2002 Dakota and other Options

Hey everyone, just joined the forum and am very excited to start planning my first wood gas conversion!

I have a couple options for wood gas vehicles and I was wondering if those with experience could weigh in? My intention is to have a versatile wood gas powered vehicle that I can use to occasionally carry a yard or so of wood chips/compost and also have the option of driving from city to country to work on an orchard.

A neighbor of mine has a 2002 V8 4x4 Dakota for sale so I was wondering if this option would be good for a first conversion and if it would fit my needs. Will plans for construction be easy to find on here and run easily parallel to other dakota conversion? Will the 4x4 aspect of the vehicle make it incompatible or too heavy for driving over 65 mph?

A second option is a low mileage (<200,000 miles) 93 V8 Dakota in solid condition. The seller is asking $3800 for a full sized bed 2 seater. I am wondering if since this is my first project in gas conversion if I should be looking for a cheaper truck (should such a truck cost less? I’m not sure if it is overpriced or if if with the economy of available trucks if this is appropriate). I don’t want to make any rookie mistakes and kill a perfectly good truck.


Good morning Kerem and welcome to the DOW.

The 2002 V8 dakota would be the 4.7 motor. We have had this motor tried hear on the site a few years back and it never work out like it should. The main problem had to do with the ignition timing .

My choice would be the 5.2 L V8. dakota .

I have always converted 1992 - 1996 . From 1997 to 1999 there is a shock absorber that has to be relocated to make room for the gasifier .


Hi Kerem, Welcome to DOW and woodgas. I have a 1998 Dakota with a 5.2L 4x4. It runs on woodgas. The truck is heavier and of a higher profile (more wind drag) than the 1992 - 1996 square body dakotas. I have to blend gasoline to reach interstate speeds. You will find a lot of good older dakotas in great shape in Nashville, TN area and further south in the US. Look on Craigslist and facebook marketplace. If you look at northern trucks check the frame carefully. You will find that the frames look good, but in reality can be paper thin from all the salt use. They rust more on the inside.


Thanks, Wayne! I’m really excited to learn from this community! I appreciate your contribution to this field and for being a strong foundation for this platform.


Hi Wayne. I am new here and just getting started. Out of curiosity what was the issue with the 4.7 not working? If one were to build a custom 4.7 could he build it in a way to solve the problem? I could probably build a custom cam that would allow me to fix the timing issue as well as pump up the HP and torque a bit.

Hi WilliamW.
the issue was not being able to get an on demand greater spark timing for the diffnert compressed burning characteristics of the three gasses woodgas blend.
With an actual ignition distributor most fellows can convert mount them to a pull-push cable to command more timing advance power running and then be able to set back for cranking starting.
Some. Only some of the distributor-less systems are able to auto detect and give this in the computer control electronics.
The Dodge V-10 electronics systems proven to be one of those.
The single overhead camshaft(S) 4.7L Dodge V-8 NOT. Long chain driving both of those camshafts Dodge programed in crankshaft versus camshaft sensors that if seen to far unexpected it will force the system into limited power limp-in mode.
These are not the only engine system types to not want to auto timing adjust. A lot of the fellows doing the GM 4.3L V-6’s complain of the same problem.

So . . . follow proven to be known good adaptable systems or be-adventurous and discover.
The best discovery trails to follow would be the Ford/GM/Dodge factory flex-fuel systems. These had to have a wider spread of ignition timing advance mapped into their computers to accommodate up 85% alcohol fuels blends.
Or use engine systems with LOTS of off-road, racing, aftermarket EFI-tuner systems support.
Ford chassis motor homes . . . maybe. The GM LS’s for sure. Again, the Dodge V-10’s for sure.

Dodge Hemi’s? No one claims to have woodgassed one yet.
This be you???
Steve Unruh


Hmm, a 2002 Dakota with a Hemi. I like it! lol. I’ve got a few race buddies. I bet one of them has a way to trick the system into a different timing configuration. Then again, I could just go find me an old Chrysler Cordoba with a 360 in it and stuff it in the hole. So many ideas, so little time.

