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Mikeman556
Dodge Dakota
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7/11/2003
02:20:14

Subject: 95 Dakota Tune up Gone bad?(help)
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Ok, my Name is Mike and I got issues with my 95 Dakota V-6. Manual Transmission. (go get some popcorn and a drink, this is gonna be a long one fellas) Sorry.

I know very little about cars. I hate to come to a board like this and admit that, but I figured it would help if you all knew all the facts involved. The bottom line is the truck starts great. Idles nice, no knocking sounds, no backfires, etc...etc.. The problem comes when I am driving the truck. It litteraly "sputters" is the only way I can describe it. When you are trying to "baby" the truck up to speed, it acts like it is a new horse trying to buck you off. The stick shift vibrates violently from side to side, and the truck has a "jerky" feel to it. The funny part is if you step on the dang gas pedal, it takes off like a rocket and doesn't have a chance to "sputter". Now let me tell you how all this came to be................

A year ago, my wife was hit in the front right and pretty much crushed that side. We had it towed to the body shop, and they fixed it all nice. Couldn't even make it home. The truck died at every light, flooring it made the engine die, etc...etc.......

Had it towed to "Dodge"........I TOLD THEM about the wreck. They looked into it. Told me I needed a new fuel pump. Fine. Do it! Obviously that didn't work, cause then they said I needed a new throttle body. Fine. Do it! Then they called and said it was fixed. Fine. I'm comming to get it!
$900+ later, I made from the parking lot of the dealership to the end of the street, and it died on me again. Same problems. I believe to this day that is the closest I have ever come to "going postal". I had them come and get the truck. I asked for the Manager. I politely asked him to get someone else on the job, because the first clown that worked on my truck obviously "fixed" things that didn't need to be fixed. He told me he was going to put his top man on it. Fine. Do it!

The mechanic (top man) calls me the next AM, and asks me what's going on.......I TELL HIM about the wreck. It went like this......

"Where did you get hit again?"
me: Front right
"Do you know where your CPU is that controls the engine is?"
me: no clue
"Front right"
me: light bulb comes on
"I'll check that first"

Hour later.
"Your CPU is busted bad"
me: Fix it

Another boatload of $$$$$$, BUT, that did fix the problem. Thank God the insurance paid for everything. But, (and the moral of this story) I WILL NEVER, EVER, EVER, NEVER take my truck back to Dodge. NEVER! I am determined to spare my wallet, and my pride and fix this myself or get someone else to fix it, but NEVER DODGE!!!!!!!

That is why I am here, instead of taking it in to dodge. By the time they get done with me, I'll have a new truck. LOL

Ok, So last month, I get a good friend of mine to do a major tune up, AND, replace the timming chain. He later told me the chain had almost an inch of play in it. Said I was very lucky that it hadn't broken. So, when he returns it, the Check Engine light is on......constantly. He doesn't know why, and he feels the "sputtering" too and doesn't know why.

(the "sputtering" was NEVER an issue AFTER we got the CPU replaced after the wreck. It worked great for the last 11 months. Not one problem. This "sputtering" is a direct result of SOMETHING he did while doing the tune up, and timming chain replacement)

Anyway, I also told him (my friend) that I am getting a pretty loud "metal on plastic" sound as I am taking off......or gearing down, but it goes away at cruise. He found the problem. My Catalytic Converter had apparently worked itself loose from the weld and was litteraly shaking and making the noise. (or it was busted loose from the wreck, and no one caught it)

Anyway, I asked him to go ahead and replace the CAT with a new one........THEN we would worry about the CHECK engine Light. He replaces the Cat. Guess what? Check engine light goes off now like it should. He said the CAT could be the problem BEFORE he fixed it......but he was skeptical because it never came on before the tune up. Anyway, that worked for that problem thank goodness.

I'm thinking it has to be something with the distributer cap or spark plug wires or something, because he looked at it again the other day and he said something to the effect of "well here's one problem".....and I said "what?" and he said something about the distributer cap wires weren't going to the right places????????? Anyway, supposedly he fixed that problem......AND IT MADE A DIFFERENCE!!!!!!!

Almost a "big" difference......but it is STILL jerky if you try to baby it up to speed. "Get on it" and you don't notice any problems. Seems to be worse going uphill. Lastly, when you "get on it" the engine of course revs up and the RPM's go through the roof (ok 4k) but as soon as you let off the gas....you can hear somewhat of a "mini backfire".....but not really backfires. I KNOW what a backfire sounds like and it's not backfires. It's more like "gurgling" and it only happens for a brief second, then goes away when the engine is in a normal RPM. The "jerking" is almost unnoticeable at cruise. Say 35 or 45 or even 55. It's only when you try to accelerate That you get these mild jerking motions. IMHO the engine sound doesn't really change with this.

