2nd Gen Ram Tech1994-2001 Rams: This section is for TECHNICAL discussions only, that involve the 1994 through 2001 Rams. For any non-tech discussions, please direct your attention to the "General discussion/NON-tech" sub sections.
We have a 1996 Dodge Ram SLT 4x4 that sat for about 2 months. When I tried to start it, the engine didn't turn over, so I jump-started it, and it started just fine, but it won't idle -- it dies unless I give it gas. The battery is fairly new -- less than a year. I'm charging the battery right now, in the hopes that that'll fix the problem, but it doesn't make sense to me that the battery is causing it to die once it starts. Do you have any idea what else it could be?
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hang on and don't replace anything yet. a weak battery screws up the idle signal on these trucks. thoroughly charge the battery and verify that you've got 12 volts before start and 14+ volts when running.
01 1500 Reg Cab 4wd 5.2 auto 3.55 285/75/16 steps tow hooks sc3815 180 3923 trans cooler filter posilok powertrax (removed) timbren britebox pioneer head rockford amp speaker cobra cb firestick hughes plenum water pump timing chain oil pump rear main hub bearings brakes shocks cracked dash cad bushings seals ujoints trackbar tcase Robert Griffin Trans
anytime my battery dies and i jump it it runs like that for 10 to 15mins then starts running right. it will die not idle backfire and sometime hard to start but after i drive it around the block a few time it goes back to running right.
same thing happened to me and it was the battery, my truck is rigged with 2 batteries but the way it was setup is one battery was stealing juice from the other, it was not charging them both correctly. I disconnected the secondary battery altogether and no more issues.
Sorry for the hiatus. It's just taken me this long to actually try what was suggested. I borrowed a trickle charger from a friend and charged up the battery for a few hours, then put in 1 gallon of new gas (the tank was on empty), and cranked it, and it was the same as before: it would start but would die. I did it again and kept my foot on the pedal and ran it for 5 minutes. Still died. Then I had to run another errand, so I got another gallon of fresh gas (thinking that since I only put in a gallon of new gas, maybe the new gas just didn't get into fuel line). So I put in the second gallon, cranked it, it died, cranked it again and kept the pedal down for 2-3 minutes, and it idled by itself.
Thanks to dhvaughan for his advice, as well as to the rest of you for taking the time to respond. I've got other (mostly cosmetic) issues with this truck, so I'll be posting more questions....
id still be careful with that battery might leave you stranded later on. i had the same thing happen a few years ago. i use to only drive my truck a few times a month when i had the boggers on it and it has a draw on it somewhere, if i forget to unhook the battery sometimes it dies sometimes its ok. jumped it one day wouldnt idle on its own, jumped it again kept my foot on the pedal for a few mins and it was good (so i thought) luckily the place i was going was sears lol. it was dead in the parking lot again they jumped it a few times but it wouldnt stay running at all that time couldnt even drive it. had to buy a new battery from them and havent had an issue again.
also i recently tried to charge that old battery again thinking i might have used to weak of a charger on it before, mainly because i only had that battery for a few months before the incident, (it wasnt an optima but it was a yellow top deep-cycle offroad battery) left it over night to charge and when i checked on it the next morning it was bubbling out the top. its one dead battery.
2001 1500 Ram sport 5.9l 7" skyjacker long arm lift
2006 2500 cummins HD Sport 12" lift 40" toyos 22" MKW's AFE intake power max CR MBRP exhaust Southbend DD clutch
Same thing happened to me a year ago. I left my lights on and after getting a jump it would not idle at all. (I didn't help that this small 4 cylinder was what had to jump me.... took a while) This happened at work, so I just started the trek home and it took about 15 minutes of driving before it would idle like normal again. Its been a year, and have had no issues at all since then.
2001 Dodge Ram 5.9L Quad Cab. 4x4 120,000 + Miles
I don't slow down for speed bumps......... They slow down for me....
I had a '98 dakota that did the same thing. If I had to jump the battery, it wouldn't run after charging, unless I had my foot on the pedal, but if I let the truck sit for a while, and than started it, it would be fine.
Super 44 flowmaster, shorty headers, 14x3 air cleaner, 3 inch lift, SK TFOD Jr shift kit, efan
Same thing happend to me a few years ago. I called my friend who was a dodge mechanic and explained it as such. When these trucks batteries go dead and are not started for a while, more or less the computer loses its memory and forgets what do to. So when you jump start the truck you have to keep it going for about 15 to 20mins. Basicly what you are doing in that time is reprograming the truck how to idle by itself and what not.
We have a '99 Ram 1500 5.9 with ~140Kmi on it, and it started doing the same thing several months ago - first time was a "hot restart" it wouldn't hold idle, plus the battery was 7 years old, so after 3 or 4 tries, we were on jumper cables getting it to go. Finally hit on the idea to hold the pedal down and it would run (never had to do that before...), after a couple of blocks, didn't have to hold the pedal down any more. After that, replaced battery, but it did the same thing a couple of times, always on a hot restart, starts after sitting overnight were always fine. Took it to the mechanic for a transmission fluid/filter change (first in its life) and it didn't do it there, and we thought it was cured.
A couple of months later, we were on a trip, 150 miles from home, stopped for dinner, and when trying to restart after dinner, same thing, hold down pedal to idle, and had to hold the pedal down through the parking lot, but after getting out of the parking lot, it would idle again. Back to the mechanic again (needed ball joints, serpentine belt, radiator - damn plastic tanks, it is 13 years old after all), and they suggested something about the alternator might address the idle thing, so, new alternator. Just this morning it gave me the "won't idle unless you hold the throttle open" thing on the first start of the morning, after maybe 15 starts without problem.
The longer I live with this idle problem, the more it seems like another perverse PCM issue (we've got a supremely weird issue with the seat belts locking up every 30 minutes while driving, opening a door unlocks them and restarts the 30 minute timer...) The problem seems to go away after rolling, you can sit and idle with your foot on the gas all you want, it never seems to get over the problem while sitting, but as soon as you get tired of that and just put it in gear and lurch away, it's fine after a very short distance, this morning I just rolled forward and back in the driveway, maybe 30 feet, and it was cured.
Been having same issue with my 2000 5.9 .....idle jumps around, idles at around 500 wont hold idle til it warms up....even after warm idles low and iradic....so in essence, if it is the battery...it I hook cables up to my car and the truck then start it it should hold idle???? Just saying before I go and spend $130 for a battery....I'm kinda broke!!!
If it's the IAC valve, the problem may come back. I have a mechanic friend that says these trucks eat up IAC valves. In fact, I ordered one from Adv Auto yesterday that I'm gonna pick up today, because my truck is currently a flip of the coin whether it'll idle after it's been sitting awhile. But, if it's below 45degrees outside, I can almost guarantee that it won't idle upon startup.