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We bought a 97 Dodge Dakota SLT with the 318 in it. After already dumping 1200 bucks into the front end, we're now facing 2 issues.
First of all, the truck has a really hard time staying running in the morning until it's warmed up. We replaced the unit on the back of the throttle body ( for the life of me I can't remember what it's called) and also did a full tune up with plugs, cap and rotor and still dies in the morning if it doesn't warm up for about 5 minutes. Is there a cold start sensor of some kind to set the fuel/air/choke? Or any other possibilities?
Second problem is, it has the automatic but and the tranny shifts fine and doesn't slip at all but on the end of the gear shifter, I'm pretty sure there should be a button to push to turn the overdrive off/on and there's a little round plate covering it up so you can't push it. Really not sure what to do about that one. That plate on there tells me there had to be something wrong with shifting into overdrive. It still shifts into OD just fine but we can't turn it off cruising through town so when you hit the 40 mph range, it goes into OD and turns into a dog. Any ideas on this one? Any common problems with those transmissions?
Any and all help will be appreciated. We bought this for my son for his first rig and now he's not real happy bout the whole deal.
 

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cant remember which part that is right now. i can look it up when i get home tonight, but there are a couple of them on the throttle body. one is called the idle air control valve and another is the throttle position sensor.

i'm not 100% certain but i believe you can take these off and carefully clean the contacts on both the sensor and the connectors. try that and see if it helps.

as for the OD button, it should be there to turn it off. have you tried to take the round plate off to see if the button is still there? barring that, i would make a trip to a dealer to make sure. my truck has the button to turn it off but i have a different 4 speed tranny

tell your son not to give up! these trucks are highly modifiable and are a blast to drive. they dont get the greatest gas mileage but he will have fun learning how to work on it and getting to know it inside and out!
 

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Mine is a 98 318, and it has this weird problem of stalling on very cold mornings
(below 0C). I back out of the driveway and as soon as I move the gear selector
from R to D, it stalls on me. Starts ok and then seems to be ok after that.
I think its a sensor that is temperature sensitive, but I don't know which one.
It has the 46RE automatic and there is a thermister in the tranny to tell the
PCM when the fluid is warmed up enough for the OD to shift, but I'm not
sure if that is the problem or if its something else. No PCM codes and it
starts and idles just fine cold. If I plug it in for a few hours, it doesn't
stall..so it has something to do with either the engine temperature/coolant
being warm or the tranny being cold..maybe?
 

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I consulted my Haynes manual and there besides the engine coolant temp sensor,
there is a IAT (Intake Air Temperature) sensor and the Idle Air Control motor
(located at the back firewall behind the throttle body). I suppose any one
of these could be responsible for my cold stalling problem. The Haynes manual
doesn't seem to troubleshoot cold stalls, just stalls.

It (Haynes) doesn't tell me much about the cold stalling problem., just
lists a few possiblilites.
1. Idle speed incorrect... (maybe on cold engine?)
2. Fuel filter clogged... (never been changed, but it doesn't seem to
cause problems at normal operating temperatures.
3. Faulty emissions components.... (I have just changed out both
upstream and downstream oxygen sensors, so maybe?)
4. Sparkplugs/wires..(they were changed out a couple years ago)
5. Vacumn leak at throttle body... (I will check into that).
 
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