The 4.7 is kind of a loser anyway. It is not a reliable engine by any stretch of the imagination. The internal oiling system is crap and is usually the reason they blow up to begin with. Having said that, the idea of a cable operated distributor seems a little off to me as well. I am sure it works fine but this truck will be on the road every day, all day long and that seems like it might be a point of failure somewhere around the 50,000 mile mark. There’s got to be a happy medium somewhere in the middle.

Waynes book arrives Monday. I have some serious reading to do. Thanks for the info, it is immensely helpful…

You know, I also have a 2000 Toyota Tundra Ext Cab Auto 4X4 setting right next to the Dakota. It also has a 4.7 V8. Then there’s my 93 K3500 dually with the 454, my 1980 Ford 4 speed with the 351, my S10 with the 4 banger, my 88 F150 4X4 with the 5 liter, my 1990 Ford Super Duty with the early fuel injected 7.4 (460) and my 2003 with the 6.8 liter V10 Triton motor…

Anyone need a project? lol


Good morning William .

The below thread is the 4.7 that I was referring to . You may want to read over the thread very carefully.

Thanks Wayne



Hey Wayne,

Was wondering, in your experience, how long early to mid 90s dodge Dakotas last? I found one with 250,000 miles on it for $2600 (though I think that can be negotiated significantly) and was wondering if this truck may have too many miles to be worth converting to wood gas.

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If the frame is in good shape, and maybe they did the right thing and replaced all the suspension parts then that could be a good runner. I would say “It depends”.

Not much of a comparison but I had my 86 B2000 and bought it at 196,000 miles. Replaced all the old rubber suspension parts because they were dry rotted but other than that it was fine.

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I would ask the owner if they have a service history for it for any major things like any suspension components or transmission rebuild/replacements.


It says “Oops, that page is missing!” aka, the dreaded 404 error

It works for me WilliamW.
But it is on the Premium Projects side.
You do not show as activated Premium member yet.
WesK. there really struggles with woodgas power on his 4.7L SOHC Dodge V-8. His seemed to lack knock sensor PCM automatic advancing for ignition timing. Not a popular engine with the hotrod PCM tuner boys either.

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Good morning Kerem.

Most of the dakotas I have bought had 100k -175k miles on them and I would pay near 3,000 dollars

It has been a few years that I have bought one and I understand from the news that vehicles are up in price.


Nice that seams reasonable. How many feet of the bed does the gasification system take up? Also it appears the link for sizing the burn tube is down in the video tutorial. @Chris any way of getting that link back up and running? Are the measurements in the video tutorial specific to the Dakotas?

I joined and paid for the membership. Am I missing something?

Good morning Kerem.

The gasifier and other components occupies the front 32 inches of the dakota truck bed. ( just went out and measured to make sure )

On the dakota we start with a 12 diameter and about 18 inches long fire tube . The gasifier will need to be tuned to your wood , driving habits ,weather ect. This is done by changing out the choke ( restriction plates ) .

Maybe Chris can stop by and straiten out any problem with the building site access .


Yes sir you do not have the yellow plus sign on your avatar thumbnail indicating Premium membership activation. So you are missing seeing about half of all DOW activity.
This all pertaining to those who choose to build and use the Wayne Keith system.

There is no secret squirrel stuff about the locked out Premium side here. Just a small $'s hurdle to show a tangible actual personal commitment to using woodgas-for-personal-powers.
Pays the operating cost here so ChrisS is not having to take food out of one of his&wifes baby’s. So WayneK is not have to eyeball to sell off another still growing cow before it’s time.

Find Chris’a black-hat DOW-flamed wearing, eyeglasses wearing icon/avatar anywhere here on the DOW. Click it open and send him a Personal Message request to inquire about the delay in your activation.
Patience and persistence, man. We all ain’t going anywhere. It will all still be here available to read.
Steve Unruh