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1998-2003 Dodge Durango serviceability and maintenance

Click here for the main Durango page

Durango serviceability features are described below. They are the same as those on Dakota except where noted.

Data Link Connector

The data link (diagnostic) connector for all onboard electronic systems is bracketed to the lower edge of the instrument panel for easy access. This connector provides access to the diagnostic codes produced by all onboard electronic systems.

Power Train

A bolt-on radiator closure upper crossmember facilitates engine removal by allowing the engine to be pulled forward with minimal lift, rather than lifted straight up. It also makes removal of the hood unnecessary.

The air cleaner is readily accessible in the right front corner of the engine compartment. The filter is accessed for inspection or replacement by removing four spring clips that hold the cover. The clips snap back in place easily.

The fuel vapor canister is attached to the left frame side rail forward of the fuel tank.

Automatic transmission shift linkage adjustment is simplified by using a cable between the steering column and the transmission. The cable adjustment mechanism is readily accessible on the driver's side of the engine compartment between the brake lines and inner fender. The cluster range indicator is adjusted to correspond with the transmission by a simple thumbscrew.


The ABS electronic module and hydraulic control unit are integrated in the engine compartment to improve system reliability, but may be separated and replaced independently if required. Expanded diagnostic software aids in the diagnosis of system malfunctions.

The Durango RWAL (Rear-Wheel Antilock) brake system uses an upgraded electronic controller that is shared with other 1998 Dodge trucks. It is mounted under the hood for easy service access. The controller retains diagnostic codes in memory and communicates them over the multiplex data network to the central data link connector for output to a DRB III scan tool.

Separately replaceable front disc brake rotors minimize the cost of service replacement.

Toe adjustment is precise and easy because the tie-rods thread directly into the tie-rod ends and are held in adjustment by jam nuts. Loosening the jam nuts allows the tie-rods, which swivel at the center link, to be threaded in or out of the rod ends. Adjustment is more precise than with threaded sleeves because there is minimal change in clearance between mating parts from unlocked to locked conditions.


Counterbalanced hinges reduce opening effort and hold the hood open without a prop rod. There is a minimum of 6 feet (1.8 m) vertical clearance to the grille with the hood open. Hood mounting of the grille provides easy access to the air conditioning condenser and transmission auxiliary cooler. It also facilitates engine removal. The grille is supported by a tubular bracket to permit its use as a handle to open the hood. The secondary hood latch is operated by a lever extending through the grille for easy access. A bolt-on radiator yoke upper crossmember facilitates engine removal and replacement.

Headlamp bulbs are replaced from the engine compartment through an access hole in the radiator closure panel. The bulb holder twists out for replacement. Headlamp aiming screws are accessible from the front of the truck with the hood open; the vertical adjustment is above the lamp and the horizontal adjustment in the grille opening.

The front combination lamp assembly is detached from the truck to replace bulbs by removing one screw, releasing a clip and withdrawing three sliding tabs. The unit contains two dual-filament bulbs for park and turn signal operation and a single side marker bulb. All have wedge base construction.

The fog lamp beam is vertically adjustable with a screw that is accessible from behind the bumper. Fog lamp bulbs are replaced by twisting and removing the bulb carrier from the back of the lamp housing.

The taillamp housing is removed to replace taillamp and back-up lamp bulbs. Attachment of the Durango taillamps is unique but similar to Dakota. Two screws in the liftgate opening and a tab on the lamp housing, which is inserted in a grommet in the quarter panel retain the housing. Wedge-base bulbs are the same as used on Dakota.

Durango CHMSL bulbs are replaced by removing the liftgate upper trim panel.

The windshield wiper system is readily accessible beneath a molded plastic cowl screen retained by readily accessible screws. The modular system is attached to the cowl plenum with four bolts and may be removed from the vehicle as a unit for service. Alignment of wiper arms on their pivots is simplified by including visual alignment marks on the windshield interliner at the base of the glass.

Like Dakota, Durango makes extensive use of the onboard multiplex data network to provide quick diagnostic access to the instrument cluster, air bag control module, JTEC Power Train Control Module, fuel level sensor, Central Timing Module (CTM), and the four-wheel antilock brake control module.

