Dodge Durango 2nd Generation 2004-2009 (ND) Review

Everything You Need To Know Before Buying A Used Dodge Durango 2nd Gen

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2nd-Generation Dodge Durango: What Owners Say

  • A comfortable and coil-sprung rear axle provide decent ride quality, making the Durango easy and pleasant to drive.
  • Outright ability is highly praised and a correctly equipped 4WD model can do a surprisingly good job off-road.
  • The powerful Hemi V8 engine is an important drawcard and uses no more fuel than the smaller unit.
  • Besides the rare hybrid, the Durango is a thirsty beast.
  • Early models have very few safety features and are unreliable.
  • Interior styling and quality are lacking compared to modern rivals.
  • The second row is too cramped for a mid-size SUV.

Durango 2nd Generation Facelift

The second-gen Durango received its sole facelift in the 2007 model year and the changes were most noticeable at the front, which was quite substantially changed.

2007-2009 Durango 2nd Gen Facelift Front Changes

The 2007 model's front end is cleaned up and the bug-eyed headlights of the pre-facelift are replaced with higher-mounted, more squared-off units with round outer headlight reflectors 1. The grille has a thicker border and cuts into the bumper more sharply 2. The clamshell hood is gone and its shut lines now sit on top of the fender 3. The bumper is also new, with sharper creases and a more pronounced and angular plastic panel in the lower valance 4. The new front fender treatment can be seen clearly from the front, with the front wheel-arch flare now mirroring the rear one by curving down into the bumper 5.

2007-2009 Durango 2nd Gen Facelift Rear Changes

Having gone to town with the front, Dodge has not changed the tail end of the Durango much. A longer chrome garnish above the rear number-plate recess 1 and a restyled bumper 2 designed to flow into the rear wheels' wheel-arch flares are all that differentiate it 3.

2007-2009 Durango 2nd Gen Facelift Side Changes

The changes are clearly visible in profile, especially the higher-mounted new headlights and the cleaned-up styling in the front-fender area 1. Both wheel arches are crisper and more defined, all the way down to where they reach the bottom of the doors 2. There are, of course, the obligatory new wheel designs, as well 3. The protective door strips are also higher up and narrower than before 4.

2007-2009 Durango 2nd Gen Facelift Interior Changes

The interior remains very similar and the overall design of the facelift's dash is unchanged, save for different trim and color choices. The center stack's controls are improved, with new radio/infotainment head units on some trims making allowance for increased infotainment screen sizes.

Engine, Transmission, and Drivetrain

The Dodge Durango 2nd generation makes use of V6 and V8 gas engines. The 3.7-liter V6 and 4.7-liter V8 engines are from the PowerTech/Magnum engine family and virtually identical apart from the number of cylinders. A larger 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine is also available. The base V6 is only offered on the ST and SXT trims and comes with a four-speed automatic transmission, whereas the V8s get a five-speed automatic. All trims are available with RWD or 4WD, except for the RWD-only ST.

The V6 produces 210 horesepower and 235 lb-ft of torque. The 4.7-liter V8's figures were 230 hp and 290 lb-ft at the 2004 launch but these were boosted to 303 hp and 330 lb-ft for the 2008 "Corsair" development of the engine, complete with twin spark plugs per cylinder, a revised combustion-chamber design, and a higher compression ratio. The most powerful engine is the 5.7-liter Hemi V8, with 335 hp and 370 lb-ft of torque for the first four model years, which increased to 376 hp and 401 lb-ft for the final 2009 model year, at which time a 345-hp/380-lb-ft hybrid joined the lineup as well.

3.7-liter V6
210 hp | 235 lb-ft
Horsepower
210 hp
Torque
235 lb-ft
Transmission
Four-speed automatic transmission

The 3.7-liter Magnum/PowerTech SOHC V6 engine is derived from its larger 4.7-liter V8 sibling, hence its 90-degree cylinder bank angle, similar iron engine block, and single overhead cams. It is not a particularly powerful or efficient engine for its capacity, producing only 210 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque, made worse by the fact that it can only be had with an old-fashioned four-speed automatic transmission. It doesn't have a stellar reputation for reliability and while it lasts well with meticulous care, deferred maintenance and overheating can be death blows for this engine.

