I am going to either have to rebuild the 2.5 ohc engine in my 95 dakota or replace it. Is there any advantage to going to the amc based 2.5 motor and can it it be done without too much hassle? I prefer to keep it a 4 cylinder.
Not an easy swap at all unless you have a complete 1996 parts truck for the swap. Electronics are totally different as are things like the mounts and the transmission are different too. And even if you got a complete truck for parts you'd have a big hassle as the 1995 and earlier "Chrysler" 2.5 was OBDI while the 1996 "AMC" 2.5 is OBDII.
I tend to agree, the Dodge 2.5 has proven itself to be pretty tough. Granted the AMC engine is a good engine, having to get a full donor truck to replace the engine and possibly bellhousing and motor mounts (they bolt to the engine crossmember, bolt patterns for 2.5/V6 and V8 have fixed nuts in the frame), I don't see the true advantage to the amount of work required.
I would say that's a lot of work to go in the wrong direction.. The Dodge 2.5L has always seemed like a much better motor TO ME.. Rebuilding the motor you have would be MUCH less expensive that downgrading to the AMC 2.5L.. IF you want more power.. there are a lot of things you can do to the factory motor.. Including Turbo or Supercharger. A lot of parts for the FWD turbo cars will fit the Dakota.. Look close, it's even got the FWD motor mount under the hood.
Or, it's less work to even switch to a V6.. That can be done as a bolt in swap in a few days, with decent facilities.. and still less money than the newer 4 cyl.