97 Dakota running problems Please Help !!!!!

TdpkidTdpkid Member Posts: 2
edited July 2015 in Dodge
I have a 97 Dakota that is having issues. When i drive down the road it acts like it isnt getting enoughgas. When i stop at a traffic light it will go dead and takes about 20 mins b4 it wll crank back up? Where do i start to try and figure this out. I am poor and cant afford to take it to a mechanic. Thanx Tommy


  • dustykdustyk Member Posts: 2,926

    You need to do some diagnostic work first, there are many things that could cause this symptom.

    First, how many miles on this vehicle, what engine and what transmission do you have?

  • TdpkidTdpkid Member Posts: 2
    Dusty The vehicle has about 180,000 miles on it. It has a 4 cylinder 2.5 engine and manual transmission.
  • dustykdustyk Member Posts: 2,926
    Okay. This configuration is rare, but okay!

    First, you need to determine if you have spark and fuel.

    Remove a spark plug from the cylinder head. Reconnect the plug wire to the spark plug and place the spark plug on the engine at a location that allows you to view the electrode. Have someone crank the engine and observe if a spark jumps across the electrode. If it does, you have secondary ignition power. If not, we know where to start troubleshooting.

    If you've verified that you have spark, perform the following:

    1. Disconnect the air clearner housing from the top of the Throttle Body Assembly. You must be able to see the throttle plate.

    2. With an assistant holding the gas pedal to the floor, pour approximately one tablespoon full of gasoline into the throttle body.

    3. Crank the engine for approximately 15 seconds.

    If the engine attempted to start (then stalled) you likely have a fuel delivery problem.

    Let me know how this worked out. I will monitor for a response until 11:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time.

  • 95_Dakota_Joe95_Dakota_Joe Member Posts: 2
    Have a 95 Dakota and when you left the driver door latch the door doesn't open. Put in the shop and they say the plastic clip that holds the rod in place has completely broke up. To fix this issue they will need to remove the driver side window first. To do this they will need to drill out the pop rivets that hold the window in place. Does this sound correct?
  • dustykdustyk Member Posts: 2,926
    Off hand, no! Unless they can't get the window glass into the fully raised position.

  • stevem1961stevem1961 Member Posts: 13
    My 97 Dodge Dakota just rolled past 200K miles and decided to stop idling. It seems to run good when I'm cruising but it will not idle especially when I restart it after its fully warmed up. This happened yesterday when my daughter borrowed my truck and I had to drive it back home by putting it in neutral when I stopped at lights to keep it revved up so it wouldn't die. This morning its idling? I'm not sure where to start? :confuse:
  • stevem1961stevem1961 Member Posts: 13
    I posted a message earlier about my 97 Dakota not idling. I've driven my truck to work and back today making several stops with no idling problems at all. Go Figure? :confuse:
  • dustykdustyk Member Posts: 2,926
    There are a number of things that could cause this problem. I recommend performing some relatively simple checks:

    *PCV valve - A sticking PCV will cause this problem, and will be especially noticeable in colder weather. If the PCV valve plunger sticks in the closed position, the manifold air flow is effectively reduced. This has the same effect as closing the throttle plate, hence, the engine essentially stalls. In colder weather moisture build up in the motor oil will gravitate to the PCV. In freezing temperatures the moisture around the PCV valve plunger solidifies and cuts off air flow. Look for any signs of moisture in the oil and change it out if necessary.

    On a vehicle that old and mileage, I would also suggest checking the vacuum hose that goes to the PCV valve. I've seen these get gummed up to the point they no longer flow much vacuum.

    *Vacuum hoses - Vehicles of this age typically by now have dry, brittle, and cracked vacuum hoses and causing leaks. This may not show up much at higher RPMS or road speeds...although it usually causes slight hesitation or surging...but will definitely cause idling problems.