4.7-liter V8
230/303 hp | 290/330 lb-ft
Horsepower
230/303 hp
Torque
290/330 lb-ft
Transmission
Five-speed automatic transmission

The 4.7-liter Magnum/PowerTech V8 offers only 20 hp more than the V6 but a handy 55 lb-ft more torque, made more useful by a more modern five-speed automatic transmission. However, customers had to wait until the 2008 model year for more power. In this big update, the engine was dubbed "Corsair" and new features included a dual-spark layout like the 5.7-liter Hemi's and other refinements, ensuring a healthy boost in outputs to 303 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, because they share the same genes, the V6's reliability problems also plague the V8 derivative, along with various cooling-system issues.

5.7-liter V8
335/376 hp | 370/401 lb-ft
Horsepower
335/376 hp
Torque
370/401 lb-ft
Transmission
Five-speed automatic transmission

The well-known Hemi V8 is tuned for torque and the initial 335-hp/376-lb-ft version of this engine provides adequate performance. It was notably improved for the final 2009 model year when various updates resulted in 376 hp and 401 lb-ft. The power does not come with an economy penalty, thanks to the introduction of cylinder deactivation. It's generally tough and durable, but its weak point is an old Chrysler bugbear - the cylinder heads. These can be reliable with frequent oil changes, but valvetrain issues do crop up, often in the form of roller lifters failing and/or seizing. Exhaust manifold bolts can also break.

5.7-liter V8 Hybrid
345 hp | 380 lb-ft
Horsepower
345 hp
Torque
380 lb-ft
Transmission
Two-mode CVT automatic
  • Electric motors: Two electric motors
  • Horsepower: 87 hp
  • Torque: 235 lb-ft
  • Engine + electric motors hybrid system output: 385 hp/499 lb-ft

For 2009, the Durango 5.7-liter V8 receives a two-mode hybrid option, promising a 40% improvement in city fuel efficiency and 25% overall. The 5.7-liter Hemi is used in this application, tuned for 345 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque and mated to a two-mode CVT transmission that enables the vehicle to drive on the combustion engine or on electric power alone. Combined with two electric motors worth 87 hp/235 lb-ft, the total system output is 385 hp. The hybrid system adds around 400 pounds of weight and $4,000 to the MSRP. The hybrid was on the market for just two months before Dodge withdrew it, citing reduced demand for full-size SUVs due to the economic downturn.

2nd-Gen Dodge Durango Real MPG

There isn't a single thrifty 2nd gen Dodge Durango and the best of the bunch is the very rare hybrid. From the EPA estimates, it is surprising that the 4.7-liter V8 doesn't offer any fuel saving over the 5.7-liter V8 and is consistently slightly worse. Even owners' real-world consumption figures seem to support this. All trims have the same 27-gallon gas-tank size, which means that the Durango's range on a full tank varies from 378 to 567 miles on the EPA's combined cycle.

EPA MPGReal-World MPG*
3.7 2WD 4-speed automatic14/20/16 mpg15 mpg
4.7 2WD 5-speed automatic (230 hp, 2004-2007)13/17/14 mpg16.1-17.6 mpg
4.7 4WD 5-speed automatic (230 hp, 2004-2007)12/17/14 mpg15.7-16.8 mpg
4.7 2WD 5-speed automatic (290 hp, 2008-2009)14/19/15 mpgN/A
4.7 4WD 5-speed automatic (290 hp, 2008-2009)13/18/15 mpg13-14.3 mpg
5.7 2WD 5-speed automatic(335 hp, 2004-2005)12/17/14 mpg16.2 mpg
5.7 4WD 5-speed automatic(335 hp, 2004-2005)12/17/14 mpg15.9-16.7 mpg
5.7 2WD 5-speed automatic(335 hp, MDS, 2006-2008)13/19/15 mpg18.1 mpg
5.7 4WD 5-speed automatic(335 hp, MDS, 2006-2008)13/18/15 mpg15.6-17.7 mpg
5.7 2WD 5-speed automatic(376 hp, 2009)14/20/16 mpgN/A
5.7 4WD 5-speed automatic(376 hp, 2009)13/19/15 mpgN/A
5.7 4WD Hybrid CVT20/22/21 mpg25 mpg

* Real-world mpg and MPGe figures are provided by the EPA. Once a car has been on sale for a significant period of time, the EPA gets real-world figures directly from the customer base. These figures are then provided on the EPA website. Real-world figures are not available for certain models due to a lack of sales, or not enough people partaking in this after-sales survey.

