Mechanics

SPUTTERS COUGHS RANDOMLY

1992 Dodge Dakota

Engine Performance problem
1992 Dodge Dakota V8 Four Wheel Drive Automatic

engine sputters and coughs. Idles smooth no misses. Runs strong no coughs when mashed to the floor. Only jerks and sputters at cruising speed and low acceleration. Can be acellerated out of only to return immediatley after leveling off. Has recently had trouble idleing but sometimes fine. Has recently had computer replaced new injectors changed tps new crank sensor new plugs wires etc pluggs seemed to show lean burn. Have not yet checked fuel pressure but seems strong running when gassed, yet feels more fuel related than ignition by the way it spits and sputters. Was leaning toward o2sensor next. Getting costly. Need direction
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Liv2ride
February 9, 2009.



I had a simular issue especialy durring cold or wet weather.
I would also be showing O2 sensor codes.
Wasted lots of money on new O2 sensors twice

This repair is seamless if done right.
Check the entire wiring harness from all fuel and air and smog typicaly a blue with orange tracer or blue with black tracer.
If fuel injected this will match the cold air sensor, fuel injector, and down stream O2 sensor/s.
Look for a small copper block abbout 1/8" x1/8" x1" usualy poorly connected, poorly insulated and tends to fray and gorund. Mine was located near the Engine Computer on the fender remove this block.

VERRY IMPORTANT
1 REMOVE AS LITTLE WIRE AS NECESSARY
2 I TWISTED AND SOLDERED THE WIRES TOGETHER
Don't be lazy at this phase
Soledring is important because you dont want this comming loose or sending fault codes.
Especialy if they plug your truck in for smog inspections.
You also want good conduction this one wire dose allot.
If this wire has a break you will have fault codes, still have the same or more problems or competely stall and need a tow.
Check continuity Before and After SHOULD HAVE NO CHANGE OR BE BETTER AFTERWARD
Seal the connection so it is weather tite.
No more check engine light, Havent replaced anymore O2 sensors since no coughing, sputer or stalling issues
My State requires Emisions testing and I have not had any problems when they plug it in.
Take your time and your repair should be seamless.

Tiny
Bob Wolf
Feb 9, 2009.
I actually went on this treasure hunt could not find what was described. Even had a other harness out of a vehicle I cut apart also. Mabey not on all vehicles. Check engine light is not on. When doing a code test it skips the start test shows 12 code the end test code. Begining to think bad computer.

Tiny
Liv2ride
Feb 14, 2009.
Hi, in response to your e-mail I can only say sounds like you have already replaced everything related to the SMEC. There are many things that could cause your problem are you sure you are not gettig a code 51 this is the oxygen sensor stuck or reading lean. If you know for sure the oxygen sensor is good then look for leaking vacum lines and check the fuel pump psi to make sure it is not the filter or pump. The thing is many things can cause the symptoms you have stated.
My son has a 92 Dodge Dakota Pickup I have been through the motor and replaced the fuel pump, water pump as well as the normal tune up stuff. I remember one thing right after I gave it to him for is 16th birthday he called me. Dad the truck won't start. I said does it crank and not start or does it not do anything? He said it will crank but won't start. I get there it starts right up I follow him home. A week or two later it does it again. This time it will not start for me either. I start checking things as he tries to start it. I noticed a small wire maybe a 10 or 8g. Wire fastened to the fender wall. It was very loose. I tightened it up and it started right up. Now the thing is on my print for this truck this wire is labled as the headlight ground. Not saying this will do anything for you but make sure to check it why your at it. He told me that right before it went dead that it ran rough he could barely keep it going he described it like you have. To be honest I just thought he was being a teenager looking for an excuse to get on it. He said if he stomped it, it would go pretty good. I am not sure when I replaced the fuel pump in relation to when that happened. It has been a few years. I truly think that the no start was due to the small ground wire. No, I know it is. I can take it off to day and it will not start. The thing is if it will cause a no start it can cause it to run rough. But I think the rough running may have been the fuel pump. Like I said there are many things that can cause the symptoms you have it can be fuel, electronic, wires or plugs. The thing is you need to start from today. Do not consider yesterday except to rule things out. Try to systematicaly trouble shoot the vehicle. Easier said than done I know.

Good Luck.

If you get some good codes let me know what you find. If not you may need to check some of the other areas. Sorry that is all I can offer based on your info.

Tiny
Thetoolman
Feb 14, 2009.
I just remember one other thing that may be your problem. Take off your Distirbutor cap and the #1 plug make sure you disconnect your coil. Get the engine up on TDC. Now make sure that the engine is on TDC right on 0. Then put a socket on the bolt that holds the Harmonic Balancer on turn the engine opposite of normal rotation make sure you watch your rotor button as soon as the button starts to move stop! Look down at the timing marks on the balancer if it has moved 6 degrees or more the timing chain and maybe gears need replacing. It is actually about a 1/2 inch deflection on the chain is considered worn. Also pull your distributor shaft out and check that. My sons was wore out. I have done a lot of work to his truck but I have not replaced the computer. Yet!

