Truck will not start

Tiny
ROBERTD123
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 DODGE RAM
  • 5.9L
  • V8
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 165,000 MILES
My truck is the 1500. Okay, so for a little while I was driving my truck and I noticed that the oil pressure would randomly drop to zero but then would come back in less than two seconds. I planned on replacing the oil pressure sensor with the following paycheck. Before that paycheck hit, I was driving to work and my truck randomly started shaking violently. Initial symptoms were loss of steering, loss of accelerating power, and the oil pressure dropped to zero. I got the truck pulled over and turned off, started checking over the truck, checked the serpentine belt and all pulleys checked all fluids. All pulleys seemed fine and all fluids were topped off except for coolant in the reservoir but there was still coolant in the radiator(checked after engine was cooled). So I waited for a buddy to bring me some more coolant, topped off coolant with the thought of at least getting the truck back to my place and having him give me a ride to work With the coolant topped off I went to start the truck and it wouldn't start. Check engine light came on and my code reader, kept in glove box, showed a misfire in both cylinder 1 and 3. Truck got towed home.
Since then I have replaced all spark plugs, cables, ignition coil, distributor cap and rotor within, idle air controller, and oil pressure sensor. For the most part it still wont start. I was able to get it to kick over once but had to hit the gas pedal to get it to start and then it immediately died as soon as I took my foot of the gas. I can hear the fuel pump engage when the key is turned to on so I don't think its that. Also when I tried to kick it over after replacing the idle air controller and the oil pressure sensor. Me and my brother in law had a couple new symptoms arise. After a little bit of trying to get it to crank it would make a short pop/spark sound followed immediately by a short hiss. Once this happened I stopped trying to start the truck and we noticed that there is a small amount of thin white smoke/steam coming from the front of the engine between the water pump and the crankshaft. I plan on replacing the fuel injectors tomorrow morning when I have daylight to see. Not sure what next step after that would be or what would be causing the white smoke/steam to be coming from the base of the water pump. Any and all help/advice would be appreciated. Thank you for your time.
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Saturday, February 16th, 2019 AT 3:57 PM

33 Replies

Tiny
SCGRANTURISMO
  • EXPERT
Hello,

This sounds like it might be a timing issue. Just to make sure, you don't have oil sprayed all over under your truck?

Thanks,
Alex
2CarPros
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Saturday, February 16th, 2019 AT 5:20 PM
Tiny
ROBERTD123
  • MEMBER
No oil that I can see, however there is some kind of fluid around the base of the water pump and around the crank shaft. But not under the engine just around the front.
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Saturday, February 16th, 2019 AT 6:46 PM
Tiny
ROBERTD123
  • MEMBER
How would one fix a timing issue? The rotor in the distributor cap was only able to be attached one direction due to a kingpin built into it, and spark plugs are all in the correct firing order (triple checked those as I was installing).
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Saturday, February 16th, 2019 AT 6:50 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
He's referring to a jumped timing chain.

Don't waste your time looking at the injectors. Chrysler buys them from Bosch in flow-matched sets and problems are just about unheard of. Also, you know eight injectors aren't going to fail at the same time.

Hearing the fuel pump running for one second when you turn on the ignition switch is a dandy clue that it is okay. The things you need to be looking at are whether you have spark during cranking, and if not, is the automatic shutdown, ASD) relay turning on during cranking? Also read and record the diagnostic fault codes. Do you know how to do that yourself?

If the ASD relay is not turning on during cranking, the crankshaft position sensor and the camshaft position sensor are the best suspects. SCWICKEDSTANG should be able to help with those things. I'll be back tomorrow to see how you're doing.
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Saturday, February 16th, 2019 AT 7:30 PM
Tiny
ROBERTD123
  • MEMBER
I have the code scanner that I plugged in in order to find out that cylinder 1 and cylinder 3 were misfiring. And now it's not pulling anything after replacing the spark plugs.
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Saturday, February 16th, 2019 AT 7:38 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Codes get erased if memory power is lost to the Engine Computer, either from disconnecting it or from disconnecting the battery or running it dead. Codes related to the cam and crank sensors often do not set just from cranking the engine, so don't assume they are okay just because there are no codes.

You can double-check for codes in the Engine Computer by cycling the ignition switch from "off" to "run" three times within five seconds without cranking the engine, leave it in "run", then watch the code numbers appear in the odometer display. You can go here:

https://www.2carpros.com/trouble_codes/obd2/p0400

to see the definitions, or we can interpret them for you.

