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truck won't start

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by PlowOrDie, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. PlowOrDie

    PlowOrDie Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 164

    hi, i usually post here with my truck problems, and you guys seem to always know what you are doing...

    anyways... here's the problem...

    i usually keep the 1997 dodge ram 2500 4x4 (150K) in the garage, but as of recently i have to keep it outside of the garage. when it snows, or any type of precipitation is in the air, or on the truck, it seems to not want to start...

    i had this problem before, took the truck in and the mechanic said a spark plug was loose, and all was good....

    now the problem is back and haunting me in the middle of a huge storm...

    any help would be greatly appreciated....
  2. sechracer

    sechracer Senior Member
    Messages: 478

    Bad wires????
  3. ABES

    ABES PlowSite.com Addict
    from MN
    Messages: 1,322

    I would try spraying some starting fluid into the intake if it starts then its most likely a fuel problem. otherwise i would check your distributor cap for cracks as that could let in moisture and not let it run.
  4. MBB

    MBB Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    Way back in the 80's I had a problem that was similar, bad grounds to the brain box, took for ever to find it as all the checks were done with brain box un mounted, that particular unit relied on the back of the brain box for the ground, problem was caused by dis similar metals plus salt spray = rust = loss of ground.
  5. PlowOrDie

    PlowOrDie Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 164

    so i added some fuel line antifreeze, and tried jumping it.... still won't start

    i had to jump it because i drained the battery earlier trying to start the hunk of junk

    wow i am so pissed off
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2008
  6. BFD

    BFD Junior Member
    from buffalo
    Messages: 5


    Try spraying the spark plug wires with wd 40 if they are wet that will dry them out. Take one of the spark plug wires off the plug end and put a spark plugs in the end and ground it to metal to check for spark And if you don't have a plug to test use a screw driver
  7. PlowOrDie

    PlowOrDie Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 164

    alright i was just out there and my working conditions are horrible. the wind chill outside is probably in the negatives, and snow is just coming down.... i have no garage at the moment which is horrible....

    anyways i just sprayed the outsides of the spark plugs with wd40, are you suggesting taking the sparkplugs out and spraying each one?
  8. ramitall

    ramitall Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    look at your coil pack it is bolted to the front of the pass cylinder head.if the metal looks swollen you coil is probably crack causing it to loose spark very common problem.i always carry a spare in the glove box.you can pick one up at any parts store.if you have to sip tie it to the old one till you can get it some where warm to work on it.also if you tried to start it several times with a bad coil it might be flooded.if you hold the gas pedal down all the way the compter will go in clear flood mode.
  9. BFD

    BFD Junior Member
    from buffalo
    Messages: 5

    No just the wires. Did you can check for spark If you use an old plug or screw driver in the end of one plug wire to check for spark .
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2008
  10. creativedesigns

    creativedesigns PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,929

    If its a diesel engine, I usually plug it in when its cold outside! Try boosting it if you can?
  11. PlowOrDie

    PlowOrDie Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 164

    prior to my current misfortunes, i had problems with my ignition coil... which is easy to fix. I carry a spare ignition coil in my cab because it has a history of going bad quick... damn dodges...anyways.. i hope this might be useful to whoever is good at diagnosis... but this problem was the first problem (damn ignitionn coil) which led to a tow, and a day of no truck... luckily it was an easy fix.... as this problem was corrected, a new one had arrived...

    ....the 4x4 wouldnt lock in... so earlier this year I had taken my truck in and had some linkage fixed on my 4x4, as well as a vacuum pump for the 4x4 replaced.... i got my truck back from the "Expert Mechanic" who fixed it and the ABS Light and "BRAKE" lights were on when i got the truck back "Fixed". Those lights were not on on proir to me taking it in for repair...so who knows about that...its a mystery...i asked the guy what was up with it and he said that the lights were on when i took the truck in. I am not one to argue, so i just agreed and said ok sounds good. He said try resetting the battery, and if it is still on to bring it in and he'll hook it up to the computer. So i reset the battery, and the lights are gone....for about a week...then they come back on, as well as the CHECK ENGINE lights, and this where my whole new problem started to arise...

    the truck started stalling for no apparent reason, only when i made LEFT or RIGHT turns. If i was throttling while i turned, the engine would continue to run... If i would turn without throttling the gas, the truck would instantly shut off....engine would power off, and power steering was gone... quite dangerous...but i managed to still drive around with this problem for a couple days...until the one snowy, moisture filled day i tried starting it, and it acted the same way it is now- it wouldnt start. I waited a few days, let it dry out, put some gas in the carb, and it started up just fine.....i took it out for a test drive, sure enough, it starts to putter out driving STRAIGHT now, as well as left and right...soon enough, it wouldnt go anywhere so i had to have it towed in again....

