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Dodge Dakota Stalling and Dying Problems



  • Hi All,

    I was trying to help my daughter with her 98 V6 Dakota truck. When started it will not idle on its own, then dies. I restart the truck and keep a higher idle speed (foot on gas pedal) and it runs rough. When put in gear it will die unless the idle is high enough. Once on the road it will die at every stop unless I can keep the idle high. When driving over 40-50 mph there is no problem with the truck. On the road, when the truck dies, sometimes it starts right back up and sometimes I have to wait about 45 minutes before it will start again. To add another twist, sometimes the truck starts and runs fine with no problems at all. No error codes show up as the check engine light has never come on.

    My first thought was the fuel filter but it seems the filter and pump are 1 unit located inside the gas tank. I do not want to spend 250.00 for a new fuel pump when I am not sure that is the problem. I am an old timer and have overhauled many engines and transmissions but that was before they turned cars/trucks into computers.

    I have read many post here that point to the IAC (Idle Air Control) but I wanted to ask others for any other options.

    Thanks for any help,

  • I would go with the fuel pump which is in the tank or the fuel filter, that is under the door, on a 1992 v8 anyway. It really sounds like a fuel problem. Hope it helps , but I'm not a mechanic. Good luck.
  • I would first try the $50 IAC which is easy to replace.
  • Hi All,

    I just wanted to report back that the problem turned out to be a bad muffler. The muffler was replaced and state inspection done for $65.00 total.

    I would never have thought about the muffler.

    Thanks for all the help,

  • to theunter1001, i'm having the same issue and found a sourse on youtube.
    try turning the ignition on 3 times without starting the engine. when you do this look in your odomitter window and a P
    (P) CODE will come up with dashes after them. if there is another code number it will come up and if not it will say P DONE...

    I just did this with my 2004 dodge dakota with a 4.7 engine.
    Hope this helps you out
  • you may not even get this message but I need to know what you did to fix your 2002 Dakota. I have the same truck with the same problem... please help
  • Hi,,,we have a 1992 dodge dakota,,,and the problem was the EGR....and a couple of censors...I have more details if you interested..
  • I would recommend the electronic choke which is located near where the air box assembly meets the throttle body. Sometimes it may get stuck and cause the engine to stall out.
  • 1997 Dakota, 205K miles. I've had a problem with stalling and dying on me for the past three months (Fall of 2014). Here's a list of my "symptoms" and what I've had done in that time. I had a nice three week stretch where it didn't die on me, but it started up again this morning.

    On a cold start, truck will die going in reverse.
    At low idle (like a stop light) truck will dip below 750rpm and die.
    While driving, foot on the gas, engine will sputter, not die, but not getting gas either, then kick back in an accelerate.
    At stop signals, oil pressure reading will dip momentarily down to zero, check gauges will light up, then pressure will move back up to normal.
    Oh, and no obd codes for guidance.

    Initially there was an ignition coil code. Ignition coil replaced.
    Throttle Position Sensor replaced
    IAC Valve replaced
    Muffler, Cat Converter replaced. (Small rust hole in manifold still remains)
    Distributor and plugs and wires all replaced.
    Fuel Pump replaced (spring 2014)

    Today's temp was 8F on the drive in to work and I had less than a quarter tank and had it die on me 4 times. Could this be a gas line filter ( the one attaching to the frame?) or a fuel issue? Other stalling issues did not happen with an empty tank.

    I took it in to one shop and they said I needed my engine wiring harness completely redone along with a new pcm/ecm and the bill was going to be over $4k. Two other shops laughed when they heard the estimate.