Please help me guys/gals......I can't stand the thought of taking this truck to dodge again. I'll buy a new freakin' car before I do that. I swear I will.

Only one last clue to solve this problem. (myself that is) When I do the ignition "on-off,on-off,on" trick to check fault codes......I get a 12, 41, & 55. The 12 Code is accurate because while driving home last week I lost all power. Got a new battery, but was able to determine it was not the battery. Was the alternator. The same "friend" "fixed" the alternator because he said one of the "posts" had broken off the back and it was not getting a good connection or "jump" as he called it. Have not had any trouble since then, BUT, another friend gave me a gadget you plug into the cigarrette lighter that reads the alternator currents or something like that..........

Anyway, that gadget is giving me a yellow light, and a green light. That means (according to the gadgets instructions) that the alternator is "low" and "ok" at the same time. It SHOULD be just a green light. So tomorrow I am going to get a new alternator and put that on and see what happens. But I KNOW my luck, and that won't solve the "jerky" problem. And yes, I can and will put the alternator on myself. Give me some help here guys.

Recap: New tune up, New timming chain, new CAT, and now I'm getting "jerky" driving when accelerating at lower speeds.

Sorry for the very long post, but since I don't know squat about cars, I thought ALL the facts might help YOU to help ME solve this problem, because the "friend" mechanic is at a loss as well. He says the Idle should be around 750 or so? Sometimes it is. Most of the time it idles around 450 or so though. That's the last clue.

12 and 41 fault codes are accurate then because 12 is disconnected battery in the last 50 power ons, and the 41 has to do with the alternator. 55 is end of codes. Duh!

Thanks.




Jon
Dodge Dakota
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7/11/2003
07:30:46

RE: 95 Dakota Tune up Gone bad?(help)
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First i would check the spark plugs. You said that he moved some spark plug wires around and it made a big difference. If the wires were going to the wrong cyliders that means a few cylinders were misfiring. It is possible that those plugs are all fouled out from the misfire, and are not firing properly not that you fixed the problem with the wires. Second i would just check the timing with a timing light and verify that the chain is installed properly.

-Jon



Deep Purple
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7/11/2003
07:49:00

RE: 95 Dakota Tune up Gone bad?(help)
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Another thing, fully charge the battery. A low or weak battery can cause all sorts of weird things. Be sure the battery has a good ground. Good luck.



J and J Auto
Dodge Dakota
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7/11/2003
09:17:18

RE: 95 Dakota Tune up Gone bad?(help)
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From the codes you mention it sounds like a
voltage problem.

You can check the wires there is a #1 on the cap
and in a clockwise rotation the order is

165432

Also any time you replace a chain you should have
the injector sync checked.

Larry
J&J Auto



tall paul
Dodge Dakota
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7/11/2003
10:33:26

RE: 95 Dakota Tune up Gone bad?(help)
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Larry,

Is that injector synch something a home mechanic can check (if so how), or is that a dealer deal ????



Joe
Dodge Dakota
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7/11/2003
23:04:32

RE: 95 Dakota Tune up Gone bad?(help)
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yeah, you can get a haynes manual and make sure all the wires are in their proper places. The "backfire gurgling" may be normal. Especially in a manual tranny when you let off the gas you get that sound because you no longer have any pressure, so it makes that sound. It would be more noticable with an aftermarket or freer flowing exhaust (maybe the new cat??). But about the jerking. How many miles you have?? It could quite possibly be an engine or tranny mount. Maybe they are worn out, or the wreck stressed them too much and they snapped or wore out. Autozone checks batteries and alternators, so you can get them to check it for free. I have no clue about the engine codes but plan on trying that out when I get my truck back. Good luck and let us know how it goes.



Dkota
Dodge Dakota
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7/12/2003
00:19:51

RE: 95 Dakota Tune up Gone bad?(help)
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Hey try advancing the timeing. This is done be moving the whole distributer over. Hayns show sumthing about it. THis worked for me.



Joe
Dodge Dakota
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7/12/2003
07:14:44

RE: 95 Dakota Tune up Gone bad?(help)
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Maybe I'm behind here but I remember Haynes stating that the timing is already set and cannot be adjusted. Maybe Im wrong but Ill get the manual and check it out, because when I got the truck I wanted to do all kinds of preventive maintenance and I recall the manual saying that it couldn't be adjusted.



