Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 01-24-2019, 04:46 PM   #1
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Washington
Posts: 82
Default 1999 Dodge 3500 sudden engine shut down

Hi, I'm hoping someone has a suggestion... sorry, this will be a bit long.

1999 Xplorer on 3500 Dodge chassis 65k miles (25k we have put on).
We have been on vacation and cut it short and returned home because of a random electrical issue.

Initially happened while getting situated in a campsite. Engine idling as I got out to see how we were sitting. Was idling about 2 minutes and suddenly just stopped like the key was turned off (never had a problem with erratic idle before). I tried to re-start and it spun quickly but no fire and I noticed when I turned the key, the fuel gage didn't move and I knew we had over 1/2 tank. Kept trying to start it for about 2-3 minutes and no luck. Then, suddenly I turned the key and the fuel gage registered over 1/2 tank and it started right up - ran normally, started and stopped several times and all was as if it never happened. Shrug shoulders and fix dinner.

Next day van ran normally all day until mid afternoon when we were going up a steep hill on a twisty rural 2 lane 45mph rd. w/no shoulders and several blind corners and it suddenly shut off just like turning the key off. Again the gas gage was not moving and it wouldn't start - but this was lots worse because of the dangerous spot. Right after we came to a stop just after a blind curve and were scrambling to get down and around the corner to warn oncoming traffic, a loaded cement mixer truck came around the corner at 40+mph and locked his brakes, laid on his horn and almost hit us. A nice fellow in a pick-up offered to tow us up the hill to a turn-out where we could get off the road and I gladly accepted his help. Total time since quitting was probably less than 10 minutes until we had the tow strap hooked up. As he was starting to pull, I tried the key one more time and the gas gage was working again and it fired right up - go figure.

So, the good Samaritan got us out of harms way and suggested a local repair shop. Went to the local shop but the fellow was booked up for a week - and, of course it is working fine and no idea when it might act up again.

We cut our trip short and had no more issues on the two day trip home.

Internet research suggests maybe the "auto shutdown relay" could be the problem but others suggest it may be the ECM failing. We have no battery issues, it cranks fast & normal. No sputtering/snorting when it stops - it's just like turning the key off.

We are hoping to get back on the road and finish our month long vacation (I finally retired the 1st of December and this was to be our first open-ended vacation ever). Even though it is running fine and made it home without anymore problems, I am currently really short on confidence in our B right now and my wife is even more unsure.

I don't think this has anything to do with the up fitter - I think it is purely a Dodge chassis issue and am hoping that someone here with a Dodge has some idea what to chase. I know from past experiences that the worst thing to diagnose is an intermittent problem but I sure hope you folks can help.

Thanks,
Dave
__________________

D&J Phillips is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2019, 05:53 PM   #2
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Calgary
Posts: 76
Default

Last summer, I was camped in my 1995 Dodge PW, 318 cid engine. The morning I was due to leave, the engine would not start, despite cranking well. Eventually it did start, but later would not restart. Unfortunately, the '95 does not have OBD !!. A Dodge dealership subsequently diagnosed a failed ECM (or PCM). Due to the age of the vehicle, they said they could not obtain a new unit, but could have the old one rebuilt - a 2 week process. I won't go into the failed rebuild details, but eventually all seems good again.

Les
__________________

LesM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2019, 08:36 PM   #3
Platinum Member
 
peppster66's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Brampton,Ontario
Posts: 229
Default

Hi, we have a 97 dodge b3500, and had similar issues with ours, found a great mechanic, and for us it turned out to be a faulty ignition coil , replaced it and the van started right up, never had a problem since,,,,I actually carry a spare one in the van now, when we travel,,,I hope you can find a good mechanic, and really fix it, but please don't get discouraged by one issue, these vans are built great, and as we get close to being 20 yrs old, there will be issues and repairs, but the beauty is that parts are very easy to find, very affordable, and overall very easy to repair,,things will happen, its just part of the journey,,,take care,,,,
peppster66 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2019, 09:05 PM   #4
Platinum Member
 
peppster66's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Brampton,Ontario
Posts: 229
Default