To see if the ASD relay is turning on, connect a test light to the dark green / orange wire at the ignition coil or any injector. You'll see it light up for one second when you turn on the ignition switch. What's important is if it turns back on during cranking. If it does not, and there are no related fault codes, you'll need a scanner to view the signals from those two sensors to see if they're showing up at the computer.
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Saturday, February 16th, 2019 AT 8:08 PM
Tiny
ROBERTD123
  • MEMBER
Odometer reads done after doing the key thing. So no codes are being pulled. Also upon getting it to start (1/10 tries it kicks over but shuts off) there was a thick cloud of white smoke from the exhaust, took a bit to dissipate have to run to store to get new circuit tester, dog decided to rip the cables out of my other one.
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Sunday, February 17th, 2019 AT 7:44 AM
Tiny
SCGRANTURISMO
  • EXPERT
Hello,

Okay, like Caradiodoc has said let's test the Ctankshaft Position Sensor. I have included a few links for you below. Please go through these guides and get back to us with what you find. I have also included vehicle specific directions for you in the diagrams below.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-a-crank-shaft-angle-sensor-works
https://www.2carpros.com/articles/symptoms-of-a-bad-crankshaft-sensor
https://www.2carpros.com/articles/crankshaft-angle-sensor-replacement

Thanks,
Alex
2CarPros
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Sunday, February 17th, 2019 AT 8:42 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Allow me to add a couple of comments of great value that might save some future frustration. Some of the older crankshaft position sensors, and on some engines, the camshaft position sensors not in the distributor, have a critical air gap that must be set. That is done with a thick paper spacer stuck on the end of it. That spacer slides off the first time the engine is cranked, but its job is done by then. A lot of aftermarket replacement sensors use a thin plastic rib molded onto the end to do that job. Those ribs wear away over time, so if you remove one of those and are going to reuse it later, such as after removing the transmission, you are supposed to cut off the remaining rib, then use a paper spacer. You can get those from any Chrysler parts department. This doesn't apply to your truck specifically as its sensor uses a different style mounting bracket.

The instructions for this model year show eight notches in the ring around the flywheel that are detected by the crank sensor. Those notches can be very different one model year newer or older. Some V-6 engines use three notches, three notches, then four notches. Those engines usually have to crank a little longer for the group of four notches to be seen before the engine starts. That is how the computer knows which piston is coming to top dead center. Also, those engines will use an ignition coil pack where one coil feeds two spark plugs at the same time, one on the compression stroke, and the "waste spark" on the exhaust stroke. The point is when you replace an engine, always use the flywheel that is original to the truck. The Engine Computer won't turn the ASD relay on if it doesn't see the correct numbers of pulses coming from the crank sensor.

Testing these sensors is really difficult and imprecise unless you have an oscilloscope. If you're going to invest in test equipment, buy a nice used scanner instead. The Engine Computer will tell you, through the scanner, if it is receiving the sensors' signals, and they are correct. The best test you can do yourself is to measure that dark green / orange wire for 12 volts during cranking. If you have that, the sensors are working.
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Monday, February 18th, 2019 AT 6:23 PM
Tiny
ROBERTD123
  • MEMBER
Okay, also when I got the current tester I tested the connections to the fuel injectors, spark plugs, and the camshaft sensor. The camshaft sensor, and the fuel injectors did what you guys said where it lights initially when turned to on then stays on during cranking. The spark plug cables on the other hand never showed the light. So I then tested the cable going into the ignition coil and had the same light up routine as the other two but when connected back into the ignition coil and attached to the top prong where the cable that goes to the distributor cap connects I got no lights what-so-ever. Led me to believe faulty ignition coil so I took it back and replaced it as it was still under warranty. Installed that and it seems to be cranking better but wasn't able to test current with the tester, before having to leave for work. Won't be able to do that till Wednesday, next day off, when I also will be replacing the camshaft sensor and fuel injectors. I know you guys said it most likely won't be that but with how much gunk I pulled from the throttle body makes me think the previous owner never did any kind of upkeep other than oil changes. That and I already have them, so I might as well throw them in just in case. They may not be faulty but could also be gummed up to where they aren't spraying fuel properly. Just a thought, fingers crossed that it fires up after Wednesday, only have until the end if the month to get truck running before I lose my ride to work as my roommate will be moving out then.
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Monday, February 18th, 2019 AT 6:42 PM
Tiny
ROBERTD123
  • MEMBER
Will also be testing the crankshaft sensor for power if the other stuff doesn't get it to kick over, it seems like it's got more power now after the new ignition coil but it still doesn't kick over without the gas pedal and won't stay running once I remove my foot from the pedal.
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Monday, February 18th, 2019 AT 6:45 PM
Tiny
SCGRANTURISMO
  • EXPERT
Hello again,

If the engine kicks over and starts, then it's probably not your crankshaft position sensor. I have included a troubleshooting guide for your idle air control in the diagrams below. Please go through it at your earliest convenience and let us know what you find out.

