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I have a hesitation issue while driving and slowly accelerating btwn 30-50+ mph.

(1998 Dodge Ram Van 1500)
in Concord, CA on April 24, 2013
I have a 1998 Dodge Ram Van B1500 with 105K miles driven- great van. I am running into a problem when I am driving usually at about 40mph, but can be in the 50's and 30's, where when I start to climb a hill and so am naturally loosing speed, and before the van shifts into a lower gear to get more power, I get some hesitations where it feels like a super-brief loss of power. It most notably happens then, but can happen when I am not on a grade as well. I will feel it about 4-6 times in about 10 seconds before the shift to a lower gear takes place (if going up a grade). It doesn't happen every time either, just most times when I try to take it easy on the car when climbing a grade (vs. aggressively climbing a hill by stomping on the gas and shifting it into a lower gear where there is no power issue). It also happens when I very slowly and gently push the accelerator while the car is not under high torque and on relatively flat ground. I have also got check engine lights (non blinking) recently: P1494 - Leak Detection Pump Switch or Mechanical Fault- which may or may not be related.

As a summary, this hesitation problem is happening when I slowly push the accelerator while “undergunning” the engine/autotransmission (low RPM).

I have kept this van fully serviced and in top notch running condition. Any ideas? Huge thanks.
Displaying 2 answers & 4 comments
Popular Answer
on April 24, 2013
I doubt the check engine light and the hesitation are related but I would like to know your fuel pressure. Could be bad gas as well. The light could be a solenoid or evap line or maybe the fuel cap.
on April 24, 2013
You're awesome. I use Chevron, so I doubt it's the gas. I'll try to get a fuel pressure reading- good call. Thanks for suggestions on the CE light. I agree with you- I don't think they are related.

What should my fuel pressure reading be??

When I look at the Solenoid or Evap line am I looking for splits and/or cracks, that kind of thing?
on April 24, 2013
Most likely suspect is plug wire(s) breaking down, last good tune up??
on April 24, 2013
You're awesome too! Thanks for replying. Last service was my 90K which means 15K ago. New plugs and wires then. This is what I thought too initially and it could still be it- I'll inspect them. I haven't yet because I just got them replaced, by a Chrysler dealership. What you say definitely seems logical though. Any other suggestions anybody?
on April 24, 2013
Last suggestion....have exhaust flow checked for a possible fouled catalytic converter classic symptoms: Intermittent rough idle, 'bogging down' during acceleration and lack of power on inclines or under a load.
on April 25, 2013
Thanks a lot, yet I do not notice a lack of power, there are just, literally, "blips" of power loss and then immediately it's back to normal, and then another one occurs, etc. I wouldn't say it is bogging down nor does it seem to be idling roughly. I'll let you all know the result of my plug/wires inspection. That'll be bad news if they are fouled, because there is then something causing the fouling prematurely.

UPDATE: checked wires and plugs and they look flawless. What could this issue be?? Ideas:

1) Could this have anything to do with the PCM which I replaced 15k ago do to a rat shorting my wiring harness for a Fuel Injector, which fried the original PCM. Is it possible that the unit needs to have the software "flashed" into it again though AutoComputerExchange said they loaded the most recent software version?

2) If it was an injector problem or a transmission problem it would happen much more regularly, and at slow speeds, correct?

I inspected thoroughly, everything seems tight and/or not corroded. Ideas? Ideas? Ideas?

Checked the Catalytic and everything is good there. Inspected the LDP and see no obvious signs of ripping, holes, etc. The ONLY way I can check the LDP Switch appears to be with the DRB-III, unless I take the LDP off and try to see if it's fowled- not something I am eager to do. Well, fixing this might be the CE light, but the hesitation thing is proving rather difficult as I see no suggestions of a remedy. Anyone?
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