Please Help, 1997 Dodge Ram Van 3.9L No Start....


Mikezayed
10-26-2009, 08:58 PM
Hey guys. Im pretty new here, so im going to try to explain this the best i can. My girlfriends mother has this van. A 1997 Ram Van with the 3.9L. Last friday she was driving it home, and it stalled out. Now, it wont start or anything. Fuel pressure is there, and compression is there, just no spark. Her husband (my g/f's dad) has already done a bunch of things to it (IE: removed the alarm system bc he knew there was a ignition kill switch in it and still nothing), and has done a few other things that was completly pointless. I know abt newer cars as i am a mechanic but i dont have tools that are avalible to me as in the dealership, and im a GM guy and i know squat about Dodge. Im leaning towards the CKP. I have read in this forum that there is a way to reset the PCM and see if is the CKP. Is there any test that is out there that i can do that will show me if its either the PCM or the CKP. From my understanding (i have yet to look at the van bc her father is trying to "fix" it and anything anyone says is not correct :banghead: he is always right even when he said this van does not have a PCM) the CEL is not lit. And to my understanding the CKP will not throw a CEL even if its bad or not. Any help would be great. Im just trying to line up some tests bc im not going to get to touch the van till at least friday (when her dad gives up and lets me in there to look at it). Thanks in advance guys, and i really do appreciate it.

jd-autotech
10-26-2009, 11:23 PM
if you cycle the key 3 times from off to on ,off to on off to on and leave it on the little display where the mileage is will give you a code if there is one. no cel doesnt mean no code.and a ckp wil set off a cel and so will cmp, actually the same code something like p1351 if you see a p1684 dont even look into it. it means nothing

Mikezayed
10-26-2009, 11:45 PM
Ok, and BTW, u replied to both of my posts, so thank you! Now, i read from a bunch of other ppl on here that on these models, the CKP will not set codes. Ill try that, i also have a code reader, its a generic reader, but it works, so ill look into it. I know (atleast on my girls 97 GM) the CKP and CPS will set codes, but according to a few ppl on here on these models it wont. But again, thanks for the info. Ill have to check into it. Anymore info would be great. Like i said, im trying to get a few ideas on this so i can just go there and bombard it with tests till i find out whats going on.

alloro
10-27-2009, 08:33 AM
Sure it could be the crank sensor, but without spark it could also be the coil, the distributor cap or the rotor as well.

BTW, the PCM is dead center of the firewall above the engine. It's a silver box with three large connectors plugged into it.

Resetting the PCM is done simply by disconnecting the battery for 10 minutes.

The alarm could still be the problem. Some alarms use the normally open contacts on a relay to enable the ignition. So by disabling the alarm, the relay will never energize and the ignition will never power up. Some alarm manufacturers do it this way to prevent someone from pulling a fuse to disable the alarm and driving the vehicle off.

Mikezayed
10-27-2009, 06:52 PM
Ok, i should have mentioned this earlier, my fault guys. The coil was replaced last year, and the cap and rotor was changed earlier this week, bc he thought that could be the issue. So i dont think that those are the problems. The coil he bought from dodge just because he trusts them more then most parts stores.

He thought abt the alarm, since it was a aftermarket, but, i have never heard of it killing the motor while driving. That was the issue, his wife was driving the van, everything normal, and it stalled (when i say stalled i mean just died with no indication), and she tried cranking it, and nothing. Got it towed home, and since last friday, it has yet to breathe life. Now, with that said, the last time i saw him (Sunday) he was in the process of removing the alarm system. And from what i know, he has completly removed the system, and returned all the wiring to the original locations without the alarm being in there. Now the reason im thinking its either PCM or CKP is bc of one of the posts Alloro posted too had the same issues this one is having. I think it was called "Headscratcher". The truck also recently had a tune up, maybe 3 or 4 months ago, and the timing chain was done either 1 or 2 years ago as preventative maintenence (SP?). But thanks Alloro, i know u kno ur stuff, and im hoping i can geet this thing going for them, bc her mom is riding the train to and from work, and its not the eaisest thing on her. Thanks in advance guys!!!

alloro
10-27-2009, 08:05 PM
Just out of curiosity...why hasn't he changed the crank sensor yet?

