1996 Dodge Ram

Electrical problem
1996 Dodge Ram V8 Two Wheel Drive Automatic 344000 miles

Solution: Intermittent contace in Power Distribution box(+battery feed) & Short(Transmission solenoid Connector). TCC Solenoid Control and Solenoid Control frayed and open. Overdrive solenoid control wire bare. One solenoid control spliced to sensor ground.

Van came to a stop sign and shut off. Van later was driven on a dirt road with washboard sections. One washboard shut down the van. Weak spark. Van later started. Banged dashboard and van started. After 4 miles, hit another washboard section. Van dies, cranks, no start and no spark. PCM replaced. PCM code for bad injector circuit driver appears. All fuel injector resistance around 12 ohms at 20 C. Dead piston. Later hit some bumps and van almost dies, but restarts. Rebuilt PCM installed. Good for a week. Van stalls on freeway. Restarts, but later dies. Restarts again and dies on washboard dirt road. Squeezing fusible link would cause hood light to shut off. Fusible link cleaned of corrosion. Rebuilt PCM installed. Van starts, but almost dies on the way home. Dashboard taken apart and wires rewrapped including steering wheel. Wires on engine wraped with new tape. Coolant sensor replaced, Coolant gauge sensor replaced, IAC replaced, TPS replaced, new cap, new rotor, Crankshaft sensor replaced, distributor sensor replaced, MAPP sensor replaced. Vacuum leak from a bad hose was also sealed. Everything fine for over a week. Drove around on smooth road and dirt road. Had some coffee and later drove out of the parking lot and vehicle dies on smooth road. Vehicle restarts. Wires wrapped near oxygen sensors. Next day, vehicle runs fine for quick trip into town. I usually back up the van at my house. The vehicle front ends goes off the pavement and dies. Van pushed to its parking space. Check engine light flashes on and off including all the relays (clicking). Disconnect all the fuel injectors. There is a slight eeehhh very quiet noise from one fuel injector. Two days later, injectors reconnected and vehicle's check engine light flashes. I try to start vehicle, cranks, but no run. Oxygen sensor disconnected (front and rear). Van starts up, but dies. Gas pedal is pumped and van roars to life. After a few more minutes, van is able to idle. Oxygen sensors resistances around 5.1 ohms. Oxygen sensor voltages charge to around 4 volts when started, then decay to 0.9 volts within 2 minutes, voltages start to fluctuate between .1 V to .9 v. A step on the gas pedal causes the voltage to goto 1 V. Once in a while the voltage would drop to 0.06 V. When cold the Oxygen sensors read 0.06 V or 0.07 V. I was ready to take the vehicle for a ride when I thought the Power Distribution cover was loose. The vehicle was idling. I slap the cover to make sure the cover was on, then the van immediately died. Check engine light started to flash slowly, then died. After wrapping the wires and cleaning Power Distribution box, the van has no start, cranks, no check engine light, fuel pump stays on.

Wires near battery are being wrapped now. Relays resistances around 79 ohms. 9 volt battery activates relays. Relays okay. Some moisture inside wrapped wires near battery. With relays removed, check engine light comes on, but weak.

The van has 340,000 miles. Last year van's muffler van was replaced due to corrosion and crack. Will try starting van in a few days. In late spring of 2008, the air bag light came on and stayed on for almost an hour and later turned off. November, 2007, trailer lights were repaired by U-haul. June, 2008, rear fan disassembled to remove dust from fan blades.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Another website suggested a broken PDB bus, check battery feed cable and grounds.

Following recommendation these are the results:

PDB positive bus okay. PDB was cleaned of any corrosion. Positive battery cable that attaches to PDB insulation was creating one of two fulcrum points with the brass nut as the other fulcrum point. Only a small area of the hole attachment was touching the BUS. My guess is when a bump is hit the copper hole would decrease the conduction area to the bus and the van would lose power. I trimmed the insulation back, but the insulation further back was touching the PDB box again. I will try to find a copper washer to install between the positive battery cable and the PDB box. The negative cable attaching to the PDB box went to a 120 Amp fuse. Negative cable insulation also was trimmed back, but still a copper washer will be added. I am still wrapping wire and looking for a copper or brass washer.

I will also be changing all fuses in the PDB including the relays with OEM parts.

Blue Toothpick points to fulcrum point created by insulation. Spade partially touches buss. A vibration would decrease and increase the spade conduction area.

Spade only touches at one end.

Low Intermittent contact cooked my PCM from Autocomputerexchange.

Blue Toothpick points to trimmed insulation which catch on lip of copper bus where the other toothpick is. My solution is to use a strong washer to keep the spade insulation from catching on the lip.

Inserted Washer being pointed out by Blue Toothpick.

Rebuilt PCM installed. Vehicle had trouble starting and would attempt to start when the gas pedal was depressed. Fast clicking noise. Both oxygen sensors disconnected. Vehicle started. Maybe a bad fuel injector is leaking gas, bad oxygen sensors, or old spark plugs. Power distribution box slapped with the engine running. Vehicle remains running.

Spark plugs removed. Smelly gasoline on all spark plugs. I usually use STP, Walmart, or other fuel injector cleaner. This time I used Lucas Fuel Decarbonizer/Fuel Injector cleaner. The Lucas website says puts the blame on a mechanical problem. I will burn all the gas with the Lucas cleaner and dilute the rest without melting my catalytic converter. I will not install new oxygen sensors until the fuel system is clear of the Lucas fluid.