    Anyone, Anyone? Bueller, please help.
  • Hello all !!
    I had a similar problem with my '97 V6 Dakota. My battery was over 7 years old. It really didn't seem to have a problem cranking the engine over. But over the last month it would start fine in the morning. I would run it around a little and shut it down. When I would go to restart it, it would crank over, run for a second and die. I would have to feather the gas pedal to keep it running. One cold morning the battery barely cranked the engine over. I got it going, ran it to the store and bought a battery. It's been fine ever since. I had read other forums from people with the same problem. Changing the battery cured their problem and mine as well
  • ryan999ryan999 Posts: 1
    Hi all,

    I'm having a similar problem to some of the others and was wondering if anyone could help. Here's my best description of the problem:

    When the engine is cold (usually notice on first startup), my temperature gauge doesn't seem to work until I get into fourth gear. Shifting (especially 2-3 and 3-4) is hard but that might just be the cold. If I get the engine into fourth gear before the engine is warm, the truck will die on first idle. At first I thought it was only upon stopping but it happened to me once now when I only took my foot off the gas. Each time, the truck will not start up for about 5-15 minutes. It will crank hard the whole time but won't turn over, and I have to feather the gas to get it to start when it does (never had the time to simply wait it out). Once it starts, it seems to run really rough and noisy, although I can't quite isolate the noise (almost seems to come from the rear but that wouldn't really make sense). It will die again if not given gas at idle until the engine is warm, but it starts up fine if it dies any of those times.

    If I run the car slowly (1st and 2nd gear) until it warms up, once I reach 4th gear the temperature gauge works again and it will not die. Obviously this isn't a long-term solution though. Also, it is possible the gauge is working, but it only shows heat once it gets into fourth, and it comes quickly from there.

    I tried replacing the TPS sensor as some of the other posters suggested. It seemed to make a small difference in idle, but didn't help the dying at all.

    This is coming on top of a longstanding problem of reverse not working, especially when cold. The truck seems not to grip into reverse and the problem is worse with the wheels turned. I have had it die on me in such a situation, but it always restarts immediately in that case. I do not think the two are related, but in case someone sees a connection I wanted to mention it.

    Oh, and of course, no codes, no check engine light. My mechanic is stumped and so am I. I'm trying to not replace everything under the sun and rather hope someone has a good answer as to what is causing this.
  • cmorocmoro Posts: 1
    Okay, so maybe someone's posted this already, but here it goes. Also, I apologize in advance, as I am typing this from my mobile cell.

    1999 Dodge Dakota, 3.9L 2WD, Standard Transmission, and a while back, I was having issues with idle and driving. When my battery would die (usually because I left the lights on or somesuch), the battery would die as expected .  As soon as I got it jumped, it would act funny. As soon as the thermostat clicked on, the idle would drop alot, and I would have to fight to shift. If I did not put the pedal to the floor, even shifting into, say, 4th gear, it would ahudder and lurch. The RPMs would go down, and so I had to back off of the accelerator, and put the hammer down, and could keep going. However, once I drove it 30 miles or so, everything went back to normal. After a trip to the mechanic, he said I had a bad battery, so everytime the battery was discharged, the ECM, in a sense, had to relearn how much pressure to put in the vacuum lines or in the fuel rail. Seemed like a good explanation to me, so I bought a new battery, and everything was good. 

    A few days ago, I stopped at the hardware store and when I came back out to the truck, it would not start. No lights, no radio, no interior lights, no nothing. So, I popped the hood, and discovered the the battery had shifted somehow, and so the positive cable running from the battery to the relay box had disconnected. So I reconnected it and everything was fine. 

    Yesterday, I stopped at a different hardware store and got back to the truck, started it up, and noticed the gas gauge read empty. Now, I knew I had at least one-eighth of a tank, and I parked on an incline, so I figured I should go fill up anyway. I filled up at a gas station that I usually don't go to, but the station is fairly new. Thats when the problems began. 

    Again, as soon as the thermostat opened up, the truck had trouble idling, it rattled, shook, gasped, and lurched. I had trouble shifting. Everything was almost like my previous issue, with a few more problems added on. Now, I can hear a whisle coming from the air intake area, almost like a vacuum line has a hole in it. Also, when I have trouble shifting and I DO NOT back off the gas and put the hammer down, I can hear knocking noises coming from the engine compartment. This subsides when I let off the gas and take off. 