Mikezayed
10-29-2009, 06:06 PM
Alloro; To be honest with you, i dont think he ever thought abt it before. Especially since he swore up and down the van didnt have a computer in it. Lol.

Ok, Update. Last night i went and tried a few things on the van. I went to crank it, and the CEl light does come on, and i even cycled the key 3 times and counted the blinks of the light. It gave me a code 12, and 55. Now i know the 12 means the battery was diconnected (which it was bc i had done that just b4) and the 55 means that everything else is ok. So thats telling me the pcm is good. I tried resetting the PCM to see if it started and when i did that, i tried cranking and nothing. I pulled a plug wire off the distributor to see if there was any spark, and absolutly nothing. So any ideas?? Im out of it at this moment. Im starting to think it maybe the coil, but i dont want them to go and start buying parts for the hell of it. I wanna be sure b4 i do it. I still thinking its the CKP just bc of the age and mileage on the van. Any more help would be great. Im starting to go nuts with this thing lol. Thanks guys!!!

alloro
10-29-2009, 06:39 PM
Connect a voltmeter across the two wires of the coil and crank the engine. If you get voltage or even pulses of voltage then the coil is bad. (BTW, many auto parts stores will test the coil for you.) If you didn't get anything across the coil wires then I'd replace the crank sensor.

Mikezayed
10-29-2009, 07:08 PM
Connect a voltmeter across the two wires of the coil and crank the engine. If you get voltage or even pulses of voltage then the coil is bad. (BTW, many auto parts stores will test the coil for you.) If you didn't get anything across the coil wires then I'd replace the crank sensor.


Ok, now just so im 100% right on this, im going to ask rly stupid questions. Lol. The two wires ur talking about, are those the one with the connector that run under the distributor cap?? If so, do i just disconnect it and check for voltage there, or do i try and piggyback in the connector. Im sorry i know this is a rly stupid question, but i would rather sound stupid and do it right, instead of doing it wrong.

Thanks Alloro, u do know ur stuff, and im glad ur helping me with this issue.

Mikezayed
10-29-2009, 07:24 PM
Ok nevermind, I just realized the two wires going under the cap were for the pickup. Yeah brain fart. I realized the van has a seperate mounted coil. Again, i know nothing abt dodge. Ok, so im going to pull the connector from the coil, check if there is any voltage what-so-ever (pulsing or not) and if there is, the coil is bad, if not the CKP is bad. Ok, got it. Thanks again guys and sorry for my stupidity.

alloro
10-30-2009, 04:39 AM
Ok, so I'm going to pull the connector from the coil, check if there is any voltage what-so-ever (pulsing or not) and if there is, the coil is bad, if not the CKP is bad. Ok, got it.

Yes check for the power ACROSS those two wires WHILE CRANKING THE ENGINE, do not check for power to ground. The reason for that is because with the key on, one of the wires will have +12v to ground. That in itself will only tell us the coil is getting power and not much else.

BTW, there's no such thing as a stupid question...there's only people to stupid to ask one when they don't know something. :cool:

Mikezayed
11-09-2009, 04:23 AM
Yes check for the power ACROSS those two wires WHILE CRANKING THE ENGINE, do not check for power to ground. The reason for that is because with the key on, one of the wires will have +12v to ground. That in itself will only tell us the coil is getting power and not much else.

BTW, there's no such thing as a stupid question...there's only people to stupid to ask one when they don't know something. :cool:


Alloro, I just wanted to say thanks for all the help!!! It turns out that that her father never did the coil on the van, but rather got it confused with the coil he did on his bike. So, after going there to do the test u told me to do, i found out that it was getting a voltage, so that told me that it was the coil that was bad. So I went bought a new one, installed it, and boom, she started right up! So i just wanted to say thanks!! I appreciate the help! Take care!!

alloro
11-09-2009, 10:00 AM
It never hurts to score a few brownie points with the girlfriend's father. LOL

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