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  #1  
Old 01-06-2011, 12:31 AM
SanFranRamFan SanFranRamFan is offline
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Default FML! Engine surging and chugging on acceleration

hey all, if there's anyone who knows about these engines i sure would appreciate whatever advice you could offer. my ASE certified master mechanics are stumped!

brought the truck in last week, described the problem, they drove it & confirmed my description: could make it surge & chug at will - especially during hard acceleration. they tested EVERYTHING in the engine and found no problems. drove it again with a scope hooked up and saw the distributor cap was misfiring. replaced the cap & rotor (my old one, replaced 7k miles ago, was already shot and had metal filings in the cap. random, defective part apparently) and called her done. said they couldn't make the problem happen again, and neither could i.

that was six days ago. it happened again today. i put my foot down hard and it jumped forward then sputtered and revved and shook; idled fine at a stoplight but could barely make it up a moderate hill and shook/sputtered/lurched when i accelerated slowly from a stop sign...

any thoughts on what it could be?? they tested the fuel system first: the lines & pump are fine, no leaks, no pressure issues, no lights on the dash...Nuthin! in general the engine is solid, except for this one Major issue. i can't accelerate or drive over 50 without feeling like the truck's gonna buck itself apart. when it happened i the freeway i lost engine power, too: it revved but didn't actually DO anything. pulled onto the shoulder and idled for 5 mins, checked the engine & undercarriage, and then i was -slowly- on my way again.

thanks in advance for any thoughts/insights. can't afford a rebuild, so hopefully it's just another bum distributor!


[for what it's worth, i've got the '01 1500 off-road edition with a K&N CAI and Magnaflow cat-back. maybe i've been driving it too hard...? is that even Possible?!]
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  #2  
Old 01-07-2011, 06:02 AM
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Hello, I would start with them (the mechanics) and the replacement of the rotor and cap. You stated you were having this issue and after they replaced the rotor and cap the problem was gone for while. You also stated there were metal fillings inside the distributor.
1) Did they install the correct cap and rotor?
2) How did the metal filling get there? From cap and rotor or something inside distributor?
3) With the cap off try to pull up on the rotor, it should move up and down a very little amount. If there seams to be more play than a little you have a distributor problem and should think about replacing.
4) If everything looks good and your going to put the new cap and rotor on blow out the distributor with air first and once again take a good look to make sure nothing is out of place or looks funny.

Let me know what you find and we can take it from there.
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Old 01-07-2011, 10:05 PM
SanFranRamFan SanFranRamFan is offline
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got it. thank you for the help! they've been working on it all day and all i got so far was a call as to how much fuel was in my tank when the issue happened. told them i'd been running it hard on very little fuel with no problem, then filled the tank half-way and experienced a recurrence of the issue that night. they mentioned something about "fuel cavitation" and told me thanks for the valuable info, they'd call me back. (nothing yet!)

i'll call them in the a.m. and ask about digging a little deeper into the distributor.

so far as i know they were baffled about the filings in the cap - it's as if someone sprayed graphite lube in there, it almost sparkles when you look down into the cap and rotate it. also, the terminals seemed fine but the tip of the ignition rotor was charred completely black...and this was after a mere 7k miles. (!) they replaced the distributor & rotor and the truck ran better than before, for 6 days. then *poof!* we're back at the drawing board. i'll update as i learn more.

thank you for your time & help.

respectfully,
Scott from SF
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Old 01-07-2011, 10:08 PM
RootBeer RootBeer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jersey Devil View Post
Hello, I would start with them (the mechanics) and the replacement of the rotor and cap. You stated you were having this issue and after they replaced the rotor and cap the problem was gone for while. You also stated there were metal fillings inside the distributor.
1) Did they install the correct cap and rotor?
2) How did the metal filling get there? From cap and rotor or something inside distributor?
3) With the cap off try to pull up on the rotor, it should move up and down a very little amount. If there seams to be more play than a little you have a distributor problem and should think about replacing.
4) If everything looks good and your going to put the new cap and rotor on blow out the distributor with air first and once again take a good look to make sure nothing is out of place or looks funny.

