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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I have a 2000 Dakota with 111,000 miles and it has a stalling problem. The first time it happened it was a hot afternoon in July of last summer. I was pulling out of a restaurant parking lot onto the main road and everything was normal. Then the engine died and the check engine light came on, the engine started again right away, but the engine light stayed on. A few miles down the road it stalled again and this time I restarted the engine while coasting in neutral. I drove the remaining five-miles home and everything was otherwise normal.

The next day I drove it to the shop and they identified the code P0725 “engine speed input circuit malfunction”. The technician cleared the code but could not reproduce the stall condition and recommended replacing the crank position sensor, I agreed.

Everything was normal for the next six-weeks until it stalled while idling at a traffic light. The check engine light came on and it took about 90-seconds before it would start again. I brought it back to the shop and the code was identified as P0118 “engine coolant temperature circuit high input”. During this event it was not a particularly warm day and the engine temperature was normal. The technician could not reproduce the stalling condition and could not explain the different code, but offered to replace the cam position sensor free of charge assuming the first diagnosis and replacement of the crank position sensor was incorrect. They replaced the cam sensor and drove the truck randomly over the next two weeks but could not reproduce the problem.

Again, everything was normal until it stalled on the expressway in rush hour traffic. I was just able to put on the hazard lights and coast to the shoulder. This time there was no check engine light and the engine would not start again for about twenty-minutes. Once it did start again, I drove it directly to the shop. There was no code, and they could still not reproduce the issue.

The first two stalling events were kind of scary, but stalling on the freeway was extremely disturbing and dangerous. I’m the original owner, and the truck is in great shape, but if the problem cannot be identified and corrected, and I am quite sure it will not stall again, I’ll have to sell it as is. Thanks in advance if anyone could suggest a possible solution.

Regards,

Ron
 

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Ron, imo, the crank & cam position sensors were a good place to start throwing parts at this.

I have read a ton of posts on the Dakota sites about these gen2s shutting down & going into a crank-but-no-start-mode, but unfortunately it is tough to troubleshoot something when it is working (as yours is MOST of the time). A lot of these gen2 Dakotas in crank-but-no-start-mode (both intermittent & terminal) seem to come down to buggy PCMs, and that doesn't seem to be totally uncommon for them. I recall a post by a guy whose Dak would shut down on him & restart after a period of time. He started wiggling & pushing on the PCM connectors & he thought he had diagnosed it to a loose receptacle on one of the connectors, but as things went on, it turned out to be a loose pin in the PCM itself. (If you want, I'll find that thread & post a link for you.)

If your issue ever devolves from intermittent to terminal, there are some checks that you could do that would either point at the PCM or away from the PCM; however, I realize that you don't want to wait for your problem to become terminal.

In the mean time, you might think about sending your PCM out to a facility that advertises that they can bench check it & diagnose it. If you do wind up taking your PCM out, be sure & disconnect the negative battery cable before you unhook it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi immattj,

Thanks for the feedback! I am away from home, but I’ll do a visual inspection of the PCM when I return. If that initial inspection does not turn up anything I’ll consider the time and money to remove the PCM and have it professionally tested, and if necessary replace the PCM.

I really want to keep the truck, as I said I’ve had it since new and I think it has more miles to go. However, when it stalls in traffic it is very disturbing.

Thanks again, and if anyone can recommend someone who and test the PCM, please let me know.

Ron
 

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Ron, the PCM is the computer in your Dak, and I am going to step out on the limb and say there probably won't be much you will be able to ascertain or verify with a visual. As far as the labor/cost to remove it, it might take 5 minutes. Probably less.. Unhook the negative battery cable first (you don't want to create a problem with your PCM if one doesn't exist) and then unhook the 3 connectors and then go from there (I cannot remember the actual fasteners that are involved in holding it, but trust me, it should take about a minute or so).

