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Dodge Repair/'94 Dakota: Stalling/no or difficult restart


QUESTION: I forgot to mention that there is no check engine light, and I checked for codes anyway, and there are no trouble codes stored.

ANSWER: Question:
I have a 1994 Dodge Dakota EXT cab with a 5.2L 5 speed trans. Late last week I started having a problem, sometimes it would stall for no apparent reason, and would restart fairly easily but by last Friday it was laboring at idle like the timing was way off, idling really rough, knocking like the timing was really off, little to no throttle response, then it would stall and be difficult to impossible to restart, after a few minutes it would usually restart and run for a while, and then would often do the same thing again.
I know that the cam position sensor, and the crank position sensor can cause an engine to shut down, and that they influence spark and fuel control and ignition timing, so I started with the cam sensor, inspected it  and went ahead and replaced it and the problem persisted, so I pulled and replaced the crank position sensor, when I found a long crack down the side of the old one, i thought "ok, I'll bet this is the problem", installed the new sensor, truck did ok for a little while, and then back to the same problem, returned the sensor thinking it must be defective, got another, a BWD part, but that didn't change anything, might go 7 or 8 miles and then the truck would shut down and leave me stranded. now i cant even drive it around the block before it fails, I am at a loss to understand what is going on or where to go next, is there something I am overlooking, or am I the unluckiest man in the world at getting defective parts? when she runs, she runs good, but only briefly, that leads me to believe that this is an electrical/electronic problem rather than a hard failure of the mechanical components. the truck does have 237,xxx miles, rums strong, has a minor rear main seal leak and i have to add a quart of oil about every 1,000 miles or so.

Also note, in the about 2 years i have had this truck, I have replaced Virtually every sensor on the engine, map sensor TPS, IAC, O2 sensor, fuel pump, cap, rotor, plug wires, plugs, and ign coil, sent off computer to SIA Electronics to be serviced. So, where should I look next? Any thoughts?

Answer: Hi Glenn,
There is one emission control component that can go wrong and which is not detected by any fault code approach. Specifically, the exhaust gas recirculation valve can get gummed up and not close tightly to a dead stop which then causes a too lean mixture and all the sorts of things that you describe. It is located at the far end of a narrow pipe which branches off the exhaust manifold (I'm not sure which side, so look at both) and it has an outlet pipe that goes into the intake manifold. It has a round top and between that and the main body of the valve there is a flange which partially conceals the valve's stem. The stem has a circumferential slot into which you can insert the tip of a screw driver to move it back and forth (against spring action which tries to close the valve).  Try spraying some WD-40 or similar solvent on the stem where it enters the body of the valve and then exercise it some more to assure that it is closing to a dead stop. See if that might solve your problem.

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

QUESTION: Hi Roland,
Checked the egr as you suggested and it appears to be working smoothly, as I said, I replaced it about 6 months ago, do you have any other thoughts on where else I might look? It seems like an electronic control problem, and it comes and goes. What puzzles me most is the fact that the ECM is not storing any codes, I am wondering if the ECM is malfunctioning...I just don't know...

Hi Glenn,
I assume that the check engine light does illuminate when you first turn the key to "run", and also that you are getting a 55 code after you do a code readout.
Otherwise, I don't have any other suggestion for a failure to sense a code. An ECM failure code would be a 53. I wish I knew of something else but do let me know when you find it.  It is difficult to know where to look without a fault code to work from.

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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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