Let me know what you find and we can take it from there.
Great helpful post.
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:15 AM
wholman wholman is offline
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just a shot in the dark but are you sure your spark plugs are gaped correctly? ya sounds crazy but it makes a difference as for the sputtering but idles fine mixed sparkplug wires could be a cause. I know the older dodge try is have a huge issue with the ignition system thus why that was the first stock thing to go on my truck, plus added performance is always a plus.
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Old 02-19-2011, 04:43 PM
SanFranRamFan SanFranRamFan is offline
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hey guys, thanks for the insight. i would've responded sooner but as it stood there was nothing new to report until now, and while i don't have my truck back yet (!) it looks like they're making progress.

Jersey Devil, thanks for the solid questions. looks like it's a lot more serious than the cap/rotor - both cylinders are cracked. he mentioned "both cylinders" on the phone, not two cylinder heads, and told me he'll throw 'em in the back of my truck if i want to see them. as i have never seen inside an engine before i am very curious as to what's happened to mine and will let you know more as the plot unfolds...!

wholman, the sparkplugs were a bit over-gapped - he found them set at 50,000ths when they should be 35-40,000ths. so he reset them. nothing.

so far, over the past two (2) months, they have:
...checked the fuel pump and fuel pump volume, nothing. installed a brand-new fuel pump fur sh!ts & giggles, nothing.

...run every possible computer test with every possible program & scope, even hooked up a video feed from the engine and drove it for an hour, nothing. so they installed a brand-new computer thinking there could be a wiring or electrical problem. you guessed it, NOTHING.

...checked, repaired or replaced every single thing any of them and any of their friends/colleagues/instructors/former instructors could think of. it has gone beyond "business" into the realm of "male pride" as they just want to figure out what the heck's wrong with my truck! the hard part is, it doesn't do it every single time. sometimes you can drive it a day with no problem, sometimes it'll chug & sputter & buck as they're pulling it out of the shop. too f'in weird, and seriously p!ssing everybody off!

one thing they noticed was that every time they top-cleaned the engine (been four times now) it does it more; after it's gone through its surging thing post-top clean it will settle back down and be fine for a while.

finally they asked if i'd noticed the truck drinking a lot of oil, which it had (not a huge amount, but i have to add a quart every 3-5 weeks) which lead them to think it had to be a valve issue. since i haven't had to pay for any of the work or new components since the distributor rotor & cap were replaced, they needed me to authorize an engine dis-assembly. which i did.

that's when they found "two cracked cylinders." freaked me out. but hey, i need to get this problem fixed! i miss my truck, and even with a $2,700 bill looming i still love the damn thing. truck was supposed to be done yesterday - when i called last night they said they were putting the finishing touches to it and about to fire it up. haven't called me today (they've gone home by now), so i'm thinking maybe it's still not fixed. in which case...anyone want a truck?!

he's going to print everything they replaced and everything they tested on an itemized report when i pick the truck up, and i'll forward this on to you guys, along with pics of the carbon-coated distributor and the cylinders.

thanks again for all your help. this is one for the ages...and has already aged me a good twenty years! <--get the hemi, sonny! get the hemi. or go diesel.

Last edited by SanFranRamFan; 02-19-2011 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 02-19-2011, 04:57 PM
SanFranRamFan SanFranRamFan is offline
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PS: dunno how this got moved to the 1st gen ram section, unless i originally posted it there by accident like a total mo-mo. i may not know much about trucks, but i do know the difference between 1st & 2nd gen rams!
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:27 PM
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With this style engine , oil consumption is normally related to a bad intake manifold plenum gasket failure , which is not uncommon . I'd hate to think that replaced the engine for a $60.00 gasket set . 2 cracked cylinders ! (?) Let me know if the trucks fixed . Keep us updated .
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