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Hard starting after sitting for the winter


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My '98 Ram 2500 5.9L V8 has been a reliable starter and runner since I bought it last spring. This ...


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Old 03-20-2017, 09:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hard starting after sitting for the winter
My '98 Ram 2500 5.9L V8 has been a reliable starter and runner since I bought it last spring. This last week, it has decided to become very difficult to start, and I thought it'd be a good time to get some sagely wisdom from you guys.

The engine cranks fine, but takes a long time to get it to fire at all. If I can get it to fire at all, it starts up immediately. It now runs badly (die if you didn't gas it) for the first minute or two until the engine warmed up a bit, and then everything runs great.

Here's some recent history:
1) It burst a brake line 3-4 months ago and sat until I recently had a chance to fix it. Was running fine at that point.
2) After I replaced the brake lines, it wouldn't start initially. I saw the gas gauge was on E, so I added a gallon from a gas can, and it reluctantly started in 15F weather, and needed me to feed it gas to keep it from dying for a minute or two.
3) It started, restarted and idled just fine while I was bleeding the brakes.
4) This evening, she wouldn't start at all. Cranks fast, but no fire. Added another gallon of gas. No improvement
5) No check engine light.
6) I checked the air filter. It was dirty, but more importantly, had a mouse nest under it, and had a big circle where the mouse had chewed up the filter to make the nest. No rodent corpses in the air line. Not sure if bits of filter could've been sucked into the engine. (Or if an engine would have any issues with passing/burning bits of filter paper)


Next time I get a chance, I'll check the 3 basics: Fuel, Spark, and Air.

1) Fuel: What's the best spot on the 5.9L to pull the fuel line and check that fuel is flowing? Can I also assume this engine could benefit from starting fluid in the air filter?

2) Spark: If I don't find the issue with #1, I'll buy some new plugs and wires. Does the 5.9L gain anything from nicer plugs and/or wires? Or are OEM equivalents just fine?

3) Air: I'll be replacing the filter and probably adding in a bit of aluminum window screen as a prefilter/rodent guard. Not much else I can do here.

This is my first time playing with a 5.9L. Any wisdom from the trenches is appreciated if there are any peculiar issues of the 5.9L that might be relevant here.


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Old 03-20-2017, 10:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Never use starting fluid on a gas engine. Have you tried opening the throttle with your foot during cranking, not much, just a little. Could be the TPS.
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Old 03-21-2017, 08:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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As was stated, do not use starting fluid. A common issue on these old trucks is either the Idle air control valve or throttle position sensor.

Just barely hitting the gas while starting should get it to start just fine if those are the problem.

As for spark plugs, only use Copper, anything else causes problems, no matter what they guy behind the counter says. Plug wires are just wires.

I'd also check the fuel pressure when its giving you problems one of these times.


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Old 03-21-2017, 10:39 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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You can check rail pressure with the rail mounted valve


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Old 03-21-2017, 10:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Possibly a week coil. I use an adjustable spark tester to test, it should jump the gap minimum at the 10kv mark on the tester. Or just try a new coil.
I don't see the big deal using starting fluid on a gas motor. Diesel is where you can really get in trouble if you don't know what you are doing
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Old 03-21-2017, 05:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dapepper9 View Post
You can check rail pressure with the rail mounted valve
This is my first vehicle with a fuel rail valve. Do I just put an air gauge on it?

P.S. Ive tried giving it gas with no success. I'm guessing if there is fuel pressure, then the coil went bad, if not the fuel pump died.

EDIT: No fuel pressure. I'm assuming the fuel pump died. Is there any sane reason why new fuel pumps for this truck range from $50ish to $220? Is this a simple drop the tank and swap the pump, or is anything else required?
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Old 03-21-2017, 07:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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If your fuel pump is indeed the culprit I have been told it's much easier to pull the bed off the frame rather than dropping the tank from underneath.
I can tell you from experience that dropping the tank is a PITA.
Good luck.
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Old 03-21-2017, 09:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm not sure about the fuel pump, i've never looked one up to replace it on my truck. The cost could be everything from the mounting hardware to the sending unit to the fuel pump or the whole assembly just being labeled as fuel pump.

As for removing it, its a toss up on pulling the bed or dropping the tank. I recently had to drop the tank on a 98 at work to fix a fuel leak. It took about 2 hours all in all and was much easier than pulling the bed. But I have lifts and transmission jacks to use.
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Old 03-23-2017, 09:40 AM   #9 (permalink)
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It looks like my vent tube is rusted in half and hanging loose. I can't spot the other side of the tube. Where does the vent tube run to?

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Old 03-23-2017, 06:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The vent tube traditionally runs up right next to the filler nozzle so gas stations with vapor recovery systems can capture the displaced air from your tank.

Usually when you buy a new filler neck they come with the vent tube.


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