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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey there folks,

First I'm new to this forum and I thought I would turn to the group of people who know and love Jeeps to see if I could get some help/guidance.

Just want to note that I'm posting this now, but I am going to look through the forum to do a bit more reading in, so if there is a thread that is similar to mine listed below, please point me in that direction.

I've got a 'no crank/no start/no click' situation.

Here is what I observe:
During a handful of days before the Jeep went dead, I noticed that the cranking power was getting weaker and weaker.
The day it finally gave out, I had cranked it up, made a quick run to the store and came home pretty much fine.
About 3 hours later, the wife was going to go to a party, so she went outside then came right back in because she said "Nope. Not going anywhere, the Jeep won't do anything".
I went out the next morning, tried cranking it up and nothing.

So, I dove into the things I knew.
I just replaced the alternator and battery 2 months ago, so I suspected the starter. I took it out, headed down to get it checked and it checked out just fine. I checked the positive and negative wires and replaced the battery post terminals cleaning them and the posts to make sure it wasn't something as simple as that. I looked at the relay and fuses. I know what a blown fuse looks like and they all looked fine, and the relay looked fine from what I could tell. When I turn the key, all the components inside the Jeep come on and look great. Also when I turn the key to the 'start' position there is no dimming in the lights both internal and external.

I did notice though when I cranked it up, when I held the ignition in start, there was a small puff of smoke. I couldn't pin point where it was coming from, but the smell seemed to be coming from the battery area.

I could seriously use some help here. I am not a certified mechanic, but I kind of know my way around an engine, but the electrical is certainly NOT my strong suit. I'm not ready to take it in, I feel like there are some things I could learn from you guys to check or look into before it gets there.


I can provide pics of pretty much everything if it might help diagnose the problem.

Thank you so much in advance for any help.

Armando
 

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I would check all of the ground connections. Did you notice if it was charging at 14 volts? If the volt meter was at zero, you may have discharged the battery. Check the battery voltage. The voltage regulator is in the BDC not the alternator.
 

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Welcome to the Boards.

Will your Jeep pop off and run if you jump-start with another vehicle?
 

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When you turn the key on, what is the volt gauge reading? Did you try putting it in neutral and starting it?

BTW, what year and what engine?
 

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How old are your cables? Any blue salts on the copper where it connects to the lead terminal?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
First off thanks for all the knowledge

First off, I really appreciate the help to this newbie on the forum and look forward to getting my girl back on the road.
Funny sidenote, I noticed that the mileage is a 199998. Pretty funny. I gotta break that 200000 mark.

Okay, so I haven't had the time to get in there and really move stuff around, but going to mess around with it today.

NOTE: After looking at some video, while my starter is in the Jeep, I used a heavy screwdriver to connect the positive terminal on the solenoid and the terminal connector (smaller one). I get a spark, but nothing else. Not sure what that means, but thought I would throw that out there. Whatever info I have or have done, I'll put it out there.

That puff of smoke that occurred I'm guessing is going to have to be addressed, but I have no idea where it came from. I burned something out holding the ignition key to the START position a little to long.

Okay, this response is lengthy and hefty, but I'm replying to everyone in one go. I've put your username above your response. Also, maybe one of you gurus catch something that someone else mentions and helps hone in on the issue faster.

jhilley:

I initially took the battery out and into the place that I purchased it. They checked the voltage, and the load and gave the battery a good bill of health. I also got myself a volt meter and the battery in the car was at 12. 46. On the dish indicator, as well, when the key is in it registers at 12.5.
I'm not sure what BDC stands for, and doing a quick search online, I couldn't find the location of the voltage regulator on a 1999 Jeep Cherokee Sport 4.0L.

jfxj67:

Will it pop off and run? I don't really have another battery handy. Wait...what the hell am I thinking, we borrowed a friends car to get around. I'll try that after my wife gets back from coffee with a friend. In my modest knowledge, I'm not sure if that will help because the battery itself seems to have checked out alright. I'm going to give it a go though, hell I'm learning a bit more researching all this as I go, and I welcome any suggestion. I'll let you know how that turns out. BTW, love the calvin sticker on your picture.


