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Dodge Repair/Engine shut down, restarts quickly


QUESTION: I have a 1999 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 w/ a 5.9L engine. I have replaced the fuel pump/filter, plugwires and plugs, distributor cap, rotor button and data pickup.

The truck stalls w/ warning, no check engine light and restarts immediately. What could be the cause of the stalling?

ANSWER: Hi Thomas,
Have you tried for fault codes using the ignition switch? Turn it "on-off-on-off-on and leave on" doing that in 5 seconds or less elapsed time. Then watch the odometer window of the speedo to see if the mileage reading is replaced by a 4-digit number preceded by a P. Let me know if so.
The other possible simple answer would be the ignition switch. Do you have excessively heavy weight on the key? That might cause an intermittent disconnect of the electric power to the engine control module.
Please read the PS (below) and respond to it.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: The information you provided was helpful, a little. The operation you suggested yielded no results. The odometer never changed.

During my drive home the truck stalled and wouldn't restart for 20 minutes. Any suggestions on where to start troubleshooting?

ANSWER: Hi Thomas,
Is the check engine light working (when you simply turn the key to "run" but don't try to start it?
I believe that the fault code readout is done as I described it, so try that again. And also watch the check engine light (which remains "on") when you do the key routine might start to flash, pause, flash, etc. If it does count the number of flashes before each pause and repeat the process to be sure of an accurate set of flash counts. Let me know if you get any readout either at the odometer or the check engine light.
The shut down for 20 minutes or so is symptomatic of an overheated camshaft or crankshaft position sensor, which then cools down and starts to work again. But we don't know for sure without a code, and we don't know which of those sensors is overheating. So you could try for a free fault code readout by a plug-in code reader and a nearby nationwide auto parts store, like Autozone, or you can pay about $40 for a shop to do the readout.
They will give you a four digit number. The 0320 is for the crank sensor, the 0340 is for the cam sensor being the fault. Other codes will tell us other items to consider.
Please locate the "Thank/Rate the expert" tab below and consider using it. Thanks,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Changed the fuel pump and resluts are the same. The truck shut down this morning for 10 seconds and restarted. Check engine light flashed but no fault code was displayed upon initating on-off-on-off-on sequence. Had vehicle diagnosed at Medias and they couldn't find a fault code. Had crankshaft and camshaft sensors checked, both are good. Last item to check is the ECM and that isn't a pleasant thought.

Hi Thomas,
With no fault codes, and until you can purposely cause it to shut down (shaking the ignition key, shaking various harnesses at the ignition switch, under hood, etc.) I have only one idea as to why this is happening spontaneously. At some point it will refuse to start and then you can go through the various circuits associated with the engine control and fuel supply to find which one is not working.
If the engine quits either when you step on the gas pedal to accelerate, or take your foot off the gas to slow down, then I do have one idea for you to check out: the exhaust gas recirculation valve. If that gets cruddy it can hang up ajar which leans out the mixture too much and the engine dies.
I don't have a '99 truck manual so I can't be sure about its exact design or location but here is my suggestion:
It is located at the far end of a small diameter pipe that branches off the exhaust manifold (usually the right side on a V-engine). If it has a round vacuum hose-operated top piece and a flange between that and the valve body proper then look inside the flange to see the valve stem. If you find it notice that it has a slot in the stem which you can use to move the stem back and forth with the tip of a screwdriver. Spray some WD-40 on the stem where it enters the body of the egr valve. Then move the stem back and forth to free up the action.
If the valve instead is totally enclosed then you would remove it and clean out the valve inside.
That is my best suggestion. If you would be so kind as to rate/nominate me for this answer I would be most appreciative.

Follow-up answer regarding your comment in the Rating:
I wonder what it is that you are seeking? I prefaced my suggestion to explain that while I do not have the '99 manual (which I understood to be the year of your truck) so I can't be certain of the exact location and type of egr that you have, I then went ahead to suggest what you should try to solve your problem because in my experience when you have an engine that dies unexpectedly but with no codes that the egr is one component that can cause this. What more can I do?

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Roland Finston


Get a 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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I have do-it-yourself experience (50+ years) and a library of 100 1982-2012 Chrysler factory shop manuals and 20 multi-manual Chrysler Corp. CD's.

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