1992 Dodge Dakota Intermittent Total Power Loss/stall

Tiny
DEK2014
  • MEMBER
  • 1992 DODGE DAKOTA
  • 134,000 MILES
I have a 1992 Dodge Dakota Sport v6 3.9 manual transmission with 134K miles. I am the original owner and the truck has been very well cared for over the years. The truck is intermittently losing all power/stalling. This happens at very low rpm (1,000-1,200) when turning RIGHT (sharpish) 90 degree turns. When this happens, the engine is warm, the clutch is partially depressed around the catch point, my foot is off the gas pedal, I am braking on and off, and moving the shifter from 3rd to neutral to 2nd to 1st. During this process, in the middle of the turn, I lose all power and the engine stalls/dies. Following these events, the truck can usually be restarted with some effort. To date, and in the following order the dealer has replaced 1.) Negative ground cable on the battery 2.) The AIS sensor with a full fuel system cleaning/throttle. 3nd time they replaced the fuel pump, and the fuel filter - gas gauge was working but now is stuck at 1/4. The 4th time back the ASD relay. 5th time back dealer says "we have run all the diagnostics, checked all grounds, wiggled all wire bundles" still cannot find anything wrong. They are able to recreate the stall once in a while. No codes are showing (OBD 1) - dealer feels the codes are being deleted when the truck loses power. Says it needs new PCM, maybe.

Couple of notes.

About 9 months ago I had a truck cap installed and the shop couldn't run the wire to the tail lights because it would blink. So they had to run the wire directly off the brake pedal brake switch in order to get it not to blink.

I have been using my aftermarket trailer hitch a lot recently to tow a U-Haul.

Dealer shook wire bundles and checked grounds but was not able to recreate stalling condition. So looks like it is NOT "the splice."

When I inquire about other sensors MAP, TPS, VSS, etc. Etc. The dealer tells me that it is not any of those things.

Please, please help me. I am really down on my luck right now. I have no money for a new (new or used) car, and this truck has a lot of miles left in her. On top of all this my father, who I was very close to just passed away.

Thank you.
Terry
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Monday, July 29th, 2013 AT 11:31 AM

18 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Terry,
First, I am very sorry to hear about your father. I lost mine 2 years ago and know how you feel.

Next, I have owned 2 1992 Dakota trucks and yes, you have a lot of miles left. I sold my last one at 270K. It is still going and is the same set up you have, V6 with a 5 speed.

I do agree that it is a sensor that is the issue here, but it is odd that it only stalls on right turns. I had a similar issue that took me some time to trace, but it would stall regardless of the direction I was going. The problem was as you mentioned, the MAP sensor. It would stop working for a second or two, kill the engine, and then it would start right back up. It drove me crazy! The only way I was able to diagnose it was using a live scanner and watching the different components reactions when I was actually driving it. By luck, I saw the signal from the MAP drop and the engine stalled.

That is food for thought. The MAP is on the front side of the throttle body and is held in by two torx T25 screws. Take the wiring off it, make sure it is not corroded, and give it a visual inspection. You won't be able to see how it is working, but there could be something simple happening.

If you have access to a live scanner (one that will show real time information) check that out and let me know what you find.

Joe
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Monday, July 29th, 2013 AT 12:40 PM
Tiny
DEK2014
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Thank you for the condolences Joe. When it rains it pours! Ugh! :(

Thank you also for your advice about the MAP sensor. I will try to get a look at it in a bit.

Do you know if Napa or Auto Zone sells or rents a live scanner?

Thank you for troubleshooting this with me.

I will post back within 24 hours if not sooner.

Best
Terry
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Monday, July 29th, 2013 AT 1:03 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
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Terry,

Your best bet to get tools would be Auto Zone. They are more likely to lend the tools you need. And yes, they do sell them.

I'll wait to hear from you.
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Monday, July 29th, 2013 AT 6:55 PM
Tiny
DEK2014
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Hi Joe,

Advanced Auto had the MAP sensor. Just finished installing it. The truck is starting up much better now. Also, I noticed that the truck has much more power when stepping on the gas now. Another thing, the tachometer seems to be reading more accurately and is steadier and not so shaky. Then I drove around the neighborhood stopping signs and making tight right turns. I noticed a big difference in how the truck was handling these transitions and no power loss/stalls. Seem liked my old truck before the problem. :) Yay!

Since it was an intermittent problem, I guess only time will tell.

Thank you so much.

Terry
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Monday, July 29th, 2013 AT 6:59 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Great! I hope it continues to run good. I'll be honest, Terry, I wish I still had mine. I loved that truck. I live in PA so I used it to plow my driveway (and basically everyone's that lives on my street) and it never gave me major problems. The MAP sensor was the only thing I did to it other than general maintenance. I sold it because the cab mounts were getting bad and I couldn't find new ones for it. If I would have found them, I would still be driving it. I see it around town once in a while even now. It has to have over 300K on it by this point.

The only problem I have seen with them is the frame. I don't know where you live, but here in PA, they put so much crap on the roads in the winter. It causes rust.

Please keep me in the loop if you have any other questions, and I hope you have good luck from this point.