Thanks,
Alex
2CarPros
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Monday, February 18th, 2019 AT 7:47 PM
Tiny
ROBERTD123
  • MEMBER
I replaced the idle air controller already.
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Monday, February 18th, 2019 AT 8:02 PM
Tiny
SCGRANTURISMO
  • EXPERT
Hello again,

Okay, but the truck starts when you crank it over, right?

Thanks,
Alex
2CarPros
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Monday, February 18th, 2019 AT 8:08 PM
Tiny
ROBERTD123
  • MEMBER
So long as I hit the gas it will start after a couple tries, but if I don't hit the gas it wont.
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Monday, February 18th, 2019 AT 9:29 PM
Tiny
SCGRANTURISMO
  • EXPERT
Hello again,

Okay I will wait to hear from your diagnostics on Wednesday, we will get this fixed then.

Thanks,
Alex
2CarPros
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Tuesday, February 19th, 2019 AT 9:31 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Hold on. You're going to add way too many variables that might also require additional troubleshooting. Take a step back for a moment. The engine is able to run, so you're done with the cam and crank sensors. They have to be working. You also verified with the test light that the ASD relay is turning on initially and during cranking. Everything is working up to that point.

Now, that doesn't mean the sensors can be overlooked completely. The crank sensor in particular is noted on all car brands for being intermittent, especially by becoming heat-sensitive. It is common for the engine to run fine until you stop for a short time, such as when stopping for gas, then the engine will not restart. During "hot soak", heat from the engine migrates up to the sensors causing them to fail, then they will work again after cooling down for about an hour. Given your initial description of the symptoms, keep this in mind if they start to occur again.

You misunderstood my procedure for using the test light in the ASD circuit. That has nothing to do with the spark plug wires. The pulse occurs much too briefly to make the test light's filament light up, and there's a good chance the bulb will burn out from being hit with 15,000 to 30,000 volts. The newer electronic test lights usually can't tolerate more than 50 - 100 volts without being destroyed.

Testing to see if the ASD relay is turning on can be done at numerous places. All of those places will have the same color wire. On most cars and light trucks that is a dark green / orange wire, but to know for sure, just look for the wire that is the same color at the ignition coil or coil pack, and any injector. Even if you try to use the wrong wire, you'll still find something close to 12 volts, but don't try that with a digital voltmeter. They respond too slowly, and they will be seriously confused by the pulsing voltages.

That same 12 volts can be measured with much more difficulty at any oxygen sensor heater wire, and on the two smaller field terminals on the back of the alternator. Only one gets 12 volts on the alternator, but until the engine is running, you can use the other terminal too. This is especially good to know because the two wires go through a black plastic block, so you can't know which wire goes to which terminal. If you use the wrong terminal, you'll still find close to 12 volts there if the ASD relay is turning on, as that voltage has to come from the other terminal, and through the field winding.

If you're going to spend lots of money on random parts to try, it would be a much better investment to buy a good used scanner so you can see what the Engine Computer is seeing in relation to those sensor signals. I have a Chrysler DRB3 for all of my vehicles. You can find these on eBay, and, with an extra plug-in card, these will do emissions-related work on all brands of cars sold in the U.S. Starting with '96 models, so a lot of independent shops bought them. The first year they became obsolete was on the '04 Dakota and Durango, and the last year they worked was on some '08 Jeep models. Because of that, many of these shop owners want to sell theirs to buy something newer, so it might pay to ask around at the local shops. Ask the guys who drive the tool trucks around town too. Any mechanic at any dealership can tell you when they come to their shop, usually once a week.

The DRB3 lists the cam and crank sensors with a "No" or "Present" to indicate if their signals are showing up during cranking. For intermittent stalling or back firing problems, you can watch the state of these signals during a test-drive to see if either one drops out momentarily. This scanner also has "record" capabilities. You press the "record" button when the problem occurs. Because the data passes through the scanner's memory, the recording actually starts a couple of seconds before you pressed the button. Later, you can play that back slowly and watch for what changed or if a sensor signal dropped out.

Another good scanner for this type of problem is the Snapon Solus Edge. The problem with these is they really get you on the cost of annual updates, and you can't skip any years. If you find one on eBay that is only updated through, say 2014, that is fine for your truck, but for a shop to be able to use it on customer cars, they would have to buy the 2015 update before they could buy the 2016 update, then the 2017 update, and the 2018 update. The cost of those updates exceeds the cost of a new scanner, so those that aren't already updated lose their value very quickly and become a really good deal for you. Some of these sell for less than $800.00.

