Hard to start

Asked by Aug 03, 2014 at 11:49 AM about the 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 4 Dr ST Extended Cab LB

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Had a problem with a wire near firewall that let my truck know to engage the fuel pump.
thought i fixed it now 6 months later,  same problem again. Every garage is telling me its
my starter REPLACED IT. Not it. So my question is how do i fix the problem for good. I
love the truck but, i have a hard time getting it started when it is not hot......

11 Answers

1,185

It sounds to me like you have typical Dodge Truck issue. What happens is when it sits all the gas drains out of the fuel line. This is caused by the check ball in the fuel pump sticking because of varnish. Try this trick to confirm it. When cold turn the ignition on BUT DON'T START. Just turn all the way on so the fuel pump will run. Turn it off and do this a second and third time. On the third time after 5 seconds go ahead and try to start. I'll bet it fires right up. If it does then my hunch is correct and it's an easy fix. Run two bottles of fuel cleaner with each full tank of gas for the next three or four tanks. This usually gets the varnish off the check ball. Then every so often run a bottle through the gas to keep it clean. Continue to use the trick to get gas back in your fuel lines when the truck is cold. The fuel pump doesn't run while starting because of the draw the starter pulls. So you have to "fill" the fuel lines back up until you get the varnish cleaned off of the check ball.

23 of 23 people found this helpful.
1,185

I should add when you turn the ignition on to run the fuel pump leave it on for 5 seconds before turning off to repeat the cycle.

7 of 7 people found this helpful.
110

I did the trick with the starter.. sure enough it started right up.. hate to run gas cleaner thru though. that's gonna be expensive and I don't trust stuff like that... I wonder if I could install a check valve in line right after the gas tank?

4 of 4 people found this helpful.
110

well, I did not want to put a lot of that "cleaner" stuff in my gas tank because it can cause the gaskets and seals to soften up. so, I installed a $7 check valve on the gas line right after the gas tank and it did the trick. starts right up. :)

7 of 7 people found this helpful.
110

My dodge has the same problem. I have to hold the key down for 3-6 seconds when starting it up. It's not just when it's cold, it's at random times. I tried the what you told Stuart to do, but I still have to hold the key down for 3-6 seconds. My battery, starter, and alternator are all good. I changed out my ignition switch, and lock.

7 of 7 people found this helpful.
30

Donnell did you get it fixed and if so how? Mine just started this after noon after I got off work and cashed my check then I went and had the battery alternator and starter checked they said it's all good! What do I do

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
110

Is there a faint knocking sound coming from the driver side of your engine?

4 of 4 people found this helpful.
60

I have an 01 ram that has a hard start and a faint knocking from the drivers side of the engine for 6 months now. Its had a complete tune up & its not the battery or the starter. Any suggestions?

6 of 6 people found this helpful.
10

Knocking sound on driver side of mine and it doesn't start right off the bat anymore at all except i first time in morning time

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

My 2000 Ram 1500 was turning over but not starting after sitting for, I'm guessing, at least 3 or 4 days (possibly longer though). It would start after about the 4th or 5th try, but meanwhile, in the times trying to start it, it made a strange sound after shutting the key off, almost like it was trying to start, and smoke was coming out of the air cleaner. I noticed a bit of oil in there too. Anyway, it's at my local mechanic's, and I mentioned this idea about it being varnish on the check ball, and how to prove it, and also the idea of a check valve on the fuel line being the solution. He's going to try that. Hopefully that fixes it.

Well, he installed the check valve, and it helped some but didn't get rid of the problem, so now he's going to replace the fuel pump.

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