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1st Gen Dakota '96 & Older Dakota's

Engine cut out at speed. Backfiring?

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  #1  
Old 11-11-2013, 05:45 PM
onemore94dak onemore94dak is offline
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Default Engine cut out at speed. Backfiring?

Let's see, Updating on another thread in case it matters for this problem. I had a fuel gauge problem I tried to fix with a new pump. It stayed stuck at half after a 2nd adjustment. After running it out of fuel and refilling the tank it started down to empty again and the low fuel light is on with only 105 miles on a 22 gal tankfull. The last full tank ran out at 322 miles.

When the motor was cold, maybe 5 minutes after starting, I drove up a hill and near the top at 45-55 mph the motor started losing power then popped several times like a backfire. I let off the gas as I crested and it calmed down and on the ride down the problem went away. It definitely felt as if I had kept the throttle pressed it would have killed the motor. Almost like it was flooding or not getting spark or air.
I did my errands and on the way home with the motor warm it shwoed no signs of problem coming over the hill.
Also may be connected is a very prominent clacking lifter noise. Its loud enough to be heard over the radio with the windows closed at 55mph. I posted about that previously and am embarrassed to say I have not yet changed the oil as I said I would to see if that would fix it. ALso when I first bought this in Sept I put in a new EGR which fixed the revving problem and a new air cleaner. It is a very clean motor for a 94 with 137K miles.

Thanks for any tips on diagnosis.
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  #2  
Old 11-11-2013, 06:27 PM
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shadowthedakota shadowthedakota is offline
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it might be the start of a need for a tune up. my truck would occasionally miss and lose power then it got worse and worse till one day it wouldnt go more than 25moh. took about a month after the first miss before it got bad. all it needed was a cap and rotor and coil
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:07 PM
onemore94dak onemore94dak is offline
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I changed the cap rotor and coil yesterday and it idled fine in the driveway. This morning I was nice to it going over the hill figuring the problem was as much being cold as it was the parts and it accelerated really well getting on the hwy. That’s an improvement until then I worried when merging as it took so long to gain speed.

I drove across town to warm it up and get an oil change. When they opened the hood there was coolant on the hood above where the hose comes out of the rad and the battery was soaked with splashing on other parts. We could find no obvious leaks and since the coolant level was not low they figured it had just happened. When I left they sprayed the bottom of the engine with something that made it steam up and as I write this I wonder if their pit guy didn’t spray that coolant up into the engine compartment as I pulled in????? hoping to sell a rad hose out of the deal. The guy who opened the hood went to the lower hose right away and made noises about the hose plumping until I pointed out the leak appeared to be on the other side of the motor. I know it sounds paranoid but the people around here would do anything for money. There seems to be no compunction at all about lying or deceit in them.

I drove home through town paying attention and all that I noticed was that something metal was rubbing on metal in the rotation of the motor. I had the impression it was near the drivers side of the bell housing. I can’t tell yet if the lifter noise has gone away with the oil change yet though I did not notice it on the way home. It generally needs heat or a lot of demand to show up.

When I got home the idle was up at 1200 when it normally sits at 800+ and calms down once I park it. It did not calm down after letting it sit and looking to see if something was stuck. It did this when I bought it and the new EGR fixed that problem.
I also wiped down the coolant spatter. There was no more when I got home than was there when I left that shop which makes me think my suspicion may be correct. Time will tell.

Edit: I knelt on the top of where the hood latch connects leaning over the motor to replace the cap and rotor. I cannot imagine that would have cause a crack or break in the seals. I think I would have felt it and most of my weight was on the body.

Last edited by onemore94dak; 11-18-2013 at 02:12 PM..
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:47 PM
onemore94dak onemore94dak is offline
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I added a can of seafoam yesterday and it made it run a lot better. The RPM's calmed down and it seems to be doing better.
I took off the wheel this morning. The grinding wasn't the bearings it is the pads, they were down to metal. If there is any pad left I could not see it. I ordered new hub assemblies, bearings and pads for both sides.
This 2wd has rear only abs. After this plugs and wires then research into disc brake conversion for the rear end.

Oh yea I noticed there was fogging inside the instrument cluster plastic cover. Is this common, its 20 years old?

Last edited by onemore94dak; 11-20-2013 at 08:50 PM..
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Old 11-27-2013, 12:10 PM
onemore94dak onemore94dak is offline
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I haven't done anything to the motor since the last post. I was driving yesterday and it started losing power like it had stopped running and then backfiored from the extra gas that was pumped in from me pumping the peddle. I was moving at 20-30-mph in traffic.
Before this it had lost whatever improvement the Seafoam and partial tune up had given.
So aside form replacing the plugs and wires it occurred to me to ask how do I test the PCM? Seems like I read something on here that said these were symptoms of a PCM on its way out or a wiring junction may be shorting out.

