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Ask Dodgerench Your Own Question
Dodgerench, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 3404
Experience:  30+ years Dodge/Chrysler exp., ASE Master with L1 certification. Driveability/ combustion specialist
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93 Dodge Dakota V6 3.9L. How do you adjust timing Major hesitation

Customer Question

93 Dodge Dakota V6 3.9L. How do you adjust timing? Major hesitation when you hit the throttle. Clicks and loses power.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 8 years ago.

Ignition timing is not adjustable on your truck.


Your problem is going to be elsewhere. Tune up related?? Plugs and filters?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Im sorry, but i already knew that. This didn't help at all.
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 8 years ago.

I'm confused. You asked how to adjust the timing......and then tell me you know it isn't adjustable??


I'll opt out and let another expert offer their advise.

Expert:  Dodgerench replied 8 years ago.
HiCustomer my name is Ed. Good to meet you.

You're probably looking for the distributor index procedure, which closely resembles a timing adjustment when compared to the older style ignition systems. While your ignition timing remains unchanged when turning the distributor, the cam-crank relationship does indeed change and has to be set within a narrow window of sync for the engine to run properly.

This is how I do it...

The 93 models had no cheater methods, no scan tool apps to make life easier, so they had to be set manually. You'll need tools to rotate the engine by hand, remove the distributor cap (Philipps), loosen the distributor hold down and then (maybe) some chalk to mark the harmonic balancer if the marks are difficult to find. The distributor uses a 13mm hex bolt as its hold down fastener and is a bit tough to get to without a special distributor wrench, but you'll probably figure it out... =/

Start by removing the distributor cap. Take the left (driver's) side plug wires out of the cap completely to allow you to roll the cap off to the side, leaving three wires and the coil wire intact for future reference. You'll be removing #1, 3 and 5 plug wires and the firing order is (clockwise) 1-6-5-4-3-2.

Examine the rotor for excessive forward and back end play at the distributor shaft. If you can rotate the shaft enough that the swept space of the rotor tip exceeds 1/4", you've almost certainly got some damage to the distributor drive gear and block bushing, something that was uber-common on the 92 and 93 3.9 engines. Chrysler technical service bulletin 18-08-03 describes the procedure for removing and replacing the drive gear and block bushing as well as a rough adjustment process afterward. Let me know if you find enough shaft slop to merit an immediate repair.

Head to the harmonic balancer now and locate the V6 mark, which will appear to have been scribed with a scalpel... very light and hard to read. There will also be a V8 mark just for confusion-sake and looks very similar to the one you really need.

The V8 mark is located very close to one of the major scribe cuts in the balancer and is near TDC for cylinder #1. The V6 mark is flying off in space a bit, something like 132 degrees ATC. Mark it once found.

Rotate the engine until the distributor rotor tip is nearing the #1 spark plug location on the cap, then align your V6 mark with the stationary TDC mark on the timing cover (the old ignition timing mark).

It's important that you not back up if the mark is passed, as this would transfer some of the inevitable timing chain slack to the drive side of the camshaft. If another shot at adjustment is needed, back the engine up 20 degrees or more and then repeat the clockwise turning adjustment, stopping right at TDC.

With the distributor lightly loosened now, rotate it clockwise as far as the hold-down will allow. You can put the cap and wires back on at this point.

Turn the key on, being careful to not engage the starter.

Rotate the distributor counter-clockwise now until you hear a *click* from the relay bank in the underhood fuse block. If you're working from the driver's side of the truck, this will be easier to hear as it's right below you at this point.

The *click* happens as the cam sensor changes voltage states and creates a signal recognized by the PCM (engine controller). You could also backprobe the tan/ yellow wire on the engine harness side connector to monitor voltage if you're not comfortable with the *click* method. You'll be watching for a voltage transition from 0-5v or 5 to 0v... it's the transition point that we're counting as a cam signal. With the crank positioned at the V6 mark and the cam signal tripped... this is your sync adjustment. Lock it down.

If you'd like to repeat this part of the process, roll the distributor far to the CW position and start over. This keeps the rotational relationship between your distributor body and trigger wheel the same as if the engine was turning on its own.

You get but one *click* per key cycle, so the key has to be turned off and back on at each adjustment attempt.

If your distributor rotor looseness is excessive, repairs should be done, but you can temporarily get things running OK again by performing this procedure to compensate for wear and tear and the inevitable retarding of cam signal.

That's it!

If you have any questions or problems, don't hesitate to write back. I'll be glad to help.