The Dodge Dakota has in the past relied on a traditional ignition system that utilizes a single coil to produce the spark at the spark plugs that is responsible for ignition of the fuel and air mixture. In the early 2000s, however, the Dakota ignition system was switched to a distributorless version that has proven to be more reliable. Despite this, problems can still occur, and the symptoms are similar for both types of systems.
A weak coil does be able to provide a strong spark at the spark plugs. This cause misfires and poor ignition of the fuel and air mixture, resulting in reduced power and rough running. A weak coil also can cause stalling and flooding of the engine because of the coil's inability to provide enough spark to ignite the fuel and air mixture properly.
If the vehicle was running and then died suddenly, the coil has failed entirely. The coil is no longer producing the necessary electrical charge to be sent to the spark plugs because of an internal failure, and must be replaced with a new unit to restore operation.
An ignition coil that has failed does not register an electrical spark at the spark plugs. If all of the ignition components are correctly connected and in operating condition, and testing reveals no spark at the spark plugs, then the coil is faulty.
On Dakotas that have a distributorless ignition system, a single coil is used to fire two spark plugs. When one of these coils fails, the result is a steady miss on the related cylinders, rough running, and reduced performance. If testing reveals two dead cylinders connected to the same coil, then that coil is faulty. If testing shows no spark to any cylinders, then the problem is probably not with the coil and is instead with another part of the ignition system.
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