My Bad

Tiny
DEVIN MARTIN
  • MEMBER
  • 1990 DODGE DAKOTA
  • 2WD
  • MANUAL
  • 180,000 MILES
I bought a 1990 Dodge Dakota 2.5 liter man trans 2w/d from a dirt bag off Craigslist, using what was left of my college scholarship money. I have no help and no funds. The fuel pump and filter are not in the fuel tank they are mounted under p/u and I was having minor trouble with hoses crimping and when uncrimped it seemed ok. All of a sudden it surged and died out to almost dying I revved engine sporadically and managed to keep it from dying and after it sat a bit I uncrimped hose lines and got it running enough to get it to my "friends" house as they were going to work on it for me. Mistake #2(after buying it) It started before I took it there and he removed a speaker wire that was under engine and run thru firewall to inside and electrical taped my mess of wiring harness together and claims that's all he did and it wouldn't fire anymore. I said UN-DO WHAT YOU DID then. Made sense to me. I am a female by the way. If it fired up b-4 u did what u did UN-DO IT !? Well he didn't and then he did some other module replacement then said It must be the brain! OMG, I called my tow co. And had it brought back 2 my place. Of course a couple idiots "Worked on it" 4 me and now I need a new wiring harness and distributor. I now own a parking lot ornament and despirately need it running. Please advise, I don't believe it's a big ugly serious problem but a bunch of little stuff, I, by the way, have refused all mechanics to touch it now and will probably have to do it myself. I am thinking it had to be the fuel pump/filter that was ghetto rigged underneath and now of course the problems my acquaintences have created. Please help! Thank You 4 your time, Devin Martin
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Monday, July 18th, 2011 AT 2:42 AM

15 Replies

Tiny
DEVIN MARTIN
  • MEMBER
I want to clarify, I am not calling out all mechanics, just the idiots that Thought they were mechanics, and maybe thas harsh too since they "tried" to help I just think if u have no clue why act like u do, it has only complicated my situation, but I don't want to seem un-appreciative. Anyway, I could really use some help. Thank You so much. :)
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Monday, July 18th, 2011 AT 2:49 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
First of all, being female means you're more willing to seek help, more willing to listen to sound advice, and more likely to do the job right. Out of nine years of teaching automotive, two of my best students were girls, and I had a bunch of good "kids".

I assume the engine cranks okay so that's a start. Do you know how to check for spark? If so, do that first.
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Monday, July 18th, 2011 AT 4:11 AM
Tiny
DEVIN MARTIN
  • MEMBER
I check for spark by pulling a plug wire right? Thank you for telling me about your students, that is encouraging. :) Could you list step by step what I need to do? This is going to take some time isn't it! I thank you more than you know.
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Monday, July 18th, 2011 AT 4:24 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Yup. Pull one spark plug wire off at the spark plug, and find a screwdriver to stick in that will make contact with the metal terminal inside. Lay that screwdriver near any metal part of the engine but not completely touching it. There needs to be about a 1/4" gap for the spark to jump so you can see it. You can either position it so you can see it from inside the truck, then turn the ignition switch yourself, or you can have a helper turn the switch while you watch from under the hood.

Crank the engine and watch for a spark jumping from the screwdriver to the engine, then holler back with the results.
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Monday, July 18th, 2011 AT 4:32 AM
Tiny
DEVIN MARTIN
  • MEMBER
I have been researching a free online repair video site and have learned a great deal already, I believe. At least I have an idea of order of procedure. Good thing my tags are good till 2013, It may take me that long to get thru this LOL! I thank You from the bottom of my heart for your instruction, I think I will do well with the repair info I have found. If not. It's off to the scrap yard. The sick thing about all of this is I had a nice SUV, I paid cash out the door for it and 6 mos ago it threw a spark plug thru engine and I crippled around in a toyota hooptie w bad tags until it was impounded, after my friends son worked on the spark plug I was really non op and had parked it alongside the curb in front of my apts one week on the street and in the middle of the night a hit and run driver totaled my SUV, T-boned it against the curb so hard that it cracked the rim on the psgr side front wheel and wrecked my 4w/d and frame, I don't know how they drove away. I had 300$ worth of parts into it at that point. Anyway, I can't believe someone else can wreck your vehicle like that and no one is held accountable, I of course switched ins. To the Hooptie(had to have some legality)It wasn't full cov. Anyhow. Well anyway. Builds character I s'pose! Thx again 4 your kindness.
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Monday, July 18th, 2011 AT 5:16 AM
Tiny
DEVIN MARTIN
  • MEMBER
Check compression
timing failure
observe camshaft rotation
test ignition output
test fuel system pressure
fuel pump control relay( Fuse box)
Somewhere close to on track right!
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Monday, July 18th, 2011 AT 5:20 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You can ignore some of the things on that list, at least for now. We need to figure out first if it has spark. If you do, that leaves out a real lot of stuff as the culprit, but if you don't have spark, some of the common causes will also cause the fuel pump to not turn on. That's a different problem for later. For now we'll assume that whatever was done by way of an aftermarket pump must have worked so we'll worry about cleaning that up later.