    *Sticking Idle Speed Motor - On Throttlebody equiped vehicles, the idle speed is regulated by the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) based on various inputs (sensors) in the system. The PCM then modulates the Idle Speed Motor to open a plunger-type valve that allows more or less air into the manifold to adjust the idle speed. This area is prone to carbon and gum deposits, especially with cheaper fuels. The Idle Speed Motor should be checked and cleaned, especially if you've never done is on this truck before. The Idle Speed Motor is easily removed on Dodge truck motors.

    *Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) - This is essentially a non-linear potentiometer and can cause idling problems if the voltage is interupted across the terminals. This is caused by a corroded or dirty contact in the sensor. You can check this with a volt-ohm meter, preferably an analog type, by measuring DC resistance across the tap (slider) contact and rotating the TPS shaft. Erratic meter movement indicates a dirty or scratchy resistor. However, because of the miles, I would just change it.

    *General engine tune - Of course, things like worn spark plugs, old spark plug wires, carbon tracked distributor cap and rotor, clogged air filter, will have a deleterious effect on engine performance and idle quality that may not have been noticeable in the warmer weather.

    Good luck.

    Best regards,
  • nenisinenisi Member Posts: 4
    :sick: :confuse: The above sounds a lot like my Dodge. I have a 1997 Dodge Dakota Sport, V6, 4X4. When the outside temp falls below 32 degrees I have a problem. Engine starts fine. After 10 or 15 minutes of driving I sometimes cannot go uphill over 15 miles an hour. Downhill is worse, I leave off the gas, the RPM's fluctuate by as much as 1000, it the backfires. I have replaced the cam sensor and the air temp. sensor. If the check engine light comes on, it signifies the cam sensor. HELP!! I'm at my witts end! Do you think it could be the crank sensor or possibly the temp. sensor?
  • lope5859lope5859 Member Posts: 1
    My parking brake seemed to stick. i was wondering if there could be a problem with the cable or if i would have to adjust it. any help would be great thanks.
  • dustykdustyk Member Posts: 2,926
    On a vehicle that old its probably time to replace the rear parking brake cables.

  • maddux8848maddux8848 Member Posts: 3
    dusty,I can tell by your posts that you are very knowledgable about dakotas i would like your input on my idling problem.I have an 1999 dakota with the 3.9 magnum v6.i live in nc where the climate very seldom gets real cold but i just recently purchased this truck from maryland with bad automatic overdrive trans.when i brought this truck home the truck idled rough and check engine light was on.After trans shop rebuilt trans they ran diagnostic check on truck and said that all codes were transmission codes.Since i have gotten the truck back i have had no problems with trans and check engine light has not came back on but I have only driven truck for three weeks.my problem is that truck idles at 1500 rpms at running temp and at 1000 to 1100 when I first crank it up(cold).It will also idle up and down as it sits in park.when it idles at 1500 rpms you can switch truck off and restart and it will go back to 1000 rpm untill you put truck in any gear.i have only had 2 incidents where truck just shut off but crunk right back up with no hesitation.the problems seems to get worse when gas gets below a half of a tank.as trucks go in overdrive at 50mph or above you can fell it surging or skiping.i also had one instance where it would not take gas so I pulled over for a second and truck took off with no problem.what is so wierd about this problem is that it seems to be nonexistant until it gets hot or you drive long distances.problems seems to be getting worse every day and more freqient every day.I would really like your input on this and have spent alot of money on truck with trans rebuild and purchase price and do not want waist any if unecesary.I have been reading other posts but no ones elses problem seems to be exactly like mine.thank alot
  • dustykdustyk Member Posts: 2,926
    How many miles is on this engine?

