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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a 97 Dakota 5.2 that won't start. At first it was intermittent. I noticed while cranking, the fuel gauge and the oil gauge weren't working. If they worked, the truck would start. After a few times starting, it quit and hasn't started since. I had a friend scan it with his scanner and it would never link. I had already used my code reader and it said "unable to link up" or something to that effect. I had read somewhere that the crank position sensor caused the same symptoms, so I replaced it, but it didn't help. There is no fire and the fuel pump doesn't come on. I've swapped out the shut down and fuel pump relays, but it didn't help. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Branam, this sounds similar to an issue that I had (a few years ago) that started as intermittent & slowly devolved to being terminal. I fixed mine, after troubleshooting, by sending my PCM out for repair. Since that time I have replied to a few people who have had these symptoms, & at least a couple of them followed up saying that their issue also turned out to be their PCM.

What I am going to do is copy & paste the last time I replied to some one with this problem (on this thread)


which is the procedure that I used to diagnose my PCM as the culprit. This assumes that you are not getting output FROM your coil to your distributor cap.

Copied & pasted:

Anyway, I am not saying that your problem has the same diagnosis as mine did, but just the same I'll cut & paste the procedure I used to diagnose mine when it devolved from intermittent to permanent. This will obviously need to be performed if & when your Dakota is in a crank but won't start condition. And as far as the wire colors, let me double check on that, because this is the procedure for an '03 & I think Dodge changes their wire colors periodically. (And on edit: I just happen to have a Haynes for '97 to '99 & it gives the same wire colors. But be warned, this is from Haynes, so take it for what it may or may not be worth.)

"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.

"The coil and the fuel injectors are powered by the ASD (automatic shutdown) relay. The ASD relay is controlled by the PCM and will cut power if (1) the ignition key is left in the Run (not Crank) position without the engine running for approximately 2 seconds, or (2) the PCM does not receive a valid signal from the crankshaft position sensor (CKS). So you could check that the ASD relay is operating properly and you could check that the CKS is good and the wiring to the CKS is good."

I copied that last paragraph from a reply that Old Marine once typed. This means that you need to have your multimeter set up where you can observe it when you put the key in "run" or you need to do this with 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.

If those sensors test good: send the PCM out to be diagnosed."


As I prefaced my reply with: your issue could be a whole different animal than mine was, but I have read a whole shitload of suspected Dakota buggy PCM posts on this site since I've been here.

Good luck.
 

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You already changed your crank pos sensor & your ASD relay, so that emininates those from the reply that I pasted for you, above.
 

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. . . and very quickly, I just referred to some hand written notes that I previously made, & I wrote that: if the PCM senses no signal from either the crank OR cam pos sensors, it will de-energize the ASD AND the fuel pump relay.

It might be worth checking your cam position sensor first.. It's under the distributor cap on the 5.2.
 

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I noticed while cranking, the fuel gauge and the oil gauge weren't working. If they worked, the truck would start.
I just reread your OP. Did you ever get a "NO BUS" message? I was recently following a "NO BUS" thread, & your above statement makes me think that the PCM may not be communicating with the cluster when you are in the crank-but-will-not-start-mode.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I just reread your OP. Did you ever get a "NO BUS" message? I was recently following a "NO BUS" thread, & your above statement makes me think that the PCM may not be communicating with the cluster when you are in the crank-but-will-not-start-mode.
I never noticed one, but I do remember the odometer flickering a few times.
 

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Here's a couple of things you can try: push & wiggle your connectors to your PCM while someone cranks it for you, & see if that has any effect.
If that doesn't work, then unhook the battery(!) and then disconnect your connectors to your PCM & plug them back in. Do that 3 or 4 times & then hook your battry back up & see if you get anything when you try to start it.

I'm still kind of foggy on the "NO BUS" condition; I understand that it refers to the CAN BUS & the message indicates that one of the modules (which I assume would include the PCM) is not communicating with the cluster. Your OP about not getting some of your gauges when it wouldn't start, but when it would start you got your gauges, made me think of that.

But regardless. If you have determined that you are not getting output from your coil, if it was me I'd check to see that I was getting voltage TO the coil (remember--you've got 2 seconds to read your multi meter after you turn the key on) and if I was, I'd then check for a trigger signal from the PCM TO the coil when cranking. If it turned out there was no trigger signal, I'd change the distributor pickup coil (as that is what they all the cam position sensor on the 3.9/5.2/5.9).

