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mndave0002, engineer
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 528
Experience:  Design engineer and toolmaker mechanic previous ASE mech and ICARE body man
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1995 dodge dakota: It Turns over but wont start

Customer Question

my 1995 dodge dakota wont start. It Turns over but wont start. i have replaced the battery. i have tried to check the spark by seeing if it would arch to the block and i got nothng. no spark. HELP! a little past info, im not sure if this has anything to do with what is goning on with it now but latly when i let off the gas it will die unless i give it a little gas. it will die then it starts right back up. I know the fuel pump it fine, I can hear it.I think it may be the tps. it is also very cold here right now.
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  mndave0002 replied 9 years ago.

I guess that you may have a bad fuel filter. They can get balls of sludge in them and intermittenly start to clog fuel flow. Making so it needs little extra gas to stay running. OR making it so it will not start, I am not sure from limited description but this is not very exspensive part and labor is not exstremely hard. Making it cheap to have done. OR easy to do yourself. ALSO make sure if you go to check for spark that you are connecting to metal and not aluminium. YOu do nto have to connect to block you can use any metal of car body or frame. And just becasue you can hear fuel pump does not meen it is not bad. IF you have spark and then fuel filter does not fix it. Try to have pressure guage put on it to make sure the pressure is high enough. YOu can ussaully rent them free or real cheap from parts stores. ALSO they can give you positive number of pressure it should have. Hope this helps, David

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
ok I don't have spark. It will turn over but that is it. I checked the fuel pump/sending unit, filter ( all one unit inside the tank) by taking the black cap off of the schradear valve, putting a nail in it to depressurize the fuel system and then i turned the key on for 5 sendconds and rechecked the schradear valve and it again had good pressure in it. so i know that there is fuel getting to at least the injectors. In order to change the fuel filter on my dakota I must drop the tank and that is no fun. and i have a full tank of gas.LOL
Expert:  mndave0002 replied 9 years ago.

Sorry i could not help. The reason you are not gettin spark can be many reasons. I would start with coil packs. Make sure you are gettin power to them. if not check ignition system. I did not see any recalls on this vehicle but call to dealer may help to make sure. Good luck

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I changed plugs and cap and rotor and now i have spark but it still wont start. it turns over i have spark and it will turn over a few times and then it sounds almost like a backfire and then back to cranking but wont start. i have a full tank of gas. i can smell a strong gas smell at the throttle body.
Expert:  mndave0002 replied 9 years ago.

I shoulda asked first what motor do you have? YOu may have bad O2 sensor or bad coil or Crank position sensor. DO you get an engine light? If so you can get codes and that will help steer you in right direction.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
i do have a check engine light but it has been screwed up since i bought it about 2 years ago. It never turns off. would the distrubutor turn if the crank sensor was bad?
Expert:  mndave0002 replied 9 years ago.

yes rotor sill still move. Also what motor Has it been wet lately?

the reason i ask -- is if it is wet out -- you may have a shorted ignition coil, see picture, David This is for 5.9 gas motor though

View Full Image






here is how to get codes for engine warning light.

You can extract codes from your JTEC controller by using the flash method.

Turn the key from off to on three times within five seconds, then watch the CHECK ENGINE lamp. When you hit the proper cadence (takes a few tries sometimes), the MIL will stay lit longer than normal, go out and then begin flashing.

Count the flashes. There will be short pauses between groupings of flashes to indicate you're going to another number. The last set of flashes will always be 5-5, or code 55, which means end of test. All the codes will have two digits to them. You can repeat this as many times as needed to get a feel for how it works.

If the PCM or battery has been disconnected within the last month or so, the first code you'll see is 1-2 (code 12) which indicates a recent loss of memory. I mention this only because it trips up a lot of people.. it becomes code 3.

hopefully these codes will give more info and may tell how to get light to go out. It is possible to borrow rent scan tool from parts stores and give check that way also. I would try that if they rent free or cheap.... David

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
ok once i get the codes what do i do to find out what they mean?
Expert:  mndave0002 replied 9 years ago.
What codes did you get?
Expert:  mndave0002 replied 9 years ago.

Here are some codes but if you give me ones you get would be best

  • 11 No ignition reference signal detected during cranking (bad Hall effect) OR timing belt skipped one or more teeth; OR loss of either camshaft or crankshaft position sensor. Can cause the engine to stop working entirely with no limp-home mode.
  • 12 Battery or computer recently disconnected
  • 13* MAP sensor or vacuum line may not be working
  • 14* MAP sensor voltage below .16V or over 4.96V
  • 15 No speed/distance sensor signal
  • 16* Loss of battery voltage detected with engine running
  • 17 Engine stays cool too long (bad thermostat or coolant sensor?)
    • 17 (1985 turbo only): knock sensor circuit


