Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Did you get a great deal? Let us know in the Values & Prices Paid section!
Meet your fellow owners in our Owners Clubs

Dodge Dakota Starting Problems



  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    This could be a fuel problem or a electrical wiring problem. I suggest a good service manual and a verification that you are getting spark (ignition) and fuel.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Just to verify, if you held the key in the start position for, let's say one minute, it wouldn't start? But it will start okay the second time you turn the key to the start position?

  • Ron,

    I had a 2002 Dodge Dakota 4.7L and I had exactly the same problem. This is not electrical problem!!! Do not touch it. I replaced fuel pump and everything went back to normal. I believe that there is not enough pressure build up for the first start in old pump. New fuel pump will solve that problem. It is located on top of fuel tank. This is a well known defect on these vehicles as I found out later. Good luck.

  • Thanks for your replies. To answer Dusty - on the first start of the day I will have to crank it for 6 to 8 seconds before it starts. I have never shut it down right away and tried starting it again but for the rest of that day, even after siting for several hours there will be no problem starting it. It is just the initial start after sitting overnight. I have tried turning the ignition to the on position for about 10 seconds to get the fuel pump started without cranking it but that has not made any difference.

  • Exactly! You are not alone. I had the same problem. It makes no difference how long you wait with ignition on. You just need to crank it for few times in the morning and replace fuel pump when you get tired of it. I drove like that for about 2 years before I decided to fix it. Cheapest pumps are on ebay, buy it only new. Since this is a common problem on these pumps. Good luck.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Well, the suggestion that this could be a fuel pump problem is a possibility, although in my experience this is not a common problem.

    When I've seen Dakota pumps fail they are not often intermittent like this. The one fuel pump related issue that I'm familiar with that matches your symptom, was not the a pump failure, but a clogged inlet filter on the pump. This was not discovered until after disassembly and the new pump was installed. As was told to me, when the pump was shaken all kinds of "crap" fell out. What is a more likely failure scenario, in my opinion, is a faulty Fuel Pressure Regulator, however, it is an integral part of the pump anyway.

    That aside for the moment, what I have seen on older (2000-2003) Dakotas (and a couple of RAMs, too) are intermittent Auto Shut Down (ASD) Relays. The ASD Relay prevents power to the coils and fuel injectors in the event of a rollover.

    The older relays were manufactured by Emrod and are usually dark red in color, the newer ones are black and made by Tyco. The part number is 56049018-AA. Look at the last two alpha characters on the relay part number. Chrysler uses these characters to denote a change to the part. In my 2003 these are marked "AB," meaning the part has been revised from the original.

    Since the cost of this part is relatively inexpensive compared to a fuel pump, I would suggest looking at this as a possible suspect. The ASD Relay can be switched with another in the Power Distribution Center box as a trial. There is also a Fuel Pump Relay in the PDC that could cause the same problem. Also, inspect the relay pins for signs of corrosion.

    Of course, there are other things that could cause this problem, like an intermittent Crankshaft or Camshaft Sensor.

    Best regards,
  • Dusty - Thanks for your response. This does seem to be intermittent since right now I am not having any problems. I have filed your post and if it acts up again I'll check further.

  • Hi shannon,I have the same problem that your husband has.I have a1995 dodge dakota and my wife wants to kill me because all I do is try to get this truck running.I had replace the same parts your husband did.I did get it running once by hot wiring the fuel pump relay and auto shut relay under the hood.It ran for about a week then quiet.My check engine light does not come on when I turn key on so I can't read any codes If your husband gets any advise could you please let me know Thanks George [email protected]
  • Not every time, but if my 2001 Dakota sits more than about 7 hours, it is very hard to get it to start. Any thoughts.....
  • Your problem applies to later models of Dakota. Ask 2001 and up. 1995 models have other issues that are not related to 2001 or 2002 model. fuel pump is the answer.
  • So you are saying that although I can hear the pump come on, there is an issue with it ?
    If that is the problem, then thank you, it is getting very annoying....
  • I have a 2000 Dodge Dakota with 55,000 miles. I am the original owner and there have been no prior issues with this vehicle.
    Over the last summer, I experienced an intermittent rough spot during acceleration. I installed new tune-up parts and ran some injector cleaner through the fuel and that seemed to clear things up, however about 6 weeks after the new parts were installed, the truck was slow to start one evening after being parkedand unused for 2 weeks. The truck eventually started and appeared to run fine, but 10 miles down the road it stalled (while being operated at 50 mph) and refused to start.

