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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 2000 Ram Van 1500 5.9 will crank, fires but won’t catch, and won’t keep running. I got a new expensive 710 CA battery, I can hear the fuel pump prime when I turn the ignition key, it will almost start if I stomp the gas, but can’t sustain a run. If i crank for longer with foot on the gas, it will attempt to run, crank, attempt, crank, like a throbbing. It backfires through this attempted starting. Starter fluid in the intake doesn’t seem to make any difference, which I find very strange. No codes showing or pending.

I’m about to pull plugs as I don’t know why The starter fluid won’t make a difference.

Any suggestions? The van motor is not very accessible and any guidance is most welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I got the van about a week ago and it's been sitting for 4 years, so not sure when we'd say this issue started. Put a new battery and gas in it, and have been trying to get it to fire and sustain running, as described above. I get smoke out the tailpipe and it gets warm so I am getting some ignition, just not enough to stay running.

I'm told it was fine when parked (but who knows for sure). The motor, rotor cap, plug wires, hoses and vacuum lines all look dusty but in good condition. Apart from dust, the van seems like it was very well taken-care-of, no signs of abuse. The previous owner's wife passed away, and this van was their getaway thing, and he couldn't bring himself to drive it without her, so he parked it. He now has to move and it needed to go. That's where I come in as the new owner.

I want to wash the motor but, just in case, I didn't want to add water to the issues, and was hoping to have it running before doing a complete clean. I'm thinking I need to pull the plugs and check for spark on all 8 cylinders next.

It's really difficult getting any info on these vans. Lots on RAM 1500 pickups, of course, but so little on 1500 vans.
 

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The vans used the same parts/engines. Try using starting fluid, That will get it to fire if the ignition is working. Gas still may be stale depending on how much was in the tank and how much you added.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's the weird part, as mentioned in my original post. Starter fluid doesn't seem to make an appreciable difference. Having used it may times over many years on many vehicles. I'm not getting the familiar burst of life from starter fluid when sprayed either directly into the air intake hose or directly into the throttle body. Still trying to rationalize why that doesn't make a difference, unless fuel isn't the problem and spark is. I am getting some firing, like it's trying to start, but it just splutters out right away. Getting smoke and heat from the exhaust so something is igniting.
 
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