DodgeTalk Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all!

So I bought this 1987 318 van Monday (against everyones contraindications to buy a van this old ) and drove it 250km back to its new home. I guess I had luck because Tuesday, it had a flat, the oil indicated low and it just would't start (but battery seems fine).

Any help/indicators to what to look for would be very much appreciated(low budget and no experience here),

I can't give up on it just now, it's my first car and I'm already in love.

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
674 Posts
I'm not sure about the Dodge vans, but some vehicles from the mid-late '80s had oil pressure switches somewhat like a safety shutdown. Basically, when the computer does not sense oil pressure, it shuts of power to the fuel pump to prevnt engine damage. You could connect a mechanical pressure gauge where the oil sending unit goes and try to run the engine with gas from a spray bottle or a can of ether. If you do not register oil pressure on the mechanical gauge then you need a new oil pump
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,137 Posts
So I bought this 1987 318 van Monday and drove it 250km back to its new home.

I guess I had luck because Tuesday, it had a flat, the oil indicated low and it just would't start (but battery seems fine).

Any help/indicators to what to look for would be very much appreciated(low budget and no experience here)
Km?, welcome, guessing a fellow canuck too.
... Need to mention clime/amb or location as 87 has a carburetor (aka just "carb"); its "auto choke" can cause various starting or flooding issues and sometimes running problems too.
... If it would not fire at all, as allaro said, check for spark.

... Unless vans are different, pretty sure your 87 318 LA engine has a mechanical fuel pump so it's not affected by oil pressure (although some?/all? electric chokes are controlled by an oil pressure switch and could be the problem).

... Was oil light on, or dipstick reading low?
..Vehicle always needs to be "level" when checking motor oil; to ensure oil has returned/rundown to pan for accurate readings---
---a fully warmed up motor must be shut off for 4-8 minutes, then check
---depending on amb temp, if a cold motor is cranked a lot or started even just for 20 sec or more, it might take 30 minutes or a few hours till all the cold/thick oil pumped to top of engine returns to the pans sump to give accurate reading (this always gives false/LOW dipstick reading).


... Batt fine so sounds like it cranks/turnsover good; helpful to better explain "wouldn't start";---
---did it fire and try to start?
---did it just turnover/crank but would not fire at all?
... If it did not fire at all, suspect spark issue; but could be anything.

... Before trying to start a cold engine with carb: depending on amb, likely need to press gas pedal once a bit (or fully) so auto choke fully closes.
..Note: normally when first trying to start it, each partial, or full press of the gas pedal (called a "pump") gives engine a shot of fuel and "flooding" can easily occur; auto and electric chokes often have their own quirks or be fussy etc (get to know and remember if it only needs a partial press, or the normal 1 or 2 full pumps or maybe even 3+; amb and the choke itself are huge factors for cold starts.
..Avoid flooding; pay attn and remember its quirks/likes/needs for cold starts.
..Sometimes a partial or 1 or more pumps while cranking helps.

... Seek oldtimers: be they mechanic or Grandpa/Dad/Uncle/neighbor etc, someone who knows/owned carbs and can be "hands on" to look/listen will help you learn how to live with auto choke peacefully, so van starts reliably (starting a carb engine is not at all like fuel injection; basically why there were no remote starters in the carb era as nothing affordable/reliable existed that could partial press and/or press/pump pedal and know the possible quirks).

..Not as hard as I made it sound; just do/do not things to remember, and to listen closely when cranking to decide if you press pedal a bit, or pump, or do nothing at all (music and heater fan off so you can hear how it's cranking especially in winter).

... If it choked itself too much and/or was pumped too much and you suspect flooding; you could wait 10-20 minutes then try again, and/OR---

---press and hold gas pedal to the floor and keep it there
---crank (no more than 20? secs as starter gets hot/hotter (it's $$$$!!).
---when/if it starts release pedal to avoid over revving it
---if it does not start keep the pedal on the floor and wait 30-60 seconds for starter to cool some, then try again (same deal; keep pedal on floor, crank 20, only release pedal if it starts; this avoids extra pump/s which floods it a more).