Tiny
Thetoolman
Feb 15, 2009.
Still no luck. Recently checked fuel pressure and it was fine. No check engine light and the only code flashed is 12 memory lost. I installed this low milage motor a year ago, problems started right away, with cutting out and jerks down the highway, now really misfires, and jerks hard. Crank sensor was new but mabey damaged when I put it in, but I dont think so. The rest of the ignition is new also, including halls and distributer. The computer has about 5,000 miles on it. Could low baterry and jumpstarting screw it up? Had a rough time starting first time. The whole thing puzzles me cause it really runs flawless and hard when mashed. For the most part idles fine but ocasionally dies at decelleration. Would taking it to a dealer and hooking it up tell me whats wrong or will I be paying them to find this needle in a haystack, the same as I.

Tiny
Liv2ride
Feb 18, 2009.
Sorry to hear your still having trouble. The thing is if you can afford to take it to a dealer? They are very qualified to fix your problem. But what will it cost?
I just think you should start over and check your firing order make sure all the wires are on good. Have you replaced the wires? It is starting to sound like it is in the firing?
Well yes the high amps that a dead battery causes can damage the computer. It really is not a good idea to jump start the newer vehicles. That doesn't mean that every jump start will damage every computer. But, the potential is there. It is recommended that your charge the battery with a charger of course circumstances don't always present itself. Thinking about what you've said though if I understand you have an issue with it mis-firing but if you continue to accelerate it actually smooths out and runs better. Is that right? If that is the case I keep thinking you need to check your plug wires. If you have to you can Ohm them out.

Tiny
Thetoolman
Feb 19, 2009.
Talked to dealer today, pretty much told me that hooking it up probably would be a waste of money if it isnt showing any trouble codes. When I first got my truck It had been to two dealerships put on monitors while beeing driven and couldnt find the bad computer. It ran then but would mysteriously die and not start. So I got it cheap not knowing what I was getting into. I went through ignition first distributer and halls, coil crank sensor wire plugs, etc.
Finally spent $160 and put a reman computer in. Fixed all problems. Then tranny hung a valve, tore it out rebuilt and put it back in. Then spun a bearing all within 6,000 miles no joke. This was a rust free body with 110, 00 miles on it. Found a true low mile 318 replacement but had sat for years. Installed with all new parts, Ignition from other motor. Had trouble starting resulting in low battery charging and jumping
Finaly got it started and ran pretty good except for a cut out that progressively turned into my problem now. Used as a grass hauler for last year hoping to figure it out. Have since rechecked ignition another new set of wires plugs cap roter, new tps, new o2 sensor, new fuel filter and new injectors. Ive also had the harness torn apart twice looking for a wiring problem. I getting more convinced I need to buy its 2nd computer, that I messed it up getting this motor started. It doesnt miss when it idles but if you give it gas and let off fast it can die, checked all vacuum lines, rpms do not drop when you stomp on the brake. Does not miss a beat for as long as you hold it to the floor down the highway. Really honestly runs awesome till you try to level off, then jerks the whole truck it cuts out so bad. At low speeds if I hold gas in one position it runs like its 180 off cant tell if its intake or exhaust backfire but feels and sounds like both. You can acellerate out of its problem everytime instantly. Anyone want to buy a dodge lots of new parts cheap?

Tiny
Liv2ride
Feb 19, 2009.
Man you have been through the ringer on this one. Sorry to hear about your trouble it sounds like you are very knowledgable about the vehicle. I know this will sound like a stupid question but there really aren't any stupid questions. Was the original, motor a 5.2L (318) v8? If so the remanufactured computer is compatiable with the 318? By the way what form of spark advance does the vehicle have it should have the SMEC for the fuel injected models. It is fuel injection right? TBI or MPI? If so is this engine new enough that it had all the sensors? Like I said (may sound like a stupid?) But with all that you have been through has to be just missery. Another thing, was there any sensors on the transmission? How much do you want for it?LOL just kidding I know it is not funny at all just trying to bring a little cheer to an other wise depressing situation.

Tiny
Thetoolman
Feb 20, 2009.
Both motors were 318 multi port FI only difference by one year but one put in was out of a van so had to swap oil pan and pickup, and air conditioner bracket. It has the smec spark control.I didnt think of it till you said something but when I called to check availability of a computer, they mentioned different part numbers, but everything seemed to be the same from one to the other. Today Im going to remove catalytic converter, Drove today didnt mess up till warmed up, mabey partially plugged and wont set off light. Ill let you know how that works out, but Im kind of doubtful by now, It just dont seem restrictive.

Tiny
Liv2ride
Feb 20, 2009.
Well its loud, without any exhaust restriction, there is no mistaking the exhaust backfire. It really backfires like timing is way off. Pops, bangs, cuts out misses when you try to mildly gas it, but not when romped on. Goin to order a computer today. If it was in the motor, valvetrain, or timing chain I would have a more consistant problem right? It still runs without missing on the high end, and idling.

Tiny
Liv2ride
Feb 21, 2009.
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