Mechanics

WONT START

1984 Dodge Ram • 139 miles

Hi
i have this pickup that wont start, it started to act up yesterday I have had this truck for about 3 month no problems so untill yesterday
stoped for a sign, then when I started to go it acted like it wasnt getting no gas stalled, waited a bit started back up, then it did it again about a mile down the road, it dinnt quit this time, just ran rough, idled rough too.
got home checked the cap & rotary button, button was caked up with carbon sanded it off put it back on, carb was all junked up too used gumout on it found a plug fouled out changed it too ran good for the rest of the day, today wont even start acts like sounds like its not even hitting, wont start all its doing is flooding out the carb
i checked all of the plugs & wires all are ok, including the ones on the cap.
any ideas?
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Billjr59
October 8, 2013.




Have you checked to see if you're getting spark at the end of a spark plug wire? If not, the ignition coil is a good suspect. Also check the pickup coil in the distributor. If it is open, you'll only get a single spark from the distributor wire when you turn off the ignition switch. There won't be any spark while cranking the engine.

The first part of your description sounds like a plugged pickup screen in the gas tank, but then you'd see no gas from the carburetor.

Caradiodoc
Oct 8, 2013.
Dinnt think about that coil thing, but I will check that too
pickup coil is a new thing to me, I will check this as well, used to old school stuff, cap, button, points
as I have just found out they dont do points since about the 70s sometime or the other,
let you know what I find out

Tiny
Billjr59
Oct 8, 2013.
Hi
did what suggested wasnt that either considering its got a carberator I feel like its doing the same thing as a 1968 mustang I had which I could never get it right.
I feel like its shot, needs to be rebuilt I went got a new cap & button anyway, cause of the way they looked yesterday.
Before butting them on, I did a cheat a shot of starting fluid on it, fired right up dinnt miss a beat.
Let it run for about 30 minutes shut it off started it right back in 10 minutes, dinnt miss a beat.
I think its got trash in it by the way it is acting & past experinces from my mustang I had.
It was all gunked up looks better, I shot some more gum out in it did fine.
Might not be but at this point I think it is.
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Tiny
Billjr59
Oct 8, 2013.
I'm voting for the pickup screen in the gas tank. I had one plug up on a '78 LeBaron Wagon, an '80 Volare, and for the second time on my '88 Grand Caravan a couple of months ago. The symptoms are different on my van because it has fuel injection, but your description matches those of my first two cars. That screen collapses and blocks the fuel tube. When you let the truck sit for few minutes, the screen stretches out and will let fuel through again for a mile or two. Those screens used to cost three bucks. By now they might be five dollars.

Dodge was the first manufacturer to use electronic ignition in 1972. Chrysler and Plymouth used the same system in 1973. It was a very simple and reliable system that eliminated the breaker points and the changing ignition timing due to rubbing block wear on the breaker points. AMC had a version earlier but it still used breaker points to trigger the electronic module. They still had the rubbing block wear. We needed to get away from points because as the rubbing block wore down and the point gap changed, or the distributor shaft developed some play, those would cause ignition timing to change a very small amount but that caused slightly increased emissions. Our terribly intelligent politicians couldn't have that! GM and Ford came out with their versions around late '75 or '76. The GM HEI, (high energy ignition), system was also a very nice system but everything was built into the distributor. It was meant to be replaced as a complete assembly by people who didn't yet understand how to diagnose them. GM likes to build assemblies, and they can sell you the whole thing too. Chrysler's system is easy to diagnose, and you just replace the defective part, not the whole thing.

If you want to learn how electronic ignition systems work, get a copy of any '73 or newer Chrysler service manual for a circuit description. It is the easiest one to understand when they used the four or five-pin module. Chrysler was also the first to use a computer to vary ignition timing. A distributor will do that based on engine speed and load, but that's all. The "Lean Burn" computer was the industry's first attempt to adjust timing based on additional factors.

Caradiodoc
Oct 9, 2013.
Hi again
can you tell me what is involved in checking 1 of those screens, I have never messed with 1 of those, or ever heard of 1 till now, other words how do you go about looking at 1 of them
i know its getting gas to the carberator, I cleaned out the fuel filter had plenty of gas going to it, from the gas line, was clear & no junk came out
before all this started to happen it really sounded like it was struggling to get either air or gas, then it started what its been doing as of late.
I am just trying to keep it going as best as I can, for the rest of this month I got a guy wanting to trade a 1984 ranger xlt for it, he dont care what kind of running shape its in, I think hes wanting it for a work truck on the farm.
Which that what it was to begin with, it was a city goverment work truck, just a plain jane white nothing in it, except for ac/heat.
Any info would be helpful
thankx

Tiny
Billjr59
Oct 9, 2013.
Hi
this thing is making me nuts checked all of this stuff except for that screen you have mentioned in the gas tank, which I dont know about yet.
Its doing the samething it did yesterday I have been all day trying to get this thing to start, it just now did, without missing a beat.
For the past several days its been doing the same waiting untill this time of day & finally start,
last time today I tried to start it was around 11 am today its now 4 pm now.
I just dont get it

Tiny
Billjr59
Oct 9, 2013.
I have looked for this screen in the gas tank, this truck dont have 1 appently, I have looked all over & in it.
Also I have 1 of those haynes manuals what they have listed is either not on the truck or its totally backwards from what they have listed in the book.
I have searched for this screen in the book as well, no mention of it all, no pictures no nothing, I have looked from cover to cover, index included.

Tiny
Billjr59
Oct 9, 2013.
DO NOT TRADE THIS TRUCK FOR A RANGER! You will really be sorry. I can't think of anything I would want to own less. The twin I-beam front suspension is a disaster for tire wear. The Dodge has a much better and more reliable charging system, ignition system, and engine.

I too have never run across any mention of that screen anywhere except in the manufacturer's service manuals. Haynes and Chiltons just cover basic stuff. Professionals rarely use those books.

If you live in an area where '84 models are still a common sight on the road, any auto parts store is going to have those screens in stock. I put one on my '88 Grand Caravan daily driver a few months ago. That one was in stock, and mine is one of very few left in all of Wisconsin due to the unreasonable over-use of road salt.

You have to remove the pickup assembly from the gas tank. That has the sending unit on it too. The pickup is just a long metal tube that extends down to the bottom of the tank. The screen just slides onto the end of that tube. It's brass-colored, about an inch in diameter and about three inches long. You will likely find a picture of it if you search the auto parts stores web sites.

There's a potential way to cheat too, but you didn't hear this from me. You can remove the gas cap, unbolt the supply line going into the fuel pump, then blow compressed air into that line to blow the screen off the pipe. At that point you'll be relying solely on the fuel filter by the fuel pump to collect any debris, but on Chrysler products those rarely become plugged, even over the life of the vehicle. From what I've heard, this doesn't work all the time, but if you suspect that screen is plugged or collapsing, what do you have to lose by trying it?

Caradiodoc
Oct 10, 2013.
Hi
since yesterday its been running again
i think I got bad gas& it dont have smell it had either the idle is kinda rough I took it to several places yesterday did ok, ran it to a few places this moring, its idling rough, but its doing better
my nephew looked at it put some gas stuff in the gas finally started but did so real rough.
Its doing ok so far.

Tiny
Billjr59
Oct 11, 2013.

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