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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am just about at the end of my rope trying to figure out what is up with my Ramcharger.  For starters... it is an all original 1990 model 2wd, 5.2 318 with the original fuel injection setup.  It has always ran great.  Long story short... it was a little slow to crank one morning, so I just drove my other truck to work.  A couple days turned into a couple weeks... but every time I needed to crank it, it would crank up.  I could just tell the battery was weak.  So I drove it back to the shop, put a trickle charge on it... but the battery would not take a charge.  So a couple weeks more passed by and I finally replaced the battery.  I fired it up, it ran for a about 5-10 sec and then shut off.  I cranked it up again... same thing.

Sometimes it would run 5 seconds... sometimes it would run for a minute or so.  I could throttle it up without a problem, but it would still shut off without warning.  It isn't missing, stumbling, or anything... cranks and runs fine... but just shuts off without warning. 

At first, it seemed like your typical "bad fuel filter" problem.  I checked the filter and it was very restricted... so I replaced it.  I fired it up, it ran as it should for about 5 minutes... so I drove it around the block (about a 3 mile trip), no problems at all.  Pulled in the driveway, shut it off, cranked it back up... the problem seemed to be solved.  The next morning, I planned to drive it to work... cranked it up and it ran about 2sec and then shut off.  The problem was still there.

I read online and many other people had similar issues with their truck... and everyone pointed the finger at the Halls Effect Pickup in the distributor as the problem.  I thought, what the heck... so I replaced it with a new BWD Pickup.  That didn't fix the problem either.  Today, I checked the fuel pressure between the hard line and the throttle body.  I turn the key on and it shows 15psi... I start the truck and it will hold a constant 15psi... runs about 2-3sec and shuts off.  After I turn the key off, it will hold 15psi but no matter how much I tighten the clamp on the Harbor Freight pressure gauge, it still leaks... go figure.  So, with the slow leak at the gauge, it will slowly drop from 15psi.

One last thing... The dash is not showing any codes.  I thought that maybe the bulb was blown.  I pulled the gauge bezel, checked/swapped out bulbs, and they were fine.  Not sure if there is a problem with the circuit board or what, but I've never seen the "Check Engine" light come on.

So.... I'm out ideas.  I don't want to keep throwing parts at it, in hopes of eventually fixing it.  What is the next thing I should test?  Your help and advice is greatly appreciate!

Justin
 

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Need to get the check engine light output .

Beware the 92-93 ecms liked to fail b/c of a blown capacitor and would not start below 50-60 F.  The check engine light would not come on with those. 

I'm not saying its the ECM- in fact it sounds like a intermittent - not fun to find those.  I'd have igntion switch, chassis harness problem or corroded splice on the tops of my list.
 

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ok we need some clarification of terms ( or I do ) crank up means what ?actually  run or just turn over with starter ?  battery wouldn't hold / take a charge  ? how did you determine that exactly ? crank speed or a tester on battery ?
fuel pressure sounds ok for your throttle body system .

bad electrical connection ? harness plug on valve cover ? coil or  coil wire failure ? bad /failing relay ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
dodge82273 said:
ok we need some clarification of terms ( or I do ) crank up means what ?actually run or just turn over with starter ? battery wouldn't hold / take a charge ? how did you determine that exactly ? crank speed or a tester on battery ?
fuel pressure sounds ok for your throttle body system .

bad electrical connection ? harness plug on valve cover ? coil or coil wire failure ? bad /failing relay ?
When I say "crank up"... to me, that's means "turns over, fires, and runs" as it should. I guess I should have said it "runs" for 2-3sec then it shuts off.

As for the old battery "not taking a charge"... it is just that. It was an older battery and it's time was up. We had a couple cold snaps in the weather around the same time that the truck was slow to turn over. But it would still run. During that time, I checked the Volts at the battery (while running) and it was 13.8V... best that I recall. I put a trickle charger on it and it simply would not charge any higher than about 10-11V. I replaced the battery, problem solved (as far as the battery goes).

Justin
 

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yeah crank / run  ok ,  then go to the possible / things to check / try list ...    the dash warning lights should come ON when you first turn key ON , its how you check to be sure they work ... intermittent electrical problems can be a tough one to locate  , but don't overlook the basic stuff ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
dodge82273 said:
yeah crank / run ok , then go to the possible / things to check / try list ... the dash warning lights should come ON when you first turn key ON , its how you check to be sure they work ... intermittent electrical problems can be a tough one to locate , but don't overlook the basic stuff ...
So are you saying I should start with trying to find out why the engine light isn't working before troubleshooting the rest?
 

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CornDog05 said:
So are you saying I should start with trying to find out why the engine light isn't working before troubleshooting the rest?
yes because if the CEL works [check engine light] then you can get engine codes out and diagnose whats wrong
 

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Another possible cause could be your coil. I have a 1990 D-150 5.2 that would start ok, run down the road, but would just die at a stop light or when I pulled in somewhere. I changed the hall effect also but it wasn't corrected until I changed the coil. Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
vdubee said:
Another possible cause could be your coil. I have a 1990 D-150 5.2 that would start ok, run down the road, but would just die at a stop light or when I pulled in somewhere. I changed the hall effect also but it wasn't corrected until I changed the coil. Hope this helps!
Thanks! That was my next thought as well. I was going to test in while it duringbthe short time that it does run... and I was planning to pull it and do a bench test on it as well. I understand the importance of getting the Check Engine Light working as well, but I don't want to open up too many cans of worms. Especially since the truck had been running/driving fine up until recently. I'll check the coil and report back. 👍

Justin
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I’ve had time today to try and do some diagnosing on the truck.  As "dodge82273" and “DODGEBOYS” recommended, I started looking into why the “CHECK ENGINE” light was not working.  Also, the “MAINTENANCE REQUIRED “ light was not working either.

I pulled the gauge bezel and unplugged the connector for the “message center”.  With a Power Probe, I individually tested each lamp on the printed circuit board.  All four lamps worked.  So I plugged the connector back up. Under the hood, I removed the 60-pin connector to the ECM.  The wire that goes to the “CHECK ENGINE“ lamp is pin #32 and the wire that goes to the “MAINTENANCE REQUIRED“ lamp is pin #56.  Using the Power Probe again, I put power to those two pins and the lamps come on.  So that tells me that everything between the ECM connector and the bulb itself are functioning as they should.

So... where do I need to go from here? Is it looking as though I need to replace the ECM??  There are a number of things that have not worked on this truck since I bought it two years ago... but it always ran and drove good. Until today, I have never seen either of these bulbs light up... even when I first turn the key over.

Justin
 

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check the fuseable links , I use the pull test , if they stretch , then the wire inside is burned , replace it with the same size link . 
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
dodge82273 said:
check the fuseable links , I use the pull test , if they stretch , then the wire inside is burned , replace it with the same size link .
Ok, I'll check that this evening. Since it is dark by the time I get home, I will be doing this by flashlight. Could you give me a general idea on where they are at... and how many there are? I printed off a wire diagram and will check it as well... but they're not always the greatest on giving the locations. Thanks!

Justin
 

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starting at the battery positive cable , 1 large wire goes to starter , another goes to a connector , you may have another that goes to fenderwell area , one of them divides into a few fuseable links
 
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