Safety

Standard features across the board on the 2004 Durango include only automatic headlights, ABS brakes, side-impact door beams, and two airbags. The 2007 facelift has one-touch turn signals, side airbags, and curtain airbags covering all three rows. 2007 Limited and SLT trims have standard rear parking sensors and a tire-pressure monitoring system, as well. Stability control is standard on the 2007 Limited and optional on all other Durangos. All 2008 Durangos receive standard stability control.

US NHTSA Crash Test Result (2009)

Being an old pre-2011 model, the NHTSA never comprehensively crash-tested the 2nd-gen Durango and its testing criteria were also less strict at the time. For what it's worth, the Durango gen 2 scored five stars for the frontal impacts. The 4WD scored four stars in the rollover test and the 2WD, three stars.

Frontal Barrier Crash Rating:
(5/5)
Rollover Rating (4WD):
(4/5)
Rollover Rating (2WD):
(3/5)

2004-2009 Dodge Durango Trims

There weren't many changes to the Durango's trims over the years. It kicked off with the base ST for the 2004 model year, as well as the SLT and Limited trims. For 2005, the SXT was added between the ST and SLT, for 2006, the ST trim was dropped, and for 2008, the Adventurer was added.

ST
2004-2006
Engine
3.7-liter V6/4.7-liter V8
Transmission
Four-/five-speed automatic
Drivetrain
2WD/4WD

The 2004 ST trim is very basic and does not even come with alloy wheels. Standard equipment includes 17-inch steel wheels with plastic covers, keyless entry, cruise control, cloth upholstery, manually adjustable front seats, a manually tilting steering wheel, air conditioning, ABS brakes, two airbags, and an AM/FM audio system with a single-disc CD player. More features were added over the years, such as heated front seats for 2005 and alloy wheels for 2006 - the last model year for this trim.

SXT/SE
2005-2009
Engine
3.7-liter V6/4.7-liter V8
Transmission
Four-/five-speed automatic
Drivetrain
2WD/4WD

The SXT was added for the 2005 model year. It builds on everything the ST has for each year but adds very little extra - essentially gray running boards, roof rails, side moldings, and an upgraded audio system with a six-CD changer and MP3 capability. Along with the 2007 facelift, side and curtain airbags and larger side mirrors are standard. For the final 2009 model year, this trim is renamed SE.

SLT
2004-2009
Engine
3.7-liter V6/4.7-liter V8/5.7-liter V8
Transmission
Four-/five-speed automatic
Drivetrain
2WD/4WD

The SLT has everything the SXT does, year for year, plus standard 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, seven-passenger seating, premium cloth upholstery, an electrically adjustable driver's seat, rear-seat ventilation vents, and access to a lot more optional extras than the SXT. Tire-pressure monitoring is standard on the 2007 facelift SLT.

SLT Adventurer
2005-2008
Engine
3.7-liter V6/4.7-liter V8/5.7-liter V8
Transmission
Four-/five-speed automatic
Drivetrain
2WD/4WD

The Adventurer trim is little more than an off-road-look appearance package added to the SLT, with the 4.7-liter V8 engine being the default power plant. Additional standard features include a rear cargo organizer and liner, as well as a Thule roof rack, slush mats, and model-specific alloy wheels.

