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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had one guy look at it, told me neither coil or distributor getting fire. another guy says only distributor is not, and replaced it. It's progressively harder to start, and won't if I don't leave trickle charger on it, and I don't dare turn it off when not home. Do coils just die all at once, or could it be wearing out?

I used to own a few of these "POS Controvertible Trucks", some years back, and most either had the push button start on the dash, or had the hole where one used to be. I'm thinking I was told it was to bypass the starter relay, in order to get full volts to the coil, so if the coil is not the problem, I'm thinking maybe it is this issue and it's "button time" for this truck, too!  :)

Even with the battery charger on it, it's laboring in trying to start, and only seems to fire up when getting a good electrical "push", if that makes any sense.

I hate to buy a pile of parts and replace each one till I find the culprit, and was hoping, since the first guy thought both distributor and coil were bad, that coils DO go out slowly, and it is likely the culprit.
 

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I'd be looking for where the battery drain is.  It seems like it would be the root of all the problems.  No point in adding buttons and switches to bypass a problem only to create more down the road.  Fix it once and be done with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I agree, but over the years fooling with these trucks, I've found that to be much easier said than done.

Unfortunately, I can build you a house bottom to top, but those skills did not translate to mechanics, so I've had to take them to shops. I had a few of them for probably 20 years, but NEVER found a mechanic who could work on these seemingly simple autos.

I'd shuffle them in and out of shops with it taking a few tries (paying each time, too) to fix each ailment.

So, finding the "battery drain", as you put it seems unattainable to me, and considering you're having to work off of MY description, that assessment may not be correct. Autozone did their starting system check and the battery, alt, etc. all checked out fine, if that means anything. Which also means that the battery should hold a good charge, so when it acts this way really soon after disconnecting it from the charger (or even when left on the charger while trying to start it), that tells me it's something after the battery that's screwing up, and that the battery is not draining at all.

But again, I have no clue other than as I said, that one guy told me both the dist and coil were bad, so it seems the best I can hope for is an answer to "Do coils die all at once or can they go out slowly?" is yes, which would make replacing the coil the best place to start, considering it is not something I am capable of tracking down, and have no interest in leaving it in a shop to spend hundreds on some guy figuring it out - been there, done that, TOO many times. And as much as I've been turning it over, no telling what other little electrical parts I've overheated, in the process.

The plug wires I think are pretty new, carb is a rebuilt and OK, fuel pump works fine and I replaced the fuel filter, so probably not a gas issue.
 

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two things I'd be looking at right off . before you even try to start it one day , look down the carb with the choke held open as you "pump" the gas .Does it squirt?  I had one that had a small hole rusted in to the gas pick up tube at the tank's elbow , it'd crank and crank every time unless it had just been run ......... fixed that and that fixed the hard start surprisingly .............. next  , these trucks use an EXTERNAL resistor coil  , and the starter relay wiring to give the coil extra oomph while cranking it gets whatever the battery has left after running the starter , THEN ounce its running ( key in ON not crank ) it gets reduced voltage . find the little white resistor , jump it , try starting it , or test voltage at coil with negative side wire removed WHILE cranking , looking for same volts as battery has while cranking.... if not , find fix wiring issue .. could be the bulkhead connector in firewall ...?  soooo many folks have "fixed " these trucks over the years ... some fixes ain't right . low voltage into coil low voltage out of coil ...
 

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^^^^^What he said. Bypass the ballast to see if it fires quicker.

Does the truck run fine once it starts?
How is the ignition timing? It can cause the engine to labor while cranking if too far off.

