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1996 Dodge Dakota 5.2L V8 Automatic
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone!! I am brand new here with a 1996 dakota 5.2 and the coil is not sparking..Unplugged the plug and only getting voltage on the green/orange wire when cranking..That is it.....Is that normal? Brand new coil, distributor, cam crank sensor...Where do I go from here? Thank you greatly
 

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On an 00 through 04 you should get battery voltage FOR ABOUT TWO SECONDS at the green/orannge wire after you turn the key to 'on'. (Meaning you need to set your VM up where you can see it when you turn the key to 'on' or have an assistant helping.) Then you should get battery voltage again at that wire when cranking (as when cranking the PCM is getting a signal from the crank & cam position sensors). No voltage, check the ASD relay.

Do you also have a black/grey wire also going to your coil? On an 00 through 04 that would be for the trigger signal to the coil from the PCM. Check that by back probing with an inexpensive LED test light--it should flash while cranking. No flash--check the cam position sensor and crank position sensors. If good, have PCM diagnosed.

That is the condensed version from the Haynes, but fair warning: that is for '00 through '04.
 

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I'll copy and paste the long version from a previous reply. Note that if you are not getting output from your coil, before checking for battery voltage & trigger signal, the instructions include ohming out your coil to check that your coil, itself, is actually good. (However, I just reread your OP & note that you state you have a new coil plus new cam & crank pos sensors).

Again, these instructions came from a '00 to '04 manual. Yours may well be different.

On mine ('03), these are the checks that can be made, & I will paraphrase: "test for battery voltage to the coil by disconnecting the connector from the coil & using a MM to check for volts at the dark green/orange wire with the ignition ON.

THis is an edit: if the PCM does not recieve a valid signal from the crank and cam position sensors within TWO seconds of turning key to on, it will deenergise the ASD relay and you won't read voltage until you crank the engine or repeat the on to off sequence with the key. Meaning you either need to have your voltmeter set up & ready to go and where you can see it when you turn the key on, or you will need an assistant.

No voltage=bad ASD relay.
If volts: use the ohm-meter function of your MM & check primary & 2condary resistance of the coil. My Haynes lists 0.95 to 1.20 ohms & 11,300 to 13,300 ohms respectively, but I believe Haynes is giving me inaccurate specs on that.

If coil ohms out good: check the trigger signal from the PCM. Using an LED test light (inexpensive from Advance or the like) back probe the coil driver terminal (black/gray wire) & check for a flashing light as an assistant cranks the engine.

If no flash: then check the operation of the cam position sensor & the crank position sensor (those are the two sensors I alluded to earlier in this reply).
If those sensors test good: send the PCM out to be diagnosed."
 

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1996 Dodge Dakota 5.2L V8 Automatic
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Hello again..Just got back inside and checked some things and this is what I got....Getting voltage at green/orange wire while key on for 2 seconds..I think that s correct...Back probed the grey wire and getting voltage when cranking...
 

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Okay, I'll preface this by repeating that the instructions I provided were from a Haynes from '00 through '04 and your '96 may not be the same as that as far as your ignition system goes (the applicable manual for your year, be it a simple Haynes or the preferable FSM, would be worth having for you) . . . I'll also add that I make no claims of expertise on this subject, but when you back-probed the grey wire, were you reading it with a voltmeter or did you use a test light? When my PCM crapped out on me, I used the test light method (it should flash while cranking) and I am curious that if you did use a VM, how many volts were you reading while cranking?

If you have battery voltage at the coil AND you have a trigger signal to the coil from the PCM (assuming that part is the same as on an '00 through '04) your coil should be putting out voltage IF it is a good coil. That doesn't mean that it will start, as other issues may exist, but again: if you have a good coil (as you typed in your OP) it should be putting out voltage (and in your OP, you indicated that it wasn't).

How are you checking your coil for output?
 

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1996 Dodge Dakota 5.2L V8 Automatic
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am going to repeat my test since I used a test light and I was by myself. All I could really see was it light up..Could not determine if it was blinking since I could barely see the light peeking under the hood.. My test light is a digital VM/light combo.. I will have to get a friend and make sure.. How i tested the coil is simply unplug the plug wire with a screwdriver to look for an arc..Hope that is correct..
 