    The truck was towed to a repair shop, where they said I had a bad battery and installed a new one. I picked the truck up the next day and it again appeared to run fine. The next time I drove it (3 days later), it again stalled about 10 miles out and while being operated at 50 mph.

    The mechanic had the truck for about a week and it started fine for him, then one day after he put about 25 miles on it, the tuck stalled.

    This time the mechanic replaced my fuel pump and cleaned the injectors. When I picked up the truck it ran like new, but refused to start the next day. I waited a day and tried again, still wouldn't start and it was towed into the shop - again.

    The mechanic has had it for a week and when I called him today, he said the truck started just fine for him. Any ideas on what could be causing this? I am the original owner and this truck has been well maintained.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Well, the mechanic should've been able to retrieve a trouble code(s) from the PCM. Has he mentioned it to you and what they were?

    There are two possibilities that come to mind, especially on your vintage Dakota: A faulty ASD Relay or Fuel Pump Relay. If either relay is intermittent or there are bad connections in either circuit, this symptom will be caused.

  • Thanks much for the info, I'll get with the mechanic tomorrow. They told me there were no error codes, so they were pretty certain it was the fuel pump, which proved only to be a big expense for me. Such is life on a small Alaskan island.
  • Hello again Dusty,

    I spoke with my mechanic and he advised the relays have already been replaced and were among the fist things he did. He asked that I bring the car home and if/when it breaks down again, call him to the scene so he can diagnose the problem as it occurrs.

    Sounded good to me, so I brought the car home and used it for a few days. There were moments when the truck started to lose power, just as before, but this time instead of putting my foot down, I backed off the gas pedal and the engine smoothed right out.

    Well, I went out to use it today, but the truck fails to start again. The engine turns over just fine, it simply never starts. The mechanic is off for the holiday weekend, so I can't reach him until Monday (this is Friday afternoon).

    So, to recap; the battery, fuel pump, ASD and fuel pump relays have all been replaced. Only a few months ago the plugs, wires, air filter, cap & rotor were replaced. When put on a computer, no error codes are found and this vehicle desplays an annoying tendency toward "Tecnician Proximity Syndrome". There is an occassional hesitation under acceleration (maybe once every 12 - 15 miles) and the engine occassionally refuses to start. We are all stumped here. Any ideas are greatly appreciated!

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    At this point my only suggestion is to start with basic troubleshooting and first determine whether its an electrical problem or a fuel delivery problem. This will require taking measurements.

    My apologies, but I forgot the year of your truck, but if you've got plug wires you either have a 3.9 or 318 motor. That means you have a Crankshaft Position Sensor and a Hall Effect Pickup Sensor in the distributor, both or which are candidates (depending on the year, the Crankshaft Position Sensor is a strong suspect). But I hate to make these suggestions because it may only encourage more shotgunning and that usually proves to make a situation much more frustrating and expensive.

    Of course, a problem like this is difficult to resolve because its intermittent, even for the most capable technician. You are at least fortunate at the moment because its in the failure mode. Now's the time to make some forensic observations and get some readings. In lieu of have a service manual or good diagnostic equipment, I would start looking at electrical wiring, especially connectors. These are often the source of intermittent problems on Dodge trucks.

    A friend of mine was conveying a similar problem to me on a Nissan Frontier just a couple of months ago. That problem turned out to be an intermittent ground connection on the body because a ground strap had just about corroded away (not entirely, though).

    Best regards,
  • The problem has finally been resolved - water in the fuel tank! The temps dropped here (I live on an island in Alaska) and the water froze. The mechanic drew about 2 cups of water and a large chunk of ice out of the system, then ran 2 bottles of heat through the tank and all appears well now. I've had the truck back for over a week and have used it daily with no problems, despite single digit temperatures. I will be adding a can of heat with every new tank of gas for a while. Thanks again for all your help with this.

