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Dodge Dakota Stalling and Dying Problems



  • I recently bought a 98 4x4 dakota slt with 181k (=X) on ran fine until i brought it home. now when i start it, it starts up then starts to die down then it ether revs up again and is fine or stalls. Any help?
  • For many stalling at idle problems from a dead battery, try disconnecting the battery for 5 minutes and then reconnect it. Sometimes, the computer gets a low voltage from a nearly dead battery or a weak one used to try to start the engine. With electronics, an improper voltage will give unpredictable results - the radio also. Disconnecting will force the computer reset to basic program that has a correct idle and then it will reprogram while you are driving.

    Also the Idle Air Control (IAC) has caused me a couple of problems and cleaning it with Carburetor cleaner helped for a while. I finally sprang for a new one. I would first check the IAC for erratic idle problems.

    For stalling while driving, my 92 dodge, 5.2 L 150k hard miles, had the problem caused by an internal computer connection at the cable/computer connector. It would stall at idle or while turning a corner at 25MPH or doing 70 MPH straight on the highway. I replaced all the usual suspects- IAC TPS, CSS, Coil before I finally found a used computer on EBay. That fixed that problem.
    I realized it was the computer because when I tried to restart the engine and turned on the ignition, the check engine light would not come on as it normally does and then go out. I would go to the engine bay and wiggle different wires and noticed that when I moved the computer connection, the check engine light would sometimes come on and only then the engine would start. I checked all the connectors and found it had to be in the computer connection under the epoxy(?) filler where I could not get to fix it.

    Beyond these bits of info, good luck. (I couldn't read the whole thread, especially that guy that wrote the book.)

    I realize it is an old thread, but I hope this info may help someone.

  • I have a 94 Dakota 3.9 automatic 4x4 that dies at will.There is no spark at the plugs,no codes shown fuel pump working. I replaced cam sensor,crank sensor,cap and rotor,plug wires.Checked the splices under relay box and chassis grounds. Truck will run in driveway all day but when you drive it, it stalls.If I disconnect the battery to reset it will start but stall again sometimes within 5 feet sometimes within 2 miles.Last time it stalled I disconnected the cam sensor and plugged it back in and it started.Checked harness and found a heavy guage dark blue wire was running between the intake manifold and valve cover was chaffed and grounding on the cover. Repaired wire still loses spark.I,m at a loss on what to look for.Any suggestoins would be greatly appreciated!
  • I had the same problem with my 1990 3.9 v6. Turned out to be the distributor itself or the moduel within. Auto Zone sells them for around $75. Been working ever since.
  • I love my truck, however, after a few weeks of owning it, I left it parked for two days without starting, it all of a sudden wouldn't start, as if it were out of gas, then it would drive as if nothing and die out, wait a day and it was fine. I took it in twice to the mechanic, first time he replaced a sensor, worked for about an hour then it started again with the same issue of starting when ever it felt like and the rest of the time not staying on. Next the fuel pump was replaced, again it worked for two weeks then I didn't turn it on for two days and it is back at it again. Not sure what to do, neither can my mechanic. If others have had this problem and resolved it, that information would be helpful..thank you
  • alanartalanart Posts: 7
    This Dakota has only 30K mi., from North Dakota. I think it has multiple, intermittent problems that cause stalling under all conditions. (sometimes restarts immediately, sometimes after an hour, and sometimes not until I have replaced some random part..or two and fiddled with it for a few hours.) I repaired an intermittent connection to the fuel pump, this helped the no-fuel stalling condition, now I get an intermittent no-spark condition (and occasional no-power to FP cond.). Since I have owned this truck (6 mo.) I have replaced the fuel pump module, fuel pump connector, spark plugs, cam pos sensor, crank pos sensor, coil, cleaned the IAC ports, fixed the 3-1 connection in the harness under the fuse box, checked the grounds, blah blah blah...I run the OBD codes and always get 12, 55 (normal). Next I'm trying a new used ECM from a truck of the same specs and year. Right now, its in my driveway and it won't start, has spark once in a while. I know if I just keep fiddling with it, it will eventually start, but then it will stall again eventually. This is the worst vehicle I have ever owned. I have had all sorts of cars and trucks and I can diagnose and repair problems very well, but this Dakota's problems are very deep and mysterious. Any comments or encouragement are appreciated.
  • Another PCM probably won't fix the problem. I put in a reman PCM and it died after 235 miles same problem-NO SPARK! I did check the dist. as was recomended to me but didn't replace it. I think I'm going to pull it out and check the pulse ring,gear,and roll pin in it. My 94 has a different type dist. compared to the 90 so that's why I didn't replace it. When my 94 dies, if I disconnect the neg. battery cable or unplug the cam sensor and plug it back in the damn thing starts. I've traced the wire diagram and found that the cam,crank,and speed sensors are all tied together(haven't replaced the speed sensor). Never thrown a code and never acted up. I too have the same codes 12-55.Hope this helps,let me know if you have any luck.
  • elwellelwell Posts: 6
    With my 1990 Dakota I had similar stalling problems. After cheking a the basics I found that it was the distibutor shaft. After changing it out I have not had any more stalling. Aprox. $75 at Autozone.
  • My Dodge will shut off while driving. I will be driving along at speeds under 80km/h and she will lose acceleration and shut off.

