318 has me baffled....

92 Dakota 318 Magnum MPFI AT 210k Miles
A pristine little extend cab pickup - never had a valve cover off. I'm 67yo and this will probably be my "final" vehicle.
Truck runs and idles perfectly, until it will suddenly begin missing at highway speed, neutral throttle. It feels like one of the old "carbureted vehicles" felt when just beginning to run out of gas. It misses and surges but it doesn't quit on the side of the road and it will still idle, perfectly. It will continue to run that way until I "clear" it.
"Clear" it, means kicking it into passing gear and let it turn on up to around 4 grand then slow back down. After that everything is fine and it runs perfectly until it does it again. It may be 10 miles, may be 200 miles but it always comes back. If it is missing when I park it at night, it will be missing the next day. It remembers it, over night.
To date, I have changed out.. Plugs (the old ones were perfect), Rot button, Cap, Wires, TPS, O2 Sensor, EGR Valve, Idle Speed motor. Swapped the main computer with my brother's 92 318. No help. Swapped back. It is storing no codes. Codes read 55 every time I check it.
I'm baffled. Any suggestions will be much appreciated.
"Leroy"
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wrote:

"Leroy"
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Here is the tsb on the drive gear... followed by the plug wire tsb. The p/w tsb is for a '95 but the wire routing should be the same. NO: 18-08-93 Rev. A SUBJECT: Engine Buck, Surge Or Noise - Oil Pump Drive Gear Wear DATE: Nov. 26, 1993 THIS BULLETIN SUPERSEDES TECHNICAL SERVICE BULLETIN 18-08-93, ISSUED ON 6/18/93, WHICH SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM YOUR FILES. THIS BULLETIN ADDS CAUTIONS TO THE PROCEDURE, WHICH ARE HIGHLIGHTED WITH **ASTERISKS** AND PRINTED IN RED.
SYMPTOM/CONDITION: Vehicle exhibits warm engine surging, light bucking, or cold engine lack of power or burst spark knock. Engine noises (light knock or tapping sound at rear of engine) may also be experienced with no driveability complaint. These conditions may be caused by excessive oil pump drive gear wear.
DIAGNOSIS: Remove the distributor cap and grasp the rotor and using a rotational motion, check the total clockwise/counter-clockwise movement at the rotor tip. If the rotor tip movement is 5.0 mm (3/16") or more, proceed with the following repair procedure.
PARTS REQUIRED: Quantity Part No. Description
1
53020546 Oil Pump Drive Gear
1
01737725 Block Bushing
REPAIR PROCEDURE: This bulletin involves replacing the oil pump drive gear with a revised part and the
drive gear block bushing.
1.. Remove distributor and distributor/oil pump drive gear block bushing as outlined in the appropriate service manual. **NOTE: TOOL NUMBER C-3052 (DISTRIBUTOR DRIVE SHAFT BUSHING PULLER) MUST BE USED TO REMOVE DISTRIBUTOR/OIL PUMP DRIVE GEAR AND TOOL NUMBER C 3053 (DISTRIBUTOR DRIVE SHAFT BUSHING DRIVER/BURNISHER) MUST BE USED TO INSTALL THE NEW DISTRIBUTOR/OIL PUMP DRIVE GEAR BUSHING.**
2.. Install new drive gear block bushing P/N 01737725 and revised oil pump drive gear P/N 53020546 as outlined in the appropriate service manual. **NOTE: THE CORRECT POSITION FOR THE DISTRIBUTOR/OIL PUMP DRIVE GEAR BUSHlNG IS SHOWN BELOW.**(See Illustration)
3.. Change engine oil and filter. 4.. Perform the required distributor indexing procedure as outlined in the appropriate service manual or use the alternate procedure outlined in steps 5-9. ALTERNATE DISTRIBUTOR INDEXING PROCEDURE
5.. 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 the sensor ground pin (pin 2, a black wire with a light blue tracer). 6.. 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. 7.. 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 17.5after TDC and the V6 mark is 147 after TDC. NOTE: DO NOT ROTATE THE ENGINE COUNTER CLOCKWISE. IF THE ENGINE IS ROTATED BEYOND THE MARK, RETURN TO STEP 6 AND REPEAT THE PROCEDURE.
8.. 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. 9.. Adjust the distributor as close as possible to either side of this transition point and tighten the distributor clamp bolt to 170-230 in. lbs. (19-26 Nm). POLICY: Reimbursable within the provisions of the warranty.
And the plug wire tsb....
NO: 18-48-98 SUBJECT: Ignition System Cross Fire/Secondary Ignition Wire Induction DATE: Dec. 30, 1998 NOTE: THIS INFORMATION APPLIES TO VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH A 3.9L, 5.2L, OR 5.9L ENGINE. AB MODELS WILL BE ADDED LATER (NEW PARTS REQUIRED).
