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beause ... 12/20/2019

2002 Dodge Dakota SXT 6 Cyl 3.90L


Why won't my truck start/why does it stall out in idle if it does start?

I have a 2002 Dodge Dakota with 220k miles. It's my daily driver but has not been starting lately. It turns over but never fires. I took it into a shop and after extensive diagnostics they told me if was a bad transmission range sensor that was sending bad signals to the ECU, causing a short.
I got the truck bad after doing the repair and it started and drove fine for a few days. Today it would not start again. It was acting the exact same way it was before the repair. After a few cranks I got it to start and it died completely in the road when I started accelerating.
What is causing my truck to not start half the time? What is causing it to stall out? Any advice is welcomed I'm at a bit of a loss.

1 Answer


Jimm 12/21/2019

First question - has the OBD (on-board diagnostics) been scanned for any stored fault codes?

First step - have the stored fault codes or check engine light scanned - for free - at any local auto parts store; Advance Auto, Auto Zone, NAPA.
Then, post a reply as 'add answer' with the specific code for more assistance.

This aspect is important; there may be a fault code stored in the OBD memory which may not be displayed as a check engine light.

Do not skip this important first step - there are literally hundreds of possible fault codes. Avoid wasting/ throwing money at the problem.

Possible Causes of Engine Hesitation or Stumble:

Dirty,leaking fuel injectors (cleaning the injectors often fixes this)
Dirty air filter (change filter)
Dirty / clogged fuel filter (change filter)
Bad MAP (manifold absolute pressure) sensor
Bad TPS (throttle position) sensor
Bad or dirty MAF (mass airflow) sensor
Low fuel pressure (leaky fuel pressure regulator or weak fuel pump)
Vacuum leaks (intake manifold, vacuum hoses, throttle body, EGR valve)
Bad gasoline (fuel contaminated with water or too much alcohol)

Sometimes, what feels like a hesitation is actually ignition misfire rather than lean misfire. The causes of ignition misfire may include:

Dirty or worn spark plugs
Bad plug wires
Weak ignition coil
Wet plug wires


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