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So night before last I decided to do the plugs on the 1999 Dakota. I've had the ignition parts in a box in my den for a few months. For some reason, I never got the distributor cap when I grabbed the other parts so I swapped the plugs and left the old wires on. Idea was to grab a cap yesterday and swap the cap, rotor and wires last night. The plugs and wires weren't the originals but they had been in there a LONG time, gaps had opened to .080 from .040. Yeah, I know I've had the truck since April and the tune-up parts since May but there's been a lot going on and I drove the truck maybe 5 miles/day until recently. Now it sees a bit more use.

On the way to work yesterday the truck coughed a couple times at the first two stop lights. I got maybe 1/2 mile more down the road and it died. Just like the fuel pump went out, lost power and never felt like a misfire. Since it's got 130k on it and it's an unknown history, I had the truck hauled home. The tow company had a new HD Cummins powered Ram tow truck (only 1700 miles). It acted like the Dakota wasn't even back there. I'm glad o see Ram has made a big break into the tow truck market, I just hated having my truck hooked to the back of one.

I got home last night and the truck started right up. The problem wasn't the fuel pump. In changing the plugs, the old brittle insulation cracked on the coil wire (which is up front under the alternator on the Magnum engine and runs past the passenger plug wires so I moved it around a lot changing the plugs). The coil was shorting to the exhaust manifold or the valve cover so no spark to the coil at all and the wire had moved enough it was no longer shorting all the time. It was quite a light show.

End result with the way past shot ignition parts gone, this truck is the smoothest 360 I've ever owned. My 318s have always been smoother, especially at idle, than the 360s. But the one in this truck is smooth.
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