please help - van stalls A LOT

Would greatly apreciate any advice on this.
My work van (2002 Dodge Ram Van 1500 - 80k miles) is giving me a lot of trouble. In the morning when I start it up, it runs perfectly fine for
about 15 minutes. Then it abruptly starts stalling. Once it starts stalling, it stalls at almost every red light. If I'm in heavy traffic where a lot of stop and go is required, it'll stall many times. In a parking lot, I sometimes have to restart the van a few times to get in and out of a parking space. Right before it stalls, I hear a clicking noise down towards the left side of the dash. If I'm driving above 30mph or so, the van seems to jerk as if it was trying to stall, and the oil level guage drops all the way to the left as if the van was shut off. I hear a clicking noise down toward the left side of the dash when this happens, too. It always starts right back up - usually the oil guage returns to normal, and sometimes it remains buried as if the van was shut off - even though the van runs fine and does not overheat.
I took it to a mechanic who charged me $100 to hook it up to some sort of sensor, only to tell me that there were no faulty codes detected, but he thought it might be the ignition switch - which he replaced. However, the problem continues. So, I stopped by the Dodge dealership and they said that the sensors they use there are much more hi-tech and that it would definitely pinpoint the problem, but it's going to cost me $150.
Looking under the hood, I placed my fingers on the relays by the battery as someone started the van. As it stalled, I noticed 2 things: 1. The engine seems to slow down a little right before it stalls...... 2. The relay under one of my fingers (ASD) clicks right before and right after it stalls. Could a faulty ASD Relay be the cause of this?
I know I should just take it to a mechanic and get it fixed, but I really don't have the money for it right now. So, please... any advice at all.
Thanks.
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It could - as the ASD relay supplies power to the PCM, which runs the engine. Try swapping it with another relay - they're all the same (actually, you may have two types of relays in there, but the difference will be obvious. All the relays of the same physical size are interchangeable with each other)
I suspect you'll find you have the same problem after swapping the relays, but it's certainly worth it to try.
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Thanks. I'll give that a shot. Is there any other things that might cause these problems that someone with little or no automotive knowledge (such as myself) would be able to easily repair?
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You could try cleaning the Idle Air Control valve, but you did say it surged at 30mph (meaning, at 30, you are no longer relying on the IAC). Have you ever changed the fuel filter? I don't think a dirty filter would cause an idle problem, but if it's never been done in 80k miles, your overdo for the change anyway. Also, check the air filter while your at it, a clogged or extremely dirty air filter is also not going to help things. Other things I would check would be vacuum leaks. Look for any hoses that may have come disconnected, make sure your PCV valve is good (pull it out and give it a shake, you should hear and feel it rattle). Space is limited on a van, but I've always had good luck checking manifold gasket leaks using carb cleaner spray. While the enging is running, spray the carb cleaner at the junctions of the manifold to the cylinder head (spray enough to make it wet). If the gasket is leaking, you should hear the idle pick up temporarily as the fluid is drawn through the leak. Also spray around the throttle body base and along the vacuum hoses (to check for cracks) in the same manner. Finally, just because there aren't any trouble codes thrown doesn't mean nothing is wrong. A sensor can still go bad and misread, but if it does so within "normal specs" the computer won't know it's a problem (like a temp sensor stuck on a normal reading). Hope some of this helps and good luck! -Todd
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