Hi, I just wanted to share with you about a great website that has helped me a lot with my dodge van, and its WWW.Dodgeforum.com, theres an area dedicated to just our ram vans, the guys are all very helpfull and positive, maybe you can get some help from there also,,,good luck, and let us know if you find the issue,,,thanks,,,,
peppster66 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2019, 11:09 PM   #5
Platinum Member
 
Bruceper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 635
Default

Quite possibly the fuel pump.
Bruceper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2019, 11:26 PM   #6
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: America's Seaplane City, FL
Posts: 401
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruceper View Post
Quite possibly the fuel pump.
or the wiring/ground associated with it. I'm thinking the gas gauge behavior is an important clue. Check for wiring harness issues along with the connections.

Intermittents can be lotsa "fun".
__________________
2000 Roadtrek Chevy 200 Versatile
Fun stuff:
'15 Kawasaki Versys650LT
'98 Kawasaki KLR650
SteveJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2019, 12:22 AM   #7
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Washington
Posts: 82
Default

I appreciate the responses, it really helps.

LesM, I'm beginning to think that the ECM may well be the culprit but my first step has been to replace the 'auto shutdown relay'. My reading today tells me that this relay is responsible for shutting down spark and fuel when the key is turned off to prevent running-on, and I saw a utube video where the fellow says the combination of dying suddenly and the fuel gage not working are symptoms of a failure of this relay - $35 at the dealer so easy to try.

Peppster66, I haven't looked at the coil yet but it sure is a possibility. I also wanted to reassure you we are not giving up on the Xplorer - in fact, far from it.... This is one of the newest vehicles I've had (I've never personally worked on anything that didn't have a carburetor before) and I know the value, as well as the agony, of older vehicles quite well. Thanks for the words of encouragement.

Bruceper & SteveJ, I agree the fuel pump is definitely a possibility and I agree the fuel gage is a great clue.

The ideas about spark and fuel fit with the description of the auto shutdown relay function but since it hasn't repeated the failure yet since I replaced the relay, this cure is unproven still.

I also found a very highly rated ECM rebuilder that I have the contact info for and if we get stuck somewhere I can arrange for a FedEx overnight if we are desperate. I can't order one now since I have no idea where to have it shipped or where we will be in the next few days (takes 24-48 hrs to ship plus shipping time).

We are planning on resuming our trip tomorrow morning and I will report our success/lack there of later (we aren't very hi-tech but my wife has a laptop so if I can get on a wifi I will, otherwise it may be a few weeks before we get home.


Thanks,
Dave
D&J Phillips is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2019, 12:09 PM   #8
Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Pelham, NH
Posts: 42
Default

Hi Dave,

Just curious who the highly rated ECM rebuilder is?

Thanks,

Lee
Leland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2019, 04:56 PM   #9
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Arizona
Posts: 344
Default

Having a 97 PW on Dodge chassis, this thread perked my attention. You might also want to check out:

https://carcomputerexchange.com/dodge/cat_2.html

They claim lifetime warranty on their products. Never used this company, though so I can't speak to anything beyond their existence.
GallenH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2019, 05:12 PM   #10
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Arizona
Posts: 344
Default

And I meant to ask: Is there some type of diagnostic reader that can determine if your computer is faulty? Seems like there would be some way that the dealer can check.
GallenH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2019, 12:13 PM   #11
New Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Downeast Maine
Posts: 19
Default

We have a 2000 Xplorer on the 3500 chassis (360 CID, same type of mileage) and I once had an intermittent no-start condition caused by the coil wire. It never quit once it was running but was clearly at fault once I started testing. I guess these parts get old and insulation can break down causing issues.
Frankshay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2019, 01:33 AM   #12
Platinum Member
 
peppster66's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Brampton,Ontario
Posts: 229
Default

hi, just wondering if you were able to come up with a conclusion and a fix to your issues with the van, please let us know when you get a chance,,,
peppster66 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2019, 10:11 AM   #13
Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Pelham, NH
Posts: 42
Default

Was the wire damaged? Close to the coil, or somewhere else? Thanks!
Leland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2019, 07:21 PM   #14
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Washington
Posts: 82
Default

Hello all, time for a follow-up. We got home a couple of days ago but I didn't get time to report until now because we are into a series of snow storms here that are making things challenging.