  • factman1factman1 Member Posts: 4
    I have the same problem with my 1997 Dodge Dakota Truck. I've replaced the crank sensor, fuel pump, cam position sensor twice, plug wires, plugs, distributor,
    coolant temperature sensor etc. There is a 1999 van having the same symptoms and the dealership has not figured it out. When it is cold, it runs well for 10-12 minutes and then bucks and misfires so much it feels like it is ruining the truck. When it is warm, it runs like a top. I need help too Dusty! I have about 155,000 miles on my standard transmission Dakota. Chrysler wants to start throwing wiring harnesses at the van and if it was that would not the vehicle have ongoing problems in any weather? I did not mention my mechanic also put a new computer on the truck to test with all the same results!
  • factman1factman1 Member Posts: 4
    I posted to Maddux 8848 instead of listing my problem separately. I have the same problem with my 1997 Dodge Dakota Truck. I've replaced the crank sensor, fuel pump, cam position sensor twice, plug wires, plugs, distributor,
    coolant temperature sensor etc. There is a 1999 van having the same symptoms and the dealership has not figured it out. When it is cold, it runs well for 10-12 minutes and then bucks and misfires so much it feels like it is ruining the truck. When it is warm, it runs like a top. I need help too Dusty! I have about 155,000 miles on my standard transmission Dakota. Chrysler wants to start throwing wiring harnesses at the van and if it was that would not the vehicle have ongoing problems in any weather? I did not mention my mechanic also put a new computer on the truck to test with all the same results! I also have the 3.9 Magnum engine. Any help is greatly appreciated. It is nice to have all the new parts, but if it still runs lousy I'm just going broke and keeping my mechanic busy!
  • maddux8848maddux8848 Member Posts: 3
    the truck has 140,000 miles and does not smoke or use any oil.engine has absolutely no blowback when you pull off oil cap as it runs.my biggest problem the idle.It doesn't run real bad at iddle just idles way to high and hits trans to hard when put in gear.if it wasn,t for that you would have no problems driving truck other than idle up and down in high gear(overdrive).one other thing i forgot you can hold throtle at 2000 rpm and it will go from 1500 to 2000 on its own while holding gas pedal in same spot.my mechanic says it is either the IAC or the valve body needs good cleaning.he says he just fixed one doing the same thing. what do you think dusty will i be wasting my money doing these two things.thanks alot
  • nenisinenisi Member Posts: 4
    All I have to say to "factman1" is ...DITTO!! I'm having exactly the same problem w/my 1997 Dodge Dakota....I've replace the crank sensor, cam position sensor, plugs, wires, new timing chain...etc............... Mine got so bad, (exactly like yours, when cold it runs great for the 10+ minutes, then bucks and misfires, when warm runs GREAT....) that with one big backfire, I blew out the "dougnut"...big deal, so I'm putting up with sounding like I have a "hemi", I'm not fixing it until someone can give me a solution to the problem. Summer is coming and it will operate fine, but then comes winter again. I had a friend suggest replacing the fuel pump sensor and such, but...crap I've already spent how much on stupid sensors that the "intelligent computer diagnostic crap" told me was wrong! :sick:
  • dustykdustyk Member Posts: 2,926
    Well, just going by your description I'm not sure. A abnormally high idle can be caused by the Idle Air Control (IAC) Motor. A sticking IAC pintle could cause the same thing. At 140,000 miles a gummy throttlebody is a likely candidate for this problem, especially if you've used subpar fuels lacking a good detergent package.

    I'd also consider a sticking or weak PCV valve or a vacuum leak. They can cause idle problems, too. Around here '99s of any make or model start to suffer from brittle and split rubber hoses.

    Other possibilities include a defective Coolant Temperature Sensor (sending an intermittent signal to the PCM), or bad connections to the PCM or IAC motor, or a bad MAP sensor.