93 DakSport
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7/12/2003
07:29:56

RE: 95 Dakota Tune up Gone bad?(help)
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i would check the wires..sounds like the wiring is messed up...i know my truck ran like that when i screwed up the wires...got the manual and fixed it..hope this helps



Mikeman556
Dodge Dakota
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7/12/2003
12:38:30

RE: 95 Dakota Tune up Gone bad?(help)
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Yeah......the wires or plugs is what I am thinking too at this point. Because the "friend" came back to "adjust" the timming and that's when he found the screwed up wires the first time around. After he adjusted the timming, the truck ran much better but still a little jerky.

He called Dodge the next day to find out about where the timming was supposed to be and according to Dodge if everything is installed properly (IE timming chain) then the CPU sets the timming automatic. No "adjusting" is required.

If this is true, then the only other thing he did that day was with the wires, and so I'm thinking it's gotta be THAT, or the alternator. New alternator goes on today. Will be picking up the Haynes manual as well. Will Report back.



Mikeman556
Dodge Dakota
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7/12/2003
21:39:44

RE: 95 Dakota Tune up Gone bad?(help)
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Ok, WEEEEEEEEEEEE.........I did it! I got the new alternator installed all by myself. I know, I know, you're not impressed. For me it was a big deal. :)

Anyway, the new alternator *IS* working properly because I had it checked out after the install. Yeah!!!! But alas, it did not fix the "stuttering" problem. But never fear...I picked up the haynes manual so I'm thinking next weekend I'll just drop in a new engine and tranny. Hehe. Just kidding. Where do I go from here? Spark plugs? Check wires, distributor etc..etc...???

Thanks so far guys. (that haynes manual is cool)



Shank
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7/12/2003
23:29:04

RE: 95 Dakota Tune up Gone bad?(help)
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Pick up a Gap Gauge. they are usually a round disc that fit's on your keychain around the checkout area of the auto parts store, follow the Haynes' directions on how to use it & set the plug gaps. What kind of Plugs did you put in the engine? If you paid $5 each for platinum THEY ARE JUNK, TOSS THEM! They don't work in the 3.9, a cheap set of Autolites will work better. Autolite 3923's are cooler for better performance when matched with a 180 Thermostat, otherwise Autolite 3924's are OEM Replacement.

Wiring: your distibutor runs clockwise, #1 points parallel with the engine toward the passenger side. there will be a #1 stamped on the cap and follow the wires around clockwise to make sure each one is going to the right cylinder. order 165432.

cylinders: standing in front of your truck looking at the engine, everything on the right is Odd, the 1st cylinder is #1, middle is #3 and back is #5. On the passenger side it's 2,4,6.

firewall
6 5
4 3
2 1
front of truck.

if you checked the plugs, wires and made sure all the wires go the right places and it still has same problem. spend $24 and buy a timing light or borrow one. Follow directions in haynes manual!!!


Try this and if still doing same thing get back with us.

the sudden dying at stoplights etc sounds like the IAC. Idle Air Controller. it's the module on the back of the Throttle Body. around $18 @ Autozone.

Just my 2c & where I would start.
Good Luck
Shank



Mikeman556
Dodge Dakota
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7/13/2003
00:21:35

RE: 95 Dakota Tune up Gone bad?(help)
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Shank, I think you got two parts of two different stories interleaved because you mention the dieing at stop lights....etc....

That happened a year ago after a wreck. Hasn't done that in 11 months. (new CPU did wonders)

That's my fault though, the first post was soooo long. That whole part was meant to inform the reader that I would never take my truck to dodge again.

But the rest of your post is RIGHT ON THE MONEY!!
Great advice, and I will do exactly as you say because THAT is where the problem is. Gotta be.
Thanks Shank. I WILL post back my findings.





dcxer
Dodge Dakota
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7/13/2003
15:16:35

RE: 95 Dakota Tune up Gone bad?(help)
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Interesting post.First the computer does control ignition timing.To do so the distr must be in a 5 degree window.If it moves out of the window the engine will run worse and worse until it finally will not run at all.There is no need to set it per se other than to check it.You need to check the intermediate shaft for wear(under the distr).Replace the intermediate shaft bushing in the block also.Use the bronze one.There is a factory tool to remove ,install and fit the new bushing.(see the service manual) If the gear on the shaft is worn it must be replaced.Sounds very much like your problem,the more you run the engine the more it wears.Check it out.I recall that some 3.9L's left the factory with bad intermediate shafts.



adam purdy
Dodge Dakota
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7/13/2003
15:40:13