So, as I stated earlier, I had replaced the engine shut-down relay and was hoping that would be the end. It was not. we went back to the Oregon coast and wandered as far south as the Avenue of the Giants (redwood forest) and started wandering back north up the Oregon coast. When we were on 101 crossing the high bridge across the harbor In Newport, it suddenly died. Wednesday 1-30-19, 4:00 pm rush hour and we were not very popular. A few minutes sitting and it started up again. I have a friend living in Corvallis so we turned east and tried to get there - 3 miles and it died again. Cool and restart but barely make it back into Newport. Check in at an RV park. Thursday morning find highly rated independent shop who says it seems to be the ECM and he could order one for us from O'Rieleys for a little over $500 for me. He could not install because he said it needed to be 'flashed' and only the dealer could do it. Called the Dodge dealer and they agreed to let me have the van towed to them (this time it wouldn't start even after cooling a while) and I could install the ECM when it arrives and then they would 'flash' it. They even allowed us to camp in the van overnight in their lot - not a recommended camping location, but beggars can't be choosers.

So, long story shortened, the ECM came next morning & I installed. The dealer said if the mileage showed up and it started, then we didn't need to 'flash' it ? Don't understand because several times we were told flashing was necessary? Anyway, it started and mileage was showing correctly so we headed to the auto parts store to return the ECM core and the ABS warning light came on after a block. The guys at the auto parts store said should be no problem but should be flashed when we get home.

Headed out of town and made it about 6 blocks to a stoplight and as we were stopping and strange pulsing/vibration/growl passed thru the van? Don't have any idea what that was but since the ABS light was on I though possibly some strangeness with the ABS? anyway, light changes and we move out. We get up to about 35mph and suddenly have a box full of neutrals and coast to a stop. I found that when first started, I could put into gear and move about 50' or so before going to neutral again, shut off motor, wait a few minutes, restart & put into gear & move 50' or so and repeat. Made it back to dealership. They spent 1 1/2 hrs 'flashing' and still no tranny function. We put the old unit in and still no tranny.

AAMco transmission is 1/2 block from Dealership & we managed to limp there about 3:00 pm Friday afternoon. They agreed to let us camp in their parking lot and they would drop the pan Monday to see what was going on.

Monday they dropped the pan and found lots of metal bits. Estimate for a rebuild was $3500 and 3-4 days or, they could get a fully reman unit from Portland that afternoon and have it installed by Tuesday afternoon for $3800. This was a no brainer and so we got a fully reman tranny installed with a 3 year/50k warranty good anywhere in the country, and they really did have it done and ready about 3:00 Tuesday afternoon. One bonus is Oregon not having sales tax so the bill was an even 3800.

Wednesday morning we headed for home. I had confidence in the tranny but I still have no confidence that replacing the ECM really fixed the engine stopping issue. We had driven over 1200 miles over a week long period of time between failures and just because we made it home hasn't left me with any real comfort.

Hopefully the ECM was the problem with the engine dying. As to the sources of rebuilt ECMs I was looking at the same one that GalenH posted because the feedback seemed good, but subsequent searches suggest maybe they aren't the best???? Anyway, I didn't get to try them or anybody else because of the situation I was in with local shop calling O'Reileys and they seem to be the go-to parts store so that's is what I got.

I hope this helps those who have the Dodge vans.

This, by the way, was definitely the 'Vacation from Hell' for us!!

Dave
D&J Phillips is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2019, 01:44 AM   #15
Platinum Member
 
peppster66's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Brampton,Ontario
Posts: 229
Default

wow, sorry to hear about your issues, I was really hoping it would be something minor, we have all had those trips from hell, for some reason,, it just happens, Im glad to hear you got home safely,,,take care,,,
__________________

peppster66 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT. The time now is 03:15 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×