I think my fuel pump is failing on a 98' dodge ram
You must crank engine excessively to start it and there has been some intermittent whining from the tank area. I don't want to get stuck but i don't want to replace it if i don't have to. Should i bit the bullet and just do it?
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The way the newer systems work the engine spins at least a few turns while the computer checks everything for correct readings. In the old days it was "cool" to be able to reach in and "bump" the key and have the car start. It meant you had the car tuned perfectly. Now the vehicle computer will not turn fuel on until it is happy with readings. One trick you can try is turn key to full on position and let it sit for a second or two before turning key the rest of the way to crank. This allows the system a second to do it's checking without wasting power cranking. Had Nissan that was just like this. Just wait a few beats before turn to full crank. You can also listen for fuel pump whine in that few seconds, and then hopefully whine to stop when pressure hits full. If whine never stops fuel pump may be getting weak. If you can get access to higher end code reader you can also check for "pending" codes that may be showing up sometimes (holding start up) but then working (so engine finally fires).
I think what you have going on here is a failing electric fuel pump, this is what they do when they are worn out, it is a rotary pump and the rotor sticks due to worn bearings. To confirm this get a can of spray starting fluid from any auto parts store, next time it won't start spray it into the air intake hose to the engine, if it fires right up you have a bad pump. The fuel pump is located inside the fuel tank, remember to also replace the fuel filter when the pump is replaced. Also check the connector to the fuel pump cutoff safety switch for signs of melting, replace the switch and connector as needed, this is caused by a defective fuel pump drawing excessive current.
intermittent no start situations generally appear when you have defective crank position sensor (since it cant get idea what the crank angle is) and fuel pump issues( since it cant receive enough fuel)
This may be due to the fuel pump pressure check valve being defective. When the valve malfunctions it allows fuel to drain back out of the fuel line, then you must purge the line of air and fill it with pressurized fuel, this takes a few moments and this causes abnormally long crank times before the engine starts. I think on your truck the pressure check valve is on the top of the fuel tank, if not it is inside the fuel tank and part of the fuel pump module assembly, any parts store like NAPA or Carquest can look this up for you and find out if you can just replace the pressure check valve and not the whole pump module which is quite expensive.
P0216 DTC - Injection Timing Control Circuit Malfunction and this means the diesel fuel injection pump has a timing failure. This could be that the injection pump timing needs adjusted OR the failure is internal to the injection pump and therefore non-adjustable.
NOTE: If your vehicle is a Dodge Ram with Cummins engine then be aware that fuel delivery problems frequently cause this code. Prolonged fuel delivery problems can cause injection pump failure!
Symptoms of a P0216 DTC may include: Low power Crank, but no start Hard start Displays an intermittent stumble or miss Engine may start and then stall Engine may appear to drive fine but surge at idle
The most frequent cause of this code is a bad injection pump due to poor fuel delivery. Fuel delivery problems could be: A plugged diesel fuel filter An in-tank blockage Air in the fuel due to a cracked in-tank fuel ine above the fuel level Bad transfer (lift) pump Injection pump out of time
Possible Solutions: First, simply check if your injection pump timing is adjustable. If so, check the timing and adjust if necessary.
If you think that you may have a fuel delivery problem, then check the lift pump operation. On Dodge Ram with the Cummins engine, the lift pump should produce about 45 oz of diesel in 25 seconds of operation. This can be performed by disconnecting the fuel hose from the injection pump and pumping the fuel into an approved container. Bump the engine over but do not start it. Then the lift pump will operate for 25 seconds. If the fuel is aerated, then check/repair fuel line and recheck.
With the fuel hose connected the fuel pressure should be 10psi. If the fuel delivery tests fail, replace the diesel fuel filter and recheck.
If it still fails then verify there are no restrictions in the fuel tank
Then replace the lift (transfer) pump. IT SHOULD BE NOTED that if this code surfaced after a routine fuel filter replacement or if you have any of the above symptoms after routine fuel filter replacement, then suspect the fuel transfer pump. This occurs because even a weak transfer pump can still provide enough fuel for the engine to run. But when the fuel system\'s prime is lost due to fuel filter replacement, it may not restart again without fixing the fuel delivery problem.
If you found your injection pump to be bad, the lift pump should be checked for operation to protect the new injection pump. This is because weak or low output from lift pump are common cause of injection pump failure. There are some aftermarket kits that can be purchased to warn the operator when the fuel pressure/volume drops to level that could damage the injection pump.
Hope this helps (remember to rating this free answer and leave a testimonial comments).
The cam or crank position sensors are notorious for failing, after they age and get heat in them the signal is no longer generated. Also make sure fuel lift pump is working properly, check all of the fuel filters and for fuel leaks of any kind including sucking air on the suction side of the lift pump. Good Luck!!