RE: 95 Dakota Tune up Gone bad?(help)
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pull the front cover again
and line up the dots on the timing gears
the dots have to be right on perfect
reinstall the front cover
pull out the spark plug on the number one cylinder and the valve cover on that same side
turn the engine over until the intake valve opens up
take a small very clean screwdriver and place it in the spark plug hole DO NOT DROP IT
countinue to turn the engine over until the piston pushes the screw driver all the way to the top when it gets at the top play with it and go back and forth with the engine until you are as sure as you can be that the piston is all the at the top
this puts cylinder #1 at top dead center on the compression stroke.
stop at this point
pull out the distributor rotate the gear until the contact on the rotor is in the position that lines up with the number 1 contact on the cap
reinstall the distribtor in that position
if the distributor does not go all the way down but you feel the gears engage SLOWLY rotate engine until distributor drops down (oil pump and distributor drive tooth not lined up just turn)
reinstall wires and all other components to book specs
double check everything
disconnect negative side of battery for at least 24hrs do not reconnect until you are ready for test drive
test drive if everything seems ok
take it on the expressway or somewhere you can go over 55 mph for at least an hour
this resets the computer and timing curves
if you have any questions you can call me at
DIX AUTO 313-381-1112 monday-friday 8-5



Mikeman556
Dodge Dakota
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7/14/2003
00:02:51

RE: 95 Dakota Tune up Gone bad?(help)
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Alright guys, a little update. I checked the wires going to the cylinders. They are correct. Dang it! However, as some other poster mentioned, it could still be the plugs so I'm gonna take them out and do the following:

1) Find out what the heck this guy put in there because I have no clue and for all know is using 6 different types of USED plugs. (hey I said I don't know) (doubtful, but we'll see)
He may not have known to use the 3924's. I dunno.

2) Gonna either replace all of them with CORRECT plugs, (and correct gap settings), and retest, OR, check the gaps on the currently installed plugs if the just so happen to be the correct plugs.

If that doesn't work, I'm gonna read "Adam Purdys" post until I understand just what in the ##$#$#$( he said. LOL

Just Kidding Adam, I understand 100% the "concept" in what you are saying.......however for someone who just installed an alternator for the first time EVER in his life, it was a bit much on the "unknown" side for me.

Pretty confident I can handle it Adam, I'll just have to go slow and MAKE CERTAIN I don't go to step B before step A is done. If I go this route Adam, I WILL be calling you for a little clarification on your post.

Thanks Again. Will report back.



JBull
Dodge Dakota
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10/15/2004
09:51:09

RE: 95 Dakota Tune up Gone bad?(help)
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Mikeman556, I feel your pain buddy!!! I have a '98 Sport that is giving me fits and the only "mechanic" work I've ever attempted i changing the oil!!! (Now I take it to QuickLube.) Anyways, I also bought a Haynes Manual last night and am going to attempt a basic tune-up and transmission filter change. I have been looking all night at the general message boards to find out the recommended OEM spark plugs and gap #'s. Seems everyone has an opinion. I am going to "assume" that Autolite 3924 is OEM and that the 3923's are "cooler" and better---whatever all that means. My question to you is: I have 90K miles on a used p/u that appears to be fairly well maintained. Should I change the Distributor cap and plug wires when I install new plugs?
Wish me luck, fellas.



Pinomex
Dodge Dakota
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10/15/2004
11:06:28

RE: 95 Dakota Tune up Gone bad?(help)
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HELP!

Sorry to interrupt this post, but I also seem to have the familiar problem.

I have a 98' Dakota and about 6 months ago, I began to have the exact same engine problems as the originator of this thread.

Be advised that the following happened for about 2 months and than it went away. Now it started up again.

1. When starting truck, all is OK.

2. Engine RPM drops while on drive at a stop, usualy after warm up.

3. Begin to hear a loud "Shhhhhhh!" and smell fumes.

4. Begin to hear popping noise (like popcorn) in air intake when attempting to drive away.

5. Truck begins to act like a stubborn mule.

6. Cars behind me begin to honk, pass me up, and give me the finger.

I have taken the car to three diferent mechanics, in order to get a more detailed cause for the problem.

First mech told me that it needs a tune up. (Can't be, I tune it up on a regular basis.)

Second mech told me the timing is off. (Cant' be, timming does not fix itself.)

Third mech scratching his head told me it sounds like a sensor but did not know which of three. (This guy was more confused than I, so he must be right.)

It has been hooked up to a diagnostics machine and it was also confused. The mech said that he will need to replase each sensor, one at a time to find the bad one.

He totaled the estimate at about $600. Turns out that 1 sensor might be bad, but I will be buying three.

F@%$ NO!

Can some one please tell if they have the same problem.

Thanks.







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