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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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I have a 2004 Dodge Quad Cab Hemi and slowly the vehicle

Customer Question

I have a 2004 Dodge Quad Cab Hemi and slowly the vehicle became harder and harder to start, and then it died but showed the lightning bolt. I can get it to start, but it can barely run and rarely has enough power to move itself.
What is wrong? What do I need to do to fix this? thanks. Fred
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  Dodgerench replied 1 year ago.

Hi Fred, welcome to JustAnswer!. This is Ed.

It really does sound like a fuel delivery problem, Fred. The ETC/ lightning bolt lamp will come on when the PCM (engine controller) isn't sure that throttle control is reliable, which would be the case when it's cranking the throttle open electronically, but RPMs aren't responding. Your description of harder starting and finally almost no performance out of the engine also supports fuel delivery, as most sensor problems will prevent engine starting or allow decent performance once it does fire up. I'd take a fuel pressure reading when trying to operate the truck and compare that to the 50 psi spec that's normal for these units. Pressure should neither increase nor decrease regardless of engine speed if the fuel pump is doing its job. If pressure is good, I'd suspect fuel contamination and recommend some additional number-gathering.

If you find fuel pressure to be low (or almost nonexistent), replace the pump unit. It comes with a new filter and tank level unit, both of which will probably be needed if you have 100,000 miles or more on the present pump module unit. If pressure isn't what you'd hoped or you just want to try to get it running, pounding on the bottom-center of the tank while someone cranks the engine will often provide temporary return of pump operation, but even if successful, it simply means the test is positive -- you still need a new pump.

Let me know if you have any questions and I'll be glad to help, Fred.