  • 21 Oxygen sensor signal doesn't change (stays at 4.3-4.5V). Probably bad oxygen sensor
  • 22* Coolant sensor signal out of range - May have been disconnected to set timing
  • 23* Incoming air temperature sensor may be bad
  • 24* Throttle position sensor over 4.96V (SEE NOTE #3)
  • 25 Automatic Idle Speed (AIS) motor driver circuit shorted or target idle not reached, vacuum leak found
  • 26 Peak injector circuit voltage has not been reached (need to check computer signals, voltage reg, injectors) (SEE NOTE #4 BELOW)
  • 27 Injector circuit isn't switching when it's told to (TBI)
    OR (MPI) injector circuit #1 not switching right
    OR (turbo) injector circuit #2 not switching right
    OR (all 1990-) injector output driver not responding
    - check computer, connections


  • 31 Bad evaporator purge solenoid circuit or driver
  • 32 (1984 only) power loss/limited lamp or circuit
  • 32 EGR gases not working (1988) - check vacuum, valve
  • 32 (1990-92, all but Turbo) computer didn't see change in air/'fuel ratio when EGR activated - check valve, vacuum lines, and EGR electrical
  • 33 Air conditioning clutch relay circuit open or shorted (may be in the wide-open-throttle cutoff circuit)
  • 34 (1984-86) EGR solenoid circuit shorted or open
  • 34 (1987-1991) speed control shorted or open
  • 35 Cooling fan relay circuit open or shorted
  • 35 (trucks) idle switch motor fault - check connections
  • 36 (turbo) Wastegate control circuit open or shorted
  • 36 (3.9/5.2 RWD) solenoid coil circuit (air switching)
  • 36 (Turbo IV) #3 Vent Solenoid open/short
  • 37 Shift indicator light failure, 5-speed
    part throttle lock/unlock solenoid driver circuit (87-89)
    solenoid coil circuit (85-89 Turbo I-IV)
    Trans temperature sensor voltage low (1995 and on; see NOTE 2)


  • 41* Alternator field control circuit open or shorted
  • 42 Automatic shutdown relay circuit open or shorted
  • 42 Fuel pump relay control circuit
  • 42 Fuel level unit - no change over miles
  • 42 Z1 voltage missing when autoshutdown circuit energized (SEE NOTE #6)
  • 43 Peak primary coil current not achieved with max dwell time
  • 43 Cylinder misfire
  • 43 Problem in power module to logic module interface
  • 44 No FJ2 voltage present at logic board
  • 44 Logic module self-diagnostics indicate problem
  • 44 Battery temperature out of range (see Note #1!)
  • 45 Turbo boost limit exceeded (engine was shut down by logic module)
  • 46* Battery voltage too high during charging or charging system voltage too low
  • 47 Battery voltage too low and alternator output too low


  • 51 Oxygen sensor stuck at lean position (Bob Lincoln wrote: may be tripped by a bad MAP sensor system causing a rich condition, and the O2 sensor trying to compensate. The O2 sensor may still be good. The MAP assembly consists of two pieces, the valve and the vacuum transducer (round plastic unit with cylinder on top and both electrical and vacuum connections) - If you get hot rough idle and stalling, especially on deceleration, accompanied by flooded engine and difficulty restarting, that can be a bad MAP sensor causing the O2 sensor to try to compensate. If you get poor cold driveability, stumbling and bucking, and acceptable warm driving with poor gas mileage (a drop of 10 mpg or more), that is usually the O2 sensor. [Webmaster note: MAP sensors seem to die regularly.]


  • 51 Internal logic module fault ('84 turbo only).
  • 52 Oxygen sensor stuck at rich position (SEE NOTE #5!)
  • 52 Internal logic module fault ('84 turbo only)
  • 53 Logic module internal problem
  • 54 No sync pickup signal during engine rotation (turbo only)
  • 54 Internal logic module fault ('84 turbo only) - or camshaft sensor/distributor timing (7)
  • 55 End of codes


  • 61 "Baro" sensor open or shorted
  • 62 EMR mileage cannot be stored in EEPROM
  • 62 PCM failure SRI mile not stored
  • 63 Controller cannot write to EEPROM
  • 64 Catalytic converter efficiency failure
  • 65 Power steering switch failure


  • 88 Start of test (not usually given, don't expect it)
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I am very worried now. i couldn't get the codes to read last night but in the proccess the truck started and ran like there was nothing wrong with it. I do not trust that it will start and run in good running order long. what whould i do. from the start of this I changed the battery, plugs, cap, and rotor. that was it, and i had tried starting it many times for almost 2 days with no start and now all of the sudden it starts. ODD!!! what now?
Expert:  mndave0002 replied 9 years ago.

Getting the engine warnign codes can be tricky. May take few tries. Now that it runs you can go to a parts store and borrow/rent diagnosis tool. Make sure to call first and find one that will rent it cheap or free...Has it been wet weather near you? Maybe you got it wet and took few days to dry. Check to make sure you have good connections on things you installed also. hope this helps.