The ignition coil on your Dodge Ram Pick Up, Ram Van, Dakota with the 3.2L, 5.2L, or 5.9L engine can be easily tested on the vehicle.
You don't need any expensive testing equipment like a scan tool. Not only that, the test can be accomplished in 4 easy tests, the results of which will let you know if the ignition coil is truly fried or not.
The tools you'll need are a test light, a multimeter (optional) and a helper (to help you crank the engine). All of the tests are explained in detail and in plain english (no technical automotive jargon).
If you're looking for the resistance test of the primary and secondary circuits, this article won't help you (in my opinion, the primary/secondary resistance test is a complete waste of time and life that does not work around 99% of the time to diagnose a BAD ignition coil).
To help you navigate this article a little easier, here are its contents at a quick glance:
TIP 1: Some of the tests, in this article, require that you perform them while cranking the engine. So it goes without saying: You've got to think safety all of time. Be careful, use common sense.
TIP 2: As a major safety precaution, keep your helper waiting outside the vehicle till you need him (or her) to crank the engine. Your helper should stay outside the vehicle and away from the ignition switch before you set up the test.
TIP 3: Quite a few things can cause your pick-up (van or SUV) to crank but not start. If you have already tested for spark and there IS spark from all 6 or 8 spark plugs (depending on whether you have a V6 or a V8)... then the ignition coil IS NOT faulty.
If this is the case (in your case), the following article may be of help:
The surest symptom that the ignition coil (on your Dodge pick up, van, or SUV) has failed is that your vehicle will crank but not start due to a lack of spark.
Here are some more specific symptoms of this no spark condition:
The ignition coil is an amazingly simple device that is a key component of the ignition system on your Dodge pick up (or van or SUV).
The following is a very simple explanation of how it works that'll help you make sense of the tests I'll be showing you in the next pages.
It all starts when you turn the key and start cranking the engine...
...and in a nutshell, this is what happens:
The cool thing is that you can check to see if the ignition coil has failed (and thus causing your Dodge pickup, van, or SUV from starting) by checking for two very specific things: spark and the switching signal... and in this tutorial I'll show how.
OK, let's turn the page and start the first ignition coil test...
“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more
intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much —the wheel,
New York, wars and so on —whilst all the dolphins had ever done was
muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely,
the dolphins had always believed that they were far more
intelligent than man —for precisely the same reasons!”
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy