99 Dodge Dakota V8 Pings with a tow load

skylark2skylark2 Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Dodge
Help! Last year after I towed a few horses and
some sheep then I noticed the pinging, especially
going up a steep hill. To be honest the car always
sounded a little valve tappy to me but what do I
know I'm a woman! The dealer said all was within
spec. Well soon after it started to sound like it
was going to explode. I brought it back and said
fix it, I don't care whether it's in spec or not. I
actually had the mechanic come out to my house and
I loaded two horses into the trailer and took it
for a ride! Well they fixed it and here I am a year
later having towed thru' the summer and the
pinging and tapping is back. Any ideas? I don't
think the dealer really knows what's going on, nor
how they fixed it as it was "in spec". Also, when I
back up on gravel or grass in 4WD the back wheels
slip and leave a gouge in the ground. Is this
normal? Can you email me as well as posting here as
I don't know when I will get back here
([email protected])


  • rcarbonircarboni Member Posts: 290
    The Dodge V8s are notorious for pinging under load, especially on lower octane gas. You should always run the highest octane gas available when towing, or at least add an octane boost.

    If the higher octane does not solve the problem, here is a basic list of potential problems/fixes:

    1. Carbon buildup - have a shop do a carbon
    cleaning of the cylinders.
    2. Spark plug wires crossing - check wires and
    re-route if necessary.
    3. Belly pan gasket - if the bottom of the intake
    manifold is very oily, particularly at the rear of
    the engine, then the gasket may need replacement.
    4. Distributor/rotor - replace these with higher
    quality brass contact units. Use Accel or
    5. Sensors - some have replaced/cleaned the
    Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) and/or MAP sensor
    and found that the pinging was cured.
    6. Plugs - set plug gaps correctly.
    7. Thermostat - use of a lower temp thermostat
    may help the problem, but is generally not a cure.

    Additionally, I would have the fuel pressure checked, and if possible, the air/fuel ratio when pinging occurs. A lean condition will cause pinging under load. An inline fuel pressure regulator to increase the pressure would help if this is the problem. Also, larger injectors would help, but only use them if you are sure that you are running lean.

    There is also a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) out to "re-flash" the PCM so that the timing is retarded slightly, and the air/fuel curves adjusted. I wouldn't recommend this fix because you will suffer performance and MPG, and if it doesn't cure the pinging, you cannot get it reversed.

    For more info on the Dakota, check out the Dakota Mailing List at www.dakota-truck.com.
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