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sprinkles08, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep master tech
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 22817
Experience:  ASE Master and Advanced Certified, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep Master Certified, Trans and Hybrid Specialist
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Dodge dakota: me what may be the problem

Resolved Question:

dodge dakota 99 v8 faultcode p1391 can you tell me what may be the problem
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 years ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer!

Has any work been done to the truck recently before the code started appearing? Timing chain, has the distributor been moved?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.


yes we changed the wirers and plugs and put on anew distribor cap

Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 years ago.

Ok great. The first thing I'd like to do is check the rotor play. Pull the cap back off and turn the rotor by hand. If it moves more than 1/4" by hand it shows there is wear on the distributor drive gear and it would need to be replaced.


If that's ok the next place to go would be to make sure the distributor is in sync. There is a cam sensor (pickup plate) in the distributor to tell the engine controller where the cam is in rotation, and a crank sensor mounted behind the right cylinder head to tell the controller where the crank is in rotation. Over time between timing chain stretch, cam and distributor drive gear wear, the sync will slowly change. The ignition timing on your truck is electronically controlled by the engine controller. Turning the distributor does not change ignition timing, but getting it in the right spot is very important. If it goes either side of 0 by about 10 degrees it will start running bad and can set this code. Putting the distributor in the right position on these is called "setting sync". This is best done with a dealer scan tool, but can be done with a voltmeter. You are setting the rotation so the cam sensor (inside the distributor) toggles its signal voltage at the perfect time. It needs to be within 10 degrees of 0, if its goes much farther it will set a code for intermittent loss of cam or crank signal (P1391), and if its far enough out it will actually send spark to the wrong pole on the distributor cap, or it will fire to two wires at once. Here is the procedure to set the distributor on your van without using a dealer scan tool.


  • Connect a voltmeter to the distributor sensor connector by removing the end seal and carefully back probing the connector. Connect the positive lead to the sensor output pin (pin 3, either a tan wire with a yellow tracer or a gray wire, depending on vehicle application). Connect the negative lead to battery ground.
  • Rotate the engine clockwise as viewed from the front, until the number one mark piston Top (TDC) compression on the vibration damper should line up with the zero degree (TDC) mark on the timing chain case cover.
  • Continue to rotate the engine slowly clockwise until the V6 or V8 mark (depending on engine type) lines up with the zero degree (TDC) mark on the timing chain case cover. The V8 mark is 17.5°after TDC and the V6 mark is 147° after TDC.


  • With the distributor clamp bolt loose and the ignition switch in the ON position, rotate the distributor slightly in either direction until the voltmeter switches between the sensor transition point of 0 and 5 volts.
  • Adjust the distributor as close as possible to either side of this transition point and tighten the distributor clamp bolt

    Once this is done, disconnect the battery to clear the codes, or use a code reader to do it if you have one. See if the problem returns. If it does then you have either a cam or crank sensor signal that is dropping out intermittently. It could be the wiring or either sensor, most likely the crank sensor.

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