'93 Dakota - Won't Start

This is my boy's truck. It has a small V-6 with probably 130k miles, drinks oil regularly but he says he keeps up with it.
Last week, he says he is driving it and all of a sudden, it starts running
rough, backfires a few times and that all lasts about 20 seconds or so, then smooths out and runs ok.
Yesterday, he drives to work (less than a mile) and parks it in their garage. After work, he starts the truck, it runs for about 30 seconds then turned off like someone turned the key. Now, it turns over but won't start. No Codes. He swears there is a half a tank of fuel.
I'm going over on Sat to look at it (bringing a gas can). I'll check for fuel delivery and spark, any other suggestions?
Hmmmmm.... reading over this for spelling errors and I detect an ever growing suspicion of timing chain issues (original chain). Anybody else think this way with so little to go on? Does this engine have clearance to turn over with a busted chain?
FMB (North Mexico)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I had a 93 with the same engine, and an 87 with the same engine. Between the two I had this problem, which sounds similiar to yours about 4 different times. What happened is the spark plug wires were burning/melting on the exhaust manifold. All four times, I replaced the bad wire, and routed the wire better. Also, while your at it, replace the dist. cap and rotor. You have to look at the wires real good. It might not be noticable right away. In all the cases, the wire was damaged where I could not easily notice. Good Luck, and I hope that this is the problem. Whatever you find, please post it here.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Sounds like it could be a bad crank position sensor. If that is the case it should set a code in the PCM.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Drove down to Concord to look at the truck. I had him price fuel pumps yesterday so he can have an idea what to expect today (~$175-$340).
I first listened for fuel pump noise when the key was turned on. I didn't hear any but couldn't remember if I ever heard any. Then we checked to see if it turned over ok, and it did; just wouldn't start. I visually inspected the plug wires and some of them were out of the little "U" holders and had him try to restart, no luck.
Next, pulled the air cleaner and put 1/2 oz of fuel on the butterfly valves. He tried to start it and it didn't start. All the fuel was still sitting on the valves. I let some down, and he turned it over and the engine started and ran for a few seconds. Hmmmm..... fuel delivery problem.
Again, I asked if there was fuel in the tank. Yeah, about 1/2 a tank. OK, when we gave this truck to him it had a defective guage. It reads full for the first 50 miles or so, then drops to empty. We guage when we need to buy fuel by how many miles we have on the trip meter. That has worked well for him and I for 5 years or so. "How many miles on this tank?" "About 170 and it should be able to go to 250 or so".
I dumped a gallon of fuel into the tank, some on the butterfly valve and started the truck. It ran for 15 sec or so and quit. A little more onto the butterfly and it started and ran fine. I dumped another gallon into the tank from my gas can.
Son drove to the gas pumps then to the parts store for a locking gas cap. Thanks for the help, guys.
FMB (North Mexico)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
thanks for the report. Simple things can be big problems. Who bought the gas to refill your gascan? Did your son offer to replace the gas?
I've stopped to help people several times, and found em out of gas. Got to the point that I buy gas on schedule, and also keep a gascan in my vehicle.
--

Christopher A. Young
You can't shout down a troll.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'm just kinda hoping your not driving around with a full gascan in your vehical. Just doesn't seem safe in an accident.
Denny
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Just an update. Son called late Sat afternoon, truck started stalling and running rough, backfiring, etc... again. So, I went down on Sunday, checked plugs (looked good), replaced rotor and cap, pulled and reseated connectors to the IAC, TPS and MAP. Started truck and it ran as rough as it has for the past 3-4 years. Cleaned up and put the tools away. Took it for a test drive and it made it to the end of his parking lot before dying. Wouldn't restart.
Pulled the IAC and it was black. Cleaned it out really well with carb cleaner and also the carb while we were there, but the carb looked pretty clean anyway. Put it all together and it still ran like crap and died.
The IAC had no moving parts when I began cleaning it, and shortly thereafter the shaft looking thing that goes out towards the tip would slide back into the IAC housing (housing = piece with the connector) and spun also. The tip didn't move at all. The insides looked clean though.
I had him buy a new IAC Monday and he put it in after he put in a new battery. Battery in the truck was real old, can't remember when it was replaced last. Battery didn't help but after he put in the new IAC, it ran real good. He said it never ran that smooth since he known the truck. Anyway, test drive turned out well and I think I'm done with it for awhile.
Thanks for everyone's thoughts.
FMB (North Mexico)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.