... Warm engine should start with just turn of key, might need to press pedal a tad/some when cranking; if it wont start or idles too slow, with the key ON or cranking, press/tap pedal a tad, see if it helps. ...Welcome to DT.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks so much for your help, lots of useful info,
I feel a bit stupid for not knowing I had to give it gas I figured it out,
A mechanic shop repaired the tire it wasn't too expensive and checked the oil(it was full even tough the pin was at low, but not flashing).

Yes i'm in Canada (Quebec),
and the mileage is in km, and actually these are the #s , two sets of them, 33554 and 504,2/3 ?



They are weird sounds with the motor now as if it was over working but I think i'm gonna store it for the rest of the winter and work on it this summer...
Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,137 Posts
had to give it gas I figured it out,

A mechanic shop checked the oil(it was full even tough the pin was at low, but not flashing).

mileage is in km, two sets of them, 33554 and 504,2/3 ?

They are weird sounds with the motor now as if it was over working
Thanks!
Your welcome.
... Yup, you figured some of it out already; just pay attn to do's/dont's;---
---note engine sound when cranking as it sometimes helps to determine if flooding (floor pedal); or not firing
---if not firing in 1 to 4 secs, may need to press pedal a tad, bit more, some, 1/2, or more (you get the idea; listening to cranking is important).
..Keep your eyes open for oldtimers (lol) mostly 50+yrs old that can/will do carb repairs if needed; they're very hard to find nowadays, and are less and less of them as time goes on (chokes little parts are getting older and more worn out, and maybe more fussy/quirky).
..You may need them to set a real fussy choke for you which can be a repeat headache sometimes, so may be better to live with minor quirks if you can (often the mechanic needs your vehicle overnight and outside in the cold so real fussy choke can be ice cold in morning and then checked/set and then monitored as engine fully warms up; ).
..Best to not mess with choke if possible; resetting it---
---may fix it
---may cause new or different quirks to figure out
---or may cause new/bigger problems (stalling or won't start/run properly, and more overnight visits at mechanics shop).

... I do not understand "pin was low, but not flashing"??
..Sounds like it has an "oil light", but what is "pin"?

... Dash cluster will have "odometer" (odo) and a "trip meter" (trip); trip will have a button/stem/something close to it protruding thru the lens that you push to reset to zero (0000); it will then count mileage for you, reset it whenever you want (use it to record mileage on trips etc, to calculate gas mileage between fillups, or how far to Grandmas house).
..Look closely at trip meter; sometimes the backround color for the last (4th) digit is a different color (or digit is different color); color/s or not, your trip last digit represents 1/10 or .1 km.
..504 2/3 is trip reading of 504.2 km and is part way to .3 (odo/trip of your vans era and before were mechanical; trip is 4 small wheels with 0123456789 on each wheel); observe 4th digit when driving, it will move/change 1/10 at a time.
..If when driving you hear slight clicks/clicking from dash likely the 1/10 wheel is dirty and is stuck/sticking; watch last digit on the trip and odo closely, offending wheel may jiggle or move up/down etc a tad; best to try pushing reset a few times or maybe bang etc dash with fist to unstick it to help prevent damage to wheels etc.
..Older vehicles did not have trip just odo, so their last digit of odo had the 1/10 km wheel (or 1/10 mile wheel).
... Your vans odo reading (aka "mileage") is 33,554 km; beware: a/your 5 digit odo can only record a maximum of 99,999 km and then "turns/flips over" back to all zeros (would be 100,000 km, but only has 5 digits so it shows 00000); then records km again just as if van was brand new!! (but would actually have 100,000 km on it!!).
.."Likely" need to add 1, 2, 3, 4, or even 500,000 km to odo reading; yes, it could have a 1/2 a million km or a zillion or more!!, no way of knowing for sure (look closely at all corners/edges of brake/gas pedals where drivers foot touches, they may be worn a little, or worn a whole bunch indicating high miles; ditto for door handles and window cranks/knobs and material around them, anywhere hands or feet commonly touch/move; also squashed/worn seats, rugs; use your better judgement here, if Previous Owner/s (PO) had dirty/gritty work boots etc pedals edges/corners will show more wear, they may have been sloppy, ham handed, or old parts may have been replaced with new ones at some time and now show very little wear!!) (not to be alarmist, but darn good to have mechs/oldtimers or someone knowledgeable about VANS/vehicles to look at it and give their "opinions" before stuffing wads of cash into vehicle).

