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Thread: 1986 Dodge Ram 50 That Won't Start

  1. #1

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    1986 Dodge Ram 50 That Won't Start

    Help,
    I have a 1986 Ram 50 that will not start, I replaced the coil about two weeks ago because it tested out bad.The ohm readings were wrong and so were the voltage readings,the truck ran great for about two and a half weeks. Friday I went out to it turning over and not starting,there is no spark at the coil or the distributor.With the key in the run position I have power on both sides of the coil,the ballast resistor and on positive side of the ignitor ( Ignition module ) in the distributor. I am out of ideas,going out to retest the ohm readings and voltage off the coil in the morning.
    Thank You in advance.

  2. #2



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    need more info - 2.0 or 2.6 and auto or manual?
    Pennyman1
    The best Dodge that Dodge never made
    Living the D-50 lifestyle since 1980

  3. #3

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    Pennyman,
    It is a 2.0L five speed.

  4. #4



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    Are the coil and the ballast resistor matched to each other? Someone else had a mismatch on here and it wouldn't fire. Also be sure the wires on the coil are not reversed. Is the rotor spinning in the distributor? The pickup in the distributor could have failed, but that is a last resort.
    Pennyman1
    The best Dodge that Dodge never made
    Living the D-50 lifestyle since 1980

  5. #5

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    Pennyman,
    Yes, the ballast resistor and coil are matched and the wires at the coil are correct. It did run for two and a half weeks,which really confuses me. I have not checked the rotor for rotation,I never thought to look. I'll check that in the morning.
    Thank You

  6. #6



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    Pick up coil/ Mine would just die after shutting it off. They make a good pocket item at pick and pull.
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  7. #7

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    Pennyman,
    Yes the distributor is spinning.
    Thanks

  8. #8

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    Camoit,
    I haven't found one in a junkyard with a distributor yet.

  9. #9



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    Does it have the little rectangle black thing on the out side of the distributer with 2 screws? Thats what would fail on mine. It's the ecu thing. It would just quit. I'm not sure on when they did away with that control box. But it was around 110 bucks at nappa at the time.

    Like this?

    http://www.napaonline.com/Catalog/Ca...162_0307144200
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  10. #10

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    Camoit,
    Mine doesn't have that on the outside of the distributor, it's inside.
    I believe that is the ignition module.I found a whole distributor today at a junk yard,but its froze up solid, I still plan on trying at least the ignition module out of that distributor. I also found another yard nearby that has a distributor and a few other parts, I'll check in the morning. It sounds like it won't hurt to have a couple of distributors and ignition modules lying around the shop.
    Thanks

  11. #11

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    Well the used ignition module didn't work, no surprise there.
    Plan B

  12. #12



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    Start relay by the fuse box. It might have something not connected there.
    Have you jumped power from the battery to the dropping resistor directly and checked for spark?
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  13. #13

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    Camoit,
    No I haven't tried jumping power from the dropping resistor, where is that located?
    Thanks

  14. #14



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    If you fallow the wires from the coil it will be the next part you run into. a long white ceramic thing. I think your truck has one. Or turn on the key and check for voltage on the coil then when cranking. It should have voltage there on the + side.
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  15. #15

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    Oh you mean the ballast resistor, I will check it in the am.
    Thanks

  16. #16

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    So I finally figured it all out!
    The previous owner rigged up the ignition module by soldering on a crimp-less connector and lightly pinching it around the post like part of the ignition module, so my hit and miss run, no run was because of that mess combined with a mess in the wiring going back and forth from the ignition control module to the coil. Also I now have every wiring diagram for every year truck.
    Thanks to all that have helped.Click image for larger version. 

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  17. #17



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    On 86 Mitsubishi Mighty Max, there is no starter relay. They use the selonoid on the starter for the relay. Ram50 probably the same. I couldn't locate a starter relay under dash on my 86. The 86 has a ballest on top of the coil from factory. Unless coil was replaced and person who replaced it did not re-install it.

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