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Discussion Starter #1
1998 Dakota 4x4 big engine, starts and idles perfect. ONLY on cold mornings after a mile or so it starts bucking and backfiring. Then after a couple hundred yards of this it runs perfect again. No codes or engine light. This only happens on cold mornings, even after I let it idle and the temp was up to normal before starting out. Any help is appreciated.
 

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This is only a guess. Moisture in distributor is frozen. Once it warms it evaporates and causes issue.
 

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The first thing to look at is the IAC (Idle air control motor).
The IAC is equivalent to the cold fast idle cam on a carbuatored motor. Whenever the PCM senses an additional load on the engine (Park to R or D), A/C on, Discharged battery being charged at high rate by alternator(requires more engine power to charge), or cranking steering hard to engage maximum power steering assist) the IAC HAS to increase the amount of air coming into the air horn assembly to prevent too rich a mixture from stalling the cold engine. The ECT (Engine Coolant Temperature) governs the amount of fuel added at warm up and the engine stalling ,but not getting enough fuel added to the air when the engine is cold.
Seeing it runs normally during/after warm up the ETC appears to be working so the first step check-clean-replace the IAC. In either instance clean the body body.

"Big engine"? If its the 5.2(318) or 5.9(360) the IAC in located on the rear of the throttle body attached by two screws and one connector.

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #4
5.9 engine, runs really well for about 1/8 mile THEN acts up. I let it idle Sunday for 15 minutes and 1/8 mile down the road it started backfiring and bucking. I'm not good at working on this stuff, I will see my mechanic and relay this. Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Mechanic is running it in the morning while cold with a "Live Data" tester connected. He is thinking an oxygen sensor. More money out.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
winchester - you are right, it should throw a code. I dropped it off at the garage, mechanic drove it the next morning with a data tester on it. Nothing!! I pick it up and yesterday morning the temps were about 38 degrees, it coughed a couple times, I eased off the gas, after about 1/8 mile smooth as good be. Mechanic is sure it is the oxygen sensor, but which one? How I long for the good old days -- no stinking electronics, an engine that looked like an engine!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hey!! The problem was the outboard O2 sensor. The live data show the sensor flat lined 1/8 mile into the drive (28 Degrees that morning) and one minute later it came back online. Thank you all for your help, I passed along all the above info to my mechanic. He is the type of guy that doesn't act like a know it all and easy excepts ideas. And he is a very knowledgeable mechanic.
 

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Man I miss my 1993 Dakota with the 5.2 V8. Somebody smashed into me and totaled it!! I have been looking for a 1998-2003 Dakota Ex Cab 4x4 with the 360 forever. Most of them were in 2 wheel drives and regular cabs. In general that motor in a Dakota is very rare.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
New sensor now it misses and sputters as soon I leave the driveway. A minute into driving it is fine. Guess I need the other sensor also!!
 

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It could be an ethanol related problem or spark plug or wire problem..Change the fuel filter and try to find a gas station that sells non ethanol gasoline...Run it for a while to see if it stops..Ethanol has caused a lot of vehicles problems...Don't waste your money on another oxygen sensor...
 

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In general they need to take Ethanol out of gasoline. The stuff is horrible!!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Still problems with this POS (piece of scrap) truck. I really hate dodge trucks, my second one with a bottomless hole to throw money into. All the o2 sensors and coil. The plugs, wires, and cap look like new. This junker will run perfect one morning and the next backfire and misfire. Engine light will blink and go out. 20 miles latter it MAY come on. Code shows random misfires. One problem in always happening now, when going up a hill at a low speed, 40 mph, the check engine lights goes on. But the live data reader shows only random misfires.
 

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Maybe you Gotta reset the ECM ....Pull the negative battery cable, Go in the house, drink a beer, go back out, hook 'er back up.

With all the new parts and changes that you have made, the computer may have lost it's way.

Or....the computer may be on it's way to taking a crap.
 

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My 4.7 Jeep is doing the same thing. I got 4 new O2 sensors to put in when I get around to it. I keep getting told by somebody that has a lot of experience with the Dakota that one of these is the problem even though it's not throwing a code.
 

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My 1993 Dakota with the Magnum 318 V8 had none of these problems. I wonder what they changed not long after that?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well, I picked up my pick-up (may make this into a song) from the shop. The Crank Position Sensor that was replaced in July was faulty. All the problems above stem from this piece of plastic electronic junk. My mechanic work hard to find this. We will see how long this one lasts. Thank you all for your input. Sykotik-- the mechanic did what you suggested, less the beer. I had a shot, three fingers, of 100 proof.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Well, seven days now with my truck running good, no missing and backfiring, running quite well. (I just knocked against my head)
 
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