The van was started and allowed to warm up for around 15 minutes then shut off unexpectedly at rest. The clicking noise came back, but eventually the van restarted. Later I turned the engine off. I did some more research on the internet. According to this article, the problem could be the coil with a high voltage discharge into from the secondary system into the primary system which goes straight to the PCM. Will be buying a new coil.

Article on coil problems.;col1

A coil was purchased. Relays click and fuel pump spins while in run mode. ASD relay clicks a few times, followed by the other relays once. LED light for cruise control turns on and off along with ASD relay.

In start position, the vehicle almost starts. Engine cranks, but needs more gas. The engine started, before I installed the coil, but I slightly pulled on the engine harness wires next to fuel injector #7 and the vehicle died. The vehicle restarted later, but shut down the engine. Consulting service manuals and electrical diagrams to look for the short.

I started working on the wiring near the transmission underneath the van. I noticed the plastic connector had completely worn through on rear top of the automatic transmission. I removed the vehicle speed sensor located at the rear of the automatic transmission. I also removed the output shaft speed sensor located on the transmission next to the vehicle speed sensor. I tried starting the van. The van started. I shut the vehicle down and proceeded to wrap the wires near the rear of the automatic transmission. I wrapped with Super 33 3M electrical tape as it wraps very well in cold weather. I next wrapped with friction tape obtained from ACE hardware in the electrical section. I started the van again, but a light clicking noise was heard and the fuel pump did not shut off after a few seconds. I removed the vehicle speed sensor and the van started. I reconnected the vehicle speed sensor and the van started.

Yellow tape connected to engine harness that when shaken or touched would kill the van. Injector #7 is visible near the left yellow tape.

Crankshaft position sensor visible between engine block and automatice transmission just to right of center of picture.

Pointing to output shaft sensor. In center of picture is vehicle speed sensor. Rear oxygen sensor disconnected is also visible. Shaking wires in this area shuts down the van.

Might be neutrel sensor. Upper oxygen sensor not visible, but disconnected upper oxygen wire is visible. Main engine harness in just to the lower right of center of the picture.

I will check the wires above the catalytic convertor heat shield and the wires near the carbon canister.

11/5/08 The wires above the heat shield above the catalytic convertor leads to a black box underneath the driver seat which might be the air bag module. The wires to the carbon canister was actually a vacuum hose/fuel vapor return line. The Lucas oil was diluted but never drained from the gas tank.

The vehicle was started this morning. The wires near fuel injector #7 were shaken. Vehicle remained running. Wires were shaken underneath the van near the top of the middle of the automatice transmission. Both oxygen sensors were disconnected electrically. The van dies. A spark is heard.

Transmission solenoid assembly connector carefully removed. Clicking stops, and fuel pump turns on for a few seconds. An inspection of the solenoid assembly connector reveals exposed and frayed wiring at the base of the connector. Battery disconnected. Dodge does not sell the connector seperately from the solenoid assembly ($94).

A temporary solder and splice was done. The vehicle was started. After a short warmup the van would occasionally have exhaust pop. A test drive at 25 mph was done for 1 mile (okay). A drive to the store and the van would not go into overdrive. More exhaust popping. Van driven back and no melted wires.

Exhaust popping was due to crossed sparked plug wires. #2 and #4 were switched. Overdrive does not engage due to damaged solenoid assembly connector. Will try to splice solid copper wire into overdrive circuit. Van runs nice so far.

Circuit temporarily fixed and vehicle running.
September 27, 2008.

Hello all
I was not sure if I should quote this question, but my problem looks similar to this.

I have a 1996 3500 Dodge Van 5.2
If I am correct when I removed the solenoid connection wire, I find oil dripping from the end of it.
Can this cause the transmission to not shift after warm up? Also after running the Van the transmission seems hot to touch.
Fluid seems clean/red/correctly filled.
Any suggestions? The wire ends seem fine too.

Mar 21, 2009.
My first transmission failure occurred when I did not use Chrysler ATF Type 7176. The transmission failed whithin 1000 miles. First I lost the overdrive. After a few miles I spotted a plume of smoke from underneath the van. The tarnsmission was rebuilt.

The connector was covered in dirt and transmission oil. The broken wires were clean and wires soldered to their appropriate connection. Connector then heavily wrapped in friction and electrical tape. No problems so far.

I do not rebiuild transmissions, but let the experts handle it. I only changed the ATF fluid and filter.

Good luck

Mar 29, 2009.
Hi Vince
Thanks for the reply.
Are you saying you ended up rebuilding the transmission on this topic?
I did make a nice donation, but no reply from the mods. Maybe posting on your topic is not how to do it.
I will change the fluid/filter and see what happens.

Mar 29, 2009.
Hi Vince
Thanks for the reply.
Are you saying you ended up rebuilding the transmission on this topic?
I did make a nice donation, but no reply from the mods. Maybe posting on your topic is not how to do it.
I will change the fluid/filter and see what happens.[/Quote: 105610e59f]

The transmission was never rebuilt for this topic. The transmission failed around 2003. The local Cottman Transmission person did the job. He is now out of business. The recent failure in 11/2008 was frayed electrical wiring solenoid connector.

Mar 29, 2009.
Thanks for your consideration Vince

Whats up with putting have donated next to my name?

Anyone know why?

Mar 29, 2009.