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Dodge Dakota Electrical Problems



  • Alright boys... here's one for you...
    I have a 1995 Dodge Dakota V8, 5.2 4x4.
    I have the following problemS:
    It has loss of power, sputtering, stalling, backfiring, and lights come on and off and will randomly run at all. :sick:
    I've spent A LOT of time and money trying to find the problem with no luck yet. I've had the fuel filter and pump, gas tank, brain, relays, air fuel sensor, spark plugs, universals, crank shaft sensor, (and some others) all replaced. Those did not seem to fix my problem.
    Currently I am working on getting the distributor and plug wires replaced and hooked up to a scanner AGAIN. I am hoping this will help solve the problem but I am not holding my breath. Has anyone had or heard of this problem before? ANY and all advise would be greatly appreciated!
    I have done some research about other potential problems but not sure which to follow next. Could it be excessive oil pump drive gear wear that may cause warm engine surging, light bucking, or cold engine lack of power or burst spark knock. It said that engine noises may also be experienced with no drivability complaints. Maybe the throttle position sensor? OR the torque converter sensor? What about the Powertrain control module? PLEASE HELP..... WHAT DO I DO NEXT????? It's too late to turn back now...(Beside pull out all my hair... I do like my hair) I really want to keep my truck! I have put far too much of myself into it!
    Thanks, John
  • I have been doing some MORE searching and MAY have found something that could hopfully help some of you out there with similar problems to my own. I have found a posting from someone who seems to have been able to fix their problem. I'll post it and let you know how it worked for me.....

    "Dear Bob,

    I recently had a experience with my 88 Dodge Dakota truck that caused me some grief for a few days. One morning the truck wouldn't start so I check for spark which there was then I checked for fuel which there was. After some other investigating I tried to start it and it started. The next day it wouldn't start again so my son and I checked the throttle body for fuel injection which there was none. After some troubleshooting we determined that there was no 12V supply to the injectors, fuel pump or coil.

    We noticed that the fuel pump would run when the key is in the run position for about one second and then it would stop which is correct. Just to make sure that the fuel pump is good we checked the fuel pressure which was at 14 lbs. which is correct. We then took apart the wiring harness to see if there was a bad connection going to the injectors and the coil. The connection was good.

    The 12 volts goes through the auto shut down relay and after checking all the wiring from the computer to the relay several times we decided that maybe the relay was intermittent. So I jumped the 12V through the relay and the truck started. We bought a relay the next day and put it in that night and it worked.

    The next morning Brant my son went out to start the truck and it wouldn't start. That night we checked all the grounds on the engine and frame. Still no start. We replaced both battery cable connections as they were deteriorating. Then it started.

    Next morning no start. Then we decided with great apprehension we bought a used computer. Installed the computer and now the fuel pump would not run at all and when I called the junk yard they said there was no warranty. We repeated our steps all over again and arrived that the computer was bad and so was the used computer so we bought a new computer. We installed the new computer and still no start.

    At this point I was getting just a little tired of this problem and upset at spending $300 dollars for computers and the problem was still not fixed. I tried to think of what input to the computer would cause the computer to shut down the fuel system and coil but I couldn't think what it could be. Also another unanswered question was what caused the fuel pump to stop after about one second when the key is turned to the run position.

    After looking at the shop manual some more I found a note that said that the computer will not energize the auto shut down relay if no tach pulses are seen from the computer. Then I knew what the problem was so I jumped the auto shut down relay again and checked for spark again and there was none. I removed the distributor and removed the electronic pickup to notice that the rotor under it with the six vanes for the cylinders was loose and they were rubbing on the electronic pickup which had taken out the pickup. We got another distributor complete with electronic pickup and the truck works fine.

    Also I remembered a few months earlier when I was setting the timing that the marks were bouncing all over and I knew that the timing chain and sprockets were good so what was causing this. Now I know. What I learned was that fuel and spark are related and you need to check both.

    Bruce Larsen Lindstrom Minn."

