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'87 Dodge Ram 318 randomly quits

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Jan 26, 2014, 06:17 PM
'87 Dodge Ram 318 randomly quits
Runs great, then all of a sudden it just stops, like it's getting no gas. After it sets about 10 minutes, it starts right up, runs like a champ, then does it again. Sometimes it happens out on the open road, sometimes as I slow down to turn a corner.

Any ideas?

Jan 27, 2014, 11:48 AM
sounds like my sister's issue in a 91 olds.

on our two cars, the issues have been both creepy vacuum hoses and the fuel pressure regulator. quick test of a regulator (on the fuel manifold, mind you) is to pull the vacuum hose off and sniff. smell gas? regulator is shot, replace it, most are in the $40 range.

an 87 might still have a carburetor, might not. clean it if it's grungy, test all choke pull-offs and replace any that don't hold position at least a minute (pull the vacuum hose, push in the pulloff, and seal the hose fitting with your thumb for the test.)

I had an unfindable issue in my 76 buick until I finally magic-markered the position of the pull rod on the distributor advance vacuum motor, and revved it with the a/c off using the carb linkage. didn't move. aha!

the hard part of that is NOT dropping a screw deep into the cogs and rods of the engine while replacing things. do NOT drop a screw deep into the cogs and rods of the engine. you do not want to turn the truck upside down and try shaking that back out.

sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
Jan 28, 2014, 04:32 PM
A site you might get more feedback from would be They have a rather active forum.

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Jan 31, 2014, 01:56 PM
swschrad forums have some awesome responders for car issues. also used to.

you need three things for an engine to run... air, fuel and spark. starve any of those, or mess up the timing or ratio, and thunk, dead. past 20 years, a fourth one, sensors for the computer, occasionally will rear its ugly head and fake one of the other three issues. diagnosing sensor fails can be easy, it can be a lifetime hobby. really really hard cases can be found with a specialty tool called "what failed first?" that is in the $200 range.

most of the rest can be fixed by simply following each and every chain in those three disciplines. IMPHO unless you have a dying coil, the 10 minute runtime tells me it isn't spark (timing, HV, wires, plugs, engine ground). there is a small chance it's fuel (pressure, supply blockage, crud in the tank.)

that leaves vacuum. as you know, modern engines and their computers work on a stored "safe" program until the engine is at temperature, the sensors are expected to be all there, and the computer shifts to real-time control of the engine inputs and outputs. an 87 doesn't really have much tech feedback, might have blink-light codes, might not.

the parts I'd consider vacuum are everything hooked to the intake air... brake line and booster, choke pulloffs, distributor pulloff for advance timing, PVC, EGR, all gaskets and carb fittings, most models of cruise control, and all the hoses, tees, and transitions thereto. HVAC controls are often overlooked.

check them all. use a little spray bottle of water when the engine is warm to spray all gaskets, and be listening for any change at all in the sound of the engine. fix the areas that make a difference and keep going.

where you have one deterioration, there is equal wear elsewhere on the hoses and stuff, and you WILL find more.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: swschrad,

sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
Feb 04, 2014, 02:40 PM
Just an update here, changed gas from 87 octane to 91 and it hasn't happened since. ??? If it does again, we'll try these great suggestions.

Thanks everyone for your time.
Feb 06, 2014, 04:33 PM
shouldn't have made a difference in this issue. so I'm thinking mildly contaminated gas... extra dirt stirred up in the tank from more fills closer to when you buy it, or a small amount of water in the station's tank that was getting into your fuel.

take two cans of isopropyl gas line dryer (HEET, etc.) to the fuel tank, run it almost dry. replace the fuel filter in the car. and use a different station or stick with the 91 for a while and see if the issue goes away.

sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
Feb 17, 2014, 03:11 AM
This may be a little late, But this could explain it.