Bucky
 

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dodge82273 said:
.. next , these trucks use an EXTERNAL resistor coil , and the starter relay wiring to give the coil extra oomph while cranking it gets whatever the battery has left after running the starter , THEN ounce its running ( key in ON not crank ) it gets reduced voltage . find the little white resistor , jump it , try starting it , or test voltage at coil with negative side wire removed WHILE cranking , looking for same volts as battery has while cranking.... if not , find fix wiring issue .. could be the bulkhead connector in firewall ...? soooo many folks have "fixed " these trucks over the years ... some fixes ain't right . low voltage into coil low voltage out of coil ...
On the 70's trucks, the key switch has 2 separate wires that start the engine. One goes to the starter, the other goes to the ballast resistor bypass. The wire for run, which goes through the ballast, to the coil, is not active during the start position of the switch. I do not know any easy way to use a push button to do the same functions. You cannot just tie them together, or the starter may stay engaged. So I bet most people do not bother with the ballast bypass, and just use the run circuit, which does not give the hotter spark for easy starting.

The 80's starter relays did the same thing internally
 

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Get a multimeter and learn how to use it.

Voltage at coil while cranking should be full battery voltage 12+. Voltage at coil after started should be 7-9VDC. There are videos on YouTube that will walk you through coil diagnostics.

Put your multimeter on the battery when not running, should be 12VDC +/- .5volt. While running you should have 13.5 to 14VDC.

This will prove out the coil and ensure the truck is charging and you have good surface charge on the battery.
 

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lol I'm still analog , better for some stuff , worse for others ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I appreciate the effort, guys, you've always been a wealth of information when it comes to figuring out issues with these trucks, but (hopefully) for the last time - I am not capable of diagnosing the problems myself, I don't have the tools, I don't know how to use the tools, I'm not going to buy the tools and I'm not going to teach myself how to use the tools - I thought I was pretty clear about that upfront.

Even if DID have the time or the inclination to do all of that, as one of you just mentioned, these old trucks have had so many "fixes" performed on them, even knowing what you're doing you could still spend forever tracking down the problem, which means that I would be dicking around with it - and to likely no avail - forfuckingever, and I'd STILL have a broken truck (been there, done that).

So please, if one of you would be so kind as to answer my question, I'd really appreciate it.

First guy who looked at it said both distributor and coil were not getting fire, sparking, or whatever; second guy said only distributor bad and he replaced only it, so all things being equal, if a coil can go out slowly, it would make sense that is the problem, since the first guy noted it was not working, and that is something I can easily replace myself.

If the coil does not go out slowly, but just dies, then that is not the problem and I have no choice but to take it to a shop - it's that simple.


 

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Well then.....

yes coils can go bad slowly. Normally the symptoms of this occurring are engines starts fine cold then coil gets hot & dies. Let engine cool, it'll start again. This does NOT sound like your situation.

And coils can die immediately. Engine starts one day, then doesn't start the next.

Bucky
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Actually, Bucky, it does sound a lot like it.
Starts first time, then you have to let it sit for a while before it starts again. I understand that does not mean that for sure IS the problem, but it is symptomatic.
And the "going out slowly" thing, wouldn't that explain the first guy saying it nor the distributor were sparking, but the second guy said coil was fine?
I don't completely discount the timing contributing, either; the idle is set up a little high, maybe by my Nephew to account for that, and he is probably as close to clueless, mechanically, as I am.
I gave this truck to him a few years ago, and he just gave it back; probably got tired of pouring money into it - typical POS Convertible Truck!  ::)
 

