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'96 Fuel Pump/Regulator Problems

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Old 12-26-2012, 07:56 PM
GTM311 GTM311 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Vehicle: '96 Dakota 3.9 V6
Posts: 9
Default '96 Fuel Pump/Regulator Problems

I hope it's not the fuel pump but here is the scenario:

My engine stopped while idling in the drive-thru. Initially, I thought it was nothing, but it then died 4 or 5 times over the next two weeks. Each time it occurred I was at idle or switching from reverse to drive. The weather was fair, not too hot or cold. No check engine light.

I searched the threads after the problem became more consistent and I found that the idle air control valve may need a good cleaning. My truck was idling at a little over 600 rpm. After I cleaned it I believe that it was closer to 800. The truck started fine, ran well on the 4 mile trip to work and back home. It didn't stall.

I went to start the truck the next morning and the engine cranked but would not start. No check engine light appeared. Checked to see if the fuel pump relay was faulty, but it worked fine. I can also hear the fuel pump or line make that buzz noise whenever I turn the key over two clicks so the connection of the relay is fine also.

The guy at autozone told me it may either be a bad pressure regulator or the fuel pump.

My dad's friend is a really good DIYer/mechanic, however he is 60 miles away from me and I would prefer to not have the truck towed to a garage nearby if possible. He told me one test to do would be to take a pair of vice grips to the return line coming from the regulator, try starting it, and see if the pressure builds up. It also just snowed 12 inches so I have no way of getting out to autozone to get a pressure reader for the fuel line.

I read a post somewhere else that said '96 may not have a return line, but everyone on the post was going back and forth on whether or not there is one.

So, my question. Is there a return line? If not, I assume that means taking the truck into a shop to take out the fuel pump?
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Old 12-27-2012, 01:26 PM
Crazy4x4RT's Avatar
Crazy4x4RT Crazy4x4RT is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Vehicle: 93 Dakota
Location: NM
Posts: 10,840

You didn't state what engine you have in the truck.

93-down had return line fuel system for all engines.

94-up had returnless (NO return line) fuel system for the V6 and V8, the 4cly still had the return system.

Assuming you have the V6 as in your title page you have no return line.

As for your problem, yes test your fuel pressure. If you can't get one to test you can try spraying starter fluid or carb cleaner or pour a little gas into the Throttle Body. Then try to start it. If it starts or kinda starts then you have a fuel problem. If it does absolutely nothing to try to start you have an ignition problem. If it is an ignition problem check the notorious splice, the FAQ in this section has a great write up with pictures.
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Old 12-27-2012, 04:56 PM
GTM311 GTM311 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Vehicle: '96 Dakota 3.9 V6
Posts: 9

Just tested fuel pressure with the OEM rental from autozone. First try, it read only 20 psi. I bled the line on the gauge and tried it again. 2nd try, it read about 40 psi. I took the gauge off the test valve and tried it again (figured the first two runs were a little off). It read 42-44 psi on three different tries after that. I downloaded the service manual and I believe that it says psi should be around 44-53 psi. I assume that this indicates that the pump is fine? I will go ahead and check the splice. Thanks!
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:20 PM
GTM311 GTM311 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Vehicle: '96 Dakota 3.9 V6
Posts: 9

Tried spraying starter fluid in the throttle body and still nothing. Opened up the the wires under the relay box and the splice appears to be okay. I'm assuming that this is the splice below?
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:52 PM
bran1har bran1har is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Vehicle: 96 Dakota 3.9 Stick
Location: CT
Posts: 90

I'd say there is a problem in the pump, its not holding pressure. A new assembly is like $180 though so make sure thats the case. I got a killer deal on reman fuel pump on rock auto a couple months ago for $27! Replacing the pump isn't hard. Remove the 8 bed bolts and prop it up with a 2x4, disconnect the lines and wires, unscrew the top. Done. My trucks a 96 by the way.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:57 PM
GTM311 GTM311 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Vehicle: '96 Dakota 3.9 V6
Posts: 9

If it is an ignition problem, what else could I check? The spline looks fine. My dad's friend recommended testing the spark plugs to make sure they are all fine, so I am currently doing that (and dealing with a very difficult #4 and #6 that are stuck). His next idea was to check the distributor. Any other suggestions?
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:28 PM
96dakotaowner 96dakotaowner is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 40
Default Just a backyard mech...

I also had this type of issue in the past. '96 Dak, 4 cyl. I (stupid me) couldn't imagine a solder joint going bad. After replacing the distributor, checking and tracing all elec line, replacing the coil, I finally decided to take the advice of most experienced on here. I opened the wire bundle, and as you said, everything looked fine. I still cut the solder joint out and re-soldered. (please note, this was after the 3rd time being towed $100 a pop) Truck started right up, never had the pro again. I hope this helps, better to learn from others mistakes.
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Old 03-16-2015, 01:28 PM
justagirlandherdakota justagirlandherdakota is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 1

I have a 96 Dakota V6, my problem with my truck is it tends to just shut down. I've notice it happens in the afternoon when it's warmer, in the morning on my way to work it's great no problem no indication that it has any issues. When I get off of work and am trying to get home, that's when the stalling starts. Here lately it has left me stranded at work, when I finally get a hold of someone to pick me up, the truck starts and will idle fine, it's when I pop it into gear (reverse) and start backing up then it takes a while to start up again. Now if I am lucky enough to get it going if I slow down there's a chance it will just turn off or if I slow down to make a turn it will shut off. If I stop at an intersection it will shut off, but if I put it in park and press on the gas a couple of times I should be ok providing I press both the brake and gas (as I put it in drive) at the same time and release the brake slowly. At times it will sputter, shake, cough etc., as it is attempting to keep idling or if I am at an intersection. Any help would be great......I have had a tune-up done, they replaced spark plugs wires cap. When the problem continued they replaced crankshaft position sensor because I have an oil leak and oil had gotten all over it, they did replace the starter a coil of some sort. But I still continue to have problems, any help / advice / suggestions would be welcomed.

Last edited by justagirlandherdakota; 03-16-2015 at 01:37 PM. Reason: name of part replaced
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