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Dodge Repair/1992 Dakota won't start


Hey there,
I have a 1992 Dodge Dakota 5.2L Automatic 2 wheel drive. I have been having trouble starting the truck. At first it would click when I turned the key and after a few times the truck would start up. Then after a few weeks of this, it started dying after driving it for about 15 minutes and didn't want to stay idling. I put some fuel injector cleaner in the gas tank and the stalling/not idling went away but I still have the problem of the truck not starting. And now it has been about 3 days and it will not start at all. When you turn the key, all it does is make a clicking noise. I bought a new starter, battery, distributor cap/rotor button, spark plugs, and wires. Should I replace the coil? I've seen these same problems other people are having on the internet but have not found a solution to this problem.
Do you have any idea what could be wrong? Could the starter be bad even though it is new?
I would appreciate any help you can give me in this matter.
Thank you,
Nancy Provencal

Hi Nancy,
First deal with the no starter motor problem. Open the hood and have a helper try to start it. Notice whether the click is loud (coming from the starter motor) or soft (coming from the starter relay (which is probably a small box mounted on the firewall or inner fender wall).
Let me know which and we'll go from there. In addition, check that the - post battery cables are firmly attached at their far ends (those are black cables and need to be attached firmly to both the engine and the body (there are 2 cables, at least). Also check the condition of the cable clamps/wires where they interconnect with one another at the battery as these could be corroded by battery acid and thus you aren't getting the full current that you need to operate the starter motor.
Did you do all the part installations that you described or was it a shop?
The dying off when coming to a stop/idling might likely be the exhaust gas recirculation valve which is cruddy and not closing to a full stop which it must do when you take your foot off the gas. On one of the exhaust manifolds you will see a small diameter pipe that branches off of the center part of the manifold and that pipe runs to the egr valve. See if you can find that and then I will describe what you need to do to correct that problem.
The other thing you can do is turn the ignition key: "on-off-on-off-on and leave on, doing that in 5 seconds or less elapsed time. Then watch the check engine light, which remains 'on', to see it begin to flash, pause, flash, etc. Count the number of flashes before each pause. The repeat to be sure the flash count is accurate. Tell me the counts in the order of appearance. There are engine 'fault' codes which may give us more clues about the dying off/non-starting.
Don't buy any more parts until we go the above.
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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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