truck wont start? kinda long story


Asked by Jan 10, 2011 at 04:04 PM about the Dodge Ram 1500

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

so the past few days i have been watching a friends house while he is in AZ, this morning (1/10/11) i went out to start my truck and let er warm up before i had to go check on things, it started kinda slow, i knew it was cold out, but never had a problem last winter even when it would sit for a week at a time, any way, it idled for a couple seconds and then died, so i tried and tried and tried to get it to start again, is there something i should check? maybe i need to get a heater for it? it has done it twice to me since the day after x-mas, and i was in texas the first time, that day i bought new plug wires, a new air filter, re-gapped the plugs, checked the oil, and after that all was done it fired up, got home from TX a few days after, next morning after getting home, needed to move my truck, wouldnt start again, so i changed the coil, checked all my wires, fuses. after an hour of messin and cranking i finally got it start, this morning i was in a hurry so i just borrowed moms car. ive noticed after a few complete "rotations" of the motor it would act like it wanted to start then nothing then it repeated that process, what should i look for? ive got a new fuel pump, ive been using additives regularly, it even drove just fine yesterday all day, new coil, new plug wires, new filter, good fuel, full tank, awesome cranking power, but no spark half the time, is it really that cold out? any way sorry for the biography, any help is greatly appreciated

6 Answers


So I assume the battery and alternator are in good working order? I dont know the year of your truck but since everything is electrical having the right amount of voltage can really affect things like your ECM, PCM, the PWM of your injectors, and etc.. Also since basically the things that start your car are: air, fuel, and spark (crankshaft and camshaft position sensors can cause probs too) , you might want to check your fuel. IT seems you did a lot with the spark so you could check the fuel line pressure to make sure your fuel pump is up to spec or testing your injectors to see if they need replacing. I am by no means a mechanic or mechanical engineer (I have a electrical engineering degree) but here are the things you can check: 1) make sure you battery and alternator are working properly and have good voltage 2) check all grounds to the electrical stuff to make sure they are good and tight 3) check for battery off current and make sure its not too high (the amount of current that is being drained when the key is off) 4) spray the hell out of your trottle body or carb with cleaner 5) clean all your sensors if applicable (IAT, MAF, etc) 6) check your fuel pressure and injectors even though these may or may not apply to your car they are good maintenance and i look for these all the times. i am sure there are a lot of guys on here that know more than me and can expand on this but i hope this helps in any way! -dave

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ok, thanks dave, guess i should have told you its a 96, my bad. and the odd thing about it is, it does not do this often, only 3 times since x-mas, for lack of a better use in words," its like my truck is throwing a fit" i know things are starting to get worn out, its got around 230,000+ miles on the everything, ive never replaced anything except tires oil and gas, ive never used starting fluid, though very tempting these past couple times, i dont want to have to replace something because of it, like i said, it ran great just the other day, started up everytime like is supposed, and since you mentioned the position sensors im wondering if that might be the case, my aunt has the same problem on her truck, oil gets on it and it cant read anything, but i have the truck on the battery charger right now, kinda drained the batteries last nite and thanks again for the advice


also it was starting and ran just fine the night before, i have messed with a cople things this afternoon, its far tooo cold out to do much right now, but i noticed, (im correct) where the crank P.S. is, where the wires plug into it, it is soaked in oil, i havent pulled the sensor yet, but what could be causing it to be getting covered in motor oil? ive never had the valve covers off, so they should be tight? i also dont want to have to pull a bunch of stuff out of my way to change the sensor. luckily i have a 3" body lift so its somewhat easy to get to and see, i have been told that (with my aunts dodge) her sensor just gets some oil on it and it cant read, so all my incle has to do is pull the sensorand clean it and everythings ok, i am hoping that is all my proble is. another thing i should tell you about a month ago my ignition fell apart (the little notch at the back that turns the ignition itself) so i, as a dumb pissed off kid, i ripped my ignition apart and have just been using a leatherman to start the truck, it has been that way for quite some time, after the second time of my truck not starting, i removed some plastic on the column, where there is a bunch more contacts that are connected to the ignition switch, does this or can this have an effect on starting? maybe somethings not contacting? or is it more likely to do with a possible dirty/worn out C.P.S

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Well now that you say it has that many miles, you know it can be almost anything. Everything has a mechanical shelf life and wears down after a long life. Things start to get out of spec and things just don't seem to operate like they do. The C.P.S. could actually be the problem if it is covered in oil and the o-ring that keeps the junk out has worn there may be some seepage in it. Another thing (the one i would probably most look at first) would be your ignition switch. If it feel apart then it may not be making contact with. If your starter is turning and cranking the engine then the ignition switch is doing its job. I wonder with that many miles how dirty the valves might be. When it starts and if it runs good and doesnt miss then I probably wouldn't suspect the valves. Does all your battery and ground connections have good, clean, rust free connections? Finding problems like this can be tricky little ba$tards - you have to take it step by step and start eliminating possibilities. I usually start with the easiest and cheapest thing first. If if were you, I would probably take off the C.P.S. and clean it real good and see how that works out. I hope that fixes the problem.


thanks, i dont think the valves would be the problem, the motor runs fine when its actually running, i mean i drove it from northern C.O. to Austin T.X. with out one problem other then the buying gas part lol all my connections from the battery to block and the fuse box are all new, so they should be good and clean, obviously my truck is a half ton and not a cummins but a while ago i installed another battery just because winter was getting closer and i wanted to be able to have a little more cranking power than normal since this winter has been kinda strange and hopefully the weather will stay nice for a day or 2 and i can get the truck fixed im gettin tired of driving my moms car lol THANKS!!!!


ok so i got my truck started today, wanna know what was wrong? so do i lol, well it started with my dad getting pissed of at our banker this morning, and when hes mad i get yelled at for stupid shit, well he mentioned something bout me just giving up on my truck, and i was already pissed off from earlier, so i decided to mess a few things since today was a nice day, i cleaned out my throttle body and intake, checked all the wiring harness connections, pulled something off that i have no idea what is, put it back, and nothing changed, still couldnt start my truck, so i thought maybe its low on oil, checked it, wasnt bad but i added a half quart, well ten minutes later i checked it again and i was over full??? so i ended up changing my oil and then my truck started right up, not sure that it helped but im kinda pissed that it took me a week to get that figured out lol thanks for the advice though guys

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

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