What state are you in?
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Monday, July 18th, 2011 AT 5:33 AM
Tiny
DEVIN MARTIN
  • MEMBER
I'm in Oregon. I can't even tell if I have spark due to the one guy that took my distributor apart w/o telling me he was and now I have missing parts to it, what he did w/it is a mystery and how to get in touch w/him is as well, my step brother is to thank for bringing that guy over when I wasn't home. I need to get ahold of some fundage to replace distributor and find out what the other guy did to my wiring harness, he had it out and labeled stuff, said he was going to get me a new one since that one was such a mess, and he hasn't been back. Go figure huh?
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Monday, July 18th, 2011 AT 5:42 AM
Tiny
DEVIN MARTIN
  • MEMBER
I do know when I made it to my"friends" house It ran getting there, I even stopped for beer at the store up the street and it started but after he "worked" on it he said he couldn't get it to fire. No spark, he couldn't figure out why, that's when I said undo what you did it had spark b-4 that. He wouldn't, he heard me he said yeah but I think its a modulator or the brain, I coulda slammed his fingers in the hood. Like when he wouldn't let me at the window of the hooptie when I locked my keys in, he said ok, ok let me try one more thing then you can do it, seconds later my glass was shattering all over his driveway, he didn't pay for the window but at least he put it in for me.
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Monday, July 18th, 2011 AT 5:53 AM
Tiny
DEVIN MARTIN
  • MEMBER
I need to do some domestics then lay me down to sleep, I will check for replies tomorrow, my eyes feel like they're gonna bleed and I have never typed so much in my life ! LOL Thank you, sleep sweet. Devin
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Monday, July 18th, 2011 AT 5:57 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Rats. There's a real nice chain of salvage yards between Indianapolis and southern Georgia / Alabama where you pay your buck, throw your tool box in one of their wheel barrows, and you can spend all day there. Parts are REAL inexpensive and the yards are very clean. I go to the one in Indianapolis and a few in Kentucky and Tennessee on parts runs once in a while. We have a couple like that opening up here in Wis. Now but our cars are always real rusty from road salt. You might check into that in your area. If you have to take something apart, you can sit there and experiment on their cars and trucks first before you attempt it on your own.

The first thing to do is get the distributor handled. A common failure item in them has been the "Hall Effect" pickup assembly. That is a round disc with three wires that sits right under the rotor and distributor cap. When it fails, or is missing, there will be no pulses from it going to the Engine Computer. More on that in a minute.

The ignition coil, injectors, (or the single or double injector inside the throttle body), the oxygen sensor heater, alternator field, and fuel pump or pump relay all get their power from the automatic shutdown (ASD) relay. The computer turns that relay on two times. The first is for one second when you turn on the ignition switch. Usually you can hear the fuel pump hum for that one second. The next time is whenever there is engine rotation, (cranking or running). The computer knows the engine is rotating by the presence of those pulses from the Hall Effect switch.

Once we get the distributor handled, I'm not sure what they did to the fuel pump but it sounds like it was a replacement for a dead in-tank pump. It might be easier to get a used tank from a salvage yard with the pump already in it. Otherwise, if we can't make your add-on pump work right, you're going to learn how to change a pump!

If you're really interested in learning more than just enough to get your wheels running, I have new, used, and old text books that need a good home, and I produced a lot of "Notes Pages" for my students so they didn't have to write feverishly in class. I had so much good stuff to say, there's no way they could keep up! Those probably wouldn't make a lot of sense right now, but if we get to that point, I think I can e-mail them to you as attachments. Everything is in MS Word. My specialty areas were Electrical, Suspension and Alignment, and Brakes. I also taught Engine Repair, but those first three where what I specialized in when I worked for a very nice Chrysler dealership.