Does coolant cause wire corrosion?
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Old 11-27-2013, 01:11 PM
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yes it can. I had that problem with my old dakota after the rad exploded. but most of the factory connections have some sort of sealer in them from what ive seen.

not sure how to test it ither than to check for codes
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Old 11-29-2013, 03:50 PM
onemore94dak onemore94dak is offline
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I've changed the plugs and wires now. I used the Lifetime Napa wires and regular Champion plugs. Seems the previous installer used Bosch and didn't bather to gap them correctly. They were all over .045! the gap on the hood label says it should be .035.

I've driven in about ten miles and it seems a lot better. I did hwy and in traffic without that bothersome cutting out/stalling backfiring mess.

It does still have that noise I think may be lifters. It loses power before picking up when under load and I demand it. And it doesn't pick up as much power as a 3.9 V6 should. How hard is it for a novice to do a valve job on one of these?
I am now also suspecting an exhaust leak where I think I heard the metal on metal noise on the driver side.
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Old 11-29-2013, 03:58 PM
dodge22AL dodge22AL is offline
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Any idea why an 04 ram 1500 5.7 would be idling rough and stalling if the gas pedal isn't help down?
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Old 11-29-2013, 04:08 PM
onemore94dak onemore94dak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dodge22AL View Post
Any idea why an 04 ram 1500 5.7 would be idling rough and stalling if the gas pedal isn't help down?
No I don't. I understand that you wanted to ask, but You should post in a new thread so that others can see it and to prevent cross threading of multiple subjects as the search function is not going to notice the nuance of you asking me a question. :-)

The simplest thing to do is what I was told to do that is cap, rotor, coil (not sure on your motor) plugs and wires. That improved my motor a lot.
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Old 11-30-2013, 10:30 AM
Alfons Alfons is offline
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Popping/backfiring through the carb or throttle body can be exhaust valve or timing related. Under load (going up hill, accelerating, etc.) a very retarded timing or leaky exhaust valve can cause this. In the case of retarded timing, the valve isn't quite closed when the combustion starts & in the case of a leaky valve, enough combustion heat leaks into the intake manifold to ignite the mixture there.
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Old 11-30-2013, 01:40 PM
onemore94dak onemore94dak is offline
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Alfons, Thanks. I looked that up online and it seems there is a "sync" system not a timing system for the 1994 3.9 V6 Magnum engine. I'm gonna have to do more research after reading my Hanes manual as I am unsure of how exactly to get TDC on this motor in case I need to reset the Distributor from scratch. It also occurs that the problem may be the switch plate after reading the manual.
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Old 11-30-2013, 06:09 PM
onemore94dak onemore94dak is offline
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I replaced the part which Napa calls a Pick-up not a switch plate as it is designated in the Hanes manual. It installed easily enough and improved the motor more. I did notice the new rotor has some play in it. It can go 1/8th inch either way if you twist it in place.

There is still some noise which now definitely sounds like the valve issue you mention Alfons.
I checked the "flash" codes after installing and driving and I have a 46- Charging system output too high.
I'm starting to wonder if at any point this thing will stabilize and start running right.
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Old 12-02-2013, 05:23 PM
onemore94dak onemore94dak is offline
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I had the battery and alternator checked. They said the battery was bad. I replaced battery. No more code for overcharging.

Anyone know how to test the wiring harness's for faults? I suspect my problems are mainly electrical in nature and I don't want to buy a performance PCM before I know the wires will work.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:46 PM
volaredon volaredon is offline
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they had a bulletin about the bushing in the block that the dist shaft rides in wearing out, but if all you had was 1/8 total I think they all had a little... could be the slot on the rotor just a leetle too narrow or the "screwdriver slot" on the bottom of the distributor having play in the dist drive gear...
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Old 12-03-2013, 01:00 PM
onemore94dak onemore94dak is offline
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Anyone know what the proper name of the diagnostic tool or dongle connector is for the 94 Dakota? Where do I get one? I'm asking because I was lead to believe by a dealer service tech that having this direct computer connection with a laptop give more info than reading the flash codes would. My system is OBD1. I can't find much by searching so far.

Volaredon I called the dealer and he seemed to think there wasn't an issue with the distributor then I noticed he was manipulating me, he interrupted me and kept trying to steer me into paying for a diagnosis hooked up to the laptop. He had no idea or pretended he didn't when i tried to get the answer to the question I am asking he didn't even know what a dongle was. It is the name given to any wire that connects from your computer to whatever thing you are connecting to.


EDIT
I have found this http://www.toolsource.com/canobd-cod...0-p-99787.html
The video makes it look very attractive even though it seems pretty pricey, yet leaves me not knowing whether or not it will give me any more info than the flash codes already have. It also doesn't mention if you can make adjustments from it. Hopefully more experienced people on here can tell me.

EDIT
Contacted the manufacturer. They say the reader only reads & deletes OBD1 check engine flash codes which makes it useless for me since I know how to read the flash codes off the dash.

Is there any information that a dealers computer can read other than the flash codes we all can read ourselves?

EDIT3
Seems like this thread is exhausted I'll repost the question in a new thread.

Last edited by onemore94dak; 12-04-2013 at 09:20 PM..
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Old 12-03-2013, 01:00 PM
 
 
 
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