Highly unlikely it's the computer. GM has a ton of trouble with engine computers, but not Chrysler.
An incorrect reading from the MAP sensor will affect fuel metering, but as long as the incorrect readings are within normal limits, it won't set a diagnostic fault code. This can cause a gradual or smooth loss of power, but not a sudden cutout like turning off the ignition switch.
Based on the mileage, you might suspect a plugged pickup sock in the gas tank. They will actually cause a problem when the largest volume of fuel is pumped which is, are you ready for this?... When you're coasting. If it runs better when you're accelerating, suspect the sock, and have the tank steam cleaned. This happened on my 1988 Grand Caravan. Ran great on the highway.
Older Dakotas had trouble with worn bushings in the distributor. The shaft would wobble causing surging from changing timing. It usually didn't cut out completely because it only affected a few cylinders, depending on which way the shaft moved within the pickup coil.
The pickup coil can develop breaks in the wires from heat. Your timing is computer-controlled, but on older engines, the pickup coils were mounted on a movable plate. As the plate moved to change timing, the pickup coils would flex, leading to broken wires. When it moved just right, the engine would cut out instantly.
Try a MAP sensor first, and the engine computer last.
Wednesday, April 15th, 2009 AT 3:30 AM