  • paintballfanxxpaintballfanxx Member Posts: 4
    I would check the distributor next. I was having the same problem in my 1992 dodge dakota and it led me to blown head gasket and i looked at the distributor. beneath the hall effect pickup there is a piece of metal that spins. if that comes loose or gets damaged it can act like your motor is out of time. Which causes it to loose power and stall out at times.
    good luck
    watch your wiring harness when in there!
  • maddux8848maddux8848 Member Posts: 3
    thanks alot dustyk i hg\ave fixed idleing problem by replacing IAC sensor.truck now almost idles perfect.but since getting the truck idleing good i am noticing another problem with truck.the truck surges alot when you reach speeds over 60 mph.Its almost like trans is gearing up and down from overdrive to drive.my mechanic ran scan and found crank sensor problem and replaced it and it help the sluggish nature of truck but did not fix surging.I don't know what else to do i have replaced everything that a shadetree like myself can think of.all i know is i can't keep spending money in this truck, i love it but not that much.I would any input on this problem you may have it would be greatly appreciated.thanks
  • hildyroxhildyrox Member Posts: 1
    Hey there! Before yesterday I have never had a problem with my truck. I have a 99 Dodge Dakota 2wd 5speed with the 3.9 V6 Magnum engine. Yesterday it Drove great. Until i let it sit for an hour or so then tried to go to my bank. I took off shifted into 2nd, it seemed to just lag. i didn't move my foot from the accelerator pedal, but it slowed down and the tach gauge would drop slightly. Let my foot off the gas and slammed it back down, it took off. Did the all the way up until the end of 4th gear. But If i hammer on it, and shift it at a higher RPM throughout the gears it seemed to not do it. I just don't know where to start!! Any ideas??
  • seleneselene Member Posts: 10
    I have a 93 Dakota 3.9 with 104K miles on it . It will restart in the winter, but when it's hot, it won't restart until it has cooled down. Then it runs fine. This last time, I got a "check engine" light and pulled the codes. It had a # 22 code, (ECT sensor voltage too high). Could a bad sensor cause this non starting problem? Thanks in advance for any help.
  • herbkellyherbkelly Member Posts: 1
    i had the same problem for a year. it is definately the CPK, or crankshaft posioning sensor. they work by sensing a magnet on the crankshaft and sending the signal to the computer telling it when to fire.

    it's sually by the bell-housing or on it. you can try to clean it, because grease build-up can block the magnetic signal. this might save you money and hassle.

    the part has a square end on it, wipe that off good and then try it.
  • seleneselene Member Posts: 10
    Thanks Herb for the info. I did change my coolant temperature sensor and that seems to have fixed the problem. Although, as all owners know, your vehicle loves to play little tricks on you and it may show up again. If it does, I will change the crankshaft positioning sensor as you suggested. Thanks again for the help.
  • tfw3tfw3 Member Posts: 1
    I just picked up a project dakota to piddle with and here's question...
    On level roads, everything seems to work just fine, however, when I travel up a hill, it slows down and doesnt get over 20 miles an hour. It acts like it has a governor system on it. The transmission seems to be shifting just fine and it doesnt seem to be slipping either.
    My sister who is a mechanic says that it could be the passing gear...Would appreciate any ideas.

