1994 Dodge Ram Truck will not start

  • 1994 DODGE RAM
  • 5.2L
  • V8
  • 2WD
  • 180,000 MILES
Initially truck would occasionally die going from an idle operation to stepping on gas pedal, stall out. Replaced plugs, wires, rotor and cap, some minor vacuum hoses that were brittle. Took truck to be inspected at jiffy lube and they found EKG Valve stuck wide open. Replaced EKG. Passed inspection then about a week later, truck would not start. First it would start with a jump, lasted a couple independant starts, then would not start. Got truck jumped and took to a corner shop, they tested Battery, alternator and starter. Found each to be good. Of course, it started for them to send me on my way but then it would not start again.

Took battery to Firestone where it was ourchased 3 yrs prior, Replaced battery and started normally rest of this day but next day would not start. I looked up possible reasons, found possible parasitic drain. Disconnected battery negative terminal and used meter to find -11 to -12 volt drain, disappeared when I removed fuel pump fuse. It dropped to almost zero. I didn't know what to do with this info.

Called a friend and he came over, talked me into believing it was the starter, showed me wear on the teeth and I was like, OK. Replaced with new starter, started first few times, let run for about 15 minutes killed it and could not restart. Just click click click, like a fast tapping, no grinding sounds. Friend now wants to replace fly wheel, I said HOLD UP. While the cost is relatively cheap, I don't know if I agree with the diagnosis.

Please help.

Thank you, any info or direction is appreciated.

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Monday, December 7th, 2015 AT 12:52 PM

1 Reply

You need a new friend, at least as far as diagnosing truck problems. First, you have to be more specific in how you're measuring current drain, but the procedure is totally different than what worked decades ago. You may have to wait for up to 20 minutes for some computers to go to sleep mode. Also, current drain is measured in amps, not volts. If you're reading volts with the meter in series with the battery cable, you will get a 12 volt reading.

Second, be sure to describe exactly what is happening when the problem occurs. To say "doesn't start" can mean a lot of different things with different causes and different diagnostic steps. Your "click, click click" is what I need, and that tells me the battery is run down. This is definitely not a starter problem.

You can verify this by measuring the battery voltage. It will be 12.6 volts if it's good and fully-charged. If you find it's near 12.2 volts, it's good but discharged. That's where the jump-start will get you going. Once the engine is running, measure the battery voltage again. It must be between 13.75 and 14.75 volts. I bet you're going to find this is low, as in staying at 12.6 volts or less, but since a previous test found no problem, this is likely an intermittent problem and it wasn't acting up at the time the test was performed. When the problem acts up, you'll see the "Volts" gauge on the dash drop, the head lights will dim, and the heater fan will slow down.

By far the most common cause of an intermittently-dead charging system is worn brushes inside the alternator. I'll have you measure the two voltages on the two smaller wires on the back of the alternator when the problem is occurring. Based on those I'll be able to tell you if it's the brushes or something else. The brush assembly costs around nine bucks and is not overly-difficult to replace.
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Monday, December 7th, 2015 AT 2:49 PM

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