    I have changed the plugs and wires. Checked the coils, changed the distributor and rotor button. Even swapped computers with an identical truck to see if that was the problem.

    Once she shuts off she will not start. After letting her sit for a while she will eventually start.

    There also seems to be no fire on the plugs after she does this.

    I am not sure what could be the problem. I am at my end with this truck.
  • seleneselene Posts: 10
    I have a 93 Dakota 3.9. When it quit, I found the problem was the corroded connection in the harness at the left front of the engine compartment. Repaired that! Now, it stumbles and misses when the ambient temp is cold and the engine is cold. After it warms up, it runs fine. I think I may have a leaking intake manifold gasket. Sound reasonable? I plan on changing it, but was wondering if I should change the bolts also? It seems that if they are grade 5 or 8 bolts and aren't cracked, I should be able to reuse them. Any advice or thoughts on my two problems? Thanks. Selena
  • carvermancarverman Posts: 101
    edited July 2011
    First of all, you need to specify year, model and engine size if you want factual
    information. I have a Haynes service manual for my '98 Dodge Dakota 5.2L
    (318) V8. The wiring diagram indicates various sensors on this type of engine
    that provide information to Power Control Module (PCM) or engine management
    computer. In my model there is something called an ASD (auto shutdown relay)
    which is controlled by the PCM. For the PCM to operate this relay (which kills
    the fuel pump/injectors via the Fuel pump relay) AND the power side of the
    ignition coil, a sensor has to be either out of range or faulty.

    It's hard to make any accurate diagnosis of your problem with virtually no
    info to go on, but one place to start is the camshaft sensor. This is a Hall effect
    (solid state) sensor that detects the camshaft "lobes" to determine the firing
    pulse and spark for each cylinder. These have been known to go "wacko"
    where they work sometimes and not at other times.

    I had a 1999 Dodge Ram V8 that would run for 15 minutes,
    then die and wouldn't restart for another half hour or so,
    and then run again for 10-15 minutes and die again and this was
    a repeatable problem. Turned out to be a defective camshaft sensor.
    This is located in the distributor (under the rotor) and can be easily removed
    and replaced with a screwdriver.
  • carvermancarverman Posts: 101
    I had a friend with a 1999 Ram 318 V8 that would start up and then die after
    about 10 to 15 minutes of running and then wouldn't start again until left
    for an hour or longer. No engine codes. Checked everything..fuel rail pressure
    all the obvious things...he had it towed into the shop..they changed the crankshaft sensor first..didn't fix the symptom, so then they changed the cam
    sensor (the one inside the distributor that replaces the old fashioned points) and
    that fixed the problem.
    These are solid state "Hall effect" sensors that detect a magnetic cam lobe
    and generator a timing pulse to the PCM. Once in a while they go defective
    in a strange way, but not completely. I carry a spare one around in my
    '98 Dakota, just in case mine starts acting up like that.