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How i tested the coil is simply unplug the plug wire with a screwdriver to look for an arc..Hope that is correct..
Okay . . . to clarify: did you mean that you pulled the primary lead from the coil (the wire from the coil to the distributor cap) at the distributor cap, or just a random plug wire from a spark plug & tested there?

A couple of things:
if you tested at a spark plug wire, you did not actually verify that your COIL is not putting out . . . it could be anything in the chain in front of the plug wire (and I note that it appears you have replaced just about everything).

The second thing is: this is how I would test for output from the coil wire OR at a sparkplug wire:
at just about any chain parts store (or probably at Harbor Fright) you can get these cheap handy little spark checkers. Your plug or distributor wire fits over one end (just like on your spark plug or your distributor cap) and the spark checker has a clip that you use to connect it to a good ground on your engine, and then it has an electrode with a gap that you can observe spark at while someone cranks your engine for you.

On that distributor replacement you mentioned in your OP:
did you do that yourself or farm the job out somewhere? The thing is on that, unlike in the old days, you cannot just put the distributor in the close proximity to where it was clocked before and then hook up a timing light to fine tune it. That has to be synched with certain test equipment (that I have no experience with) as your injector pulse timing is affected, and if you ran it without doing that for long enough, and it was off, I believe that you could burn valves.

Not that I think that the above is your current problem, as I am thinking that you changed the distributor because it wouldn't start?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok I got a friend and we repeated the test.. Probed grey wire while plugged in and again key on 2 seconds of voltage and when cranking I am getting between 10 and 10.3 volts...I did not see any pulsing whatsoever but then again I really need a small led bulb to confirm...The PO is the one who replaced coil, cam and crank sensors...All the old parts are in the bed of the truck...What is the possibility of him putting the distributor in 180 degrees off? looking at the shaft it looks like it can be put in correct or 180 off
 

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Ok I got a friend and we repeated the test.. Probed grey wire while plugged in and again key on 2 seconds of voltage and when cranking I am getting between 10 and 10.3 volts...I did not see any pulsing whatsoever but then again I really need a small led bulb to confirm...The PO is the one who replaced coil, cam and crank sensors...All the old parts are in the bed of the truck...What is the possibility of him putting the distributor in 180 degrees off? looking at the shaft it looks like it can be put in correct or 180 off
Who/what is a PO? Just curious.
Well, if you are positively not getting output from the coil, then you are not getting voltage to the distributor cap, so that isn't where I'd be looking (until I verified output from the coil), but if it was 180 out AND the coil was outputting, normally you get some massive backfires through the exhaust.

I cannot tell you for sure that you should test the inputs to the coil on a '96 the same as the book tells you to do it from '00 through '04, I can only tell you that from '00 through '04 the Haynes says that at the black/grey wire the test light should FLASH if you are getting a trigger signal from the PCM. But remember, the '96 ignition system may not be set up the same way. A Haynes for the applicable year(s) would contain troubleshooting your ignition system; a FSM would be preferable, but the Haynes would cover this part.

Also, I'd say that the spark-checker I alluded to previously might be a more definitive method to check for output from the coil, and they really don't cost a lot.
 

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Ok I got a friend and we repeated the test.. Probed grey wire while plugged in and again key on 2 seconds of voltage and when cranking I am getting between 10 and 10.3 volts...I did not see any pulsing whatsoever but then again I really need a small led bulb to confirm...
I just reread your post, remember, on an '00 through '04, the green/orange wire is where one would read battery voltage with key on and the grey/black wire is where one would check for trigger signal with a test light.

The PO is the one who replaced coil, cam and crank sensors...All the old parts are in the bed of the truck...What is the possibility of him putting the distributor in 180 degrees off? looking at the shaft it looks like it can be put in correct or 180 off
And to clarify, you did say in your OP that the distributor was changed, right?
 

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1996 Dodge Dakota 5.2L V8 Automatic
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
PO (previous owner) replaced all that stuff...And with key on I have zero volts on green wire.. only when cranking. And yes I wont completely trust my 96 is set up the same way but I am getting good practice and will ultimately verify before jumping to conclusions. I do definitely appreciate your knowledge and time.. Maybe someone will jump in that knows for certain.. And you are right I would think id at least get a backfire with starting fluid.. I get nothing so yes I have to stay on point and work on the coil output.. I will swing by harbor freight and pick up a spark tester tomorrow.
 