    the guy tells me it was a spark plug line that was loose.... i get the truck back, and everything is fine. no more ABS BRAKE light, no more check engine... all because of a loose spark plug? I honestly think he messed something up while fixing the linkage/vacuum pump - and that is why i was stalling out like crazy...then when i took it back, he fixed it, and just decided to tell me that it was a loose spark plug line so i didnt think less of his "Expert mechanic" title....

    but anyways, the truck was GREAT when i got it back. it would start no matter what. RAIN/SLEET/SNOW.... i had the truck in about 2 months ago, not even....

    now the truck is not starting....

    what the heck is going on here?????????????????

    are these seriously the cards i am dealt??
  12. PlowOrDie

    PlowOrDie Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 164

    its gas...

    man i wish i could plug this truck in!
  13. PlowOrDie

    PlowOrDie Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 164

    so i just went out, unplugged the battery, thinking it would reset the computer because i figured the engine was flooded with gas and some how it would miraculously start now that the computer wouldnt catch it and it would somehow fire up...

    well i did it, and its still not catching.... the battery is FULL go, just can't get it to catch...

    what do you think????????????
  14. PlowOrDie

    PlowOrDie Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 164

    anyone have any input?
  15. Dodge Plow Pwr

    Dodge Plow Pwr Senior Member
    Messages: 568

    1.) Did you check the coil yet?
    2.) Do you actually have gas to the engine, ie: bad fuel pump?
    3.) When it is dark outside with no lights under the hood, have someone else turn the truck over while you look for spark jumping. If the coil has even a slight crack in the case it will arc and you can see it jump.
    Since you say it only acts up in the wet damp weather, my bet is the coil, second is a bad fuel pump.
    Hope this helps as I only use Dodge trucks. My 98 gasser had similar problems.
    :cry: I feel your pain.
  16. moosey

    moosey Senior Member
    Messages: 173

    Ok, my 2001 does the same thing. GO out in the morning and try starting it, if it won't go. I grab a hair dryer and put it to the coil for a minute then the cap for a few minutes(usually 2-3). And turn the key and it's Good to Go. Last winter it did this and replaced cap,rotor, wires, plugs and it started doing same thing again in fall if it was too humid out or too much moisture. It very well could be the Coil. I was gonna replace it but thought what the hell, the Trans is gonna blow any day now so why bother.
  17. Jon.

    Jon. Junior Member
    Messages: 5


    Check for spark as others have suggested, and pick up a "noid" light at the parts store. It plugs into your wiring harness in the place of an injector and allows you to visually confirm that the computer is sending a pulse to the injectors.

    If you can't hear the fuel pump cycle for a second or so when you turn the key to "on", pull the relay and manually fire it off to verify function. Verify that the relay clicks when you initially turn the key to "on" and that the pump is indeed cycling -- swap with another relay if you suspect a bad unit.

    I personally had a '97 Dodge that ran flawlessly from an engine management standpoint, but it would completely lose track of its idle operation when the battery was disconnected or dead for a short while. It would be so clueless that, instead of normally snapping to life after touching the key, it would crank and crank with no sign of life. The first time it did this, I flooded the hell out of the engine after maybe 10 cycles....additionally, you have to cycle the truck up to a certain speed (35/40mph?) before this computer will begin to sort out the idle again.

    One final note: the '97 will pull computer codes and display them on the ODO readout if you cycle the key to on 3 times (from off: On-off-on-off-on, leave on, watch display). The computer can detect critical failures during crank/no start events.....

    Good luck, post updates...

  18. PlowOrDie

    PlowOrDie Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 164

    thanks for the replies... i decided to take it in to the PRO since I am mechanically illiterate....

    ill be sure to post the exact problem up here so that future onlookers of this thread can learn
  19. Dodge Plow Pwr

    Dodge Plow Pwr Senior Member
    Messages: 568

    Keep us posted as I am sure the others as well as myself would like to know.
    Good luck and I hope for your sake it is a cheap fix.
  20. PlowOrDie

    PlowOrDie Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 164

    it was the coil and roter that needed to be replaced. also the oil had to be changed because i flooded the engine...

    75.00 for a tow

    200.00 for parts and labor...

    $400 to a sub to take care of my contract accounts

    so i lost approximately $700 this storm....