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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
ok. ill keep the long story short. basically, my friend has a 91 ram van 350. he asked me to do a tuneup (i do these all the time, so i didnt see a problem with it). anyway, first thing i notice was a wiring nightmare under the engine cover. many wires has been spliced, and there was a sensor (coolant temp maybe) that had no connector! i looked at the plug boots and they were shot to hell! most plug wires were loose enoguh to fall into my hands. and the coil was soaked in oil! nonetheless, the thing started up! it died 30 seconds later. when i tried again, it just cranked over and over, but wouldnt catch on. tune up begins.

new plugs, wires, coil, cap and rotor, cleaned some grounds, tightened down distributor bolt, cleaned and retwisted coil wires (hacked as well). changed oil and filter.

checked codes, and i got 12 and 24. i also noticed that either the tps (top right side of TB) or the sensor below that one (have no idea what it is), has no connector! the tps (if that is what it is) had hacked wires too. nonetheless i gave it a shot. there is also a connector in the engine bay, very near the firewall, looks like a relay goes to it. but which relay? starter maybe? but then why did it crank and start before? argh~!

turn key...nothing. no crank, nothing. just dead. the same codes apppeared in the check engine light. so i cleared them according to haynes. again, nothing. i gave up for now.
at least before it was trying to start. now, nothing. i rechecked all wiring. what was replaced was not complicated. even if plug wires were crossed, that would only make starting difficult, not even getting 1 crank, no? i read archives, so i know it can be a lot of things, or it can be something very simple. for example, the coil doesnt have a bracket. so i just kind tucked it behind some plug wires sitting on the valvecover. should it be hanging? battery seems ok, as it worked before. ok. sorry for the long story. help!!!!!!!!!!!

o yea..i tapped the starter solenoid,nothing.
 

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4 Wheel Power Disc Brakes
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The connector below the tps is intake air temp I believe.
The no crank could be a bad starter or something related. I would put the van in park or neutal and use a penny to short the small and large terminals on the starter together, being careful so you don't short anything else. If the starter works, something else is wrong. While underneath check the wiring on the neutral start switch. It's on the left side of the transmission, just below were the linkages connect.
There is a neutral start relay this connects to, it should be on the firewall as you descibed. If it has bad connections it usually won't engage. If the battery is low or you have a bad connection on the battery this relay will sound like a machine gun.
--B-300--
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
i will have to take pictures..cause this is sorta confusing.

there is something, some connector under the van, hanging near where the tranny meets the axle, just hanging and i have no idea there what connects to. also there was a long rod that attaches near the throttle body cable, it just came off in my hand. this rod fished down behind the engine/tranny to sonething under the van. i dunno what that was or if the 2 were related. i can jump the starter and see if it spins. is that neutral start relay the one missing? man i need pics.

and even with all this, how did it start before? then die? the crank but not fire. then not crank or fire? steady downhill progression and even tuneup..nothing.
 

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4 Wheel Power Disc Brakes
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Use of the penny is as to test the starter to tell if it works.
With all of the spliced wires decribed I suspect the engine was swaped. As stated things went down hill. Wires with bad connections were probably disturbed during the tune-up process. The coil is probably dead if it was leaking. The rod that goes toward the transmission is the kick-down linkage for the transmission.
The wire that is un-connected is probably the one that connects to the neutral start switch. (there should be a group wires that comes out of the engine harness, near the distributor and runs on the transmission to the neutral start switch/back-up light switch, the transmission, and to speed sensor, near the rear of the transmission, where the speedometer cable connects.
--B-300--
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ya it does seem like a swap. but man!!

1. if the kickdown link is not connected, how does the tranny shift?
2. would that cable/connector prevent starting? what if it wasnt hooked up before? how did it work?
3. i agree that the wires were disturbed. but the coil is brand new. maybe take it back for another?
 

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4 Wheel Power Disc Brakes
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1. The tranny will shift at low rpm without the kickdown linkage
2. If the starter worked before, there is probably something bypassed with a bad connection.
3. The coil has no relation to whether the starter works, so get the starter to work first.
Also reading closer, it started and ran for a short time. Does it have anti-theft or an alarm? Is the battery charged with good connections? The negative terminal should connect to the engine and the body.
Turn on the headlights and try to start- if they dim the battery/connections are culprit, if not no power is getting to the starter.
 

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Do It In A Van
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All the butchered wiring and loose connections and mystery connectors and such you mention, I would say that a total engine compartment re-wire is in order for your friend's van. By the sound of it, somebody really destroyed the harness. He may be able to get a complete harness out a boneyard.
 
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