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91 Dakota Not starting

My 1991 Dodge Dakota 5.2 will not run. It turns over fine, I have spark and I have fuel. I havent checked compression yet, I need to get a gauge.

Sometimes when trying to start it will backfire through the intake. The only thing I can think of is a timing issue or clogged catalytic converter but I thought I would see if anyone else has any other thoughts or opinions?

91 Dakota?

Stretched/jumped timing chain?


Was it running before it stopped starting or did this happen after you replaced plugs or wires? Also, take off cap and make sure distributor is turning.

Are you getting more than one spark when you check?

If the ballast resistor on the firewall is shot, you will get one spark when you crank , but no more.

It was running before all this started, I had drove it the day before with no issues.

I replaced the distributor cap, rotor, wires and plugs after it quit running. I only checked for spark on one plug and I only watched it spark once.

A ballast resistor is only about $5. Even if that doesn’t fix it, it is food to have one in the glove box/

It is a timing issue. I got my #1 cylinder at TDC and the rotor button is facing the #2 cylinder spark plug wire.

Guess I’ll be replacing the timing chain this weekend.

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The timing chain on those old 318 CID engines are easy to replace on a Saturday afternoon. I replace the timing chain and water pump on my Ram when the radiator needed to be replaced at 170,000 miles. The chain was just fine but I felt that it would need to be replace at some time in the future…

If you find that the timing chain is not the problem remove the distributor and inspect the distributor bushing in the block. Those bushings have been known to fail causing the distributor shaft to drop down and the timing to change.

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