Smith Brothers Services, LLC - 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 Repairs, modifications and upgrades - Page 9 - Windshield Washer Pump, Crank No Start, AC Line, Windshield Leak
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Added 10-10-19

1998 Dodge Ram 1500

Page 9 - Windshield Washer Pump, Crank No Start, AC Line, Windshield Leak

So, here it is 6 years later, since replacing the Crankshaft Positioning Sensor and the Ignition Coil. I am going to provide details in hope of helping someone reading this. For pretty much the past 6 years, the Dodge has not sat for more than a day or two without use or at least moving it. So we had a very humid spell, and we had family visiting, so I figured I would park the Dodge and use my wife's car with AC for a few days, which turned into about 9 days. Before I parked the Dodge, I had a couple of random misfires, but not enough to set the CEL. So I finally was going to take the truck to work one day at lunchtime, so I swapped vehicles. Dodge started right up, idled a litte rough, but was running. I pulled to the end of the driveway, and pulled out. It is downhill for about 100 yards, then a steeper uphill for another 100 yards and it levels off. When I pulled out it was running a little rough, but again, no CEL. So once I pulled out, I got on it pretty good to see if it was going to miss worse, or maybe go away? Just as I got to the bottom of the hill, it died, like I turned the key off. Just shut off. I was able to coast to the top of the hill and pull over, not in a great spot, but got half off the road anyway. Naturally I tried starting it again a few times, no luck. I could hear the fuel pump come on with the key, so I suspected the Crankshaft Positioning Sensor or the Ignition Coil once again. My brother came and towed me to my shop not even a 1/2 mile away with a tow strap from his hitch to my plow frame.

Once at the shop, I was going to order both parts figuring a spare of the part it was not, would not be a bad thing to have on hand. So I log in at Napa and check pricing. WOW. Then I go to eBay, and find what I need at a much better price (Search 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 Crankshaft Positioning Sensor on eBay). I ended up with a Replacement Parts brand Crankshaft Positioning Sensor for $13 and free shipping vs. Napa which my options (my cost) were over $50 - $70 more - $142.18 ($80.36), $158.54 ($89.62), $110.00 ($59.30). Now you can argue and say Napa has a better part, but, I am not so sure when it comes to electronics. I have had bad luck lately with Napa on starters and alternators. Less than a year out of both on a Jeep Cherokee. The alternator replaced one about 2 years old, and failed after a year? Anyway, I got a good deal. Then for the Ignition Coil, Napa had options - $65.82 ($34.39), $66.54 ($34.30), $59.94 ($32.07), and Accel $129.38 ($64.69). Only the first two choices were in stock. Well the last time I replaced it 6 years ago, it was a Napa part I put in, that is possibly now shot.

Back at the shop my neighbor mentioned that if it is the Crankshaft Positioning Sensor, when you crank the engine, the tachometer will not register. Once again, I went on eBay looking for the Ignition Coil, and found it for $13 and free shipping, and they even went as low as $9.45 with free shipping (and over 100 sold). I splurged and got one for just over $14 with free shipping. So again, I saved big. (Search 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 Ignition Coil on eBay)

Because the Ignition Coil is so easy to change, I tried it first, but before I did, I tried starting it once again, and it just cranked, but I looked and the tachometer was registering. Sure enough, it was the Ignition Coil. I got lucky, because if you go back a few pages, or if you have done one, the Crankshaft Positioning Sensor is not a fun job at all. It only took a couple of days to get the parts in to make the repair. I did not need the truck, so I could wait and $ave.

Then a new problem popped up. The windshield washers stopped working. Back when I had the ground problem, there was a issue I read online about the connector corroding at the pump. So I unplugged it, hmmm, it is a sealed connector, wait, nope, it is below the sealed connector. Chrysler must have thought it was more important to know the level was low than to make sure the pump keeps working because the float connection is sealed, and the pump connection is not.

I unplugged the unsealed connector and sure enough it was corroded. I have a unique tool for that. Diamond Grip Terminal Cleaners. They are basically industrial tweezers in various sizes that have an industrial diamond dust coating on them. So I cleaned the terminals on the pump and the connector. Plugged it back in, nope.

