What could it be?

We have a 1998 Dodge Dakota Sport that has been a daily driver since it was purchased. The truck has over 230000 miles on it but it’s never had any major issues- til now. The truck ran every day with no signs of any problems and started up with hesitating, etc. I filled it up with gas and went home. The next morning I went out and it would turn over and almost start but wouldn’t quite make it. My husband has checked the computer for code problems, checked battery, plugs, wires, catalytic converter, compression, etc. By all accounts it should be running. It’s got spark, it’s getting gas, the cam shaft is right, the belts are where they’re supposed to be air flow is fine. What in the world could it be??

check fuel filter and fuel line pressure.
You can take intake off at throttle body and use starting fluid to start and give it a squirt every 5-10 seconds and if it runs you know it is gas related.

Does getting gas mean that the fuel pressure in the fuel rail is fine?
If so, it’s possible to have good fuel pressure and none of it may be reaching the cylinders due to the lack of an injector pulse.

Make sure power is provided to the injectors and that a faint click sound can be heard when the engine is cranked over by the starter motor.
If no click exists then start by checking fuses; all of them.

There is no fuel filter on the truck but pressure holds steady at 50lbs. It’s getting power to sensors, cam position sensor is good, replaced the coil, timing chain didn’t jump, it’s clicking when it starts. This thing should be running!

There is a fuel filter on this truck. It’s in an out of the way location. Under vehicle, center, below seating area, mounted on top of fuel tank, in fuel pump module

If 50lbs of fuel pressure is within specs for this vehicle, then I wouldn’t worry about the fuel filter.

I would still worry about whether or not fuel is actually making it to the cylinders. What happens if you shoot it some starter fluid into the intake.

What were the compression numbers?

I’d start over again on the diagnosis. You’ve allegedly got all three required elements and a no run condition. Not even a peep??

I’d still do the starting fluid thing as was suggested.

btw-you are measuring the spark at the plug boot, correct …and not the coil wire??

Define the part about clicking as it starts. An injector click is so faint that it can barely be heard, if at all, even with one’s head under the hood.

The clicking sound is hard to describe, but if you know what to listen for, it’s there. Additionally, if the truck sits for a day, it will start but only for roughly 15 seconds and then dies. Afterwards you can smell gas, like it’s trying to flood, but no engine codes indicate a problem there. What about a map sensor…?

Have you tried to start it as if its flooded? Floor the pedal and start? Have you checked the fuel pressure regulator? If it is ruptured it will be flooding the engine.

I have tried to start it as if it’s flooded when this problem first arose. There was no change in lack of response. I did try spraying gas in the throttle while turning it over with no luch there either.

I would still look for a flooding condition, including a check of the fuel pressure regulator.

But its starting to sound like you have no spark - or at least not enough spark.

Either that or you have no compression. I asked above but you haven’t said yet - what were the compression numbers?