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  #1  
Old 03-08-2010, 11:33 PM
MoDodgeGuy MoDodgeGuy is offline
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I have been searching everywhere for a solution to this problem. I've spoken to 3 different mechanics and read through the manual i have for the truck. Prepare for a challenge, heh.

I own a '97 Dodge Ram SLT 2wd w/ 318ci engine and Automatic tranny 3+OD.

About 18 months ago I had an issue while driving down the highway. My truck cut out and died as if it was out of gas, even though I had 3/4 of a tank. My first though was the fuel pump went out, but I still have pressure on the fuel line. I checked the fuel filter as well, and it's clean. I let the truck sit for about 30 min, and it started up and ran just fine to get me home.

Since then, I've had issues every few months, same ordeal all over again. It seems as if I can go about 60-75 miles before it shuts down on me, but up until that point it runs just fine. Sometimes I can sit for 15 min and start it right back up, sometimes it has to sit for as much as a couple of hours. I drive the truck daily w/o any issue as long as it's short trips around town. It's only when I drive constantly for more than an hour or so w/o a break that it really starts acting up. In the last week or so, it's gotten much much worse though, and I'm tired of not having the dependability I need and bought the truck for.

When I first had the problem, I immediately got ahold of a mechanic to run a diagnostic on it. It's been too long since then for me to remember the specific codes that came up, but I do remember that the readout said 2 of my cylinders weren't firing. I changed out plugs/wires and distributor cap.

I work on the road, so my truck sits for weeks at a time w/o moving. I keep up with fluid changes and maintenance, even though the truck gets maybe 4k miles per Year.

I've checked the transmission to see if it could be something there boggin it down and causing it to stall out...no luck. I've checked the fuel system, but so far, everything seems to be in order. I've checked the electrical system and found nothing in need of repair/replacement there.

When I have this issue, the truck will still run, but it has an extreme loss of power (barely getting to 10 mph before stalling again), it gains a very noticeable vibration and a knocking sound. All of these symptoms go away once the truck has sat for a little bit.

I've been told by one mechanic that it was the control module inside the distributor. Another mechanic told me my catalytic convertor was clogging my exhaust and that was the issue, and a 3rd mechanic kept my truck for a week, changed the brakes and told me he hasn't seen a truck with the miles mine has (163k) run as well as mine does and he couldn't find any problems at all!

I am by no means a master mechanic, but I've been under the hood enough to know what is what. I'm tired of getting the run around from mechanics that only seem interested in my wallet instead of doing a quality job fixing my vehicle. I don't have time to get into it myself, as my job keeps me running constantly.

Any ideas on things I could check? Oh, one more thing, the check engine light flashes at me when it gives me problems, but goes off again usually before I can even get the truck home, much less to a mechanic. I'm lost here guys, and any advice at all is greatly appreciated!
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:36 PM
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hemiv8dodgeram1500 hemiv8dodgeram1500 is offline
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hello and welcome sorry i cant help you
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Old 03-09-2010, 01:16 AM
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Welcome to the Z! alright, have a few questions before I can help. When you pulled the plugs, what condition were they in; heavily sooted, rainbowed, white crusted, or just fine? When was the last time you ran some injector cleaner through the system with a high octane fuel? Run any additives in the fuel or oil? Has anyone done a compression test on the cylinders?
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Old 03-09-2010, 01:27 AM
MoDodgeGuy MoDodgeGuy is offline
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I changed the plugs and wires both, and checked each of the plugs just yesterday, all of them look brand new still.

I've also done a couple of rounds of fuel system cleaner and used an additive with my oil when I changed it about 3 weeks ago. Neither of these changed how the truck ran.

What confuses me the most is how the problem comes and goes, seemingly randomly. Sometimes it will run fine for a month or more, then for a week solid it doesn't want to go more than a couple of miles before giving out on me again. Every time I Think I've got the problem solved, the problem goes into hiding just to resurface later.

I haven't done a compression test yet, but as I said, most of the time I have no problems, and the truck runs just fine. I have full power and acceleration the Majority of the time. My biggest issue is that I can't reproduce the issue w/o driving up and down the highway for an hour or more and Hope that the issue restarts when I'm close to the shop.

Twice now I've been broken down on the side of the highway, called my mechanic and by the time he got to me (30-45 min away), my truck started up just fine and got me home with no issues. My regular mechanic has been helping me Try to figure this out, but it's understandably frustrating for him as well cause he takes an hour+ out of his day to come get me and there doesn't seem to be any issue once he gets To me.

I've seriously considered just trading it in for something else, but I love this truck, have put blood sweat and tears into her and don't wanna give up what's been one hell of a dependable vehicle if it turns out to be something tiny that I'm overlooking.

Thanks again for any help you can give me.
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Old 03-09-2010, 02:10 AM
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CdnoilRAM CdnoilRAM is offline
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Do me a favor and kick your catalytic converter and see if there's a rattle, I had my catalyst ball break loose and either partially clog or completely close off the exhaust port and the Dakota would just crap out.

Another thing may be water mixed in the fuel, do you go to the same gas station all the time? Maybe try a round of methanol in the next fill up, it's water scavenger and won't harm the engine.

Have you replaced/tested the ignition coil? If it's wearing out it could be running fine until it starts to heat up then starts misfiring like a heart in de-fib, causing erratic power supply to the rotor which would cause cylinder misfires but not mess up the plugs. Once the coil cools down then there'd be no problem (this is an issue I had with some heavy duty natural gas compressors I've worked on). If you do want to change it out, then may i suggest the Accel coil, not the OEM replacement, it's beefier with better conduction.
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Old 03-09-2010, 02:19 AM
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I agree with the coil theory. Had that prob on an older Ford truck. New coil fixed it.


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Old 03-09-2010, 02:50 AM
MoDodgeGuy MoDodgeGuy is offline
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Thanks again for the advice! I'm headed into the shop bright an early in the morning, and I'll get this fixed today...do or die.

I'll post the results once I locate the problem and maybe save someone else this headache in the future.

Oh, and 1 more thing: This forum rocks and I want to thank whoever put it together, as well as those of you that take time out of your days to help us fellow dodge drivers in distress. The help is much appreciated!
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:18 AM
kicknjeep kicknjeep is offline
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Just a thought but when the Crank position sensor went out on my Jeep Grand Cherokee it has same exact symptoms. might give that a looking at.
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Old 03-09-2010, 11:59 AM
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I had this problem on my 97 5.9 4 wd a long time ago i think somewhere between 1200k & 1400k. The truck now has now over 200k on it. After several different diagnosis the problem was solved by replacing the petrol pump.
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Old 03-09-2010, 12:33 PM
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Keep us in the loop, really hope you get it sorted out.
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