Question about 1987 Dodge Ram 50

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1987 Dodge Ram 50 just turns over but won't start. I replaced the ingition coil with no luck. How can I test to see or elimante the problem. Hate to keep just buying parts.

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  • 10 more comments 
  • terryfischer Jul 21, 2009

    Well not real sure how do I tell? Is there a easy way?

  • terryfischer Jul 21, 2009

    2.0

  • terryfischer Jul 21, 2009

    WD40 didn't make any difference.

  • terryfischer Jul 21, 2009

    No spark at all after sticking screw driver in spark plug wire and holding very close to cover.

  • terryfischer Jul 21, 2009

    I have a degree in electronics so we should be safe. Just have no clue with cars. Have multimeter available.

  • terryfischer Jul 21, 2009

    Took off distributor cap, looked inside it an there are four contacts with one in the middle. Not what your looking for. I do see the rotor I image, red with arm and contact. Is that also called the reluctor?

  • terryfischer Jul 21, 2009

    yep we have the ballast resistor right next to the ignition coil i replaced

  • terryfischer Jul 21, 2009

    Resistance across ballast is 1.3 ohms.

  • terryfischer Jul 21, 2009

    That measurement is with all the wires hooked up.

  • terryfischer Jul 21, 2009

    it dont turn at all. not good iam guessing

  • terryfischer Jul 21, 2009

    cant move rotor with hand

  • terryfischer Jul 21, 2009

    no spark. took cover off timing belt and belt appears okay

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  • Dodge Master
  • 6,674 Answers

Are you sure it is lack of spark that is the problem?

Posted on Jul 21, 2009

  • 21 more comments 
  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    What engine? 2.0L, or 2.6L. Carburetor correct?

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    Take air cleaner assembly off, spray some WD-40 down throat of carburetor for a second or 2, then try to start & see if it will fire for a second or 2. There is a way to check spark, but this might be safer, so lets try this first

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    We are checking for fuel problem this way.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    Remove a spark plug wire, insert a proper size screwdriver with a thick rubber (insulated) handle in the end where spark plug would go, and move wire & screwdriver, close to rocker cover or other clean metal, and hold mid shaft of screwdriver about 1/4" from metal, and have someone crank engine over a couple of times & see if spark jumps across from screwdriver handle to rocker cover or whatever you choose, as long as It's not fuel line. Pick a good grounded bolt or rocker cover good if you can reach o.k. DON'T HOLD ANYTHING BUT THAT RUBBER OR PLASTIC HANDLE WHEN YOU DO IT, OR YOU COULD GET GOOD SHOCK. Watch for spark between handle & metal.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    You say it's a new coil, so reluctor in distributor is next thing to check. Are you familiar with that at all. Pull distributor cap of & you should see a metal gear like piece with 4 prongs around it, attached to distributor shaft . Let me know if you find it.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    Do you own a multimeter, and know basically how to use it?

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    That vehicle doesn't have the ballast resistor on firewall area does it? Look for a ceramic (white) block on firewall area , usually wire terminal bothe ends & bolt in center to hold it on.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    Ballast resistor dimensions approx 3-4" long, x 1" to 1-1/2 wide.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    There should be an external resistor on new coils as well correct? Measure resistance across those 2 terminals on it. Should be 1.2-1.4 ohms.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    measure resistance across + & - on coils, should be 1.08-1.32 ohms.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    Set meter to x1000 scale. Measure resist., between coil tower terminal at connector, and (+) terminal. Should be 1.08- 1.32.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    When you say ballast resistor right next to coil, just double check there isn't another, bigger one same as my previous dimensions on firewall or somewhere in the area, just to be sure.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    Gotta say, nice to have someone who can read a meter properly. LOL

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    Do me a favor while your at it & have distributor cap off, crank engine & make sure that rotor & distributor shaft are turning. (clockwise.)

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    Did you/have you, tried pulling coil wire from distributor cap, with other end still in coil tower, and hold wire with well insulated pliers back from end about 2 " or more, and hold metal tip of that wire about 1/4" from ground, such as metal bracket, or rocker cover again, and crank engine over to see if any spark? Careful, it's a stronger spark, so make sure pliers are well insulated.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    No not good at all, either busted shaft/gear, or timing belt gone.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    That explains the no spark, rotor not turning to distribute the spark to proper plug at proper time.



  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    Well, do we continue later, on how to do that timing belt? (sucks eh ?)
    I can tell you how to get access to a repair manual for free if you think you want to give it a shot, but it will be all new to you if you 've never done one before.


  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    Sorry, wish I had better news. If I can be of any help later, just let me know, Good Luck.
    P.S. If you try (repairpal.com) it will give you a rough estimate of repairs done in your area, for your vehicle. For repair, just click on replace timing belt(s) make sure you let me now how you make out or what you decided to do.
    take care.



  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    Sorry, if you could take a second to rate help, great. Thanks !

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    Have to make sure all pulleys etc are aligned properly, plus there is another belt, smaller, down lower on front of engine they call the silent shaft that drives distributor. Yup, 2 belts.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 21, 2009

    Sorry, done all we can do tonight. Not sure where you are, but 11:24 Pm here & 6 am comes early. Good Luck.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Jul 22, 2009

    Get any further?

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