1997 DODGE DAKOTA 5.2L V8 Distributor Pickup Coil | RockAuto

It's not a way high priced part to throw at the problem, & I think you could almost look at it as part of your base ignition & therefore a tune up part. And that way, even if it doesn't fix it, you will KNOW you have a good sensor installed, & you can keep the old one for a troubleshooting spare.

If that doesn't fix your starting issue, I believe that narrows it down to your PCM OR the circuitry from the crank or cam pos (distributor pickup) sensors.

Do that check for trigger signal & if you are not getting any, if you want I can look in my FSM & I'll find out which pins/connectors to your PCM are for those two sensors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've watched a few videos on how to check the coil. Just saw where a bad pickup coil will show the same symptoms that I have. I'll check them tomorrow.
 

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. . . and here I'll paste something, for you to consider, that I read either on this Dakota Forum or the other one. I cannot personally vouch for the validity of this statement/observation, but if it is true, it is interesting. And I will say I have read a ton of threads from people, on these forums, from people with suspected buggy PCMs.

"I have been studying the ECM's that come with these vehicles. I have found out that it is very common to have a couple of circuits fail in them. The coil driver, voltage regulator, IAC motor IC, step up transformer that gives you the "NO BUS error" and the EPROM. All of these issues are caused by broken solder contacts on the board. If you are good with a soldering iron you can fix the ECM by re flowing the solder contacts."
 

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I've watched a few videos on how to check the coil. Just saw where a bad pickup coil will show the same symptoms that I have. I'll check them tomorrow.
And just to clarify, you are referring to the distributor pickup coil (aka cam position sensor) not the ignition coil, right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
And just to clarify, you are referring to the distributor pickup coil (aka cam position sensor) not the ignition coil, right?
Yes, the pickup coil in the distributor. ,There was also a test for the ignition coil to see if it's getting a signal from the ASD relay. Thought I might try that also.
 

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Gotcha.
Yeah, the test for the ignition coil is the one where you probe the green/orange wire with the volt meter function of your mm & then turn the key on to see if you will get battery voltage through the ASD relay. Remember--TWO seconds after you turn the key on is all you have. I keep mentioning that because it threw me for a little while when I was first doing it.

You could also ohm out your ignition coil to see if it is within specs, but I don't think that's your issue, seeing as how your gauges don't work when it won't start. Unless it is a separate issue & by coincidence is happening at the same time your gauges don't function when cranking. But, I guess it never hurts to rule out coincidences.
 

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I've been having a similar problem with my 2000 Durango full time 4x4. I just replaced the engine (works fine) and every sensor. Several months ago a guy who claimed to be a mechanic but turned out to be a real a******e, told me my pcm was bad so I ordered a reman pcm that was supposed to come pre flashed for my vin. The only thing that I asked the company to do was to eliminate the alarm system. I unplugged the plug at the ignition to completely disengage the system. Anyway, my vehicle wouldn't start. At first, it gave a code saying the new crankshaft position sensor was bad so I replaced it a second time. The wires were checked to the plug and everything checked out fine. Vehicle would crank but not start. On a whim, the guy that was checking it went to the junkyard and pulled another pcm. Now get this, he didn't check what year or engine size Durango he pulled it from. I went to the Dodge garage and by back tracing the part no. they told me it came out of a 2001 Durango with a 5.9l (remember mine is a 4.7l) anyway, when he plugged that pcm in none of the dash gauges worked but the vehicle would start up and run for 30 seconds then shut off like the vehicle was in theft mode. So, another friend and I went to another junkyard and bought yet another PCM that had the same part no. that is made for my vehicle. When we plugged it in all the gauges on the dash worked but my vehicle would crank but not start. It makes no sense. The only thing that I can think of is that the correct PCM that I got from the junkyard (same part no.) is not flashed to my vin. During the troubleshooting the guy working on my vehicle said that there was no pulse to the injectors (ASD?).
I'm going to send the reman pcm back to have the company test it. Should I tell the to reactivate the alarm system? Also the 2000 Durango has coil packs and not a single coil so should I check every coil pack. Everyone is telling me to give up but I just can't. I'm restoring it and have replaced every mechanical part in it and have about 21k invested just in parts (engine included).
The local dealerships can't flash my pcm because they claim it's too old and their computers are not capable of performing that function. I'm currently not getting any codes. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I've been having a similar problem with my 2000 Durango full time 4x4. I just replaced the engine (works fine) and every sensor. Several months ago a guy who claimed to be a mechanic but turned out to be a real a******e, told me my pcm was bad so I ordered a reman pcm that was supposed to come pre flashed for my vin. The only thing that I asked the company to do was to eliminate the alarm system. I unplugged the plug at the ignition to completely disengage the system. Anyway, my vehicle wouldn't start. At first, it gave a code saying the new crankshaft position sensor was bad so I replaced it a second time. The wires were checked to the plug and everything checked out fine. Vehicle would crank but not start. On a whim, the guy that was checking it went to the junkyard and pulled another pcm. Now get this, he didn't check what year or engine size Durango he pulled it from. I went to the Dodge garage and by back tracing the part no. they told me it came out of a 2001 Durango with a 5.9l (remember mine is a 4.7l) anyway, when he plugged that pcm in none of the dash gauges worked but the vehicle would start up and run for 30 seconds then shut off like the vehicle was in theft mode. So, another friend and I went to another junkyard and bought yet another PCM that had the same part no. that is made for my vehicle. When we plugged it in all the gauges on the dash worked but my vehicle would crank but not start. It makes no sense. The only thing that I can think of is that the correct PCM that I got from the junkyard (same part no.) is not flashed to my vin. During the troubleshooting the guy working on my vehicle said that there was no pulse to the injectors (ASD?).
I'm going to send the reman pcm back to have the company test it. Should I tell the to reactivate the alarm system? Also the 2000 Durango has coil packs and not a single coil so should I check every coil pack. Everyone is telling me to give up but I just can't. I'm restoring it and have replaced every mechanical part in it and have about 21k invested just in parts (engine included).
The local dealerships can't flash my pcm because they claim it's too old and their computers are not capable of performing that function. I'm currently not getting any codes. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.
I feel your pain, mine's just an old work truck, but I don't like being without a truck. I've got a new distributor pick up, but the weather and my time off haven't been very cooperative for me to install. I would ask the computer people their opinion about reinstalling the security system.
 