    So far, I've only had the stalling problem in very cold weather and only when
    going from reverse to drive. Don't know what that one is about yet..
    whether it's transmission temp related, engine temp related or some other
    critical sensor that shuts it down.
  • carvermancarverman Posts: 101
    I have the same problem with my 98 Dakota 318 v8.
    I have heard that these "hall effect" solid state sensors they use in the distributor
    for providing timing pulses to the PCM are known for "whacko" symptoms.
    My 98 Dakota V8 stalls in reverse also in very cold weather, but not after
    the engine warms up and it only stalls once at soon as I put the
    gear selector from R to D, it cuts out. Starts ok after that and I can drive
    off..been like that for several years now..I was thinking it was a sensor, but
    not sure which one, since the 46RE auto transmission used on my truck has
    a temperature sensor, but it is a thermistor, which is a simple sensor compared
    to these hall effect camshaft sensors.
    I have a spare, so I think I will replace it and see if that solves the problem.
  • carvermancarverman Posts: 101
    Wow! another long and expensive story. Vibrations at speed can be from
    a number of not being properly balanced or sidewalls on the
    tires deforming at certain speeds causing a vibration at only a certain speed
    and not at other speeds. I had a set of tires once that did that.
    The other posibility would be u-joints on the driveshaft.
  • cmeistercmeister Posts: 1
    edited July 2011

    I have a 99 Dodge Dakota 5.2L. standard. Recently it has been stalling when I have slowed at stop lights or stop signs or when I have going slow around a corner. I have replaced the battery and cleaned the IAC. I was reading on either this forum or another one and read that it could be the Vehicle Speed Sensor. It also runs really really rich. Also both of the mechanics that I got to scan my truck got a no data reading. If anybody could give me any other ideas of what it could be that would be great.

    I know this has probably been brought up on these forums before but I can't find it anymore so I apologize for repeating the thread. Maybe somebody could give me the link to another thread that may be able to help me.

  • roundsddroundsdd Posts: 10
    edited July 2011
    Really sounds like the IAC. I cleaned mine for a while and had to go for a new one. See Post #105 for my problems. Could also be the throttle position sensor (TPS), but I'd go for a new IAC if it cleared up after cleaning and then came back. The IAC gets sluggish and doesn't operate as fast as it should and the engine stalls. If cleaning the IAC didn't help at all, I would try a TPS next.

    Maybe the EGR .
    I also replaced the EGR and the engine ran a lot better at high end. I didn't notice the problem because the computer would adjust for it. I noticed that at 80 MPH towing my boat up hill and floored, it would backfire because it was too lean. A new EGR fixed that.
    Good luck with it.
  • alanartalanart Posts: 7
    check the fuel pressure and the TPS. Either one will cause these symptoms.
  • mender2mender2 Posts: 3
    I have a 2002 Dakota 3.9 engine. Run fine except when I pull my travel trailer. After a few miles, about 10, the engine stalls and won't idle. If I keep the reves up to 1500-1800 it runs ok, but not lower. If I let it sit for 15-20 minutes it will idle OK. When pulling trailer the temp gage never goes over 1/2, where it usually runs. I have changed plugs and wires and the mechanics can't find any problem, and there are no error codes. I didn't see any issues like this on the forum, some simular.
  • roundsddroundsdd Posts: 10
    I would check the IAC and then the EGR valve. I assume you have the throttle open more when pulling the trailer because of the weight. That may cause the problem. An EGR that doesn't close makes it run lean, and hotter, and the computer makes up for it and more exhaust gas is recirculated and dirties things up when you get off the gas. If I remember correctly, both are about $50 and easy to install.
    I had to replace both on my 5.2.
    Good luck,
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