  • I had the same problem w/ my truck. I replaced a lot more before seeking help. Under the fuse box near the firewall on drivers side is a juckion of wires inside the harness there are 3 different color wires. Usually all 3 sets are corroded. Cut open harness, clean all 3 sets & either resolder or use wire nuts to secure. Then retape harness. when your done with this you need to check the pcm because those wires being corroded causes arking in the pcm & somtimes ruins it.
  • see message #81
  • I ended up resolving my issue too.
    It was the coil wire. But in the process I discovered I had the original battery in it still....7yrs old ! A bit overdue I would have to say.
    Thanks for everyones help in pointing me in good directions to trouble shoot.
  • doc44doc44 Posts: 2
    I have a 97 D. Dakota low mileage(less than 60,000) when starting up it is completely dead until I bump the gear shift around a little, then it starts right up. It would only do it once in a while, then when cold weather hit it does it just about daily.AUTOMATIC.
    Strange but it stared happening after I had fluid changed last year. Any ideas???
  • I have a 2000 dodge dakota with the 5.9l in it. She's been really good to me, starts like a gem. It sat for maybe 7-10 days and it got a little cold out. I went to start it and nothing, I thought it was probably the battery. Replaced battery and still nothing. A friend said it might be the starter sometimes the cylinoids stick. O.K. replaced the starter, still nothing. Any ideas, when I say nothing happens I mean gauges work but no turn over, virtually no noise even. IT is an auto,gas fuel and 68000Km on it. Thanks
  • My dakota doesnt always want to shift into gear. It sits like its in nuetral or sputters when beginning to drive. took to auto zone they said code was for small vacumm leak but everything was checked. he suggested it could be trans selonoid.
    :sick: :confuse: :cry:
  • ramrod21ramrod21 Posts: 1
    I have a 97 dakota 3.9 I was on my way to work one morning going about 50 and it just cut off and i couldn't get it to restart until about 10mins later but ever sense that morning now my truck turns over and over for about 5 to 6 secs and then cranks before it always fired right up can any one help me
  • Help!!! my 92 dodge dakota cranks but wont start in the morning. once started it runs like a champ but will cut off sometime while driving. I have replaced the PCM, crank sensor, and have tuned it up with new plugs and wires. I'm thinking it electrical because somethimes i can disconnect the PCM and reconnect and it starts. any suggestion to resolve this problem? the engine is a V8 5.2. Thanks
  • :confuse: I have no idea about vehicles. My Dakota has been sitting for months. Due to the fact that my brake pedal was going allt he way to the floor when I tried to stop. My g/f has been driving me to work, and she is frusterated with me. I would go out every few days and make sure that it still started. It did everytime. It had been about 2 months since i had started it until today. I finally decided to take it to a mechanic, and when I went out and started it, it fired right up. Then about a minute later it just shut off and will not start again. I can smell fuel when I crank it over. So I just assumed it was flooded. But like I said, I have no clue about auto repairs and would appreciate some help. If anyone knows what the problem could be that would be great. Thanx
  • mnmguymnmguy Posts: 1
    My 03 Dakota is starting to the same thing. Was the fix for your dakota the trans selonoid? Informed that mine could be a variety of things, trying to narrow down if possible.
    :( :confuse:
  • seleneselene Posts: 10
    Could it be that when it sits out all night, there is condensation buildup on the spark plug wires and if they are old, they are arcing to the engine and not getting full spark to the plugs? Then, after it has warmed up and dried, the problem goes away. Try starting it in the dark when the engine is cool and see if you can see any evidence of sparking. Just a thought.
  • dylanzoedylanzoe Posts: 1
    I have a 1997 Dakota with the 5.2l. Replaced the starter, but still wont start. When I turn the key, I hear one click from engine area and then nothing. Lights stay brightly burning and have all dash and instrumentation lights staying on before, during, and after trying to start. What should I check next?
Sign In or Register to comment.