1999 Dodge Cummins with Starting/Injector Issues

1999 Dodge 3/4 ton with a Cummins and have owned this truck since 2000 with no trouble. The truck now has 170,000 miles.

The problem started late last summer(say Sept) when we noticed the “Wait to Start” light stayed on longer than usual (about 10 seconds, almost appeared it was timing out). But after about 10 seconds, the light would go out and the truck would start. Around Oct, sometimes it would cycle and when the key was turned to start it would just click (not the kind of click of the starter engaging either). But on the 2nd attempt it would crank right up. We took it to a 5-Star Dodge dealer we have used in the past and they said they could not find anything wrong. However, the problem has gotten worse and sometimes it takes about 5-6 attempts to get the truck to crank.

Last week my wife heard/felt a bump (like she thought she hit a dog) while she was driving on the highway and the “Check Engine” light came on. So we took it to another dealer who told us we needed a fuel and injector pump. They gave us a large price, but we opted to have them install a new fuel pump and a rebuilt injection pump we bought. Today we picked up the truck and it seems to run fine, but the starting problem is still there. It did it in front of the service manager when he brought it for us to pick up.

There has always been an electrical gremlin in this truck. We have had problems with head lights off and on in the past. Other things have indicated we needed a new ECM but we are still holding out.

Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated - because now all I hear from most people is “Just go get a new one.”

There may be two problems going on here. If the starter isn’t working then there may be a problem with a safety switch or the ignition switch connection to the starter solenoid. The long cranking problem may be due to some faulty glow plugs. I would have thought the service dept would have caught both of these things if they happened while in the shop.

thanks cougar - since my truck has a pre-heater system instead of glow plugs, I have asked both places to test this system. Both have indicated the pre-heater system was working properly. However, I still think that this may be part of the problem. I fear that the shops cannot do any further diagnosing beyond obtaining an error code from their computer.

It the “Wait to Start” time increasing as the temperature decreases? That would be normal.

Mr. Meehan:

It takes 10 seconds whether it is 90 degrees or 20 degrees. It even takes this long if you shut it off after running for several hours and restart it within 1 minute after shutting off.