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occasional hard starting on 2000 Dakota

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2000 Dakota Sport club cab...

4.7 with an automatic trans.

it's been hard starting lately, sometimes rough idle as well. I've replaced the plugs (they had worn to double the called for gap) and the air filter; this corrected most of the problem. However it still on occasion hard starts, although I haven't thus far been able to discern any pattern.

This afternoon I'm planning to run some Seafoam thru the top end to see if there is any accumulated gunk that can be cleared out.

can anyone offer any suggestions as to where I might look next?

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Any check eng. light's pop on while driving?

I would say a throttle body clean might be a good starting point and should be done also every 30-40,000 miles.

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When you say hard starting is it taking longer than normal to actually start (extended crank) or does it start and then stall right away or does it sputter as you crank it over and then finally start.

All three of these are fairly common starting symptoms for the Dakota.

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shack- no lights... and the cleaning shall commence forthwith~ wink

Airjer- cranking for 5-10 seconds, as opposed to popping right off.. with the sputter happening every once in a blue moon.

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You need to get the fuel pressure checked! Fuel pressure bleed down is very common for these and will result in an extended crank. Something you can try is cycle the key a couple of times (turn the key to run (do not crank) for two seconds then off then run for two seconds then start it). If this resolves the extended crank then theres a pretty good chance a fuel pump is in your future.

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All three of these are fairly common starting symptoms for the Dakota.

Airjer is right; these concerns can go along time with out any failure.

Could be a possible precursor to a week fuel pump, which may or may not fail soon. I would say a fuel pressure test might be another possible starting point. See if the fuel system is holding pressure. You could try a fuel system leak down test. I will click and post below:



Use this test in conjunction with the Fuel Pump

Pressure Test and Fuel Pump Capacity Test.

Check Valve Operation: The electric fuel pump

outlet contains a one-way check valve to prevent fuel

flow back into the tank and to maintain fuel supply

line pressure (engine warm) when pump is not operational.

It is also used to keep the fuel supply line

full of gasoline when pump is not operational. After

the vehicle has cooled down, fuel pressure may drop

to 0 psi (cold fluid contracts), but liquid gasoline will

remain in fuel supply line between the check valve

and fuel injectors. Fuel pressure that has

dropped to 0 psi on a cooled down vehicle

(engine off) is a normal condition. When the electric

fuel pump is activated, fuel pressure should

immediately (1–2 seconds) rise to specification.

Abnormally long periods of cranking to restart a

hot engine that has been shut down for a short

period of time may be caused by:

² Fuel pressure bleeding past a fuel injector(s).

² Fuel pressure bleeding past the check valve in

the fuel pump module.

² A defective fuel filter/pressure regulator.

Two #6539, 5/16”, Fuel Line Pressure Test Adapter

Hose Tools are required for the following tests.

(1) Release fuel system pressure. Refer to Fuel

Pressure Release Procedure.

(2) Raise vehicle.

Fuel Line Identification: The fuel filter/pressure

regulator is located in front of the fuel tank and

above the rear axle. It is transversely mounted to a

chassis crossmember (left-to-right). The filter/regulator

is equipped with 3 fuel line fittings (2 at one end

and 1 at the other end). The single fitting facing the

left side of the vehicle is the supply line to the fuel

rail (Fig. 1) . The 2 fittings facing the right side of

the vehicle are connected to the fuel tank. Of these 2

fittings, the fitting towards the front is used for fuel

return to the fuel tank. The fitting towards the rear

is a pressure line. This rear fitting must be disconnected

for the following step.

(3) See previous step. Disconnect fuel pressure line

at rear of filter/regulator. This is a 5/169 quick-connect

fitting (Fig. 1) . Refer to Quick-Connect Fittings

for procedures.

(4) Obtain correct Fuel Line Pressure Test Adapter

Hose Tool # 6539 for 5/16” fuel lines. Connect one

end of this Special Tool into the disconnected fuel

pressure line. Connect the other end of the Tool into

fitting on filter/regulator.

(5) Lower vehicle.

(6) Disconnect the fuel inlet line at fuel rail. Refer

to Quick-Connect Fittings for procedures. On some

engines, air cleaner housing removal may be necessary

before fuel line disconnection.

(7) Obtain a second Fuel Line Pressure Test

Adapter Hose Tool # 6539 for 5/16” fuel lines. Connect

this tool between disconnected fuel line and fuel

rail (Fig. 2) .

(8) Connect the 0-414 kPa (0-60 psi) fuel pressure

test gauge (from Gauge Set 5069) to the test port on

the appropriate Adaptor Tool. NOTE: The DRB III

Scan Tool along with the PEP module, the 500

psi pressure transducer, and the transducer-totest

port adapter may also be used in place of

the fuel pressure gauge.

CAUTION: The fittings on both tools must be in

good condition and free from any small leaks

before performing the proceeding test.

(9) Start engine and bring to normal operating


(10) Observe fuel pressure test gauge (or DRB

screen). Normal operating pressure should be 339

kPa ± 34 kPa (49.2 psi ± 5 psi).

(11) Shut engine off.

(12) Pressure should not fall below 30 psi for five


(13) If pressure falls below 30 psi, it must be

determined if a fuel injector, the supply check valve

within the fuel pump module, the fuel filter/pressure

regulator, or a fuel tube/line is leaking.

(14) Again, start engine and bring to normal operating


(15) Shut engine off.

(16) Testing for fuel injector or fuel rail leakage:

Clamp off the rubber hose portion of the 6539

Adaptor Tool between the fuel rail and the test port

“T” on Adapter Tool (be sure clamping pressure is

sufficient). If pressure now holds at or above 30 psi, a

fuel injector or the fuel rail is leaking.

(17) Again, start engine and bring to normal operating


(18) Shut engine off.

(19) Raise vehicle.

(20) Testing for fuel filter/pressure regulator

leakage: While continuing to securely clamp

between the fuel rail and the test port 9T9 on Adaptor

Tool 6539, securely clamp off any rubber hose portion

of the Adaptor Tool 6539 that was installed

between the fuel pressure line and the filter/regulator

fitting (by restricting the pump module supply

line’s backflow, you isolate any leakdown originating

from the filter/regulator via the tank return line.) If

the pressure falls below 30 psi within 5 minutes, the

filter/regulator is leaking. If it now holds at or above

30 psi, the electric fuel pump check valve is leaking

or a fuel tube/line is leaking. A fuel odor presence

would indicate the latter.

The electric fuel pump is not serviced separately. If

replacement is necessary, replace the fuel pump module

assembly. The filter/regulator may be replaced

separately. Refer to Fuel Filter/Fuel Pressure Regulator

Removal/Installation for additional information.

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The fuel filter/pressure

regulator is located in front of the fuel tank and

above the rear axle. It is transversely mounted to a

chassis crossmember (left-to-right)

What year manual did that come out of? grin

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Sorry, I should have proof read this first all the way threw grin.

Should be for a 2001. It also might be for a Chero Jeep.

Ah, it gives ya a basic view.

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