It's only overheating on you when your sitting at lights or idle? Or does it also overheat running down the road?
The fact that it only overheats when your not moving really indicates a cooling fan issue.
Your truck is equipped with two cooling fans, 1 mounted to and driven by the waterpump. The second fan is electric, and mounted on the back of the radiator (if you peek in with a light you can see it). The electric fan is VERY loud. Loud enough to mostly drown out the engine noise at idle, and can easily be heard with the hood closed from several feet away.
I strongly suspect your having an issue with the electric fan. Diagnosis can be tricky without a scan tool to actuate the fan and test out the circuits.
Another common problem with Dakotas is the radiator cap.. The seal goes bad and allows coolant to be pushed out when the engine warms, but not drawn back in when it cools down.. This leads to an overfull jug (the overflow jug) and a low coolant level in the radiator. I would have the cap tested.
The 4.7 motor does not tolerate overheating very well, it doesn't have to get hot to many times before you wind up with warped cylinder heads, be very carefull not to let it overheat if possible.
I suggest having the electric cooling fan operation checked out as soon as you can, to prevent more serious engine damage. You should be OK at this point, as it doesn't overheat on you going down the road. While it's in have them pressure test that radiator cap.
I hope this helps, if you have any questions or need clarification don't hesitate to ask!
The fact that it only overheats at idle and not going down the road is the part that's throwing me off.. That typically is an issue with a coolilng fan, or poor coolant flow through the radiator.
The bubbles are also bothering me.
I think the next best step is to swing by the parts stores and get one of the kits for checking for combustion gasses in the cooling system. They generally fit over the cap and have a little liquid in them that changes color when exposed to exhaust. If it changes color on you then it's a headgasket or head issue.
When it's up to temp (but not overheating) and the fan comes on does it feel like it's pulling hot air through the radiator or is it just luke warm?Leo
Thanks for accepting my answer and the bonus, I appreciate it. Sounds like they have found the source of the issue. He gave you options, sounds like a good shop to deal with.
How is everything going with you, a lot of snow here. Im just replying to your e-mail about the update on my 4.7 dodge engine problem from January of 2008. Every 100 miles I would need to let the engine cool, siphon the anti-freeze from the overflow container and add it back into the radiator. This went on until June of 2010. The truck now had 236,000 miles on it. At that point I had a remanufactures engine installed along with a new cat system. The truck has 254,000 on and it runs great. Thank you for your help.