I can't stress enough that all of the injectors did not fail at the same time, and I have never come across a bad one in a Chrysler product since I started at the dealership in the early '90s. By replacing them as a test, you run the risk of cutting an o-ring, breaking the fuel rail, or not getting the o-rings seated properly. If they got plugged with gunk, you have much bigger problems as that is not all that is going to be contaminated. The biggest culprit is mold growing in the fuel tank. It feeds on the ethanol in today's gas. That mold, along with other microscopic debris, will plug the pick-up screen on the bottom of the fuel pump housing, then the symptom will be stalling when the largest volume of fuel is being pumped, which is during coasting down from highway speed. Most people attack the fuel filter for that, but other than with diesel engines, you will never solve a running problem on a Chrysler product by replacing the fuel filter. They often last the life of the vehicle unless they rust out and start to leak. That plugged sock on the fuel pump's housing, on the other hand, is not that uncommon.

The biggest thing I saw in your last reply is the engine runs if you hold the accelerator pedal down a little. That is extremely common on all Chrysler products and has such a simple fix, most people aren't even aware it is taking place. This occurs when the battery is disconnected or run dead. The Engine Computer loses its memory. As soon as you reconnect the battery and start the engine, all of the sensor data and fuel trim numbers start to be rebuilt without you even noticing, except for "minimum throttle". The computer needs to know your foot is off the accelerator pedal, then it takes a reading from the throttle position sensor and puts that in memory. From then on, anytime it sees that same voltage, it knows it must be in control of idle speed. Until that takes place, the engine may not start unless you hold the accelerator pedal down 1/4", you won't get the nice idle flare-up to 1500 rpm at start-up, and it will tend to stall at stop signs. I often kill the battery in my minivan by running a power inverter to run my laptop. I carry a jumper pack with me, and every time I use it, I have to hold the accelerator pedal down to get the engine started, and I have to initiate the relearn of minimum throttle while driving home. Here's the procedure to make that take place:

Drive at highway speed with the engine warmed up, then coast for at least seven seconds without touching the pedals.

The battery doesn't have to be totally dead for the computer to lose its memory. Trying to crank the engine with a run-down battery can draw its voltage down low enough to cause the computer's memory loss.

Related to the low idle speed and other symptoms, you mentioned the automatic idle speed motor. That motor has an uncommonly low failure rate and rarely needs to be replaced. You can test its operation with the DRB3 by commanding the Engine Computer to run idle speed up to 2000 rpm, in 200 rpm increments. Failure to respond can be caused by minimum throttle hasn't been relearned yet, a wiring problem associated with the AIS motor, or the air passage around the throttle blade it controls is plugged with carbon. Wiring problems will be detected by the computer, and you will know it by the diagnostic fault code it set. Carbon problems occurred mostly on the 3.0L engines many years ago, but we don't see that any more with the better additives today in even the cheapest gas.

The scanner will also show the "AIS steps" the computer has placed the motor at. It can pulse it to one of 256 positions. As the armature turns slowly, it rotates a threaded rod with a pintle valve on the end. As the number of steps increase, that valve opens up a little more to let more air get passed the throttle valve. At the same time it pulses the injectors on for more milliseconds to add more fuel to go with that extra air. That's how it increases idle speed. With a properly-running engine, a typical AIS value is step 32. With one misfiring cylinder on a V-6 or V-8 engine, around step 50 is typical. If you find it is at step 0, minimum throttle hasn't been relearned yet.
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Tuesday, February 19th, 2019 AT 5:07 PM
Tiny
ROBERTD123
  • MEMBER
Progress made! I was able to get it to kick over again and while maintaining light pressure on the gas pedal for a little under a minute to keep the vehicle running (as stated before no pressure on gas and it shuts off) it finally popped a code P0203. If I am reading this right that means that either the PCM is faulty or there is something wrong with the cylinder three fuel injector. Either the injector itself or in its wiring. Correct?
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Wednesday, February 20th, 2019 AT 11:10 AM
Tiny
SCGRANTURISMO
  • EXPERT
Hello again,

I have included the factory troubleshooting for P0203 in the diagrams down below. Go through it and let us know what you find out.

Thanks
Alex
2CarPros
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Wednesday, February 20th, 2019 AT 11:44 AM
Tiny
ROBERTD123
  • MEMBER
Looking hopeful. Replaced fuel injector in cylinder three. Now when I go to start it it kicks over without needing my foot on the gas pedal. But doesn't stay running for long might be due to low battery so I'm going to charge my battery and try again fingers crossed that she stays running this time.
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Wednesday, February 20th, 2019 AT 2:51 PM

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