Rebuilt engine will not run

Tiny
JOEBLOW
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 DODGE DURANGO
  • 5.2L
  • V8
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 500 MILES
Will not run, rebuilt engine installed. Engine was spun tested for compression.
distributor: using shop manual, located TDC number one and dropped in distributor shaft per book, installed dist. Preformed TDC number one check to verify it was on firing stroke and rotor lines up with number one on cap. Checked four times.
taking my time is assembled the rest of the components. Will not start up. Checked Schrader valve on fuel rail and it is pressurized. Check for spark at plugs.
so, I have fire and fuel. Triple check all connections, firing order, plug wires etc.
it finally ran but I had the gas pedal floored. Even them it was a low idle and sounded gross. Barely running. Released gas pedal and it quit running.
i am clueless now.
PS. This is seconded rebuilt engine I have done. Other engines were 3.7 V6 jeep, 350 Chevrolet, and four cylinder Pontiac.
so, not a stranger to this.
Thank you.
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Saturday, April 8th, 2017 AT 7:07 PM

4 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
First tell me about the flex plate. Did you use the one that came with the truck originally?

The idle speed is going to be too low for now, so do not worry about that. You may need to hold the accelerator pedal down 1/4" to get the engine to start, and/or stay running.

The main contributor to fuel metering is the MAP sensor. Be sure there is no vacuum leaks and that sensor is plugged in properly, both for vacuum and electrical.

Did you install the crankshaft position sensor after the engine was bolted up, or before? Did you install it with a thick paper spacer on the end to set the critical air gap? Do you have a scanner to view sensor data?
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Saturday, April 8th, 2017 AT 8:05 PM
Tiny
JOEBLOW
  • MEMBER
Yes, original flex plate.
I actually was cranking it for as long as ten seconds. A few times. Got a couple of very, very small sputters.
After that, removed cap and cleaned, check gaps on all plugs, verified again TDC for number one with rotor pointing in correct direction. Check for pressure in fuel rail.
Tried again, this time, I held the pedal all the way to the floor. It ran low rpm's, sounded very unhealthy, not sputtering or clanking, almost a low rumbly sound. Held the pedal all the down in this state for about thirty seconds. Decided to stop. Release gas pedal and it shut off.
Will check MAP.
Crank position sensor sits between the engine block and transmission. Transmission has a clearance slot.
I installed after both were joined. No mention of a paper spacer in the manual. It is a hard mount on the engine block. 318 Dodge 1998.
Thank you for your help. I will check the MAP first thing.
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Saturday, April 8th, 2017 AT 8:49 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
My mistake on the crank sensor. You are right that this one does not need to have the air gap set.

One thing to watch out for is the fuel pump runs for one second to insure pressure is up for starting. That verifies the pump is working, but it needs to resume running when the engine is rotating. If it does not, the pressure may drop, but most of the time the cause for it to not resume running also causes no spark.

If fuel pressure drops to 0 psi as soon as you stop cranking the engine, suspect a cut o-ring on the fuel-side nipple on the fuel pressure regulator, even if the regulator was never removed. I ran into two of these, one on a brand new mid 1990's model that had just been delivered to the dealership, and one on a customer's car that had never been serviced for the regulator. Most of the time that will just cause a very long crank time, but if it is bad enough, pressure won't be able to build up high enough.

Try unplugging the MAP sensor's electrical connector, then see if the engine runs any better. Often a clue to a failing sensor is the engine will continue to run as long as you're moving the accelerator pedal. Direction, position, and rate of change do not matter; it just has to be not standing still.

I know this sounds wrong, but you might try a different ignition coil. I battled an intermittent stalling problem for a year and a half on my '88 Grand Caravan that acted exactly like a bad accelerator pump on a carbureted engine. It would die out at anything over about half throttle, but only on hot days, and when it did totally stall, by the time I jumped out and got under the hood, I had spark, and the engine would start right back up. It wasn't until it finally failed completely that I found no spark, caused by the coil.

If you can connect a scanner, verify during cranking that signals are "present" for the cam and crank sensors. If you see the cam signal drop out repeatedly, you might suspect worn distributor shaft bushings. This does not really match your symptoms but if the shaft moves enough, the air gap will be too big, and no signal will be generated. Some engines require cranking for multiple revolutions before the Engine Computer turns on the injectors and ignition coil. If the cam signal keeps dropping out, going to wide-open-throttle can initiate a back-up fuel strategy to allow signal measurements to be taken.

Next, watch the MAP sensor's voltage readings. When you turn the ignition switch on, it takes a barometric pressure reading, and should read around 4.2 to 4.5 volts. The voltage should drop as vacuum increases. Expect to see around 1.2 volts with a properly-running engine. There should be a noticeable drop from 4.2 volts during cranking. Chrysler is the only manufacturer that never needed a mass air flow sensor to make their engines run right. A decrease in vacuum correlates with an increase in load, and the need for more fuel.

Try spraying in a little starting fluid. If the engine fires up, then dies within a few seconds, we'll know it is a fuel problem.

Do you know how to check for diagnostic fault codes yourself without a scanner? You likely will not get codes to set for the cam and crank sensors just from cranking the engine, but you will for any of a number of MAP sensor problems. Cam and crank sensor codes will not turn on the Check Engine light. That light only turns on when the fault code relates to something that could adversely affect emissions. A non-running engine cannot pollute, therefore, no Check Engine light if a code is set for one of those sensors.
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Saturday, April 8th, 2017 AT 9:47 PM
Tiny
JOEBLOW
  • MEMBER
Okay well I did at least ten of the five to six second long cranking's and a few of the ten second long cranking's the first round.
Then I did the plug gap check, fire order check, TDC on number one check, cap cleaning, before round two.
On this round I did the a few short cranking's, on the last one I did a longer one and held the pedal floored. It ran but how I described earlier. Thirty to forty seconds of on, did not like how it sounded so I let the pedal go and it died.
Quick FYI. Truck was running, (badly due to cracks in both heads is what the engine shop said) in October when I decided to yank out and get a rebuilt. Did a lift kit in the process. So today was the day of first try to fire up. Oh, engine was spun tested at shop for compression check.
Thanks again, I will look more into what you wrote me last.
Joe
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Saturday, April 8th, 2017 AT 10:19 PM

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