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Dodge Repair/Ram 3500: starts then dies


QUESTION: Ram 3500 just stalled, won't start but turns over...leaking oil badly from oil pan...if I try and start it fires up but stalls within a few seconds

ANSWER: What is the year and the engine (L)?
Was the oil leak something new today, or has that been going on? What is the oil level shown on the dip stick?
Usually oil leak would not cause stalling unless you allow the oil to run down too low to maintain the lubrication of the engine, so unless that is the case it is a separate problem.
You might be able to get a hint by doing a fault code readout using the ignition key: "on-off-on-off-on and leave on" doing that in 5 seconds or less elapsed time.
Then if this is '96 or earlier vehicle watch the check engine light, which remains 'on', to see it flash, pause, flash, etc. Count the number of flashes before each pause. Then repeat the process to be sure of a good set of flash counts.
If this is a '97 or later then watch the odometer window to see if the mileage reading changes to show a 4-digit number preceded by a P.
Let me know either way what you learned and we'll go from there.
Does the truck have a anti-theft system, and have you dis-armed it? Try using the key in the door turning it locked/unlocked and also try the same thing on the passenger side because if the alarm is not disarmed that too will cause the engine to dies within a few seconds of starting.
Please answer all my questions.

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

QUESTION: Hey Roland, no loss of oil pressure, no lights pop up on the dash, it's a 1998 5.9 L gas engine 5 speed transmission. The odometer doesn't read any 4 digit numbers after the ignition "on - off"...and no anti-theft system or electronic locks/windows's all stock manual

Hi Andrew,
It appears that the fault codes can only be obtained by a code reader that plugs into a socket under the dash near the steering column. If you know someone who will lend you their reader that would be the way to get them. A basic reader costs around $50.
The other approaches would be to verify that you hear the fuel pump running when you first turn the key to the run position, but only for about a second or so. It should run again when you activate the starter motor but It may be difficult to hear it over the motor noise.
You could also pull the cap off a spark plug. Insert the tip of an insulated handle screwdriver so that the tip touches the contact inside the cap, then hold that assembly with the shaft of the screwdriver about 1/4" from the cylinder head and have a helper crank over the engine to verify that a spark jumps across the gap.
If you have fuel and spark, and still no start, then a code may tell us what else could be causing the no start situation.

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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.

I answer questions seven days a week and respond to you in about 30 minutes. "Maxed Out" means I am answering another question or asleep overnight so try again later.

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.

I was voted "Top expert" from 2010-2015 here at AllExperts, and have answered 20,000+ questions.


Five decades as a 'do-it-yourselfer' on domestic and imported cars

Yahoo Autos Group called The Chrysler Lebaron Club (co-moderator)

Degrees in Physics/bruised knuckles.

Awards and Honors
"Top expert" of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 here at Allexperts. Quickest "average response time" at Allexperts (currently no. 1).

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