My 2001 Dakota 3.9L V6 smells really hot after trailering my boat (approx. 2500 lbs.) home. Seems OK getting to the lakes. We live at about 1000' elevation and the lakes are all around 500-600'.
Basically home is uphill most of the way.
I am due for a trans. fluid change. Would using a full synthetic be of any benefit? What type can these Dodges take. The type I used before was ATF+4 I think. It only has 70K miles.
Your particular Dakota is rated to tow 4900 pounds so i dont think 2500 pounds is asking to much of a V6 at all...Dodge transmissions on the other hand(especially of that era), well, thats another can of worms...
If your fairly mechanically inclined, its something you can do in your driveway with basic hand tools and an afternoon of your time. Id HIGHLY recommend one though if you do any sort of towing and expect your transmission to last. You can pick up a kit from just about any auto parts store for well under 100 bucks. Synthetic fluids can help but a cooler will maximize the life of the fluid and your transmission.
Jim, I'd consult your owners manual for the proper type of fluid, I'm not familiar with what the Dodges run. Synthetic oils are generally my choice whenever available, but you may want to consult the local Dodge dealer service department or trans shop to get their opinion on your particular unit.
Tranny coolers are a good idea when towing substantial distances or heavy loads, the factory one in the radiator is really just for normal use unless your vehicle came with the factory towing package. They can be installed by anybody with decent mechanical skills, just buy a good quality kit and follow the instructions carefully. (I have seen the cooler hoses not get secured properly, (spliced with regular hose clamps), and leak out the fluid frying the trans.) You may want to get a quote from local shops, AAMCO, U-Haul, on buying a kit from them and having it installed. $150 up front is a lot cheaper than a $1800-$2500 trans.!