Limited
2004-2009
Engine
4.7-liter V8/5.7-liter V8
Transmission
Five-speed automatic
Drivetrain
2WD/4WD

The luxury Limited trim has automatic headlights, electrically adjustable side mirrors, memory settings for the driver's seat, leather upholstery, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, electrically adjustable pedals, automatic climate control, and an Infinity audio system with eight speakers and a subwoofer. More standard features were added as the years passed, notably a third-row bench for 2006 (providing eight-passenger seating).

Second-Generation Dodge Durango SUV Features

STSXT/SESLTSLT AdventurerLimited
BluetoothN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Leather SeatsN/AN/AN/AN/AS
Keyless EntrySSSSS
Keyless StartN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
HD RadioN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Alloy WheelsN/AN/ASSS
Soft TopN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A

Interior, Trim, And Practicality

The 2nd-generation Durango is not as versatile as more modern SUVs and the packaging is a compromise. The middle row - the important one when using it as a five-seater - is too cramped in terms of legroom, while the least-used third row is actually quite roomy and offers more space than a Chevrolet Tahoe of the same era. Still, besides in the very biggest SUVs, the third row is rarely where you want to spend time, so that leaves the midsize Durango with an odd space allocation that could have leaned more towards the second row's comfort rather than leaving everyone wanting. With the third row folded, there is at least plenty of luggage space, with a generous 68 cubic feet available - and more than 100 cubic feet when all the seats are down.

Interior quality is another sticking point and neither the design nor the materials scream class or quality. The leather seating surfaces of the Limited and the various entertainment and technology options do modernize the experience somewhat, but it could never be described as upmarket. And the living space will never be confused with that of a European rival. Still, at its price, the Durango can be considered perfectly adequate.

TRIMSTSXT/SESLTSLT AdventurerLimited
ClothSSSSN/A
LeatherN/AN/AOOS

2nd Generation Dodge Durango Maintenance and Cost

Preventative maintenance is always recommended, but it is even more important on the Durango. Oil-change intervals are set at 6,000 miles and we would not exceed that, given the engines' propensity for developing problems with their cylinder heads and with oil sludge. These lube services shouldn't cost more than $200 at an independent dealer. Spark plugs don't last long and must be replaced every 30,000 miles, along with the air filter; these services can cost $550-$650 on the 5.7-liter V8 and the 2008+ 4.7L, because these engines have 16 spark plugs. It is prudent to replace the transmission oil every 60,000 miles to get a long and trouble-free service life out of your transmission, even though the manufacturer prescribes 120,000-mile intervals. Expect to pay $220 to $260 for a transmission oil change. At the same time, we would flush the cooling system and replace the coolant, especially on the 4.7-liter engine, which is prone to cooling troubles as it ages.

2004-2009 Dodge Durango Basic Service

Engine Oil Change Including Filter

Oil capacity: 4.7L (5 quarts) for 3.7 V6, 5.6L (5.9 quarts) for 4.7 V8, 6.6L (7 quarts) for 5.7 V8

Recommended oil type/viscosity: 5W-20 fully synthetic oil

How often to change: 6,000 miles

Average Price: $58-$77

Battery

All engines

Part number: BL065800AA

Replacement: Every 3 to 5 years

Average Price: $214

A reconditioned 2009 Dodge Durango Hybrid battery pack should cost between $1,300 and $2,000 with installation included, depending on the length of its warranty.

Durango 2nd Gen Tires

2004-2005 ST 2WD & 4WD, 2004-2008 SXT 2WD & 4WD, 2004-2006 SLT 2WD & 4WD, 2004 Limited 2WD, 2009 SE 2WD & 4WD
Tire size:
245/70-17
All-terrain on-/off-road:
Between $702 and $901 per set
2004-2005 Limited 4WD, 2008 Adventurer 2WD & 4WD
Tire size:
265/65-17
All-terrain on-/off-road:
Between $746 and $1,052 per set
2006-2008 Limited 2WD & 4WD, 2007-2009 SLT 2WD & 4WD, 2009 Hybrid 4WD
Tire size:
265/60-18
All-terrain on-/off-road:
Between $844 and $1,112 per set
2009 Limited 2WD, 2009 Limited 4WD
Tire size:
265/50-20
All-terrain:
Between $952 and $1,132 per set

