11985 Dodge won't start when cold

Tiny
REDNECKOKIE
  • MEMBER
  • 1985 DODGE RAM
  • V8
  • 2WD
  • MANUAL
  • 175,000 MILES
I have a 1985 Dodge D250 2wd pickup. It won't start when the weather is cold, but will start right up when it reaches mid day around 50 degrees.
In the morning it will crank fast but never hits like it's going to start. I have tried starter fluid and priming it with gas and nothing seems to work. Around noon or so I go out, pump the peddle once and it fires right off.
The truck has also started running sluggish. It will 'buck' when you run down the road. It'll still get up to 50-60mph, though.
I thought it might be the coil but I'm not sure and don't have a lot of money to just start changing out parts on it.
Any help or suggestions would be great! Thanks!
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Monday, January 10th, 2011 AT 9:59 PM

10 Replies

Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
Is it fuel injected or carburetor?
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Monday, January 10th, 2011 AT 10:31 PM
Tiny
REDNECKOKIE
  • MEMBER
Forgot to add that. It's carburetor. Two barrel, I think. I did check that, the top is closed when I try to start the truck.
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Monday, January 10th, 2011 AT 10:53 PM
Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
Pull a couple of spark plugs and see if they are dark and wet or white and dry.
Test for spark using a spark tester and the plug end of the wire.
Let me know what you find.
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Monday, January 10th, 2011 AT 10:57 PM
Tiny
REDNECKOKIE
  • MEMBER
I will let you know. I have to work til friday and will do it then.
Thanks!
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Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 AT 5:26 AM
Tiny
REDNECKOKIE
  • MEMBER
Wrenchtech, pulled 3 plugs, all were dry and clean. Used the spark tester, spark was very weak and you could hardly see it. Replaced the coil and tried the spark tester again with the same result. It was in the 50's the past two day, truck started right up, this morning was in the 30's and no go.
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Sunday, January 16th, 2011 AT 6:03 PM
Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
That's pretty much why carburetors are obsolete now. You might want to consider installing an engine heater or using some starting fluid for real cold weather.
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Sunday, January 16th, 2011 AT 6:07 PM
Tiny
REDNECKOKIE
  • MEMBER
Any idea why the spark would be so weak? I changed the distributor cap and rotor about a year ago.
I've tried starting fluid and priming it with gas.
It seems the spark is just too weak to ignite the gas when it's cold.
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Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 AT 8:05 PM
Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
You may not have sufficient battery reserve for the colder weather. The starter will rob voltage from the coil when cranking. The ASD relay may be experiencing a voltage drop also.
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Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 AT 8:44 PM
Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
Correction on the relay. It doesn't have an ASD relay. The coil is powered by the starter relay during cranking and goes through a resister during run.
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Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 AT 8:49 PM
Tiny
REDNECKOKIE
  • MEMBER
They should be able to test the battery at Autozone, correct?
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Wednesday, January 19th, 2011 AT 5:37 AM

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