A power distribution center (PDC), located behind the battery tray, includes high-current cartridge fuses to protect major power distribution circuits, and relays for all underhood power equipment. Having relays in a single location makes finding relays for service easy. A label inside the latching cover identifies each relay's function and the circuit served by each fuse.

A 140-ampere in-line high current fuse in the alternator output circuit is easier to replace in the event of an overload than a fusible link.

The junction block, which includes the fuse block, is mounted just inboard of the left end of the instrument panel. It is accessible through a snap-in cover. A finger depression in the panel surface aids in removing the cover. The fuse block houses mini-fuses for interior circuits, the combination flasher, circuit breakers for high-current circuits, and some relays. Three spare fuses are stored in the cover. A fuse puller clipped to the cover will remove and replace mini-fuses. A label molded into the back of the cover identifies the circuit supplied by each fuse. Fuses for the two air bag circuits are specifically identified, facilitating their prompt removal after a crash as a protection to emergency personnel.

The fuse block includes a snap-in retainer in the cavity for the ignition off draw (IOD) fuse, allowing the fuse to be stored without removing it from the fuse block by sliding it up into the retainer. Sliding the fuse back down into the cavity reconnects it. The Durango also adds a mini-fuse block to provide the additional fusing needed. It is attached to the junction block.

The instrument panel wiring harness is placed in a trough attached to the forward side of the panel structure by five screws. A two-piece radio antenna cable joined below the glove compartment door simplifies antenna replacement. The inboard section of the antenna plugs into the back of the radio in the normal manner.

Wiring to all passenger compartment sites beyond the instrument panel area - overhead console, rear speakers, dome lamps, taillamps and CHMSL - is routed above the doors, in troughs below the scuff plates, and in windows on the inboard surface of the body panels for easy inspection and replacement. Door wiring harnesses are also surface-mounted to simplify diagnosis and repair.

The instrument cluster is removed as a unit, simplifying service. The cluster bezel, which also covers the radio and HVAC controls, is retained only by clips. It comes off without disturbing the steering column and wheel. By removing four screws, the cluster assembly can be detached from the truck. Self-locking electrical connectors facilitate easy plug and unplug operations from the front. Seven screws hold the lens in place on the cluster. Indicator bulb sockets twist into the back of the cluster and are accessible with the cluster removed from the panel. The need for bulb replacement is reduced by lighting five of the indicators with LEDs, which are permanently installed and designed to last the life of the vehicle.

Onboard diagnostics within the cluster computer verify all internal functions, memories, timing functions, operation of all warning indicators, and calibration of all gauges. Technicians may initiate these tests by pressing the odometer reset button when turning the ignition on. Fault codes may then be read from the odometer display. This procedure is used as a preliminary indicator prior to more extensive tests using a DRB III scan tool or other external diagnostic system.

Cluster onboard diagnostics also include an external mode that checks communications between the cluster and all other onboard electronic modules connected to the multiplex data network. Codes for faults in these communication links may also be read from the odometer with a scan tool or with another external diagnostic system.

Instrument panel removal and replacement is simplified by integrating the vent, defroster and demister ducts into the panel's structure. All panel-mounted components except the wiring harness are accessible from the front. The instrument cluster, switches, radio and HVAC controls are reached by removing the snap-on one-piece cluster bezel.

Door trim panels are held in place by sturdy integral molded hooks that slip into slots on the doors. Four screws complete the retention system.

Modules for power lock and window switches screw in and out of the door trim panels.

New instrument panel courtesy lamps use wedge-base bulbs, which are easier to replace than bayonet-type bulbs commonly used in the past.

Dome and cargo lamp lenses and housings unsnap for bulb replacement.

A single air bag collision sensor in the Air Bag Electronic Control Module (AECM) simplifies system diagnosis compared to former distributed sensor systems. The module is mounted on the floor pan under the instrument panel for easy access if replacement is required. AECM diagnostic codes are accessed through the data link connector.



Upper ball joints models are permanently lubricated and maintenance free. The coolant level is easily checked with a dipstick attached to the cap of the recovery bottle. Holes in the dipstick hold liquid to facilitate accurate readings. Full and add marks are labeled. The bottle is mounted forward of the radiator support panel, but the neck of the bottle extends through an opening in the panel, putting the cap in the engine compartment. The cap is yellow with black lettering like other engine compartment service points.

Click here for the main Durango page

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