Check Before You Buy

Technical Service Bulletins according to the NHTSA. Check service book for:

There are quite a lot of 2004-2009 Dodge Durango recalls, so check whether all the recall work has been performed. Several 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 Dodge Durango airbag recall campaigns were issued as part of the worldwide Takata airbag recall. Some 2004 Durangos were recalled for malfunctioning aftermarket fire extinguishers, 2004-2006 models were recalled for non-compliant aftermarket combination lights, 2004 models were recalled for a throttle cable that can stick, 2005 models were recalled for a fuel filler check valve that may leak, and 2006 models were recalled for a rear suspension link that may fail, for an electrostatic discharge that may affect the functioning of the lights and wipers, and for a malfunctioning ABS control module.

In a few fire-related recalls, 2004 Durangos were recalled for an incorrectly placed battery cable that may short against the suspension arm, 2004-2006 Durangos were recalled for an overheating integrated circuit in the instrument panel that can cause a cabin fire, and 2005 Durangos were recalled for a fuel filler tube inlet check valve that may leak and spill gas. The same year, Durangos were recalled for a wiper motor that may fail and for an improperly installed automatic transmission cup plug that may prevent the transmission to be locked safely in Park. In two 2007 recalls, Durangos were recalled for a steering knuckle that could fracture and for a powertrain control module that may cause the wheels to lock up when the shifter is moved from neutral to park on the move. Another problem that may cause the wheels to lock up is a loose rear axle pinion nut, for which 2009 Durangos were recalled.

Here are some frequently encountered 2nd gen Dodge Durango OBD2 error codes:

  • A 2004-2009 Dodge Durango P0058 or P0430 code indicates problems with the oxygen (O2) sensors.
  • The Dodge Durango P0129 error code indicates a low pressure reading by the manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensor.
  • The Dodge Durango P0455, P0456, or P0457 code indicates a leak in the evaporative emissions control (EVAP) system.
  • The 2004-2009 Dodge Durango P0483 code indicates that the engine's cooling fan is not switching on and this may lead to overheating.
  • The 2004-2009 Dodge Durango P0700 codes are general automatic transmission errors, with the last digits indicating exactly where the problem is.

Dodge Durango 2nd Gen Common Problems

EGR Problems

The Durango's engines are notorious for developing problems with the exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) system. The EGR tube becomes blocked by carbon buildup or the valve gets stuck. It's a small problem that is easy to fix and the EGR system can even be cleaned by a competent home mechanic. Even if the EGR valve has to be replaced, it only costs around $100. The Dodge Durango P0404 code most commonly accompanies this problem. If left to fester, this problem has knock-on effects, causing rough running, stalling, power loss, difficulty starting and, eventually, oil sludge that may lead to many other avoidable engine problems. Have your EGR system inspected and cleaned at regular intervals.

Mileage: 65,000-110,000 miles on average.

Cost: Around $100 for a new EGR valve or around $500 to have the whole job done at a dealership.

How to spot: Rough idling, poor acceleration, stalling, difficulty starting.

Engine Failure

Engine failure seems to have been an alarmingly common occurrence on early Durangos, especially the 2004 models. The causes aren't always clear, with oil-pressure drops, oil sludge, and hydrolocking due to leaky cowls being cited as reasons. Failures are often dramatic and sudden. Some of these could be related to some of the other engine-specific problems we mention later on. Be that as it may, because many of these failures might have already occurred, these cars would have received replacement engines or repairs. As always with Chrysler engines, a Durango engine should run sweetly without any ticks and knocks or you should walk away.

Mileage: From around 65,000 miles.

Cost: $5,000 to $6,500 for an engine replacement.

How to spot: Anything that could spell trouble - knocks, ticks, rough running, smoking, overheating, or low oil pressure.