    Again, hope that this can help at least someone. :)
  • I replaced the blower motor. It worked fine for about a month. It stopped working and the cig lighter and blinkers stopped also.
  • jac11jac11 Posts: 3
    Got into my Dakota Club Cab 4x4 this morning and key would not move the ignition switch, worked fine the day before. Tried moving steering wheel around in locked position, no difference.
  • i have a 1996 dodge dakota 2.5 liter 4cylinder it has been running rough as though the fuel filter was clogged this has been going on for about two weeks, two days ago my generator light came own and my alternator was gone so i replaced the alternater and so far i havent had the same problems so i was curious if this could cause a vehicle to spit and sputter as if it was not getting fuel,
  • jac11jac11 Posts: 3
    Found out at another forum a similar problem with other Chrysler vehicles and it is corrected by tapping the end of key in the ignition with a rubber mallet and the key now turns in ignition. It seems with mine, I might need to do this every time. Does anyone know what might need replaced for a permanent solution?
  • 2002 Quadcab Lights blinking prob. Mine just started this. I hear a relay clicking at the same time. Prob more frequent when low fuel light and chime activated. The chime also started screwing up. This prob began at about same time my passenger window switch intermittently stopped working. Looking for ideas.
  • cjaxcjax Posts: 2
    I had a similar problem after some "warranty" work. When the dealer had removed and replaced the stereo for some issues, when they crammed, and I mean CRAMMED the wires in behind the stereo, they had cut the insulation to a power wire and caused an intermittent short to a metal piece behind the stereo. Not only did I lose all lights and indicators, but it shut the truck off, at any speeds, and I first had it happen at highway speeds. Very scary. They refused to acknowledge they had done any wrong, knowing full well I just picked it up the day before, until I mentioned a lawyer, and promptly decided to investigate. Well, they found the cut wire, then wanted to charge me for it, as if I had cut it. The fight went on for a while. Lucky for them I had another car, or they would have had real issues.
    Anyway, back on topic, I would look for an electrical short. From what I understand they can be rather common in the cramped dashboard space on these trucks.
    Good Luck!
  • Gotta love those dealers...Wel interesting about your stereo. I just swaped my stereo out also just before this new prob. I wondered if it could be related. It all started when my stereo presets stopped holding. Soon after the stereo really started acting up before it went dead altogether. Right in the middle of that issue my Battery died. Boy did the truck act strange when the battery started to die. I replaced the Battery and the radio came back to life before going out a couple days later. I swapped the radio with a bone yard radio. It was not exactly the same, but the plug was the same and all features the same. I still wonder if my radio swap is related. I might try disconnecting the battery to reset everything. Thanks for the reply and good luck to you.
  • mward1mward1 Posts: 1
    My brothers 92 Dodge Dakota w/V6 was running and he shut it off and got out the buzzer was going off because the keys were in the ignition. When he got back in put in the key turned it and had no power at all. The buzzer did not go off, had no power to anything lights radio nothing. I replaced the ignition switch but still nothing. Any ideas ?
  • Amazing!

    My '05 Dakota 4x4 does the exact same thing. I am having the same problem with the dealers in Calgary. They can't seem to find anything wrong with it (no codes). I lose all electrical (gu ages, radio, door locks, & lights), but only for a split second. However I have noticed it only occurs when my gas gauge is below 1/2 a tank. When the guage is down, somedays it will do it only once on a 20 mintue drive and has happened as much as 5 or 6 times.

    I had accepted the fact that it would never go away. I wonder if the previous owner had done any home wiring. The dealer says there is no record of this happening prior to when I began bringing the truck in in November. Unfortunately, my warranty expired, before I even bought the truck last year.
  • I have a 2001 Dakota Quad with 100,000 miles on it. Twice in the last week I was driving at medium speeds and the radio lost power. At the same time the radio went dead the turn signal would not work/blink. Also believe heater/air conditioner might of shut down (not sure). The truck has a new battery (6 months old) and I replaced all the basic fuses a month ago. When I stop the truck and then restart everything then comes back on as if normal. I assume I have a short some where in the electrical system buy have no idea how to located it. Has anyone had a similar electrical problem and is it costly to have it checked out? Dodge Dakotas supposedly have poor electrical systems, and I'm starting to wonder if the problem could spread to other electrical areas of the truck. I did notice my interior dome lights worked when I lost radio/turn signals. Guess I should check head lights, wind shield wipers etc., during next electrical cut off.

    Any suggestions what action to take? Someone mentioned going to Walmart and buying a plug in device to check the voltage (while driving) via the cigerrete lighter? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  • The defrost action on my side rearvision mirrors isn't functioning. There are no blown fuses in my fuse rack on the driver's side of the dash board. Are there any resistors that conceivable could have failed?? If so, Where would they be located?
  • randy90randy90 Posts: 1
    my problem is when powered up to 2500rpms it drops back to 2000 rpms back and forth and sometimes dies as a result. thought it was tranny but now not so sure. was told maybe computer. check engine light is now on. looked under hood and found breather box lid not properly secured but that seems like a stretch.truck has 92000 miles on it , and has been very reliable til this. thank you for any advice
  • cm2381cm2381 Posts: 4

    Did you ever find out what caused the problem? I have the same problem. I replaced the relay and found that it was not the problem. A tech at a dealership advised that I replace the headlight switch. I changed that out and the problem is still there. Any thing you can add?


