#1320: A Sticky Situation - '76 Dodge Truck that Won't Fire

Two words: Ballast resistor.

I agree @RevBob but this show is so old that they probably have given up on the truck by now. The info can help some people in real time though. So in the interest of that possibility I have included a picture of the infamous “ballast resistor.” This resistor is from a '76 model Dodge truck. Older ones look nearly the same but only have one terminal at each end for attaching the wires. I have found bad ballast resistors on Chrysler products for many years starting with a 1948 model.

They don’t look bad to the eye…but they have to be checked to determine their go/no go condition. Just disconnect the leads or connectors (depending on the age of the vehicle) and the ohmmeter should show continuity. If it reads an open then the ballast resistor is bad. If an older Chrysler product has a staring problem…it’s the first thing I check.

That was the problem where the truck would start sometimes, but it was tough to start, and esp hard to start when cold, right? You guys think it to be an open ballast resistor? But then would the truck ever start?

Let me think. On my 70’s Ford truck, the ballast resister is taken out of the circuit during cranking, then once the car starts the ballast resistor is inserted in series w/the coil primary. So it seems like if the problem was an open ballast resister, the truck might seem to start, then when the key was turned from “start” to “run”, it would die.

Was this the call where the guy was out w/his truck and fixing it while the show was on the air? He cranked it like a dozen times? He’d gone through 3 batteries? lol … Ok, I can see that being the ballast resister, if it coughs a bit, but never starts at all.

@GeorgeSanJose…I’m not familiar with that particular truck but I know that ballast resistors are a common fault with Chrysler and Dodge products. It’s an often overlooked component much like a neutral safety switch. If the vehicle fails to start and run…then I check the ballast resistor. If the engine fails to turn over…especially with an automatic transmission…I always shift to neutral and attempt a start before I do anything else. Those simple troubleshooting procedures take very little time but can save a lot of money.