Hemi 5.7-Liter V8 Problems

The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine is tough and durable if looked after, but it needs frequent oil changes to remain reliable. Most Hemi problems have to do with the valvegear or exhaust manifold. Insufficient oil flow can cause lifter followers to seize and this is exacerbated by a blocked EGR system, infrequent oil changes, and high temperatures. Lifter-follower problems will be announced by ticking sounds, and if it seizes, camshaft damage can follow. A misfire is a common symptom. Rocker arms may also break and hydraulic lifters may fail. Exhaust-manifold bolts corrode and break, causing exhaust-manifold leaks, which also sound like ticking sounds, especially when the engine is cold. Keep in mind that this engine has 16 spark plugs and problems with the plugs or ignition coils may also cause misfires.

Mileage: Manifold bolts can fail from around 75,000-154,000 miles, on average, and valvegear trouble usually starts at around 100,000 miles.

Cost: It costs around $650 to $850 to have both sets of manifold bolts and gaskets replaced. Replacing the camshaft and roller lifters may cost around $1,500-$2,500.

How to spot: Valvegear trouble is often announced by ticking sounds, misfires, and the Check Engine light. Manifolds leaking also emit ticking sounds and you may smell exhaust fumes under the hood while the engine is running.

Magnum/PowerTech Engine Problems

Both the 3.7-liter V6 and the 4.7-liter V8 engines are from the Magnum/PowerTech family and share many of the same problems. Overheating is these engines' biggest enemy and often causes valve-seat failure. When a valve seat drops, that piston loses compression, causing a lack of power and misfires. Deferred maintenance can also cause lash adjusters to become stuck, exacerbated by the engines' small oil drain holes. This design feature can cause increased carbonization of oil in engine hot spots, especially the piston-ring landings, and this is made worse if using too thick of an engine oil. Oil sludge is also a problem and this is made worse by all the previously mentioned problems, as well as a failed positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) system valve. Any of these problems can cause overheating, dropped valve seats, and blown gaskets. To add insult to injury, the cooling system can be a bit fragile, especially on the 4.7, with water leaks and dodgy water pumps not uncommon and at the root of many 2004-2009 Dodge Durango overheating and radiator problems. Last of all, valve-cover oil leaks are common on these engines when they get on in years and can become a problem when too much oil drips on heated components. Meticulous maintenance with frequent oil changes and cooling-system flushes should prevent many issues.

Mileage: Many of these problems can start to rear their heads at around 75,000 miles.

Cost: A complete cylinder-head rebuild costs more than $1,000 and lash adjusters are around $10-$25. Typical cooling-system repairs on the 4.7 usually amount to between $200 and $500. Replacing head gaskets can cost $1,600 and a new PCV valve is around $15.

How to spot: Look for visible oil leaks and listen for ticking sounds. Check for coolant leaks and in the case of low coolant or overheating, you're probably looking at a blown gasket. This will often be accompanied by milky oil and/or white smoke from the exhaust.

Transmission Problems

There don't seem to be many 2004-2009 Dodge Durango transmission or shifting problems, but there was an uptick for the 2005 model. Poor shifting and a noisy transmission may be symptoms and a transmission replacement can cost close to $2,000, so check a used one out carefully. Although the manufacturer stipulates 120,000 miles, fastidious owners prefer to replace the transmission fluid at least every 60,000 miles.

Mileage: From around 72,000 miles

Cost: $1,600-$1,700 for a replacement.

How to spot: Rough shifting or a noisy transmission.

Leaky Cowls

This is the cause of many 2004 and 2005 Dodge Durango electrical, stalling, and starting problems and even engine failures, especially on the earliest models. The cowl screen is supposed to catch and divert water runoff, but as it ages, the seals start to leak. Water can then bypass it and enter the engine compartment, wreaking havoc on sensitive under-hood electrical equipment such as ignition coils and the junction box. In the worst-case scenario, water can seep into the pistons and hydrolock the engine on startup.

Mileage: 113,000-130,000 miles on average.

Cost: $90-$115 for a revised cowl screen and untold amounts on all the damage that can occur due to water damage.

How to spot: Check for electrical problems and damaged engine coils that could cause poor running and illuminate the Check Engine light.