  • cm2381cm2381 Posts: 4

    did the light switch work? I replaced mine and I still have the problem.
  • cm2381cm2381 Posts: 4

    Did the CTM fix your problem? I'm having the same symptoms.

  • todaytoday Posts: 2
    Hi , I have a 90' dodge dakota 4 cyl. pickup. going 50 miles an hour and just stops running. No spark plug fire. No spark from coil center line. Distributor coupler disconnect - cross lines 2 an 3 and no spark from coil. Coil is good. check for open in lines 2 and 3, good to comp. Negative line from computer to coil is positive charge 12 volt when ignition is on, No charge on the positive line to the coil. When ignition is turned on a charge of voltage is measured in meter at distributor coupler line number 1 orange- then goes away.
    Why no spark?
    Why positive charge on negative line to Coil?
    Why does charge on line 1 go away?
    Coil good.
    Lines clear.
    Battery good 12 volt.
    Fuel pump good with fuel.
    fuses good.
    tires have air :-) Today
  • davensjdavensj Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 Dakota also and it`s been doing the samething. The radio cuts out and so does my turn signals. Everything else works fine.
  • i have a 2004 Dakota Quad Cab 4wd and i was going through a concrete low water crossing when it bottomed out and the dash lights when out.. i checked every fuse in the driver side dash panel and everyone under the hood... but the gauge lights and the air conditioner knob lights wont come on.. anyone with a good answer would be greatly appreciated.. :confuse:
  • kc8wjgkc8wjg Posts: 1
    I have a 1994 Dodge Dakota with 160000 miles. One evening, the headlights failed as I was driving home, and I had to use the high beams, though I had to pull back on the dimmer switch manually (for over 10 miles.) As soon as I let go of the switch, the highbeams went off, and they would not stay on by themselves The parking lights and all others are fine. My mechanic said it was likely the turn signal/dimmer switch assembly on the steering column was bad. I replaced it myself, but it did no good. The headlight switch was replaced several months ago when I had an earlier problem so it is ruled out for the time being. I'm convinced that it's a fuse or relay problem under the hood. All of the fuses in the cab are fine. The fuse box or PDC (?) on the drivers side next to the battery contains several large square fuses, but I have no way of testing them, and don't know what all of them are as I have no owner's manual.

    Please email me at with any help or relevant comments.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    As noted in the post box instructions, we have no way of preventing malicious use of your email - please do not put your email address in your posts.

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • kdulaffkdulaff Posts: 2
    I had same prob with my 2006 Dakota this am.
    Key does not turn (like it's the wrong key!)
    I hope the "mallet" suggestion works.
    This truck is new (only 10,000 mi)

    I saw another post where a guy had a locksmith fix it...twice!
  • jac11jac11 Posts: 3
    I ended up taking the ignition lock out, cleaning it and lubing it up, but it began doing the same thing in a few days. Finally broke down and bought a new ignition lock cylinder from for around $40, very quick turn around with 2 day shipping. Easy replacement on my '01 Dakota, now I have 2 different keys, one for door and one for ignition, not big deal with door remotes.
  • kdulaffkdulaff Posts: 2
    After reading @ the "mallet solution", I just pushed the key with a little more force
    into the lock and turned it normally. It turned. Subsequently the lock works fine.

    But I'll make a note of just in case.
  • lostcitylostcity Posts: 2
    I have a 97 conventional cab Dakota with a V-6 Engine. This past winter I have noted that the interior lights stay on even when the engine is started. They have started staying on longer and longer now and I have had to take the bulbs out. I suspect it may be a door jam switch. Has anyone else had this problem?

    Thanks in advance
  • I have a 1990 dakota. Only one of the instrument lights work. The turn signal indicators, and all the "idiot" lights on the bottom of cluster do not work. Also the high beam indicator does not work.

    Where do I look? The fuses are all good....
  • mtrialsmmtrialsm Posts: 159
    Today I noticed that my horn also didn't work. 2001 Quad cab. I also love my truck,
    with 91k miles. I haven't noticed anyother electical problems, the horn beeps with
    the remote lock.
    When I touch the horn/aibag pad it seems like the center pad is not as hard to press,
    seems like something is missing? It presses in very easy where before, it took
    fire presure to blow the horn? Could be me,,,,,,,,,,
    Strange, I also just got my truck back from dealer to have the water pump replaced.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Well, the fact that you're getting an Air Bag lamp illumination AND the horn doesn't work, my first suspect is the clockspring. Could be a faulty horn relay. Your dealer should be able to quickly determine the problem.

    Good luck,
  • lostcitylostcity Posts: 2
    Well swapped out the door switch and no joy. Still doing the same thing. Any ideas?
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