1998 Dodge Dakota Dodge Dakota sport mysteriously won't sta

  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • 106,000 MILES
I've got a 98 Dodge Dakota Sport V6 2 wheel drive that like to sporadically not start, or stay on.

What happens:
I turn the ignition, the car starts unusually quickly and then flutters for about 3 seconds then decides to shut off. The voltage is good, the battery is turning the engine, and if I am quick enough to get on the gas, the engine will rev no problem, but if I let off of the gas while in park, it shuts off.

This happened in April 07 and I got it towed to a dealer and they let it sit for 2 days and was magically cured, but it died in the middle of a turn while driving.

This time I fixed it, after trying to start it 3 times, the first time it fluttered and died. Second time, didn't even ignite, third time no better, so I thought I'd check the fluids, popped the hood, the transmission was just barely at minimum, so I put some more in, and it started. Rather weakly. But it started.

Sometimes, it'll be sluggish to start when it's wet out, or when it's under 1/4 tank of gasoline, putting fresh new gas in almost always seems to fix it. But not this time, I had to rev it to keep it from dying then jump straight into drive to get going.

I just had a leaking power steering pump replaced about 2 weeks ago. This car gets checked about every 6 months by a local mechanic my family trusts.
Do you
have the same problem?
Tuesday, January 27th, 2009 AT 5:19 PM

1 Reply

When I worked at a Dodge dealership, we were ALWAYS having problems with the IAC solenoid. Either the solenoid would go bad or it would get 'carboned' up and not allow air to enter the engine at idle. Most of the time, cleaning the throttle body would take care of it but occasionally the solenoid would have to be replaced. That sounds like what's happening. When you don't have the accelerator pressed, the 'butterfly' in the trottle body is completely closed. NO AIR can get by it. That's where the IAC solenoid comes in. It has a plunger that seats in a seat inside the throttle body. The PCM controls it based on various inputs from sensors. The PCM tells it how many 'steps' to be at so that there's just enough space between the plunger and the seat to allow just the right amount of air in to maintain a specified idle speed. If carbon is caked up on the plunger, that 'gap' is filled in and not enough air can get by to allow the engine to idle. That's why when you hold the gas pedal down some, the air gets in the engine around the throttle blade instead of going through the idle ports, therefore it stays running until you let off the gas. This solenoid can be removed from the throttle body and cleaned. If you do, be sure to clean inside the hole where it was removed from. If this doesn't help, repost and we'll try again.
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Tuesday, January 27th, 2009 AT 8:58 PM

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