2003 Dodge ram van seems to bog down on hills

Hi Car talk;at the moment I’m driving down to Florida;On the highway the van is running real good; but when I slow down and go up hills at the same time; it seems to bog down. It seems as if it could stall and does not have full power(like when you have bad gas) I put in the fuel injector cleaner in when I had hardly no gas and been using top grade gas to clean it out.But still doing it on the hills. Any ideas what I can do to troubleshoot what is causing this? Is there a way for me to go into the engine and clean the fuel injectors. thankyou for your time; Frank :slight_smile:

First, you have to give us the maintenance history of the van, in some detail.
If you tell us that it is “well-maintained”, that is essentially meaningless, since your definition of “well-maintained” may not be the same as our definition of that term.

That being said, fuel system cleaner is effective if you have a problem with dirty injectors.
However, more often than not, problems like this are the result of lax maintenance on items such as spark plugs, fuel filter, and air filter.

Three possible causes come to mind:

  1. inability to feed sufficient fuel properly atomized. Can be the result of bad injectors, a clogged fuel filter, a weak fuel pump, or a bad fuel regulator.

  2. inability to properly meter fuel due to a bad sensor. This one reads like a MAP sensor, but there are other possibilities.

  3. inability to breath out. Cause will be a plugged exhaust or can converter, genertally due to deterioration and collapse of part of the internals (baffle in the muffler or crumbled ceramic in the converter)

  4. failure of the transmission to downshift. Bad tranny control module (automatic) or bad driver technique (manual).

Yes, injectors can be removed and bench cleaned. You may want to bring them to a shop for the cleaning part. They can energize the injectors, run the cleaner through, and do a better job. Unenergized, the injectors are closed.

Personally, I’d start by checking the fuel pressure and regulator. A Haynes manual will tell you how to do this.

Ok, thankyou for getting back to me vdcdriver; I just changed the air filter; the fuel filter(which is where I was feeling was the culprit) is part of the fuel pump assembly was told at autozone; I notice you said spark plugs; I have not changed the spark plugs since I’v owned the vehicle, I will change out and put some fresh ones in. Do you think there is a good chance this could be the culprit? Do you think I should change out the wires while I’m at it? thankyou again
Frank :slight_smile:

Ok I changed the spark plugs; which I could tell by the condition needed changing; engine is running good; but is still bogging somewhere; Is there a way for me to check the exhaust; if that is the culprit; thankyou cartalk, Frank