Good morning Jeff.
The 92 - 96 dakota are the same . In 97 the body style changed and there is a shock absorber that needs to be relocated . ( Kevin Delonay said no problem with his 97 ) As long as you stay with the 5.2 or the 5.9 motor I think you will be OK ,
Not sure when dodge stopped making the above motors , early or mid 2000 I think ?
I don’t consider the dakota much of a work truck but a car with a pickup bed on it . It will go down the road good .