  • paul162paul162 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 99 dodge dakota sport with v8 It will intermittently cut out for a second and the check engine light will flash it doesn't do it every time I drive it, but sometimes it may do it 3 or 4 times on one short trip. It idles fine and never dies and always starts. I hope I don't have to spend a lot of money on this, I need help!
  • jakeduecejakeduece Member Posts: 1
    you may have fixed the problem by now but i had this exact problem, i replaced the throttle position sensor and it runs like a brand new truck. no idling problems, no surges on the freeway, and it feels way more responsive to acceleration. This is the problem. Go to autozone and get a TPS for about 30 bucks, its worth it, and it will save u gas as well (because the surging probably uses more gas than it should).
  • yehawyehaw Member Posts: 2
    i had a 1997 dodge dakota 3.9. i bought the truck at 169,000 miles and got ri of it a 222,000 miles. it also had a idling problem but not all the time. the idler sensor on it would stick on it. i took it out every once in a while and tapped it on a hard surface a couple time when it got to bad. it worked for quite a while after that. it could be something to try.
  • jschuelerjschueler Member Posts: 1
    Hey all, i have a 97 dakota 3.9 im having problems with. First of all the gas mileage is about 8-10 mpgs and is flooding out in idle when hot so yes its blowing black smoke with a rough idle. I have replaced plugs , wires, cap and rotor, even the distributor, map sensor.. When its cold start in the morning it runs great for about 10 mins even the idle is smoother, but when hot it runs like crap, idles bad and smokes. Any ideas????? Thanks
  • bammer1bammer1 Member Posts: 2
    I got a97 dodge dakota with 188k on it It Idles fine rebs up fine but you drop it in gear it runs rough like its misfireing Kick it down it seems to straighten out then drive it normal it will continue to feel like its misfireing Garage cant figure it out I replace plugs wires cap rotor button pick up coil temp sensor crank shaft sensor checked the injectors they seem ok also change the oxygen sensor in the converter check all vacume hose's air cleaner doesnt idle rough at all please Help me solve this issue .
  • seleneselene Member Posts: 10
    When the ambient temperature is cool/cold, my 93 Dakota with 111K miles on it will start but runs exceedingly rough. After it has warmed up, it will run ok. When the temp. outside is warm, it starts fine and runs fine without missing a beat. I have changed the Camshaft sensor, Crankshaft sensor, installed a new ECM, new coil, new O2 sensor, but still have the problem. Anyone out there with any suggestions? Thanks.
  • carvermancarverman Member Posts: 101
    You need to specify which engine is in your dakota as the components and
    sensors will differ from engine to engine type. If it starts and runs rough when
    cold but not after warming up, it could be (possibly) due to one of these:
    Idle air motor needs cleaning.
    IAT sensor (Intake Air Temp ) sensor
    Engine coolant sensor not providing correct information to PCM
    injectors need cleaning?
  • 9d9dak9d9dak Member Posts: 3
    I know your post is old and you may have figured it out by now but for those out there who are having this problem may want to know this. Replace your upstream Oxygen sensor. My 99 Dakota went for a few months bucking and surging until it warmed up. I had to stomp on the gas or momentarily put it in neutral to get it to behave. The fuel/air mixture is trying to lean itself out and thus causing your symptoms. Eventually the check engine light came on. It was a bad O2 sensor. You must replace it with a factory MOPAR part!!! Do a basic tune-up...replace your plug wires, distributor cap and coil. Clean your throttle body. Replace the Throttle Position Sensor(TPS) and pvc valve. This will cost you in parts about $150 and you can do this stuff yourself.
  • cclifford7cclifford7 Member Posts: 1
    I have been slowly working my way through the list of things to replace on my 97 dodge dakota. It was stalling out and not wanting to start replaced the Anti shut off relay ran good for about 50 miles.... then it would die and not start unless I took the key out and flicked the door locks 5 times....limped her home took out the anti theft system she started right up:) drove 1/4 of a mile and died again:( took out the IAC replaced it along with putting a new throttle body gasket on too. She had a bad coolant leak so I replaced all rad. hoses... found a bad bypass hose and decided to change the fan clutch, water pump, thermo etc. and noticed a gummed up PCV replaced that and a vac. line. She started up ran great for about 125 miles now she is being picky about when she will start:( She has a new battery, O2 sensor, ignition coil and crankshaft sensor. I think my next step will be the TPS Throttle position sensor located on the side of the throttle body. Anyone have any other suggestions? I just got her about 2 months ago and the engine sounds great, she looks clean and straight inside and out just have to figure out these kinks:) :sick: :confuse:
  • vwilkesvwilkes Member Posts: 1
    You may check the fuel pressure gauge up to it and while driving up hill see if fuel pressure drops. If it drops something could've got into the tank If going uphill it could cause the object to restict the fuel pickup which would be indicated if you have a fuel gauge hooked up to it..... Hope this helped....
  • dwessondwesson Member Posts: 1
    edited July 2015
    HELP ME DUSTY PLEASE!!!!! 7/15/015
    My son has a 2000 Dodge Dakota Sport and when we bought it the idol was high. Well we bought a new battery and the idol went to normal. Now it will shut off going down the road or at a stop sing or red light. Sometimes if you wait 5 mins it will crank right back up but most of the time you have to wait a long time until the motor completely cools off then it will crank up and drive fine. My son always has problems in the evening time coming home from work. About 2 or 3 times a week this happens it will not jump off. The engine will turn over but will not crank like the battery is dead but it has a new battery. We have replaced the battery again the crankshaft sensor and another sensor I can't remember that one. The problem was fine for about 2 weeks now the same thing is happening again. Can someone PLEASE HELP ME TO KEEP WASTING SO MUCH MONEY. [Email removed]
  • RNelson18RNelson18 Member Posts: 3
    I don’t think this discussion will ever be used again. But for the sake of needing to fix my truck, I hope someone responds. I have a 1998 Dakota v6 3.9 with 200k miles. When I got the truck I knew I would have issues and was willing to fix them, but I’m stuck. It would randomly shutdown while I was driving it and wouldn’t crank back over. I researched common issues that would cause this over and over again. I replaced the crankshaft position sensor, pickup coil sensor, fixed the vacuum leak, replaced the IAC, ECM, and did a full tune up of the truck.the OEM and the fuel pump were replaced just a few months before I purchased it. I seem to have good ground connection to the engine as well. The fuel pressure is right where it needs to be at 30psi. Of course everything I did helped the truck purr like a kitten when it runs, but it still dies on me and leaves me stranded. Someone help!
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,612
    edited November 2020
    What was wrong with someone else's truck, no matter how similar it may sound has little to no bearing with the problem you are having with yours. It has taken a long time to get regular responders who would post guesses to realize that all they were really likely to do is lead someone to do exactly what you have done, toss parts with the very likely outcome of not solving the problem.