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going by your statements , were I u I'd get a brand new truck with a warrentee (SP?)  and trade it in on the next one the very day that expires .  I've considered doing that myself from time to time , and I know how and have the tools , its just getting to harder and harder to DO , so I that sounded nasty , well no , just honest ..
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
**UPDATE**
Looks to be a gas issue, at it's root.
May still be some electrical probs, but now thinking they are maybe secondary or more likely separate, and if secondary are possibly due to being overworked because it wouldn't start - due to not enough gas. If electrical is a separate issue, I'll deal with it after resolving this one.
Guy looked at it couple of weeks ago and noticed only a trickle going through the fuel filter I had recently replaced, and that there were little black pieces in it which he suspected were from the short piece of rubber line between the metal line and the tank, and that it had likely succumbed to ethanol/age, was collapsing and disintegrating, restricting gas flow. He also noticed the angled part of the fuel pump with the nut on it had been bent upward and maybe was the cause of/contributed to the restriction, but not likely the sole cause.
Just like my FUCKING 2001 E320 Mercedes, i have been disconnecting the battery at night to temporarily deal with the battery drain.
Backing up a couple of weeks, I had the starter replaced - think it was original, and definitely got beat to death by all the over cranking attempts to start - guy that did that had me start carrying starter fluid.
That's gotten me by for the time being; if it doesn't crank right up I spray it and then it does, but even that has started to wane in recent days, so I got about the same advice from a really nice Jamaican mechanic today (who also, for no charge, straightened out the angled piece coming out of the fuel pump that was bent upwards and had to be considered the source of restricted fuel) - that I need to disco the line going into the fuel filter from the tank and slip it into a jug of gas to determine if the prob is indeed related to something starting from the tank and or rubber line - most likely the rubber line, but still possibly trash/deteriorating tank, and if thusly indicated, then proceed to drop the tank to get at the rubber line connection to the tank as well as the sending unit, which also needs to be replaced.
Sooooo, looks like I need to have another tank and sending unit ready to go - I've tried to drop the tank in a 79 TD and watched the rust between the straps and the tank rip the tank apart, so no telling what will happen.
So, to recap, apparently the Bitch won't start because of no gas, and while still possibly a separate issue, electrical concerns (after replacing the starter, coil distributor and ballast, and the ignition control module and starter relay checking out fine) are likely secondary to the immediate problem.
I checked an earlier query/response relative to sending units, and the company site provided in the answer, do not have them for the '79, which I think has a 30 gal tank, and what they had was for 25 gal, I believe. I had one replaced in a '75 some years back, and it took the shop a couple of months or so to find one (a brass one, I think, instead of the shitty Styrofoam), but that guy shut down years ago and I don't know his source.
And who knows what will happen when dropping the tank, so any advice about finding a replacement tank, and if it is indeed a 30 gal, in addition to a sending unit, is appreciated.
I'm thinking this is a 30 gallon tank - anyone know how to know for sure, and what the available replacement possibilities are?
I've had one "re-lined" or something, before, but afterwards found I could have gotten a brand new plastic aftermarket one instead for much cheaper and was new instead of "relined".
Any advice on the sending unit and tank size/replacement is appreciated - I wish I could offer a bunch of cash and prizes to anyone who helps, but I got my real estate investor ass kicked in the bank bullshit a few years ago, so best i can offer is to set an ice cold beer down a few feet in front of the truck after it's up and running, and if you can snatch it before I get you with the big-ass bumper, you get to enjoy a niiiiiiiice cold beer!
But if you are NOT quick enough - after you, the bumper goes after your entire family!!!
GEEZ!
THAT was kinda harsh, wasn't it?
Talking about going after your entire family after giving YOUR slow, AGING ass the bumper...MY bad...better make it TWO  ice cold beers, BITCHES!!!  :)  :)  :) 
 

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little black pieces ?  did does it have a charcoal vapor cansister ? the charcoal gets sucked into carb , get rid of that if its legal in your state ....

next , the 2 guys who looked at it and said 1 the dizzy was not getting fire and the other who said coil was not getting fire ,, hey the coil sends the fire TO the dizzy and it distributes it to the 8 cylinders ...

and I did mention fuel , fuel pump issue I'd had , and if  starting fluid ( FUEL ) does something for it how does that help no "fire" at coil/dizzy ?

fuel pick up / sending unit , LMC truck.com  or  800 562 8782
thanks for the beer offer , but I don't like the shit anyway , as for the bumper , you'll have to kiss my ass to do that huh ?  :-*    ;D ;D ;D ;D   
 
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