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Dodge Repair/'96 Ram 360 ci: hard start/idle


QUESTION: I have a 1996 ram 2500 with a 360ci motor runs great been well taken care of started yesterday went to leave with my family hit the key truck starts fine put it in first to take off and when I pushed the gas pedal the rpms dropped and it tried to die I let off the gas it idled back up did fine I tried again same issue so I let it idle for a min and messed with the throttle finally after a few min I got it to idle up and let me take off once warmed up had no issues with it starting or running at all and this morning same problem but it was a little hard to get started changed fuel pump not to long ago but have no clue what my issue could be

I am thinking about a couple of possibilities. First is that there may be a fault code stored in the engine controller which should be accessible by the ignition key. Turn it "on-off-on-off-on and leave on" doing that in 5 seconds or less elapsed time. Then watch the check engine light on the dash, which remains 'on', to see it begin to flash, pause, flash, etc. Count the number of flashes before each pause. Then repeat the process to be sure of an accurate set of flash counts. The last two sets of flashes should be 5 in each, e.g. the code 55, which means the end of the code readout. Let me know the counts in the order of appearance and we'll go from there. If you only get the 55, then look at the following:
The other explanation for a difficult start and similar difficult ability to raise the rpm from idle is that you have a too lean mixture. One item that is not well monitored so may not produce a fault code is the exhaust gas recirculation (egr) valve. It can get gummed up and not close tightly via the internal spring-action which then lets exhaust gas into the manifold when you start/idle and that leans out the mixture too much. Find the valve on the narrow exhaust pipe which branches one of the exhaust manifolds (usually the one on the passenger side of the engine). It's body is mounted in that narrow exhaust pipe and it has a round top with a vacuum hose attached to that. Between the top and the body of the valve is a flange which has a rod running inside of it which connects the round top to the body. That rod is the valve stem and it has a circumferential slot in it which you can insert the tip of a screwdriver and thus move the stem back and forth. See if the internal spring-action closes the valve to a dead stop. If not, then spray some WD-40 on the stem where it enters the body and move the stem some more to loosen up the action so is closes on its own.
Let me know what your learn.
Please read the PS below and respond to it.

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QUESTION: Ok so on that my truck has not tripped any codes for check engine and i have tried the key on off and ots hard to tell if it has had any effect wont know till tomorrow morining when i go to leave as for the other valve you told me to look have not looked into that yet still waiting to see of the key trick did any good but with this why is it that as soon as my truck is warmed up it will run fine and great all day with no further problems untill the next day

I would think that the engine control module would have logged a fault code already if it is there to be noticed by it. So if all you got so far is a 55 then it is unlikely another day passing will result in a code. So I would encourage you to check out the egr valve as the cause now and if you see the check engine light appear on its own while the engine is running then that would be the time to do the key routine.
Thanks for the rating, nomination, and kind remarks.

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QUESTION: Ok so on the egr valve im having a hard time locating it and I've also had another person.tell me that a 96 ram 2500 does not have one but I've found them for sale so if you could help me clear this problem up it would be greatly appreciated cuz honestly I can not locate the darn thing to save my life plz and thank you sir

Hi Eli,
Check the sticker on the underside of the hood to see whether the sketch shows there to be an egr valve. If so or you don't have the sticker, then look carefully at each exhaust manifold. One of them will have a narrow diameter steel pipe which branches off sideways from the midline and runs directly to the valve. If there is no such pipe, then there is no egr valve on the engine. In that time frame it was hit or miss depending upon where the vehicle was first sold. Sorry that I don't have a manual for that engine/year.
I hope this help. Feel free to give another rating and 'nomination' if you believe I deserve that.

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Roland Finston


Free fast answer to your repair question about a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth car, minivan, SUV, or truck. Problems with electronically controlled engines and transmissions as well as body wiring problems are my specialty. This free troubleshoot advice forum helps you diagnose faults, minimize repair costs or do-it-yourself.

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