    Guys, this is killing me. Of course, there is no engine light, so no codes can be read. My oil and the like looks good. The fuel filter was my first guess, but that part is non-servicable. I'm a broke college student, who it seems, needs to stop going to hardware stores. 
  • I finally have an answer!!!!!  5 months ago my 1996 Dakota started dying while idling at a stop light or driving down the road, totally at random.  I would drop it into neutral and it would start right back up.  I started having what seems to be the most popular things replaced.  (After reading many different blogs including this one) But nothing fixed the problem.  Last night I read a post by a man named Ed Hennessy (I must give him the credit). He said it was a Bad SPEED SENSOR and that the computer couldn't tell if the truck was moving or not and shut it down.  Today I bought one at ORielly's for 36 bucks and had it installed.  The old one had transmission fluid in it and had seeped into the sensor and even the wires.  PLEASE CHECK THIS FIRST!!!!!  She now runs like a dream.  I knew that it had to be something simple because she runs so good.  Hope this helps.

    if your Dakota starts dying only when you try to go in reverse believe it or not your battery needs to be replaced.  I learned that one years ago.  That was a "you have to be kidding me moment"  :)
  • P.s.  I also had NO check engine light or codes of any kind.
  • Hey guys I need some serious help I have a 1990 dodge Dakota 3.9 V6 auto 4x4. When I put the truck in reverse or sometimes in drive but definitely in reverse, the truck will bind up and shake and the motor will try increasing rpms until it abruptly dies . This is all while I'm just holding the brakes or some times when I put it in forward gears. Its like im holding the brakes and hitting the gas at the same time but with more binding going on. I just had the transmission rebuilt and its still doing it any ideas of what it could be?
  • i have 87 dodge dokota after about ten miles it bogs down when accelerating keeps oing slower and slower at that point and can pull over and dones e same thing. Has new carb. New distributor roter spark plugs and wire and pick up coil fuel filter im at a loss any ideas
  • I have a 1996 Dakota 3.9 with 258000 miles and still all original internal components. I have had misfiring issues, trans shift issues, ghost radio issue, horn issues headlight issues, gauge issues. I have been chasing these problems for years on my truck. After replacing many sensors with no resolution I found a couple of simple things to check yourself.

    First to address the problem of dying when coming to a stop:
    This will most likely be the IAC positioning to maintain the idle while stopped, in gear or not, with AC on or off. The IAC adjusts for the load on the engine. Simply remove the 2 torx 20 screws and clean the tip of the IAC with carb cleaner and wire brush. Then clean inside the hole with carb cleaner and a rag using a screwdriver to turn the rag and clean the seat for the IAC. Also on my intake on the passenger side I found a vacuum nipple with a hose not connected to anything and the vacuum diagram showed it plugged. This will affect the idle if you have a vacuum leak as the IAC will not position properly due to the leak.

    OK next for the issue of random dying, no codes and a variety of sensors being pointed at:
    Think about this; every sensor has to have power and ground to work properly. Many sensors have a third wire which sends a signal to the computer to control the engine. If you have a ground problem you will have a never ending variety of codes that will point to a sensor or the signal of that sensor not being correct and you may or may not set a code depending on the ground path at that time.

    No cost solution: Look around the engine compartment starting at the batt; follow the ground wire to the block and remove the connection; clean with a wire brush the block and ring terminal on both sides till it is shiny; then clean the bolt before you put back in place and tighten, Also you will find several smaller ground wire connections in the engine compartment; remove each of these and do the same. Take note that under the terminal connection on the fender, firewall and other locations the paint has not been removed. The only way the wire connects to ground is by the threads made by the screw holding the wire terminal in place. Removing the paint with some 40 grit sandpaper or other similar method will further improve the ground connection. Use a small amount of wheel bearing grease on the connections to prevent moisture and corrosion from developing in the future.

    After you have done these two things you may want to disconnect the batt negative terminal and clean the connection there, this should clear any codes and you will be starting out with a clean slate no codes. Go to your local parts store and have the codes read to make sure. Now any codes that set should be more accurate.

