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2na 06-26-2013 08:10 PM

flashing check engine light
Hello all, please help me! I've got a 2003 dodge ram 1500SLT with the 4.7 V8.

I had the head gasket blow a couple months ago - got that fixed and it came back with misfire codes (to be fair, it had the misfire codes before the gasket blew). I changed the coils and that cleared those codes, but I started getting the following symptoms with a P0172 engine code:
It started to make a tapping sound and seemed sluggish when starting out.
It shudders at around 40mph, and if I push through to 50 it smooths out.
When I come to a stop, it seems like it wants to stall.
Occasionally, it will make a squeal when I pull out of the driveway.
And now to top it off, the check engine light is beginning to flash occasionally.

I know, I know - but I've got two kids, wife, full time job, house and no time and no money. I've been putting off bringing this back because I just recently finished paying off the gasket.

Any idea what I'm up against on this?

gonefishin776 06-27-2013 08:23 AM

free bump
bump bump

Tommycat 06-27-2013 04:05 PM

It's running rich on bank 1. It's flashing because driving it like that is bad for your engine. At best it'll ruin your cat.

Pull and inspect your spark plugs on the driver's side. One of them is not firing right, and or not burning all the fuel it gets. I'd guess it was the one that the coil pack was bad on.

2na 06-27-2013 04:46 PM

Thanks for the advice Tommycat - I'll try that and let you know. And of course, the bad coils were on the other side...

2na 06-28-2013 03:35 PM


So I checked to see what plugs would look like when running rich so I'd know where the problem is.
I pulled my spark plugs as suggested on the driver's side. Plug 1 was fine. Plug 3 and 5 and to a lesser extent plug 7 all looked fine and normal, if in a little need of replacement, until I pulled them out of the socket. The top ends were corroded!

By top end, I mean the non-firing end of the plug.

I'm guessing this is preventing spark under those coils.

What caused this, and why didn't I get an engine code for that?

Thanks for the clue to check plugs TC!

namretsud 06-28-2013 10:59 PM

If the top of the plug was corroded, then all likelyhood the coil pack is as well. Use a good flashlight to look inside it.

2na 06-29-2013 10:05 AM

Replaced the spark plugs and it seems like I've got a little more power.
Still have the engine light on and it did flash, checked the codes and no new ones - still just the engine rich, which may be a leftover?
Should I clear the codes by disconnecting the battery and see what happens?

It sounds almost like I've got an exhaust leak in the engine area. Could this be causing the problem, maybe when I had the head gasket done, the mechanic didn't tighten everything?

Tommycat 07-01-2013 06:00 PM

May as well clear the codes.

By the way, if you have an android phone, I would suggest getting an ELM 327 bluetooth adapter. It'll connect to your phone, and you can check and clear codes using an application called Torque. It will give you real time data and helps diagnose issues with your truck. Just a suggestion, and it's cheap($10-35).

2na 07-02-2013 12:57 PM

Well, I brought it in to a nearby mechanic.

He told me that it's running like crap because the rocker arm fell off cylinders 2 and 8. His suggestion is a new Jasper engine for $6000. He also said that this may not take care of the engine rich condition, which is probably an O2 sensor.

I'm not a mechanic, but I can do simple things. If I get this truck brought back to the guy who did my head gasket to have the arms put back on - how difficult is it to do this again if they fall off. I've been told that once they start falling off, it can become a monthly problem.

Also, am I underestimating things to say that replacing the O2 sensor is a $25 part and not too difficult to fix?

2na 07-02-2013 02:50 PM

Talked to my main mechanic - the guy who did the head gaskets. He told me he could put them back on, but it would be just as easy for me to do. He's known me a while and knows my abilities and lack thereof so I'll give that a try when I get some time in the next couple days.
I'll keep you posted on my trials and tribulations. Until then, I welcome any and all advice on getting this thing to run properly.

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