How to Replace the Head Gasket on a Dakota

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The head gasket on a Dodge Dakota truck can become damaged due to engine overheating problems or from improper gasket installation. Replacing a head gasket on a Dodge truck can be a complex task because it requires that you dismantle the engine's top portion. If you suspect that the gasket is blown, contact your local Dodge dealer or auto parts retailer to order a replacement head gasket that will be compatible to your Dakota model.

Things You'll Need

  • Head gasket
  • Ratchet and socket wrench
  • Drain pan
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Coolant
  • Scraper
  • Funnel
  • Park the Dakota, turn the engine off and open the hood.

  • Disconnect the cable from the negative battery terminal using a socket wrench.

  • Set a drain pan underneath the radiator, and remove the pressure cap. Unscrew the radiator drain plug to allow all of the coolant to empty into the tray. Replace the pressure cap and drain plug.

  • Disassemble the engine components so you can access the Dakota's head gasket. Remove the engine cover with a socket wrench. Unscrew the bolts that secure the distributor with a socket wrench.

  • Unfasten the cylinder head bolts with the socket wrench and unscrew the bolts attached to the valve cover using an adjustable wrench.

  • Lift the the damaged gasket from the top of the cylinder block by hand. Clean sticky residue from the surface of the block with a scraper.

  • Set the new head gasket on the cylinder block. Place all other engine components that were removed back into position, securing them tightly with the socket wrench.

  • Refill the cooling system with coolant to an appropriate level as directed in the Dakota owner's manual.

  • Remove the oil cap, adding motor oil in the amount specified by the owner's manual. Replace the oil cap and close the hood. Start the engine, allow it to run for 10 minutes and check for leaks.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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