fuel issues on 2000 Dodge Dakota

I have a 2000 dodge dakota and lately I've been having issues with it. It first started out when I would start it in the morning, the rpm's would bounce from about 500 to 800. A few days later it would start but stall almost immediately. I checked the filter, intake duct, throttle body, intake manifold, and all relating air lines. Next I checked the wiring on the alternator. Then the fuses and no leads at all. After I tightened down then throttle body and intake manifold the problem went away for about a day then returned. Next I will change the relay and if that don't work I'm going to drop the tank and check and or replace fuel pump and filter. The truck runs ok after a few starts and warming up but feels like it lacks a little power. I just wanted to know if I was on the right track and if you had suggestions.

by in Virginia Beach, VA on February 19, 2009
1 answer
ANSWER by on February 20, 2009
The problem may be an internal vacuum leak at the intake manifold. These engines have a 'Plenum Plate" mounted on the underside of the manifold. If the gasket is blown, which is quite common, you will have erratic idle and in many cases high oil consumption as engine oil is being sucked into the intake directly from the the lifter valley. Also, when you said you checked the throttle body, did you clean the throttle plate and bore? A "coked" up throttle body bore and throttle plate will cause a similar condition. Vacuum hoses should also be carefully checked and small cracks or splits.
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