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thaduke2003 02-21-2009 01:17 AM

Truck dying- fuel pump? Please help :)
Hey all. My name is Mark- I'm a horse trainer and grease monkey by trade. New to the forums, but not to cars, Ma Mopar, and headaches.

My most recent headache is my fiancee's '99 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L (360 gas). The truck has just about 70k of HARD miles on it. It was a municipal truck in AZ (I hadn't met her when she bought it, and don't want it to break us up already! :)), and was never maintained.

A bit of background. Just did plugs, wires, cap, and rotor on the truck yesterday. The heat shields for the plug boots were FULL of caked-in dirt. Took FOUR hours to clean it all out and swap in the new bits. Lovely. The plugs were all worn down to 0.064"+ of gap. After this, however, the truck ran fine, and had decent power.

Today, installed a K&N Filtercharger kit. No problems there. Her stock airbox had been cracked, allowing lots of unfiltered air in, thus the intake. On first test drive, truck ran fine- nice new sexy power.

After driving for a bit, she mentioned the truck suddenly seemed to die on power going up hills. She wasn't kidding! I drove it home just now- up a MILD incline, I could barely get it above 30 MPH.
To my seasoned booty, it feels like it's hitting fuel cut/dying on fuel. The truck would barely rev past 3,500, and when I put my foot into it, it wouldn't give me anything more.

My first thought here is fuel pump crapping out.

Beyond what I think and feel, any ideas?

I've been a wrench jockey for years in the high performance field. I can tell you with near certainty that the intake is NOT at fault.

I would love for anyone to tell me I'm wrong (as long as they're not :)), or that it's something simple. In the AM I'll go over my work, but I don't think it's at fault. I'll probably check compression and will certainly check the radiator cap in case it's a blown head gasket.

Are there any easy checks to test the fuel pump? Might try the old beat-it-with-a-hammer trick.

Also, it seems like a PITA to swap the pump- is there an easy way? I will likely be doing the work on my back in the snow, so any tips will be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Cheers, and hoping to get some sleep :) Mark W.

thaduke2003 02-21-2009 01:39 AM

Next issues- looking through the service manual, and for parts.

First up, how do you tell what size fuel tank the truck has? Besides filling it up, which I don't want to do if I'm dropping the bugger. Is there a VIN number or anything?

Also, can I rock an Airtex Master pump from Autozone? Or is the OEM the only way to go? Thanks, Mark W.

CajunDodge 02-21-2009 02:47 AM

When you turn the key without starting the truck, can you hear the fuel pump kick on then off? What does that sound like? My brother had a vehicle with a similar problem and it got to the point where he would have to give it gas just to keep it going while at an idle ('94 Jeep Grand Cherokee). It wasn't until I sat in the back seat and heard his fuel pump making this awful noise, but instinctively I knew that, especially while going uphill, there just simply wasn't enough fuel pressure getting to the front. Changed his pump and car was fine. I went with the Carter fuel pump on that one, (from your local auto parts store) and, knock on wood, he hasn't complained.

thaduke2003 02-21-2009 12:47 PM

Alright- test drove the beast. Once again, O2V was reading as low as 0.060V under WOT. Whacked the tank with a rubber mallet a few good times, not much change.

My next question is, is there any difference between buying an Airtex pump from Autozone, say, than OEM? Are they made by the same people, as they often are? Thanks, Mark W.

thaduke2003 02-21-2009 12:48 PM

And yes, I can hear the pump kick on. It is making a decent amount of noise while running that you can hear from outside the truck- Mark W.

wesandmichelle 02-21-2009 11:34 PM


Had the same problem with mine last summer. It turned out to be the crank sensor. The shop had two other Dodges in there at the same time with the same problem. Labor and part was about 100 dollars if I remember correctly.

erm 02-22-2009 01:58 AM

Sounds to me the fuel pump is giving up. Not a fun job on your back in the snow. I'm not sure about the fuel pump makers in this case but I've always had good luck with NAPA replacement stuff like this.

jesseh35980 02-22-2009 04:18 PM

well on the size of the tank all i can suggest is to compare pumps after you get the old one out there is 2 different pumps and i happened to start off with the wrong one...and on your back isn't the only choice i had striped the nut on one of the tank straps so it wasn't coming off like that so luckly i have a bed liner so i pulled that off and made a bout a 10 inch round cut and pulled the pump out that way...never know unless you pull out the bed liner...

jdutch 02-27-2009 02:33 AM

The easiest check you can do for the fuel pump and regulator is to pick up a fuel pressure tester. There is a fitting on the drivers side of the fuel manifold just hook it up and start the engine. Pressure should be between 45-50 psi.

I am having the same problem with my truck as of yesterday. Already ruled out the fuel pump, regulator, spark plugs, pinned out the map sensor and tps. I am leaning toward the crank sensor but its in about the hardest place to get to. Going to take it in to the dealer tomorrow.

adamdude04 02-27-2009 02:43 AM

Fuel pressure check is a much cheaper route than dealer/fuel pump replacement.

No codes right? (SES light).. if not, odds are it's not a sensor. Vaccume leak?

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