    Remember if you don't have a good ground, you don't have a good electrical circuit.
    Good luck to all, I hope this will help solve some of the problems shared by so many.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Thanks for posting those excellent suggestions. Bad grounds are the source of many problems we see on modern cars.
  • Hello and Merry Christmas, I have a 2000 Dodge Dakota SLT 3.9L V6 Extended Cab 2x2 Last month I changed the Distributor Cap, Rotor, Plug Wires, Coil Wire, and Spark Plugs, I didn't cheap out I bought the good But this past Monday on my way home from work I was driving down I-96 & Telegraph and the truck didn't give me any notice or any warning what so ever, It just shut off or died. So i get it off the Freeway off ramp thanks to the Officer who help me Push it.. and I find out i am getting no spark what so ever. The fuel pump is coming on but im getting NO SPARK.. i even put my finger on the top of a new plug into the end of the wire to see if maybe it was weak spark... Nope. Nothing at all... Someone told me Crank Sensor, Someone told me Ignition Coil... What would cause it just to stop sparking ? If anyone has any ideas I would greatly appreciate any help and input on this situation...Please... Thankyou ! Sincerely Matt
  • My 97 Dodge Dakota 3.9L would cut off when I was at a stoplight or stop sign after you first started it up for the day. If I shifted it to park real quick, it would stay on, and after driving for a bit, it wouldnt cut off when I stopped anymore. It did this for the longest time, and so finally I decided to do some research, and the cheapest possible solution I could find was cleaning the throttle body. All I did was take the cover off, pulled the throttle switch so it would open, and sprayed a generous amount of throttle body cleaner into it, and of course took a rag and a screwdriver and pushed the rag down in it and scrubbed a bit. When you do this, you will have to keep your foot on the gas a little bit in order to start it and will have to do this until it can once again sit and idle on its own. A LOT of white smoke will come out of the exhaust, but that's due to the cleaner burning off so don't let that alarm you. After driving it a bit more that day, then letting it sit overnight until the next day in the afternoon, I drove it and it did not ONCE stall out or act like it was going to. Given that it would do this EVERYDAY when first started, I'm hoping that this did the trick and this issue will not return. It is a VERY simple procedure too, so do not waste your money taking it to a mechanic. If the issue returns I will come back and let you guys know, but I'm thinking it won't or it would have stalled on me earlier.
  • natehillnatehill Posts: 1
    edited September 2017
    I have a 1996 Doge Dakota. 8 cylinder, 5 speed manual. 112k miles.

    Problem(s): Doesn't matter of how long it sits or where. If i drive it everyday for a week 50% of the time it will be a hard start. Meaning motor doesnt crank. just a click and lights and stuff come on.

    Also it's having idling issues. similar to starting, 50% of the time when driving normally, i go to neutral out of gear (or even rev engine in neutral) the rpms decrease like normal and towards typical idling level but it continues to drop and ends up stalling out. i've experimented and even if i just push the clutch down (still in gear) and coast, then it will still stall out.

    It's like if the rpms drop from above 1k it'll struggle to keep the idle. It will bounce back if i get it some gas like normal.

    what i've done: Distributor cap/spark plugs replaced, new battery recently replaced. I have suspicion on starter though. I have had no engine light. I don't know what to look for regarding the idling issue.

    thanks for any help,
  • Justin123Justin123 KentuckyPosts: 1
    Getting no bus signal in5.9litre dodgedakota 2002 changed the computer and crankshaft position sensor now stalls when warm and then won't start any help would be great 
  • BMW_METRO_99BMW_METRO_99 SE PAPosts: 1
    RE Justin123: I have a 98 Town and Country with a similar problem that was resolved by fixing the cold soldered joints in the instrument cluster where the harness plugs in. Haven't had the problem now for 5 years. Very common Chrysler product problem.
  • JessMasJessMas Posts: 1
    I have an 06 Dodge Durango 2wd 4.7 L.
    It was a ting up so we changed out spark plugs. They were ridiculously bad. Put new plugs in drove it a few hours set over night. Next day it was stalling out at idle constantly. Ok so we put on scanner thtowing code for crankshaft sensor.  Change that, no go. Change camshaft sensor as well to be sure that isnt the problem. Still not fixed. Change air filter and sensor on air intake. Still no. Change the coil packs. All this time it continues to get worse. Changed spark plugs again and coil packs again. Doesnt help. Still throwing codes for crankshaft sensor even though it is new. Cleaned throttle body, replaced throttle positioning sensor and other sensor on throttle body. still stalling out. Checked fuel pressure, tested everything on this motor. No vaccum leaks, everything is testing good. Has anyone had this problem? If so how did you fix it? If not what would you do next. Also injectors work fine too.
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