No Start 3: Checking Engine Mechanical Condition

One of the most overlooked areas, when testing a hard to diagnose no start, is the mechanical condition of your 3.9L, 5.2L, 5.9L Dodge pick up, van or SUV.

Checking the engine mechanical condition means an engine compression test.

  1. When performing an engine compression test, what you're looking for is an average compression reading of less than 90 PSI across all or the majority of the engine cylinders.
  2. If you have one or just two readings that are under 90 PSI your Dodge vehicle will still start and run, albeit with a misfire condition.
  3. I've written a ‘How To Do A Compression Test’ article that you may find useful. Although this article is geared towards finding a hard to diagnose misfire, if you have never done a compression test, this article will help you: How To Test Engine Compression (Chrysler 3.9L, 5.2L, 5.9L).

No Start Summary

So many different things can cause a no-start condition that troubleshooting it can turn your Dodge vehicle into a money pit, if you don't have a basic diagnostic strategy. The key to saving yourself time and money is checking for the basics first. The basics are spark and fuel.

To check the basics, you need tools. There's just no way around it. One of the analogies that I've always enjoyed repeating, about doing a job without the right tools is like trying to eat a bowl of soup with a fork.

So besides knowing what to test, you need tools to do those tests. You don't have to spend an arm and a leg, since you can buy a lot of diagnostics tools that are tailored for the pocket-books of the serious do-it-yourself-er. Here are some of the basic tools you'll need:

  1. Fuel pressure gauge.
  2. Spark tester.
  3. Compression gauge.
  4. Multimeter.

Related Test Articles

You can find a complete list of tutorials in these two indexes:

  1. Chrysler 5.2L, 5.9L Index Of Articles.
  2. Chrysler 3.9L, 5.2L, 5.9L Index Of Articles.

Below, is a sample of articles you'll find in these 2 indexes:

  1. How To Test Engine Compression (Chrysler 3.9L, 5.2L, 5.9L)
  2. How To Test The Ignition Coil -No Start Tests (Chrysler 3.9L, 5.2L, 5.9L).
  3. Troubleshooting A Blown Head Gasket (Dodge 3.9L, 5.2L, 5.9L).
  4. How To Test The Crank Sensor (1994-1996 3.9L, 5.2L, 5.9L Chrysler).
  5. How To Test The Crank Sensor (1997-2001 3.9L, 5.2L, 5.9L Chrysler).
  6. How To Test The Alternator (1994-1998 3.9L, 5.2L, 5.9L Chrysler).
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Dodge Vehicles:

  • B1500, B2500, B3500 3.9L, 5.2L, 5.9L
    • 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998
  • Dakota 3.9L, 5.2L, 5.9L
    • 1997, 1998, 1999
  • Durango 3.2L, 5.2L, 5.9L
    • 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003

Dodge Vehicles:

  • Ram 1500, 2500, 3500 3.9L, 5.2L, 5.9L
    • 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
  • Ram Van 1500, 2500, 3500 3.9L, 5.2L, 5.9L
    • 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003

Jeep Vehicles:

  • Grand Cherokee 5.2L, 5.9L
    • 1997, 1998