SYMPTOM/CONDITION: Some vehicles may exhibit one or more of the following:
a.. Spark knock complaints when the vehicle is under load. b.. Various single cylinder misfire (1, 3, 7), especially 5 and/or 8. c.. Surge in 4th gear with the Electronically Modulated Converter Clutch (EMCC) engaged (around 45 mph). d.. Perceived torque converter EMCC engagement/disengagement around 45 mph. DIAGNOSIS: Using the Mopar Diagnostic System (MDS/MDS 2) or the Diagnostic Scan Tool (DRB III) with the appropriate Diagnostic Procedures Manual, verify all engine/transmission systems are functioning as designed. If other than mentioned Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC's) are present, record them on the repair order and repair as necessary before proceeding further with this bulletin. If no DTC's are present or if the above symptoms/conditions have been described by the customer, perform the Repair Procedure.
NOTE: THIS REROUTING PROCEDURE SHOULD BE PERFORMED BEFORE ANY OTHER MISFIRE, SURGE, OR SPARK KNOCK REPAIRS ARE ATTEMPTED.
PARTS REQUIRED: Qty Part No. Description 3 56028186 Clip, Single Wire 2 06503441 Clip, Wire To Hose (5.2L & 5.9L) 1 04364375 Convolute, 10 ft Roll
REPAIR PROCEDURE: This bulletin involves rerouting the coil wire for all engines listed and rerouting the 4, 5, 7, and 8 plug wires for the 5.2/5.9L applications to minimize induction effects.
NOTE: IF WIRES MUST CROSS DURING THE REROUTE PROCEDURE, THEY MUST CROSS AT A 90O ANGLE.
5.2L AND 5.9L ENGINE PROCEDURES 1.. Coil Wire Routing (Figure 1 and Figure 2) 1.. Remove the coil wire from the distributor cap coil wire tower terminal. 2.. Remove the coil wire from the rear five-wire clip, the center three-wire clip, and the front one-wire clip located along the lower side of the right valve cover. 3.. Install three (3) one-wire clips p/n 56028186 along the top and front of the valve cover. Use the studs of the valve cover retaining bolts (Figure 1). NOTE: SOME APPLICATIONS MAY ONLY HAVE STUD LOCATIONS FOR 3 OF THE ONE-WIRE CLIPS.
4.. Route the coil wire starting from the ignition coil toward the distributor. Any excess wire should end up at the distributor end. 5.. Install the coil wire into the one-wire clips. This procedure may be easier to perform while the coil wire is loose from the valve cover (before the one-wire clips are attached to the valve cover studs). 6.. Cut the ignition wire convolute p/n 04364375 into three lengths 203 mm (8 in.), 101.5 mm (4 in.), and 82.5 mm (3.25 in.). 7.. Slit and install the three sections of convolute onto the coil wire between the one-wire clips. Install the 82.5 mm (3.25 in.) section at the front of the right valve cover. Install the 203 mm (8 in.) and the 101.5 mm (4 in.) sections along the top side of the right valve cover. This procedure may be easier to perform while the coil wire is loose from the valve cover (before the clips are attached to the valve cover studs). 8.. Route the distributor end of the coil wire down and behind the intake manifold, in front of the oil pressure switch (Figure 2). NOTE: THE COIL WIRE MUST BE A MINIMUM OF ONE (1) INCH AWAY FROM ANY OTHER IGNITION WIRES. THIS MAY REQUIRE THAT THE COIL WIRE BE ROUTED UNDER VACUUM AND/OR WIRE HARNESSES IN THE RIGHT REAR CORNER OF THE INTAKE MANIFOLD.
9.. Route the distributor end of the coil wire up the side of the distributor cap and onto the coil wire tower terminal. 10.. Position the original piece of coil wire convolute so it protects the wire against chafing with components at the rear of the engine. 2.. No. 8 Cylinder Plug Wire Routing (Figure 3) 1.. Remove the No. 8 cylinder plug wire from the distributor cap tower terminal. 2.. Remove the No. 8 cylinder plug wire from the five-wire clip located at the lower rear of the valve cover. 3.. Route the No. 8 cylinder plug wire over the rear quarter of the right valve cover (Figure 3). 4.. Position the original piece convolute from the No. 8 cylinder plug wire to prevent chafing at the right valve cover and with other engine components. 5.. Secure the No. 8 cylinder plug wire and its convolute in place with the hose to wire clip p/n 06503441. The small end of the clip is positioned over the convolute. The large end of the clip is fastened to a heater hose (A/C line on ZJ models). NOTE: MAKE SURE THE NO. 8 CYLINDER PLUG WIRE IS SECURE AND AWAY FROM THE COIL WIRE AND THE NO. 4 CYLINDER PLUG WIRE. MAKE CERTAIN IT WILL NOT FALL DOWN AND CONTACT THE CYLINDER HEAD AND/OR EXHAUST COMPONENTS.
