How to Fix a Dodge Engine Hesitation Problem

by Dan Ferrell
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Photo courtesy of M100 at

The engine hesitation on your Dodge may be created by problems in one or more components. In most cases, a bad throttle position sensor (TPS) fails to signal the engine computer about throttle operation. Other causes may be bad or worn out components in the ignition secondary system, causing the engine to accelerate poorly and even stall. These steps will help you inspect these components and solve the hesitation problem on your Dodge vehicle.

Step 1

Park your Dodge vehicle in a safe place and open the hood.

Step 2

Remove the air cleaner assembly from the top of the engine and locate the TPS sensor. On most vehicle models, you will find this sensor outside the throttle body or carburetor. Other models have the sensor inside the throttle body.

Step 3

Check the supply voltage to the sensor. Turn the ignition key on but do not start the engine. Using a multimeter, back probe the supply wire at the sensor (in most models, this is a purple wire with a white stripe ). If you do not have the schematic for your particular vehicle, check the three wires at the sensor. The other lead on the meter should touch your vehicle ground. The voltage that remains steady as you manually open and close the throttle is your supply wire. You should read about 5 volts. If you do not get any voltage reading, there is an open or short in the circuit. Turn off the ignition switch.

Step 4

Check the TPS sensor resistance. Unplug the sensor electrical connector. Using your ohmmeter, check the sensor resistance by back probing the supply and signal wires at the sensor. The black wire is the sensor's ground; the remaining wire is your signal wire (usually an orange with a dark blue strip wire) since you already found the supply wire at step 3. As you move the throttle from close to wide open position, you should get a smooth transition in resistance change; otherwise, the sensor is bad.

Step 5

Remove and check each spark plug in your vehicle using a ratchet and plug socket; clean the electrodes or tips with a wire brush; also, check the plug gap using a wire feeler gage. You can find the correct gap for your plugs on the emission label located at the front or side of the engine compartment or car's owner manual.

Step 6

Check the condition of the spark plug wires. Make sure the wire insulation is in good condition. Set your meter to ohms and touch the meter leads to each metal connector at both ends of the plug wire. As a rule, you should read about 10000 ohms for each foot length of wire.

Step 7

Inspect the distributor cap and rotor for cracks and traces of carbon. Also, check the ignition coil following the vehicle manufacturer procedure found in your vehicle service manual.

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