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Steve
Steve, Auto Service Technician
Category: Car
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Experience:  25+ yrs experience as a professional working technician; ASE L1 master technician
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1990 Dodge: Van..it wont start and Ill wait 10 min

Customer Question

I have a 1990 Dodge Van B150, 318 engine. over the past 3 or 4 weeks the van has been starting when it wants too. Sometimes it wont start and I'll wait 10 min. and it will start right up. Others times such as today it didn't start at all. However when it does start, it runs perfect.

The check engine light is on, and I've now noticed that during the times it won't start there is no spark what so ever.

Here are the parts I've replaced
The Computer, the Hall effect pickup coil, The coil, Rotor, Distributor Cap, plugs, and wires. Guess what STILL NO SPARK HELP!!!!
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Steve replied 11 years ago.

Check to see if you ahve B+ to teh coil when you ahve no spark, and whether the coil negative is flashing if you check it witha test light during cranking when the problem is occurring.


The coil positive is powered up by the ASD relay (auto shutdown relay). The SBEC (single board engine controller/ computer) turns teh ground on and off to the coil to fire the plugs. Chances are, you are losing one of these 2 things.

Expert:  Steve replied 11 years ago.

Also, if the check engine light is on, you can manually retrieve fault codes from the computer's memory by doing the following:


Cycle the key on/ off 3 times quickly, ending in the on position. The computer will begin to flash 2 digit fault codes through the check engine light: count the flashes and record the 2 digit codes generated. If you can give me the codes, I can check to see what the definitions are; this may prove to be helpful.

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Hold on I'm gonna go out side and try to retrieve the codes Please hold for 5 min.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Steve7654's Post: ok here are the code I recieved and I did it 3 times to confirm: 12, 41, 45, 42, 55
Expert:  Steve replied 11 years ago.

OK: the codes are defined as follows:


12 battery power to controller disconnected within last 50 key cycles


41 open or short detected in alternator field control circuit


45 open or short detected in automatic transmission overdrive solenoid circuit


42 open or short in ASD relay control circuit


55 end of fault code sequence

Expert:  Steve replied 11 years ago.
Of the codes you obtained, only one can be related to your symptoms, and that is the 42, which indicates a fault in teh ASD relay circuit. ALthough there is probably a diagnostic test sequence int eh manual somewhere to troublaeshoot teh ASD circuit, this might be a good time to try a new ASD relay to see if it resolves your problem. They are inexpensive, and that component can cause the symptoms youa re describing. If it does not help, we can then take a DVOM and start checking wires...
Expert:  Steve replied 11 years ago.
The ASD relay is located on the firewall, below the 50 way bulkhead wiring harness connector, according to my locator guide. If this relay fails, it will interrupt power to the ignition coil and cause a no spark condition.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Steve7654's Post: ok I will pay you for you help thus far, and it this doesn't work, I'll contact you tomorrow for more paid help. I guess it will just be process of elimination :-) But just one more thing. what does ASD relay stand for so that I'll know what I'm really asking for at the parts store (Autozone.com)
Expert:  Steve replied 11 years ago.

as mentioned i teh first post; ASD is Auto Shutdown Relay.


If I might offer some free advice, from past experoience I would suggest not buying one from Autozone or any other discount store; I ahve had many, many headaches related to poor quality parts from thiese places (they are cheap because they buy the parts they sell from teh cheapest overseas suppliers they can find, and teh quality isnt the best). I would suggest getting one from the Dodge dealer; it will be the same quality as the car was built with. If you bet a bad one from Autozone, and it doesnt solve teh problem, it can run you in circles for days, making you think youve misdiagnosed the failure... Just something Ive learned from experience, after having been through it a few times!

Expert:  Steve replied 11 years ago.
If you want to do a test, take a test light and check for power at the coil positive terminal when the problem is happening. If the ASD relay is the problem, there will be no power getting to the ignition coil when it is acting up.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Thank you for your help I will go to the dealer tomorrow and purchase this relay. pra this is my problem I'll accept this answer and pay you now for your help thu far. Thanks again
Expert:  Steve replied 11 years ago.
Ive seen them fail before, and sometimes they can drive you nuts. Hopefully, it will be the failure on this one. Like i said, you can test it when the problem is occurring if you want to do that first... but you do have a code stored for ASD failure. If it was my truck I think Id put one in just to be able to rule it out if the ASD code should happen to reappear afterwards.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
You help solved my problem. I went to the dealer as you advised and bought a ASD Relay, and after intilling it myself, my van started on the first try.   I'm a beliver in this site now and will be using you in the future.

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