This was aided by a reduction in the number of pieces that had to be accurately attached to the frame assembly. Scrub radius was reduced by moving the lower ball joint outboard 0. When the brake was applied, the drum slid smoothly inside the spring. A new low-friction, compression-type lower ball joint design reduced steering friction for enhanced precision feel and improved returnability. The housing wrapped around the corner of the box to provide required side illumination. Deflection characteristics of the valves permitted oil passage area to vary relative to shock absorbers velocity.
The force reduction resulted from addition of a second friction load path. It is a little week on low end power when towing but once up to speed it pulls good though. A relatively low multiple low stiffness allows the frame to flex - twist or bend resulting in noisy operation and poor ride and handling. Stamped, one-piece, high-strength, low-alloy side-guard door beams also reinforced the door latch attachment. The frame was electro-coat painted to significantly increase corrosion protection and improve both short- and long-term appearance. As in 1996, they could be operated with the parking lamps to realize their capability or as a supplement to the headlights. However, the inner rail thickness was increased for added durability.
Cooling System Cross-flow aluminum radiators with plastic end tanks provided increased cooling capacity for all engines. The resonator was a molded plastic housing the volume of which was tuned to damp out air intake pulsations. A new structural transmission cross member, which attached to the webs of the frame side rails with four bolts per side, contributed to the overall stiffness increase. Driver Airbag System The driver air bag had a conventional inflation system using the newest technology to produce a smaller, lighter module than prior systems. Customers were expected to perceive Dakota's handling characteristics as those of a touring sedan, with outstanding, car-like handling capabilities even as it retained truck functional attributes. The higher basic rate also kept the body attitude more consistent from empty to loaded condition than do two-stage springs.
Primer application used the same electro coat E-coat process as other Chrysler Corporation vehicles for a uniform coating of all surfaces, including cavities and crevices. The combination of these changes contributed to a uniform steering feel and precise handling. Net forming was enabled by the elimination of the keyway and cotter pin hole used in the former bearing adjustment process. A new box section front cross member increased torsional stiffness, provided support for the stabilizer bar, and aided dimensional control. Rather than being machined, the spindle's net dimensions were formed by a precision cold heading process for the main portion and a rolling process for the threads.
An expandable, structural adhesive bonded the box inner and outer panels, providing superior dent resistance to the upper rail of the box opening. Similar reductions in ride friction were compensated by shock absorber tuning. They also helped block the sound of road noise and road splash from reaching the cab. Each measures 196 inches long overall on a 112. Parallel-action blades provided a wiped area that met passenger car safety standards, there being no standard for trucks. The 1997 ratings were 230 bhp at 4400 rpm and 300 lb-ft torque at 3200 rpm.
Front lamp units were combined in a module for accurate alignment, appearance and ease of assembly. Powder anti-chip primer was applied between primer and finish coats. The normal position had a detent to permit easy re-establishment of normal mirror position after folding. Optional power door locks operated automatically to secure the doors against unwanted entry and reduce the possibility of their opening in a collision. Large, rectangular lock buttons, which rode in pockets molded into the trim panels at the belt line, were easy to grip. It also provided mounting points for the left shock absorber and the spare tire winch to minimize weight.
The tunnel was lowered because the drive line combination required less room than the others. Formerly, pipes were locally restricted to clear various components. I admit that the interior styling is rather bland and outdated but extremely durable and fuctional. The rear portion was effectively shielded by the caliper and the steering knuckle. The new bulbs produced more light per watt than the previous Dakota bulbs. Corrosion Protection Corrosion protection was the same as in 1996.
To deter paint chipping, a urethane coating was sprayed on the lower third of the box and cab as in 1996. Ratings for 1997 remained 175 bhp at 4800 rpm and 225 Ib-ft torque at 3200 rpm as in 1996, though the new air induction system reduced air flow restriction. The compression ratio is 9. A door in the left side of the pickup box concealed the fuel filler cap. The housings and arms were molded of impact and ultraviolet light-resistant black plastic for long life with good appearance.
Release effort was reduced more than 50% compared to 1996 and operation was smooth and quiet. The power rack and pinion system combined an ultraquick-response valve that required costly precision machining with a stiff torsion bar actuator. The top surface of the resonator was ribbed for stiffness. The only thing I could wish for though is more available after market accessories and if it had a little tighter turning radius. Rear rails had an open C-section. For better appearance, improved durability, improved passenger comfort and to minimize sunlight damage to interior materials, new deep tint glass quarter and rear windows were included on all club cabs. In January 1997, this coating was replaced by a specially formulated epoxy polyester powder applied to all exterior body surfaces This provided an added measure of chip resistance and also reduced the potential for paint de-lamination due to ultra-violet radiation.