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Ah, PO = previous owner. Forgive me, the only thing I could think of was Parole Officer, and I thought that was unlikely, but if so, I was thinking he must be a pretty good guy.

Okay, using the word "knowledge" in conjunction with me is using the term rather loosely, but sort of where I was coming from with the green/orange wire is that since that much is the same, I felt that it is also possible that the other wire (which seems to be the right color) MIGHT be a wire for a coil driver circuit from your PCM. (MIGHT BE.)

So IF all this is the same as '00 through '04: IF you are getting battery voltage at the coil (& I am getting that you have verified that you are) AND IF you have a trigger signal to the coil (which seems to be not quite determined yet) AND IF you have a good coil, you should be getting voltage output from the coil's primary terminal.

So going back to the coil: was this Dak running when you got it from the PO? Regardless of that, it might be worth your time to use your MM on the ohm-meter function & check the resistance of the primary & secondary circuits, and VERIFY that this is still a good coil. I bet that the specs for that will be available on the internet somewhere. But, since you are going to pick up the handy spark checker anyway, you may as well verify that you are or are NOT getting output from the coil (before you pull it & check it).

I'll jump ahead a little bit. Let's assume that you have a good coil and the spark-checker indicates it is outputting voltage (if that's the case, check for spark at the plugs, however, if you've already gone the starting fluid route, I am thinking not), but let's say you are, do you hear your fuel pump powering up(?) and regardless, time to put a fuel pressure gauge on the fuel rail. I know I am spending more of your $, but they don't cost a lot this check can verify/rule out and you will always have it to use on stuff down the line. That's the way I look at that kind of stuff, anyhow.

Jumping ahead even more: WHEN you get her running (because you will) I seriously believe you are going to want to take it somewhere to have the 'fuel sync' performed. I've never personally worked with this part before, but it is my understanding that when the clocking of the distributor is changed even a little bit, it does not change the ignition timing (like in the old days) but it does change the synchronization between the injectors & the ignition timing which is critical on the multiport EFI engines.

Backing up just a bit, you asked about the distributor being 180 out, and I guess you could check that by bringing #1 up to TDC on the compression stroke (you'd probably need a compression tester to verify that) and then pulling your distributor cap off, and seeing if the rotor is pointed pretty much in the area of #1. However, I don't think that this is your issue (for now).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
To be honest I think i am going to look into the fuel sync you mentioned..Watched a video on it and Im gonna mess with that.. I will for sure get back when I get it running even if I have to tow it to a mechanic.. Might be a few days but were gonna get it..Thanks alot and if you have any more ideas I am all ears.. I will check back every day to see if anyone else has some input on this topic. Cheers!!!!!
 

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To be honest I think i am going to look into the fuel sync you mentioned..Watched a video on it and Im gonna mess with that.. I will for sure get back when I get it running even if I have to tow it to a mechanic.. Might be a few days but were gonna get it..Thanks alot and if you have any more ideas I am all ears.. I will check back every day to see if anyone else has some input on this topic. Cheers!!!!!
Definitely get the fuel sync done once it is running,
but
verify FOR SURE whether:
you are getting output FROM your coil
you are getting a trigger signal TO the coil
and that you actually have a good serviceable coil installed.
Good luck & let us know what you find out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
You have no comma between "cam crank sensor". They are two separate units. One in back of the block and one under the ditributor dizzy.
Are you saying both have been replaced?
Yes both have been replaced and I am now checking the crank sensor on the bell housing..checking middle wire for 5 volts when cranking...it is a tough one to backprobe
 

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Yes both have been replaced and I am now checking the cam sensor on the bell housing..checking middle wire for 5 volts when cranking...it is a tough one to backprobe
On the bell? That would be the crank position sensor. The cam position sensor (aka the distributor pickup coil) lives under your distributor cap.

But to clarify three redundant points:
I take it that you have verified that
your coil is definitely not putting out voltage
that you have or do not have a trigger signal going to it
and that for sure it is a good coil (not just because PO said he replaced it)?
 
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