Fuel-System Venting Problems

The fuel system does not always vent pressure effectively, leading to a high-pressure condition when filling up the tank and causing fuel pumps to shut off before the tank is full. This is related to the fuel-filler check valve recall that we mentioned earlier. Be sure to check that the vehicle is easy to fill, with no fuel sputter and without the pump stopping early. The vent valve breather could be blocked, bent, or pinched and the vent solenoid could be stuck. These are the most common 2004-2009 Dodge Durango fuel- or gas tank problems.

Mileage: From around 60,000 to 135,000 miles on average.

Cost: Around $120-330 for the typical repairs.

How to spot: Difficulty filling the tank, the fuel pump shutting off too soon, fuel sputtering out.

Remote Key Failure

Again, mostly the 2004 and 2005 models are at fault and the problem is that the key fob breaks internally and fails. Some people fix it by inserting a tiny piece of foam between the bracket and the chip housing, but most end up having to replace the fob. An electronics professional can often fix the key by soldering the broken connections. Many incorrectly diagnosed 2004-2009 Dodge Durango ignition switch problems are, in fact, key fob problems.

Mileage: From around 50,000 miles.

Cost: $150-$250 to replace the key fob.

How to spot: Key fob no longer works.

HVAC Problems

A moldy smelling air-conditioning system is a problem that many car owners are all too familiar with and this is also the main talking point when it comes to 2004-2009 Dodge Durango heating/heater and air-conditioning - or AC - problems. Moisture in the evaporator of the air-conditioning system creates a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which then emit a foul, mildewy odor.

Mileage: From around 60,000 miles.

Cost: $90-$500 for the typical blower-motor problems and $10 for an air-conditioning disinfectant spray.

How to spot: During the test drive, ensure that the air conditioning and heater are working properly and try the blower motor on all its speeds.

Less Common Problems

Some of the minor 2004-2009 Dodge Durango problems include a tendency for failure of the cam-position sensor on the 5.7-liter V8 engine, causing poor running and the Check Engine light, as well as stalling and a refusal to start. The sensor only costs around $100. There was a flurry of flat batteries on 2004 Durangos and all owners weren't equally fortunate in tracing the problems. Earlier 2004 and 2005 Durangos also seemed to have an odd glitch with 4WD being selected uncommanded. Rust problems pop up now and again, predictably most often in the rust-belt states. Just make sure you inspect a used Durango thoroughly for rust and corrosion of the underbody and the tailgate. Despite a fairly long list of issues, 2004-2009 Dodge Durango fuel-pump, headlight, sunroof, power-liftgate, radio, catalytic-converter, fuel-gauge, power-steering, and transfer-case problems seem to be few and far between in general.

Which One To Avoid

As you can see, the 2004 and 2005 Durangos should be avoided. They suffer the most engine failures, the most recalls, and the most problems in general. We'd also give the weak 3.7-liter V6 with its old-fashioned four-speed automatic transmission a miss, especially if you want to get up to speed in a hurry or contemplate hauling or towing anything at all. The 4.7-liter V8 might seem like a good buy, especially the later, more powerful version, but it is still of the Magnum/PowerTech family and, therefore, prone to all the same problems that this engine family suffers from - which can be numerous. Plus, it's no more economical than the 5.7L, calling its existence into question.

Which One To Buy

There is no question that the 2008 and 2009 model years are ones to go for. They have an acceptable level of safety features across the board, such as stability control and curtain airbags, and these are also the years with the fewest problems by far. The facelift is also better equipped and looks better. The 5.7-liter V8 is a no-brainer, too. These cars are now old enough to be affordable and a 2008 or 2009 Durango Limited 5.7-liter V8 will give you most of the advantages of modern SUVs, an acceptable level of safety, and strong performance, all in one package.

2nd Gen Dodge Durango Verdict

It's not all moonshine and roses if you are shopping for a used 2nd gen Dodge Durango and you would do well to avoid the earlier models at all costs. In its last form, it is a decent SUV that is easy to drive and live iwth. Properly looked after, it can last a long time and offer you V8 SUV motoring at a fraction of the cost of a new SUV in the same class. Be sure to avoid all the pitfalls and problems areas we outlined so you don't buy yourself a money pit, because this can easily happen.

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