1998 Dodge Dakota CONNECTION

Tiny
JEANNIEP52
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 DODGE DAKOTA
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 95,000 MILES
My mechanic has figured out that the connection to the computer that is on the passenger side next to air filter has a connection problem causing engine to cut off while driving and /or trouble getting it to start. If you jiggle it the engine will cut off. Dealer says you can't get a new connection in one piece like a you would for your home computer cable with all the liittle points, you have to wire each point. Sorry if this doesn't make sense, but I don't know how else to decribe it.I can't believe Dodge doesn't have new plug -ins, Any ideas?
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Friday, February 27th, 2009 AT 7:58 AM

2 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi:
this is true, but I'm sure not everything needs replaced. There is most likely one or two of the wires to the fuel pump or ignition that is causing the problem due to corrosion or just being loose. I would start by identifying where the exact problem is coming from and repairing that. Also, I want you to try a test. Hold the harness still where it attaches to the computer and wiggle the harness. Within the harness itself, there are splices which corrode and loose contact. It could be as simple as resodering a splice. Try that and see if it kills the engine. If it does, I would cut the harness open and check for splices that are corroded.

Let me know what you find.

Joe
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Friday, February 27th, 2009 AT 6:47 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Jacobandnickolas gave a dandy answer, but I can't help sticking my nose in here. We had a '97 Dakota donated by Chrysler to my school. I built a bunch of bugs into it for my Electrical students to troubleshoot. One thing I absolutely did not allow was piercing insulation on wires to take voltage readings. After doing that, the wires will corrode and cause an open or intermittent circuit.

At one point I wanted to replace a bunch of wires that had been pierced. I also wanted to keep the same colored wires. If you need to replace just one or two terminals, you can get replacement terminals from the dealer, but I'll share my warning in a second.

I went to a junkyard and found connectors from another Dakota. You should look for a truck with the same size engine and the same year. Two of the three plugs have different wires depending on 4, 6, or 8-cylinder engine. I took a foot of wire with each plug intending to splice the wires and tape up the harness to hide my repair. That's what I recommend you do. Since the wires were different in my plugs, I took the connectors apart intending on just plucking in a few of the terminals and splicing a few wires. What I ended up with though was an insane nightmare!

When you take out the locking wedge and pull the connector apart, there is nothing holding the pins straight like you would expect. It is impossible to put the connector back together because you have to guide up to 20 pins into place at once. After a couple of hours, I figured out how to do it. I fed 20 2" long pieces of mechanic's wire through the connector body, and put one into each terminal. When I tried to put the connector pieces together, I played acupuncturist with those pieces of wire to guide the terminals in one at a time! Lots of frustration.

I'd look for corroded splices first. There are a few about a foot away from the computer, closer to the headlight. Look at the pins in the computer too for corrosion. The terminals in the connectors are very small and the plastic body has holes that are also very small so it would be hard for someone to stick something in there to make tests. If, however, someone forced, let's say, a paper clip into a terminal, it could have spread the terminal making it bigger in diameter and causing intermittent contact. An enlarged hole in the connector housing would be a giveaway of which terminal to check. Also be sure the mounting bolts for the computer are tight. Some computers rely on the mechanical ground for high-current items like injectors and coils. If there are only light sensor ground wires in the connectors, the pulses of high current can disrupt the sensor signals confusing the computer.

Caradiodoc
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Thursday, March 19th, 2009 AT 8:47 PM

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