As far as places that claim that they can diagnose (& repair if required), when I had a similar experience with mine (except I was lucky & every time mine shot craps it was in my driveway) and when it finally became terminal I was able to follow a seqence that pointed at the PCM. I watched some youtubes looking for recommendations and someone on one of them put in a plug for a place called SIA Electronics in Tilden, Il. To be clear, I am not putting in a plug for them, just relating my own personal experience. I called them on the phone and I wound up sending them my PCM. Although they did not meet their advertised turn time, they did diagnose and repair the issue & I have been good so far (fingers always crossed). That was in 2018. You could always check with the guys at the shop where you have been having the work (so far) done, and see if they can give advice on electronic repair shops that do PCMs.
 

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I second the PCM issue, there really isn't going to be much of anything you can see just by looking at it, if I were you and all signs continue to point at that, I'd just order a replacement and slap it in, there's no labor involved and if your truck continues to stall you kinda check off the PCM but you're only out like $100. I know it sucks to throw parts at your truck aimlessly but when my PCM was going haywire I assumed it to be the terminals, because sometimes screwing around with them was enough to get me going again. I tried changing the huge plastic blocks going into the computer because my truck my backfiring like crazy and stalling out. Finally I went on car-part.com and ordered a used replacement with the same 5 digit code (mine was 377AC I think) for $100 and after putting it in, I haven't had problem since and that was back in like 2015. In my 1997 I didn't need any reprogramming and even my oem security system worked after the swap. Hope this helps
 

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And not to take away from immatjt's suggestion, but if you order a cheap used replacement you can continue using the truck as you see comfortable, with sending out your computer, it's gonna be a large paperweight in your driveway for at least a week and with the shipping costs and diagnosis fee I bet you're in the same ballpark of just buying a used one that you could really always resell if it didn't work out
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Matt, Jester,

Understood regarding the value of a visual PCM inspection. I just thought I’d locate the PCM and look for obvious corrosion etc. Also, someone on another forum suggested checking for corrosion and bad grounding.

I like the idea of sending the existing PCM to have it diagnosed and possibly repaired. If a fault in the PCM is identified at least then I will know for sure what the problem is, and if it is repaired or replaced, I can feel confident driving the truck in traffic again.

Regards,
 

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Matt, Jester,

Understood regarding the value of a visual PCM inspection. I just thought I’d locate the PCM and look for obvious corrosion etc. Also, someone on another forum suggested checking for corrosion and bad grounding.
There used to be a pretty experienced member here (RalphP) who used to recommend (first unhooking your negative battery cable!) and then unplugging and plugging your PCM connectors a few times. (As a matter of fact I recently passed that on to someone who had a FREQUENT random stalling going on, and it worked.) You could do that, & while you were doing that you could clean all the pins with some contact cleaner, but you wouldn't really know anything for sure. You'd still be driving during rush hour with your fingers crossed.. I was once reading a thread on this subject, and I'll see if I can track it down and if I can I'll paste a link.


I like the idea of sending the existing PCM to have it diagnosed and possibly repaired. If a fault in the PCM is identified at least then I will know for sure what the problem is, and if it is repaired or replaced, I can feel confident driving the truck in traffic again.

Regards,
That was where I was going with that suggestion. I don't know anything at all about testing PCMs, but maybe there is something they can do on the bench to force the condition to duplicate or maybe if they take the top or bottom off they might see something on the PCB with an almost sort of loose solder joint or something. That might be worth discussing with the facility before you send it out. In one of my previous lives I was an airline mechanic & I did a few tours through the electric shop (it was a bid area by seniority, and as I was certainly no electrician, I usually got low tech jobs) and a friend of mine who also worked there showed me his favorite technique which was to find a unit on the shelf (whatever it was) that was basically working okay and no faults could be duplicated. That way he could spend the night doing nothing & still put out a "serviceable" unit when the shift was over. So where I was going with that seemingly pointless story is: that I suppose that a PCM that works MOST of the time might present a repair facility with an issue that could not be diagnosed when it was working. I don't know. As I typed, that would be worth discussing with them.
 

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Here is an interesting PCM thread with the link to another PCM thread within it.


This is the thread that I was originally talking about:

 
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