I made two short jumper wires to test the washer pump and it worked properly so it had to be electrical. I looked at the back of the connector and saw the problem, corrosion on the back side. It got into the wires being unsealed, and traveled up the wire causing it to lose continuity. Not sure which one, I just cut the plug off, no real reason to have it.

I cut back about 1" on both wires and stripped them to see if they were overheated or corroded, both were. I then cut about 4" on the power (brown) wire, and stripped it, good copper.

So I made a sealed connector for each, there was enough slack in the brown wire to just put a new terminal on the end. I just ran a new ground, because the original one goes to the same place the other 12 went, that I had to repair a few pages back to solve all sorts of electrical gremlins.

I loaded each terminal with Silicone Dielectric Grease and plugged them in. Problem solved.

To remove the terminals from the housing, you use a small pocket flat head screwdriver. You insert it in the slot and it bends down the tang that holds it in the connector. You can see just how much corrosion came in from the back side.

THIS is how I would replace the terminals. I would seal them before inserting them back into the connector.

I made some pigtails that will be in our online store for purchase.

Next, I tried to charge the AC system about a month ago, and the Schrader Valve on the High (liquid) line was leaking. Today I changed the line. It took about 5 minutes, no exaggeration. I did have to cut two wire ties holding a harness to the firewall to get the line out and the new one in. The new line did NOT have any insulation on it like the old one, and I did have to bend it a little to get it into place. Since the line runs along the inside of the fender, my assumption is that the insulation is to prevent rubbing, not protect anything from heat (though the line gets hot). I saved the old line, and I do have aluminum heat tape that I can use to put it on the new line if necessary. Getting the lines off was easier than I expected. I broke the tool trying to get a trans cooler line off, so I know they can be tough. I did remove the low side line at one connection last year because the O Ring was leaking and changed it. That line came right apart, and it too was a 5 minute fix. I just need to emphasize that the system was COMPLETELY EMPTY, no pressure in the lines (because of the Schrader Valve leaking). The main reason for getting the AC working was not because I need to be cool in the fall and winter, it is because when you turn on the defrost, the AC runs, so it sends dry air out the defrost ducts, removing fog quickly. Two winters ago before I changed the O Ring on the low side line, I had to keep a towel in the truck when plowing because it would fog up every 5 minutes, driving me crazy. This past winter, no problem. Going into this winter, I want to be prepared. It took two small cans of R-134a that I got at Walmart in the spring, because they had the best price. I seem to recall about $5 a can, Napa wanted $11 a can, and Advance Auto Parts and Auto Zone were right there with Napa at over $10 a can. So I got the line on (your guessed it) eBay for less than $14 with free shipping. The prices are all over the place, from $13.43 up to $49.85 so you can choose yourself. Search 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 AC Liquid Line on eBay for the current prices. According to eBay the price is trending at $24.54 right now as I type this. (a href="">Search 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 Liquid Line (high side) on e Bay)

Yesterday I finally fixed my leaking windshield. it was becasue of the Husky Liners that I even found out how BAD it was leaking. A little rain and my liner on the driver side had about a gallon of water in it! I am a Weathertech Dealer, but they do not offer them for the 1998 Dodge Ram 1500. So I went on eBay and got a set. So how did I seal the windshield? I got a tube of 3M Super Weather strip Adhesive (black) and I used a hook tool to lift the gasket across the top of the windshield, and I inserted the tip of the tube behind the hook, and sloly dragged the hook along, filling in behind it with the 3M. I then removed the top gasket on the cab over the driver door, and removed the metal bracket for it. I sealed each screw hole with strip caulk because it is less messy that the 3M. I put the metal back on, and what a task getting the gasket back in the "track". I put some Fluid Film on a rag and wiped it down to help it slip back in, it worked. I used a large flat screwdriver to push it back into the track on the bottom lip. THEN I also sealed along the top of the metal track with the 3M. I waited a day and flooded the roof along the top of the windshield and all dry inside! The bad news is I had the leak for so long it rotted the driver side floor pan :(. I did not even know it was leaking that bad until it was too late. I can tell you when it was leaking it came down next ot the e brake pedal, and in fact it dripped on my shoe when driving in the rain. I initially thought it was the cowl drain, so I removed the wiper arms and cowl, and it was loaded with debris, but that did not solve the problem. I got the Husky Liners on eBay because they had the best price and free shipping. There will be more to add as this is a work in progress.


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