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Dakota 1987-2011 Dodge Dakota 4X4 trucks also for Durango as needed

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Old 05-02-2014, 05:52 PM   #1
78clubcab
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96 Dakota No Fire

I let my stepson take my 96 Dakota for a long trip and it broke down 150 miles from home. Thank god for triple A! Anyway, back in my driveway I checked for spark at number one cylinder, and found nothing. Next, I checked for spark at the coil and also nothing, so I thought gotcha!

I replaced the coil.......same thing, no spark. I tried to test for power to the coil but cannot get anything definitive. By this I mean I have a 1999 Durango 5.2 that runs fine and the coils are almost identical but there is a slight difference in the way they plug in to the working harness. With the key in run on both vehicles it is difficult to get a reading with a multimeter on the harness. Both vehicles read about the same, which is barely anything... About 1/100 of a volt.

I have heard of a lead light test on the ground side of the coil plug in where the lead light will pulse during cranking. I haven't tried this on the running truck, but I can't get the dead Dakota to do this.
In my frustration, I must confess I threw a part at this problem by replacing the crank position sensor. I did this because I was told by a friend this would kill the truck on the highway and cause no spark. It was also fairly cheap and an easy replacement. Guilty as charged!
I have a pickup coil new but don't want to throw it at the problem, too, so I haven't yet.

Where do I go from here? Positively no spark. Remember this truck died on the highway at speed of 65-70 mph. It is a 3.9 v6 auto 4wd
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Old 05-02-2014, 09:09 PM   #2
Cheyenne Dave
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I believe this year truck is capable of self-diagnosis. I think you can cycle the ignition switch 3 times and then read the blinking ignition lamp on the instrument panel, like Morse Code. If you have a Haynes or Clilton manual for this truck, there is a decoding section which will help you interpret the flashes and perhaps help you diagnose the problem.

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Old 05-03-2014, 04:47 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply! I tried my obd2 scan tool and says unable to connect. Possible computer problem? I will try the key as you said, too. I have the Haynes manual for this truck if that works.
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:52 AM   #4
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A scan tool is way more advanced than my suggestion. Could be a computer issue. Perhaps others will offer other suggestions.

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1949 B-1 PW (Gus)
1955 C-3 PW (Woodrow)
2001 Dodge 2500 (Dish...formerly Maney's Mopar)
1978 Suzuki GS1000EC (fulfills the need...the need for speed)
1954 Ford 860 tractor
1966 Chrysler LS 16 sailboat (as yet un-named)
UVA UVAM VIVENDO VARIA FITS
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Old 05-07-2014, 08:53 PM   #5
chewie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 78clubcab View Post
Thanks for the reply! I tried my obd2 scan tool and says unable to connect. Possible computer problem? I will try the key as you said, too. I have the Haynes manual for this truck if that works.
Scan II tool might be too new for your model. The key switch/flashing light has been reliable enough for me.
Same thing happened to my 93 Dak. I replaced the coil. No fire. Did the cap/rotor/wires next. Fired right up.
Ran fine after that until my brake lines rusted through and I put my foot through the floorboard trying to stop...!
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Old 05-08-2014, 06:47 PM   #6
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Got it started today. The battery was getting weak so I put a charger on it Monday and noticed the coil power lead was unplugged when I took the battery charger off. I thought about how it had been raining on and off when I changed out the crank position sensor and how I had unplugged the coil lead to test for power. I wondered because of the rain if I had been in a hurry with the crank sensor and not plugged the coil in. I plugged in the coil and also gave a spray of gas down the airhorn just in case it might be fuel related. Put air cleaner assembly back on, hit the key and it was running just fine! Road test went fine as well, but I am going to test the old crank sensor with a multimeter . I think there is a way to do that. Then I will know for sure it was the crank sensor.
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Old 05-19-2014, 06:55 PM   #7
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Update: I must have had the coil plugged in originally. Took the truck for a drive in the rain and didn't make it far before I turned around for home. It began to buck. I took it home and it stalled in the drive and wouldn't restart. The next morning it fired right up, though. I sprayed the distributor cap and wires with a spray bottle but truck still seemed to run fine. Then I sprayed and area of the wiring harness behind the battery but the relay box and the truck began to miss and stalled. I thought gotcha!. I then took covering off wiring harness and all looked fine. I checked all splices and all had power on both sides. Cap and rotor were extremely worn and wires were OK but not great so I replaced everything. Still no start. Spark issue persists! I think that given a week to dry out it will restart. It was raining the day it originally died so I think it is wiring harness related although it got a good tuneup in the process. The famous Dakota splice has been taken apart and redone as well. I'll try to keep you updated in case someone else should ever run into this! Time to walk away and think for now.......
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Old 06-23-2014, 06:52 PM   #8
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Looks like I may finally have the problem fixed. A good friend an excellent mechanic did some diagnostics and it is looking like the main computer is shorting out. It is just killing everything, like ASD relay, fuel pump relay, ignition, all of it! New computer on the way!
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Old 10-21-2014, 06:01 AM   #9
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OK, I know its been awhile, but truck is finally fixed! It turned out not to be the computer, but instead the cam position sensor. It has been running perfect for 2 months now. The cam sensor should have tripped the check engine light, but for some reason it shorted so badly it took the whole truck electrical system with it. A good friend and excellent SAE mechanic found this out by plugging in a diagnostic computer that at first said it was connected to the vehicle but could not read the computer. When the cam sensor was unplugged, the scan tool could read the computer, and the rest of the truck came to life by the fuel pump priming and ASD relay, and ignition relay all now had power. I just wanted to post this because after further research, the cam sensor's are known to do this on 1st generation trucks. Hope nthis can help someone!
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