Before I forget, clarify something about your distributor. Is it completely out of the engine or is it still bolted in but that pickup assembly is missing? If that's all that's missing, it shouldn't take much to handle the reassembly. Here's a photo from rockauto. Com of what the pickup looks like.
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Monday, July 18th, 2011 AT 6:21 AM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
Here's a distributor, I'm sure it's re-manufactured...even so, most of the time you get a lifetime warranty on a distributor from these guys. I've never had a problem with one, 'cept for several "Prestolite" Pre-1978 Jeep Distributors. They were a poor design and the teeny-weeny solid copper wires, leading into it, tend to break after vibrating awhile (even though they were tied up well).....even so, they honored the warranty.

I did get smart and switched over to a "Motorcraft" system, which was used in '79 models on up. The cool thing about it, was both distributors were the same price.....They came thru again, swapped out even, same warranty

Some think their parts are inferior, and the warranty is a scam...Not me!...Nearly all "Tear-up-able" items on my Jeep are covered now, Never a problem!

http://www.autozone.com/autozone/parts/Cardone-Reman-Distributor/1990-Dodge-Dakota-2WD/_/N-ignutZ93xku?counter=0&filterByKeyWord=distributor&fromString=search&itemIdentifier=768473_0_0_18012

Never messed with one like this, appears that it can only be installed right.....or 180 Degrees out.

If it "was working", and someone didn't snatch yours out, or snatch it out and re-install it wrong.........caradiodoc oughtta be able to talk you thru installation pretty EZ!

Thought I might throw you a inexpensive possibility, I think this one is complete....Just add a distributor cap!

I also wanted to get on board (be notified, when something is happening at this post) and watch Doc in action! He knows his stuff, and if you will "comply", he will get you on the road!.......He has assisted me many times!........fully knowing, that I have a screw loose some where!

The Medic
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Monday, July 18th, 2011 AT 6:45 AM
Tiny
DEVIN MARTIN
  • MEMBER
I believe it is still bolted, the center piece of it was broken or at least damaged, the parts guy said that you'd be doin yourself a favor to just replace the whole distr. We have those places of salvage here as well, I'm no stranger to pick and Pull! Been out there in the pouring down rain, well it is Oregon:)I studied Auto body repair some years ago, I liked that very well, until we repacked wheel bearings.I was just too young and assenine or (girly) to have that grease slapped into the palm of my hand but I could do my own I do know that! At least I learned it. I am clueless. Well, not really when it comes to the engine I, by the sound of it or malfunction, can usually tell a person what it needs but how to fix it or where to find it. Whole different ballgame. Odd isn't it, and I'm usually right about what went wrong. I read the instructions 7 dofferent times over before I figured out what to do about the fuel pump hose being crimped, but I was prepared to read it 20X if I had to, I got tired of ppl saying they were coming over to help and never did, maybe a blessing in disguise given the other help I got hehehe I'm gonna paint this lil truck tittie pink if I actually manage to pull this repair off, just so I'll feel like I'm really struttin my (mechanical) stuff so to speak! I gotta go to bed mister, I am so sleepy. TTYT!
Should we exchange e-mail addys? Can we do that on here? NI, NI
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Monday, July 18th, 2011 AT 7:01 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
For your truck problem, lets keep the conversation going here because people do searches and would like to find out what the fixes were. For text books, or any other stuff, you can contact me at caradiodoc@frontier. Com. Exchanging training information isn't what this forum is about, other than for someone's immediate problem of course, so we don't want to use up their resources for that kind of stuff.

We have an Auto Body class at one of my community college's satellite campuses. They have a real good teacher now. That is one thing I tried many years ago but just don't have the talent for. Two of my best friends own or used to own body shops and I have total admiration for their skill, but if I had any talent at all I'd be able to sing on key, play the simplest musical instrument or anything like that. Instead, I fix car radios for dealers, and build with wood and nails. Retired early so I have time to play yet.
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Monday, July 18th, 2011 AT 8:06 AM
Tiny
DEVIN MARTIN
  • MEMBER
Hello I just wanted to stop by to let you know I am trying to earn some money to get some parts, I will be back daily to check in w/you, I am so happy to have met you and CJ Medevac sure has a lot of faith in you. I won't let you down, I can do this with your help! Thank You! Devin
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Tuesday, July 19th, 2011 AT 10:39 PM

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