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I've been having a similar problem with my 2000 Durango full time 4x4. I just replaced the engine (works fine) and every sensor. Several months ago a guy who claimed to be a mechanic but turned out to be a real a******e, told me my pcm was bad so I ordered a reman pcm that was supposed to come pre flashed for my vin. The only thing that I asked the company to do was to eliminate the alarm system. I unplugged the plug at the ignition to completely disengage the system. Anyway, my vehicle wouldn't start. At first, it gave a code saying the new crankshaft position sensor was bad so I replaced it a second time. The wires were checked to the plug and everything checked out fine. Vehicle would crank but not start. On a whim, the guy that was checking it went to the junkyard and pulled another pcm. Now get this, he didn't check what year or engine size Durango he pulled it from. I went to the Dodge garage and by back tracing the part no. they told me it came out of a 2001 Durango with a 5.9l (remember mine is a 4.7l) anyway, when he plugged that pcm in none of the dash gauges worked but the vehicle would start up and run for 30 seconds then shut off like the vehicle was in theft mode. So, another friend and I went to another junkyard and bought yet another PCM that had the same part no. that is made for my vehicle. When we plugged it in all the gauges on the dash worked but my vehicle would crank but not start. It makes no sense. The only thing that I can think of is that the correct PCM that I got from the junkyard (same part no.) is not flashed to my vin. During the troubleshooting the guy working on my vehicle said that there was no pulse to the injectors (ASD?).
I'm going to send the reman pcm back to have the company test it. Should I tell the to reactivate the alarm system? Also the 2000 Durango has coil packs and not a single coil so should I check every coil pack. Everyone is telling me to give up but I just can't. I'm restoring it and have replaced every mechanical part in it and have about 21k invested just in parts (engine included).
The local dealerships can't flash my pcm because they claim it's too old and their computers are not capable of performing that function. I'm currently not getting any codes. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.
That's complex, Lonecowboy.
When you replaced the first PCM, was that because you were in a no-start mode?
To answer one question for you, yes, the voltage for your injectors (and your coils) comes through the ASD relay,
but,
it is obviously able to close some of the time, as you have had the engine running for 30 seconds before it died.
The ASD relay is controlled by the PCM.
As far as checking your coilS, I think the same applies. They are also operational, at least some of the time, as you stated the engine would start & run for 30 seconds. If your coils were bad, I don't believe they would be intermittent & good for 30 seconds at a time.
It does sound (to me) as if this is PCM related.
And yes, at this point, if it was me, when I sent the PCM back to the facility, I'dhave them restore the alarm system.
 
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