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Discussion Starter #1
I recently started experiencing trouble with my truck. I fueled and went to start and it would not turn over. There was not a draw down on the interior lights or accessories except the for the radio. Also, the blower had switched and was blowing through the defrost vents rather than dash. The vacuum lines and everything under the hood was fine. I checked battery connections, fuses, relays and all seemed ok. I got in and rattled the key and tilted the wheel and just fooled with the steering wheel and ignition and it fired and the air went back to blowing through the dash vents. This seemed to be telling me its something electrical in the steering column though I am puzzled how the blower is involved.

I drove about 20 miles and was in heavy stop and go traffic towing a trailer and experienced the dead pedal - I pulled to the shoulder and the truck picked up and never has done that again. I checked codes and had the 216 and 121. The check engine light did go off and I had the codes cleared and they haven't been back. The truck has still been doing this since so it seems something has happened in the column.

I am a bit concerned about the VP44 but it seems like the starter should still engage even if the pump has failed.

I am pretty mechanical and done a lot of work on this truck but this one has me stumped.I would so greatly appreciate and guidance or advice in solving this issue.

Thanks in advance.
 

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I'll take a shot (in the dark that is).

I'm thinking you have a bad cell in one of the batteries that flips its polarity and drags the system voltage below the low voltage threshold, usually around 9 dot something volts.

Usually, codes have a leading letter associated with them, don't know how to reference what you posted. There should be a code for low voltage but I'm sure the code would clear but it may be in history if this is what is happening.

The only way to catch this is to use a meter that can log minimum readings and let it sit on the electrical system for a few hours. If you see low voltage reading, then isolate the batteries to determine which one it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for that advice. I will check the batteries. The codes are PO216 and PO121 which is timing failure in the VP 44 and low voltage to APPS respectively. It definitely seems like it's a voltage problem somewhere. The thing is thought that it seems like it was something in the column based on it starting after fooling with it. It could be coincidence though.

You have to love electrical issues - make you pull your hair out.
 

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With the right tools electrical gremlins are pretty easy. First start with the basics. Completely disconnect both batteries and hook up a voltmeter to each one. You want to see about 12.6V. Then hook up your terminals, be sure to snug down those clamp bolts. Be sure the terminals are clean and don't have any fray at all. Turn headlamps on wait 15 seconds. Check voltage shouldn't drop below 11.5V.

The next source of power issue is with the alternator, possible a bad regulator or even a failed diode. An oscilloscope AC coupled will show the ripple pattern, should be nice humps no missing humps. Spikes at the leading or trailing edge of each hump is fine, that's just the induction spike due to the regulator switching.

You don't have an oscilloscope so take the alternator to a local auto parts house they should be able to test it free.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks again as always for the advice. I did pull the batteries and had them checked and one was bad. I replaced it and checked voltage - my meter flips between 10 and 11 with headlights on so it's somewhere in that range I'd guess. I did pull the lower bezel in the cabin and the covers for the steering column and switch and don't see any frayed or damaged or pinched wires.

I guess the next step is to move to the alternator?
 

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I meant that you don't want the battery terminals to have any frays. If you have soldiered terminals you do not want any corrosion or loose strands of wire, and the same is true for crimp style. Be sure those terminals are snugged down. Assuming you did all of that and everything there is ok then yes I would move onto checking the alternator. Don't replace it under principle or to eliminate the possibility. You can get the alternator tested for free at most chain auto parts stores.

Once that is done and the alternator checks out then double check grounds. You want ZERO corrosion on the ring terminal, screw, and grounding surface. Check your PDC (power distribution center) for and corrosion on the fuse and relay terminals. Once this is all done you have eliminated the supply side of the electrical system. You're next move would be distribution (the wiring). I am going to look around for any TSB's both from Chrysler and Snap On to see if this issue you're having is a known one with a direct solution.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the help and advice. To update I have remove the starter and had it tested. This only makes it more complicated in certain aspects. I had it tested at Oreillys and it failed across the board. They did not have one in stock so I headed to Auto-zone. Of course, I had it tested there and it tested fine. I take it back and install it and still the same problem. I have made sure batteries and connections are sound. I have swapped relays and checked fuses. I can hear a clicking somewhere in the fuse and relay area. When the key is turned on all accessories and the lift pump, lights are all strong. I used the key trick and it showed codes 1388 and 1693.

If the VP 44 has failed, that should not affect the vehicle turning over should it? I have done a couple VP 44s and can't recall it not at least turning over. Due to the fact that the blower goes to the defrost when this issue happens and does not when it was starting it seems like a short somewhere or crossed wire. I have pulled the alternator and will have it tested as well. I am not sure how it could cause this issue but still will get it tested.
 

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Thanks for all the help and advice. To update I have remove the starter and had it tested. This only makes it more complicated in certain aspects. I had it tested at Oreillys and it failed across the board. They did not have one in stock so I headed to Auto-zone. Of course, I had it tested there and it tested fine. I take it back and install it and still the same problem. I have made sure batteries and connections are sound. I have swapped relays and checked fuses. I can hear a clicking somewhere in the fuse and relay area. When the key is turned on all accessories and the lift pump, lights are all strong. I used the key trick and it showed codes 1388 and 1693.

If the VP 44 has failed, that should not affect the vehicle turning over should it? I have done a couple VP 44s and can't recall it not at least turning over. Due to the fact that the blower goes to the defrost when this issue happens and does not when it was starting it seems like a short somewhere or crossed wire. I have pulled the alternator and will have it tested as well. I am not sure how it could cause this issue but still will get it tested.
Well here is my opinion on the stater. Unless it passes all tests all the time under all conditions then it's operation is questionable.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
To update the post, I have not fooled with the truck for awhile as I have other work trucks. I started it a few weeks back after it had set for a week or so and started right up. I replaced the contacts in the starter and the batteries are good so those are eliminated. I ordered an alternator and put it on and it seemed to be charging really low. It was just above the first mark. I drove it down the road and the needle fell all the way and check engine light comes on. I had it tested and get low voltage code. I order another and put it on and the exact same thing. I bring it back and kill it and now it is back to not turning over at all. It is showing a 1682 and 1693 code. Along with all the other symptoms and issues I have almost convince myself that something has shorted or there is a problem in the PCM. Does anyone have any thoughts or ideas?
 
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