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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a '99 Dodge Dakota 4x4 with a 3.9 it was mine then I gave it to my son he doesn't want it anymore he doesn't want to put money into it so give it back to me. So I started doing some of the work that it needs. One of the things was it hasn't had a tune-up and sometime and I know one of the spark plug wires was loose so I put a new cap, rotor, plugs and wires. And yes it ran before just not very good. Now it cranks over it has spark at the coil I even took the coil off of my 01 to double check it that didn't do any good I re-replaced the cap and rotor because as it turns out the little button on the bottom of the cap was missing and I didn't notice it at first still cranking won't start. Definitely getting gas. I even had a brand new spare pickup coil that I replaced I thought what else do I have to lose still won't start. I'm out of answers and I need help ASAP if anyone has any ideas I would much appreciate anything and everything. I'm having back surgery in 10 days and I can't have this sitting under my carport. I just don't know what else to look at and just for the record the distributor is turning as it needs to be. Thanks in advance. I look forward to some ideas.
 

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Yes. I checked it at least 3 times.
And that applies to checking for spark at the plugs as well?

Does it backfire at all when attempting to start it?

I think it might not be a bad idea to take the distributor cap off & manually turn the engine over until #1 is coming up on the compression stroke & verify that the rotor is pointing at #1.

If you have verified (not only voltage from the coil) spark at the plugs and fuel, maybe do a compression check?
spark (at the right time) + a combustible mixture of fuel/air + compression = an engine that should run
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
And that applies to checking for spark at the plugs as well?

Does it backfire at all when attempting to start it?

I think it might not be a bad idea to take the distributor cap off & manually turn the engine over until #1 is coming up on the compression stroke & verify that the rotor is pointing at #1.

If you have verified (not only voltage from the coil) spark at the plugs and fuel, maybe do a compression check?
spark (at the right time) + a combustible mixture of fuel/air + compression = an engine that should run
I understand what you're saying. But it ran driving it under my carport just changing the cap rotor plugs and wires it has more than enough compression I can hear it I can smell gas so I know it's getting gas I'm getting spark coming out of the coil and I put a new pickup coil in it that I had extra it seems like I'm missing something. In the distributor is turning and never messed with the position of the distributor
 

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Like a boss I had a long time ago once told me, "There has to be a reason."

So I think that although you have said that you have verified voltage from the coil (which would mean your cam & crank sensors & PCM are operational),
either you don't have voltage getting to the actual sparkplugs themselves,
or the timing changed (I was thinking of the timing chain jumping as you said it wasn't running to good) & that is why I suggested verifying that the rotor was pointing where it should be,
or the fuel it is getting is not a combustible mixture,
or not enough compression.

Not actually being there, I can only try to reason it out that way.
 

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. . . and I was not intending to insult you,
but if it ran before you did the work, I guess there are three possibilities:
1) you did something wrong
2) defective parts installed (cap or rotor or wires)
3) or something else picked this time to break. That occasionally happens.
 

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. . . if you have maybe 20 or 30 minutes, give this thread aread:


Op had a 3.9 that quit running on him--he verified fuel & spark & timing & adequate compression in his cylinders, and then, almost by accident, when he was troubleshooting his EGR valve, he discovered he had an exhaiust blockage & it turned out that either his cat or his muffler had internally caved in on him.

Which is not to say that I think this is your issue, but if you read through it, he checked all possibilities and you may stumble on an idea for yourself.

Good luck on this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
. . . and I was not intending to insult you,
but if it ran before you did the work, I guess there are three possibilities:
1) you did something wrong
2) defective parts installed (cap or rotor or wires)
3) or something else picked this time to break. That occasionally happens.
No I didn't take it as an insult no problem. Yeah everything you said I've done and redone and redone it and redone it. I even went to the store and got a different distributor cap and rotor today no good there change the coil wire three times took the coil off my other Dakota that runs great that didn't work. I pulled the plug there a little bit damp but I wouldn't say they're flooded but I guess anything's possible. I think I'm going to go get some new plugs again and try them. I did check the timing marks and everything is fine with that. I'm perplexed. I've been knowing this stuff for 45 years and I've never run into this before where I can't figure it out and it's extremely frustrating.
 

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I feel your pain.
Like I said, read through that thread I psted the link for . . . you might come across something that helps.

Since you are getting voltage from the coil, I would think that would rule out the crank position sensor & distributor pickup coil (aka cam position sensor) (as the PCM needs a signal from both for it to give the coil a signal) and at least the part of the PCM that sends the signal to the coil.

Maybe time to use a NOID light to check the actual power & pulse signals to ALL your injectors one at a time?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
. . . if you have maybe 20 or 30 minutes, give this thread aread:


Op had a 3.9 that quit running on him--he verified fuel & spark & timing & adequate compression in his cylinders, and then, almost by accident, when he was troubleshooting his EGR valve, he discovered he had an exhaiust blockage & it turned out that either his cat or his muffler had internally caved in on him.
I understand what you're saying and all that stuff is new.the only reason tha
Which is not to say that your issue, but if you read through it, he checked all possibilities and you may stumble on an idea for yourself.

Good luck on this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So after going through everything at least a half a dozen times. I originally replaced the distributor cap rotor wires and plugs then it turned out that the distributor cap was bad. So I took it back and got another one. But it still didn't start and I went back over everything multiple times again. Then I took off the new coil wire put on the old one which was in bad shape still didn't work went and got another new one still didn't work. I finally took the coil wire off my other Dakota and it fired right up. Now I think I'll go somewhere else to get a new coil wire. Very frustrating and three parts, two coil wires and a distributor cap we're all bad from Advanced Auto parts. It just shouldn't be this hard. Thanks everyone for your advice. Now on to the next project.
 

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Well: that is interesting and I am glad you got it and thank you for the update;
but,
I do remember asking you a couple of times if you had verified spark at the actual sparkplugs themselves. If this came down to a bad coil wire, I would say that you must not have been getting spark at the plugs.

But, like I said, happy to hear you got it and sometimes it goes that way.
 

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. . . I guess one of the morals of the story would be that replacement parts are not what they used to be. (Another moral of the story would be that output from the coil does not gaurantee adequate spark at the plugs.)
 
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