    To figure out what is going on with your truck the first thing a technician needs is to know is under what operating conditions is the problem likely to occur and what conditions is it not likely to happen. Then while it is happening the technician needs to prove if you are losing spark, fuel (injection and supply) or both. The things you have replaced in the past are meaningless at this time. New (newer) doesn't mean good, and it's a trap to assume either way, good or bad. The only thing that matters is whether it is working correctly or not when the problem happens and that means it needs to be measured. You need a technician who will take a disciplined, repeatable approach towards proving what is working compared to what is not when the problem occurs.

    So at this point, how likely is the problem to occur if I would drive your vehicle? Does it matter if it is started from cold, or if it has been run shut down and then restarted? How far, or how long would I need to drive it for it to happen? Does it stall on the highway or only during slower operation? (idling?)How long will it be dead before it restarts? Does it make any difference if it is hot outside? Cold? Raining?
  • RNelson18RNelson18 Member Posts: 3
    @thecardoc3 Weather, temperature, and speed seem to have no affect on whether it stalls or not. I get roughly a mile or two before it happens and it happens 8/10 times I drive it.. When I put new plugs in, I noticed the truck was running rich, probably due to the vacuum leak. When it stalls it happens in a coast or accelerating from a stop. The idle becomes really weak then dies. Spark is good before the drive. More times than not it will not start after a short drive. But before the drive, I can crank it over and shut off and do it again no problem.
  • RNelson18RNelson18 Member Posts: 3
    @thecardoc3 it will crank and crank after it stalls but not start. I have been able to let it sit for about an hour and be able to turn it around and drive it back from the spot I was stranded
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,612
    edited November 2020
    When you check for spark, how are you doing that? Be specific. Have you tried starting this and just letting it run for a half of an hour (or more) to see if it will quit for you that way? That would let you test while it's stalled if that works for you. Either way, once you are using a solid routine for checking for spark be prepared to drive the truck and ready to test it where it quits and wont restart. Try to drive it in a way that you are as close to home as possible when it quits. So if it quits in a mile of driving, go a half of a mile out and then back towards home. When it quits as well as checking for spark, turn everything in the truck off so that you can hear the fuel pump if it runs. If you turn the key off, wait about ten seconds and turn the key on you should hear a relay click on and the pump run and then stop after two seconds. Then without turning the key off crank the engine again and see if the pump turns back on while cranking.
Sign In or Register to comment.