6.. Install the No. 8 cylinder plug wire to its distributor cap terminal. 3.. No. 4 Cylinder Plug Wire Routing (Figure 4 and Figure 5) 1.. Remove the No. 4 cylinder plug wire from the distributor cap terminal. 2.. At the three-wire clip (located at the center of the lower side of the right valve cover), keep the two wires from crossing and chafing each other. Position the No. 2 cylinder plug wire in the top wire slot and the No. 4 cylinder plug wire in the bottom wire slot. Leave the middle wire slot empty (Figure 5). 3.. At the five-wire clip (located at the right rear lower side of the valve cover), keep the plug wires from crossing and chafing each other. Position the No. 4 cylinder plug wire in a slot that will obtain the maximum amount of distance allowable from the No. 8 cylinder plug wire (Figure 6). Remove any slack in the No. 4 cylinder plug wire between the three-wire and the five-wire clips. NOTE: EARLIER MODEL FIVE-WIRE CLIPS LOOK SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT BUT THE SAME WIRING LAYOUT APPLIES.
4.. Route the No. 4 cylinder plug wire behind the transmission dipstick tube and heater hoses. On ZJ models this may not be possible due to the location of the bulkhead. NOTE: MAKE SURE THAT THE NO. 4 CYLINDER PLUG WIRE IS, AT LEAST ONE INCH, AWAY FROM THE NO. 8 CYLINDER PLUG WIRE.
5.. Install the No. 4 cylinder plug wire to its distributor cap terminal (Figure 7). 4.. No. 7 Cylinder Plug Wire Routing (Figure 8 and Figure 9) 1.. Verify that the No. 7 cylinder plug wire crosses over the distributor cap and leaves the distributor cap between the No. 3 and the No. 6 tower terminals (Figure 8). This is the original wire routing for 1998 and prior model years. 2.. For 1999 M.Y. vehicles the No. 7 cylinder plug wire was shortened. Reroute the No. 7 cylinder plug wire so that it crosses the distributor cap and leaves the distributor cap between the No. 6 and the No. 5 tower terminals (Figure 9). NOTE: MAKE SURE THE NO. 7 CYLINDER PLUG WIRE IS, AT LEAST ONE INCH, AWAY FROM THE NO. 5 CYLINDER PLUG WIRE.
5.. No. 5 Cylinder Plug Wire Routing (Figure 10) 1.. Remove the No. 5 cylinder plug wire from its distributor cap terminal. 2.. Remove the No. 5 cylinder plug wire from the five-wire clip located at the lower rear of the left valve cover. 3.. Route the No. 5 cylinder plug wire over the left valve cover and in front of the breather tube elbow. 4.. Position the original convolute from the No. 5 cylinder plug wire to prevent chafing against the valve cover and any engine components. Secure the small end of the hose to wire clip p/n 06503441 over the convolute. Secure the large end of the hose to wire clip to the breather hose. NOTE: MAKE SURE THE NO. 5 CYLINDER PLUG WIRE IS SECURE AND AWAY FROM THE NO. 7 CYLINDER PLUG WIRE. MAKE CERTAIN IT WILL NOT FALL DOWN AND CONTACT THE CYLINDER HEAD AND/OR EXHAUST COMPONENTS.
3.9L ENGINE 1.. Coil Wire Routing (Figure 11 and Figure 12) 1.. Remove the coil wire from the distributor cap tower terminal. 2.. Remove the coil wire from the right rear five-wire clip, the center three wire clip and the front one-wire clip on the right valve cover. 3.. Install three (3) one-wire clips p/n 56028186 along the top and front of the valve cover studs (Figure 11). 4.. Route the coil wire starting from the ignition coil toward the distributor. Any excess wire should end up at the distributor end. 5.. Install the coil wire into the one-wire clips. This procedure may be easier to perform while the coil wireis loose from the valve cover (before the one-wire clips are attached to the valve cover studs). 6.. Cut the ignition wire convolute p/n 04364375 into three lengths. Two (2) at 101.5 mm (4 in.), and one (1) at 82.5 mm (3.25 in.). 7.. Slit and install the three sections of convolute onto the coil wire between the one-wire clips. Install the 82.5 mm (3.25 in.) section at the front of the right valve cover. Install the two 101.5 mm (4 in.) sections along the top side of the right valve cover. This procedure may be easier to perform while the coil wire is loose from the valve cover (before the clips are attached to the valve cover studs). 8.. Route the distributor end of the coil wire down and behind the intake manifold, in front of the oil pressure switch (Figure 12). NOTE: THE COIL WIRE MUST BE A MINIMUM OF ONE (1) INCH AWAY FROM ANY OTHER IGNITION WIRES. THIS MAY REQUIRE THAT THE COIL WIRE BE ROUTED UNDER VACUUM AND/OR WIRE HARNESSES IN THE RIGHT REAR CORNER OF THE INTAKE MANIFOLD.
9.. Route the distributor end of the coil wire up the side of the distributor cap and onto the coil wire tower terminal. 10.. Position the original piece of coil wire convolute so it protects the wire against chafing with components at the rear of the engine.
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Whens the last time you changed the fuel filter? It could also be the fuel pump. They usually only last me 100-150K.
beekeep

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I'd be tempted to change the air and fuel filters. And perhaps pull the fuel line off the throttle body, and do the "crank starter thing" and see if you're getting good fuel flow. Sounds a bit like a fuel problem, to me.
My 87 Dodge van, also a 318, stalled and died repeatedly on me. The air filter was the major problem, though it had several other problems.
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Christopher A. Young
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