... Weird overworking sounds may be a sticking/dragging brake/s, or E-brake; old e-brake cables often rust/stick and burn up the rear brake/s, shoes and drum$.
..Dragging brake/s get much hotter than normal; with brakes cold, drive 2 to 4 km and avoid using brakes if you can so they remain cold, roll to stop if possible (use brake is ok); being 1 or more front brake rotor or rear drum may be very warm/HOT; if you can not feel heat when hand is a few inches away (and no stink or smoke) carefully and very quickly tap touch surface and pull away, then pause (just like testing any hot "testable" surface) if ok quickly tap/touch/pull/pause again, again again till you get an idea if brake is cool enough to actually touch/"feel" or will BURN fingers!!
..Front rotors will likely be warmer/HOTTER than rear drums and is normal; beware,just because the first 1 or any you checked and determined were cool enough to feel, does not mean the 4th brake is too; any brake may be cool, warm, HOT enough to burn you quickly, or even way HOTTER!!

... Unless van feels heavy/draggy and you need to push gas pedal more as if brake/s are dragging, "overworking" can be easily confused with "fan roar" (sounds same ish as revving engine very high).

..It's normal after sitting overnight ish for the "thermatic" fan clutch to cause fan roar soon after startup and will be louder when driving/revving and may/will remain noisy for up to 5?? km and then quiet down to normal (till/if air coming thru/from rad gets hot enough to increase engagement).
..They are still often very misunderstood (and now in the modern era of e-fans are even more misunderstood; may soon need oldtimer advice for these also or could get ripped off$$$).
..Link is for your info, so no one rips you off; pay attn, do not confuse cheaper "NON thermal" (has smooth front face) with "thermal" (darn sure yours should have a "thermal" fan clutch; it will have a visible snail type bi-metal spring on the front)

http://www.haydenauto.com/featured products-fan clutches and fan blades/content.aspx

... Like the motor, learn to check automatic (aka auto) trans fluid yourself (others may be sloppy/inaccurate; correct fluid level is important, do not under/over fill auto trans, or it may cause oil foaming).
..DK your trans dipstick, but likely has a "crosshatched area", and usually will have marks or dots for when fluid is hot or cold.
..Fluid type to use/add will be stamped on dipstick
..Best for auto trans is to check fluid level when transmission is fully warmed up, but is not always possible (auto trans usually takes much longer than the motor to fully warm up, about 40?? km in summer; during heavy throttle take offs or working hard on hills etc etc torque converter (aka conv) will produce a lot of heat, and heats up trans much quicker, maybe too much!!).
...To check Dodge auto trans fluid level: van must be LEVEL (and e-brake for safety), IDLING, hold brake and cycle gear selector thru all gears pausing in each position ending in NEUTRAL---
---pull dipstick out and wipe off
---reinsert stick FULLY (often seal? at top needs to pop into place)
---pull stick and read level (keep stick upright ish, never invert stick to view/read or fluid may run giving a false/fuller reading)
---wipe/reinsert/pull to check again.
... If trans is at room temp or warmer, fluid level in crosshatched area is ok (sorry can not be more precise, DK 87 stick marks/dots).

Always note condition of fluid; should not smell burnt, and should be red but clear (wipe/put some on white paper towel or your finger).
..Sorry for messy post.
 

·
'98 B2500 Ram Cargo Van
Joined
·
680 Posts
Welcome to the forum.:wavey:

One thing I will add - basic generic advice - If the van came with an owners manual, give it a good read thru. There is lots of good info in it and I guarantee you will learn a lot. If it DID NOT come with an owners manual, try to find one for the exact year of your van for a good price on Ebay or anywhere else you can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,137 Posts
Welcome to the forum.:wavey:

One thing I will add - basic generic advice - If the van came with an owners manual, give it a good read thru. There is lots of good info in it and I guarantee you will learn a lot. If it DID NOT come with an owners manual, try to find one for the exact year of your van for a good price on Ebay or anywhere else you can.
X2 X2; a basic/good diagragm of trans dipstick is worth a thousand words (surprising how many owners manuals are ignored, or tossed in trash, grrr).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks all, thanks key99 for all the info, van-nut unfortunately I don't have a manual but i'll try to find one; I saw some parts(one of the strap is pretty used and the radiators fins are all falling a part) will need repair soon... glad to have found this forum :)
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top