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Dodge Van Stalls

edited November -1 in Repair and Maintenance
Vehicle is a 1992 Dodge B350 van. 5.9L v8, Throttle-Body injected (TBI). 207,000 miles.



The problem is the van stalls out after about 45 minutes of driving. The engine will start to miss here and there, and get progressively worse until it quits altogether. I have a hunch the problem might be electrical, because after the first few misses, the voltage guage takes a slight dip, the a/c does not blow as cold, the lights dim, radio fades out, etc., between the occasional engine misses. Also, if I decreased the electrical load, by turning off the a/c, radio. blower, lights, etc, it seemed to do better, though it still would miss.



Anyway, after the van stalls out, if I wait 5 minutes or so, I can start it again and drive some more. This happened yesterday, when I drove to town about 20 miiles from my house, and headed back. I got to within 5 miles of my house when it started acting up. I made it another 4 miles before it quit entirely, right at the entrance to my neighborhood. I restarted it, and got it the rest of the way home.



It will only do this while driving. I have tried to get the van to fail while idling and occasionally revving in my driveway, and it will just purr like a kitten for hours. It needs to be driven at highway speeds to produce the symptoms.



I guess I might suspect the alternator in a situation like this, but I just put a new stock alternator in this thing two years ago. The battery is a Duralast Gold, put in a year ago. The coil pack, spark plugs, and wires were replaced with stock replacements a year ago.



Anjy suggestions? Thanks.
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Comments

  • edited August 2009
    From the symptoms, the battery is losing it's charge, or, not being charged. This does not mean the alternator or battery are defective. The alternator may be producing the charge, but, because of poor electrical connections, power or ground, the full charge isn't getting into the battery. Clean all wires and cable terminals, thoroughly.
    Have the charging system checked out by a mechanic competent in electrical systems. Have the alternator output checked at higher engine rpms.
  • edited August 2009
    I had my son go out today and check the battery terminals and wire connectors. The negative was clean, but there was some white-powdery buildup on the positive side. I have never seen such before. Usually its green and on the negative side. I had him clean that off. I'm going to check the base of the ground connection on the engine block tonight. Somehow I doubt we have gotten to the root of the problem...
  • edited August 2009
    I unbolted the main ground wire at the connection point on the air pump bracket. The mating surfaces were a bit rusty, so I ground them down to bare metal and reattached. I read on another thread ( http://community.cartalk.com/posts/list/1286411.page ) where a guy ith a '94 B250 had a stalling problem that was due to a corroded ASD relay pigtail and a short in his ignition coil wire. I will double check both of those things hopefully tomorrow.
  • edited August 2009
    Here is an update.

    I cleaned the battery and ground contacts, which were a bit dirty but I have seen worse. Anyway they are clean as a whistle now.

    I then test drove the van about 7 miles, and parked it with engine idling in a shaded parking lot. I opened the hood and started wiggling wires, just to see what, if anything, would happen.

    When I wiggled the wiring leading up the the Automatic Shutdown (ASD) relay, the van missed. I wiggled the wire again, and it missed again, this time almost stalling out completely. I drove the van back to my garage, and the engine missed several more times on the way, but I got it home.

    The memories then came flooding back - I had replaced this ASD relay almost two years ago when it was giving me similar problems. The connector was broken or burnt (I can't remember which) so I cut the connector off and put individual blue connectors on the end of each wire and the secured the wires to the appropriate terminal on the relay (as verified against circuit diagram and consistent with my scribings). The van ran like a champ after that.

    Aaaanyway, back to the present. Once I got my van back home this past weekend I checked some of those connections I had made to the base of the ASD relay, and two were loose, one on a yellow wire and another on a dark blue wire. The yellow wire one was particularly loose, the dark blue one was not as loose but still suspect. I put on new blue connectors, and reattached the previously loose wires. The other two wires felt tight and secure, so I left them alone.

    I electrical-taped everthing back up and retested. The van idled fine and would no longer stall when I wiggled the ASD relay wiring.

    I then took the van for the 45-minute drive test. Sure enough, once I had almost completed the trip, once I got to back to within a few miles of home again the van started stalling. Ugh.

    I got it back home again, and shut it down, and went in to get a (non-alcoholic) drink. I went back out to the van, and started it again. It ran for a few seconds and then stalled. I could not restart it. The engine would rotate, but would not fire.

    I undid the doghouse, and attached a spark checker to one of the plugs. I attempted to restart again, engine would rotate but not fire. I noticed I'm getting no spark. I then checked to see if I could hear the fuel pump hum by just turning the key to the RUN position. Nothing.

    I figured the next logical thing to do would be to go in, get another (non alcoholic) drink and watch some sports on TV in my air conditioned den. Surely that would help my van.

    I went back out after an hour or so feeling a whole lot better. Surely the van would start. And it did. Fired right up. I revved it left and right and it sounded like it wanted to go out and drag race some C6 Corvettes. I drove the van a few miles and it started to miss again. So I turned around and went back home.

    So, alas, the van still sits in the driveway. I no longer trust it and I am out of ideas. Do you all have any suggestions as to what I should check next? Thx, Pop
  • edited August 2009
    You could replace all those wire connectors you put on before; and use wire crimping pliers (not, regular pliers). If it's not too work-intensive, you could go to a you-pick-um salvage and get the ASD Relay socket and pigtail (wiring). The Chrysler dealer is another source.
    If you think that the fuel pump isn't getting electrical power (12 volts), you could add a tale-tell light to the fuel pump power wire. Attach the 12v LED lamp to the dash, and run the ground wire to anywhere on the body metal.
  • edited August 2009
    I'm getting a CEL now. Is there a way to read the code without a scan tool? My OBD-II scan tool onlyu works for vehicles newer than 1996...

    Thx Pop
  • edited August 2009
    I went ahead and replaced the ASD relay with a new one from the dealer and re-did all the connections to it with new connectors and crimped with a proper wire crimping tool. If I shake the ASD relay wiring that no longer causes the van to stall. Also found a loose connection of a wire coming out of the base of the distributor. This helped the engine run a lot smoother, and it no longer stalls.

    BUT... the dumb thing still misses occasionally at about 50 mph or faster. won't miss at idle, purrs like a kitten. So I have done what I can and the van is now in ths shop.
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