimated at 230 bhp and 300 lb-ft of torque, same as the 1997 Dakota. EPA fuel economy ratings with this engine are expected to be 13 miles per gallon in the city and 17 miles per gallon on the highway, same as the 1997 Dakota.

3.9-Liter OHV SMPI V-6 Engine

The standard 3.9-liter V-6 engine is the same engine available in Dakota pickups. Sequential multipoint fuel injection and a camshaft designed to provide a broad torque gives it responsive performance and a trailer tow capacity up to 4,400 pounds. Ratings for 1998 are expected to remain at 175 bhp and 225 lb-ft of torque, same as the 1997 Dakota. EPA fuel economy ratings with this engine are expected to be 15 miles per gallon in the city and 18 miles per gallon on the highway, same as the 1997 Dakota.

Air Induction System

The air induction system used with all Durango engines is the same as that on Dakota. It minimizes power-robbing airflow restriction. The system consists of a bonnet clamped to the throttle body and a molded duct between the air cleaner housing and the bonnet. Engineers used Computational Fluid Dynamics, a graphic model of induction system airflow, to design the system. The model shows flow regimes - laminar, turbulent and stagnant conditions - and estimates restriction. The final configuration was achieved through fine-tuning of air cleaner housing volume and inlet duct length.

Flexible, accordion-pleated cuffs integrated with the duct clamp over nipples on the body-mounted air cleaner housing and the bonnet. The cuffs provide a tight seal that contributes to low induction noise and keeps dust from bypassing the air cleaner. The accordion pleats accommodate relative motion between engine and air cleaner.


Durango offers a selection of three four-speed automatic transmissions; each one designed for the engine with which it is matched. Operationally, all include the following features:

The major functional difference among transmissions is in gear ratios. The 42RE and 44RE transmissions used with 3.9-liter and 5.2-liter engines respectively have higher numerical ratios for first and second gears to enhance launch feel and low-speed passing ability compared to the 46RE transmission used with the 5.9-liter engine. They also contribute to easier towing and operation under full load on steep grades. Ratio comparisons are as follows:

Gear 46RE 42RE & 44RE
1st 2.45 2.74
2nd 1.45 1.54
3rd 1.00 1.00
4th 0.69 0.69

Transfer Cases

Durango offers a full-time transfer case - model NV 242 - as optional equipment; the first such transfer case on a Dodge vehicle. The NV 231 part-time transfer case, which is also used on Dakota, is standard. Full-time four-wheel drive allows the vehicle to be driven anywhere at any time in this range. On the other hand, part-time four-wheel drive can be used on relatively low traction surfaces such as sand, gravel, snow or ice but is unsuitable for operation on dry pavement. A planetary differential between the front and rear drive shafts of the NV 242 transfer case permits full-time operation. The differential allows front and rear axles to turn at different speeds as when cornering while dividing torque nearly equally between them (48 percent front, 52 percent rear). With nearly equal torque at each axle, traction to maintain forward motion is assured under all but the most extreme conditions. Power flow remains smooth under all conditions; not fluctuating with changes in driving surface conditions. The NV 242 transfer case also has four other ranges, which are shared with the NV 231 unit: two-wheel drive, four-wheel-drive high part-time, four-wheel-drive low part-time and neutral. On the NV 242 unit, the center differential is locked in the four-wheel-drive high and low ranges so that both front and rear driveshafts turn at the same speed as they do with the NV 231 unit. Shifting of both transfer cases is manual with a floor-mounted lever, and both offer shift-on-the-fly capability between 2WD and 4WD high ranges. In four-wheel-drive low range, both units provide a 2.72:1 ratio to aid in traversing steep grades and rough terrain.


Rear axles with 9.25-inch (235-mm) ring gears are used with V-8 engines as on Ram pickups. With the V-6 engine, the ring gear has an 8.25-inch (210-mm) ring gear as on Dakota. Two ratios - 3.55 and 3.92 - are available with each power train. All rear axles are available with limited-slip differential. Durango uses the same lightweight aluminum front axle housing as Dakota.

Power Train Electrical And Electronic Systems

Battery, Starter and Generator

The standard 117-ampere generator is shared with Dakota as is the optional 136-ampere unit. The standard battery with all configurations is rated at 600 CCA (cold-cranking amperes); the optional battery at 750 CCA. Starters are the same as those used on Dakota.

Battery mounting and shielding have the same features as those on Dakota. The battery tray is molded of corrosion-resistant structural plastic. It includes mounting provisions for the electrical power distribution center and for a temperature sensor used to assure the appropriate battery charging rate. The battery is protected from high underhood temperatures by a molded thermo-guard cover.

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