Take care,
Joe
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Monday, July 29th, 2013 AT 7:24 PM
Tiny
DEK2014
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Hello Joe

Good news, so far the truck is running well - no power loss, no stalls. I am feeling pretty confident about the fix. Thank you so much for your help. :)

I have a related question I was hoping you would consider.

When the dealership installed the new fuel pump and fuel filter (in one of their attempts to fix the intermittent power loss problem) my gas gauge stopped working. Prior to this my gas gauge was bouncing around. Now after the new pump and fuel filter were installed the gauge is "stuck" at a little over 1/4 full. I refuel based upon the tripometer, but after spending over $600.00 alone on the second trip back to the dealer it would be nice if the thing worked. I have been researching here and at other forums on the net about "new fuel pump - gauge stuck" and have read so many things I am not sure where to start with this. And, I really do not want to go back to the dealer unless absolutely necessary.

Any thoughts?

Thank you
Terry
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Monday, August 5th, 2013 AT 4:04 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Terry,

Glad to hear it is running good for you. As far as the fuel gauge, the float that is attached to a rheostat is part of the fuel pump itself. Either they have it stuck on something when they installed it or the rheostat itself is bad.

Since you spent so much on the repair, I would have them make it right for you.

Let me know if I can help.
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Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 AT 7:40 PM
Tiny
DEK2014
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Oh crum. That's what I thought you were going to say. :)

You could help with this? Yes, that would be great.

Also, if it would be helpful, I could take a picture of how the pump sits in there now.
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Wednesday, August 7th, 2013 AT 4:29 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I don't have a pic, but the pump enters through the top of the fuel tank and sits vertical. I have always removed the bed to replace them. I just found it easier. Since you will need access to the pump assembly, either you will need to remove the bed or drop the tank. Neither is fun, but things always seem to break when the tank is dropped. As far as the bed, if I remember correctly, there are a total of 8 bolts that hold it on. If you have access to an impact wrench, it will make removing them much easier.

And yes, I would be glad to help.
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Wednesday, August 7th, 2013 AT 3:15 PM
Tiny
DEK2014
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The other day you recommended going back to the dealer.

Can you help with that? Tell them what is wrong? Advocate for me?
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Wednesday, August 7th, 2013 AT 3:27 PM
Tiny
DEK2014
  • MEMBER
Ok. I crawled back under the truck to take a picture. (Getting to old for this). Can you tell if it is situated correctly?

(I am on the drivers side. Camera is looking across the truck bed).

Is the pump even new do you think?

Thank you for all your time helping me with this.
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Thursday, August 8th, 2013 AT 6:59 AM
Tiny
DEK2014
  • MEMBER
Joe,

I don't think this is a new fuel pump. I am examined the pictures I took more closely. The ring of course would be reused but I think the top of the pump, around the rubber bushings - these bushing look quite dusty / dirty for supposedly being new.

I check both the body to frame bolts and the fuel strap bolts and do not see any indication these were disturbed.

I also checked fuel tank position in relation to the strap and unless they are perfect are lining up old rust spots, the tank straps do not appear disturbed.

This would explain why on the invoice on the line for the new fuel pump (cost of $231.99) they reused the new fuel FILTER part number.

Please advise.
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Thursday, August 8th, 2013 AT 8:32 AM
Tiny
DEK2014
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Called dealership. They are arguing with me big time. They are saying the pump is new (they are now admitting they might have stuck a reman in there - without my permission. I prefer to use MOPAR DODGE parts especially with something like the pump) and that the tank was dropped to get access. They would have to troubleshoot the gauge problem. Not the pump (blah blah blah) we'd have to look at it (blah blah blah). More $$$
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Thursday, August 8th, 2013 AT 8:59 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Are they willing to look at it free of charge? Also, many mechanics, as I do, remove the bed of the truck for access to the fuel tank. I find it is easier and faster. I know it doesn't sound like it, but it really is easier.

Let me know. As far as the pump, the fuel level gauge is part of it. Look at the pic I attached. You will see a thin steel arm on the side of the pump with a black float at the end. That is the part that determines how much fuel is in the tank. It floats to the level of the fuel. As far as the electronics of it, there is a simple rheostat that functions as a resister and sends different amounts of power to the gauge to show the level of fuel.

Let me know.

Joe
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Thursday, August 8th, 2013 AT 6:36 PM
Tiny
DEK2014
  • MEMBER
Bad news.

Drove truck today and loss of power/stalling problem came up again several times.

This time my foot was on gas and I was driving straight forward at 45-55 mph.

Truck starting bucking and jerking, and hesitating really bad then stopped and smoothed out.

Then it starting bucking and jerking and hesitating again. This happened several times.

Any ideas about what I could do next?

Thank you.
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Friday, August 9th, 2013 AT 12:33 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Have you checked fuel pump pressure?R
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Friday, August 9th, 2013 AT 2:08 PM
Tiny
DEK2014
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Per dealer fuel tank was lowered to get to pump.

Fuel pressure 39

Today I replaced the TPS.
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Friday, August 9th, 2013 AT 6:03 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
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Has the TPS made any difference?
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Saturday, August 10th, 2013 AT 7:23 PM

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