While driving in Colorado’s beautiful mountains, my 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 will sometimes lose power and I cannot accelerate. The electronic throttle control indicator will come on. I will depress the accelerator pedal, but the engine doesn’t respond. The tachometer will show that the engine is idling at about 800 rpm. In order to correct the problem my solution has been to coast to the side of the road, shut off the engine and restart the engine. This only occurs after I have been going downhill with my foot off the accelerator but with the automatic transmission in gear.
I’ve tried to understand the ins and outs of the “drive by wire” system but can’t figure out what might be failing. Is it the throttle body itself? The 5.7L has an accelerator pedal position sensor, and a few other “normal” devices that feed into the electronic control loop: crankshaft position sensor, oxygen sensor, intake air temperature sensor, and a manifold absolute pressure sensor. The 5.7L doesn’t have a throttle position sensor (I guess that’s what the pedal position sensor does). I can’t understand what would cause any of this to fail after I have taken my foot off the accelerator for several seconds (how many seconds? I’m not sure) while going downhill.
Any help would be appreciated. This has been an intermittent problem for many years. The most recent occurrence included a slight noise that sounded like it was coming from the transmission. This has me very concerned. The first time it occurred the truck was in cruise control going up and down rolling hills outside of Amarillo, TX.