Gluckmysock:

Thanks for getting back. So when I have the key in the ON position it reads at 12.5. When I go to crank to the START position, none of the components dim or loose power. It's a manual, so the clutch is down and in neutral. I'm guessing you're thinking the neutral safety switch? I've done some research on that and I may totally be wrong, but I believe the manual transmission doesn't have one. I may totally be wrong, and I'm all about your train of thought, hell with your pics and info you know TONS more than I do and I welcome any input or suggestions.
The Jeep is a 1999 Cherokee Sport 4.0L I6 4WD Manual transmission.


cherokeeman:

Right. Thanks, while I was doing some research I came across that the manual transmission doesn't have a neutral safety switch. I may be totally wrong, and I'm open to that train of thought. I have the engine size info in the post just above yours. Thanks again, and if you have any other input I am very welcome accept it.

4.3L XJ:

So I can't say exactly how old the cable are, but this is something that I've been leaning towards more and more. My terminal leads were looking beat up so I cut them off and replaced them with new ones. I cleaned the wires before connecting them as well as cleaned the terminals on the battery, which is 2 months old (and been checked). Blue salts? I'm not sure. I did notice before cleaning it all up that there were these whitish, maybe a little blue deposits around that area. It's been a bit moist outside and I did clean it up for the connections. If I notice them again, I'll take a picture and post it here. I did a preliminary look at the positive wire going from the battery to the starter and the wires around that area, and to me they look alright, but I haven't taken all the casing off the wires to check them all out. I'm not excited about doing that, but if it needs to be done then I'll do it.
I appreciate your input, and if you have any more to add that would be awesome.


Thanks again to everyone who put in on the conversation. If any of this helps I am open to suggestions and ideas.
 

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If you cannot get anything but a spark when jumping the solenoid, then I would suggest taking the starter off and having it checked at a parts store
 

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Sounds like your ignition switch is shot as well as your starter. When turning the key to start, it should shut off power to all electronics inside the jeep- blower motor and radio.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
4.3L XJ.

I did take the starter off and took it to Autozone to have them check it. They said it checked out fine. I attached the readout that they gave to me. Funny thing is, when I went back in to ask about something else, I talked with another employee there and they mentioned that those tests are usually only about 85% accurate. They also said that it might be because I was getting oil into my sparkplugs, even though I told them there was nothing happening at all when I turn the key. Who knows? I'm going to go through my paperwork and see if I can pinpoint how old that starter is actually.

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hey there quicksilver,
A little confused. Are you saying that when I switch the key to the START position, that the electronics in the car should "shut off"?

Armando
 

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Hey there quicksilver,
A little confused. Are you saying that when I switch the key to the START position, that the electronics in the car should "shut off"?

Armando
Yes, if you turn your blower motor on high, as you turn the key to the 'start' position, the heater should shut off.
 

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Not sure if the question was ever answered...

Did you try jump starting with jumper cables on another vehicle?
If so, what happened?
:unsure:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
jfxj67:

I did actually. Nothing really significant happened. I heard a faint sound coming from the engine when I tried to crank, but still nothing really happened.
And i'll try it with the blower motor on right now.
 

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Okay, bottom line is this...
If you have 12V going to the the starter, and you jump the starter with a screwdriver, the starter will spin and attempt to start the engine everytime.

If you don't have 12V going to the starter, either bad battery or cables.

If you do have 12V going to the starter and all you get is 'click' at the starter, your starter is bad.

Really, no other possibilities.
;)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
jfxj67:

So I did just try starting with the blower motor on high and it did go off when I was in the START position.
 

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Excellent, you wouldn't have a bad ignition switch then.

Honestly, you should go ahead and spend the $12 dollars or so and replace both of your battery cables and starter relay, and also have your battery load tested at the auto parts store.

Knowing for a fact that they're good should make troubleshooting much easier.

Just a suggestion
;)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Awesome man. Next stop is the cables. Gonna break in there and check them all out.
Thanks for the help. I'll let you know how it goes.
Not doing it today though. Got some football to watch.

Armando
 

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Discussion Starter #19
So, broke into the wiring.
I took some pics and I have a feeling I know what might be contributing to the problem.
My positive and negative cables look like they are in good condition. No wearing, cracks on the casing or burned out spots. As far as I can tell they are okay.
What I did find, and why I didn't notice before was the wire that connects to the solenoid, the "solenoid terminal connector" is completely gunked up with oil.
I know I have a significant oil situation going on, and I've been putting it off till I get some money to get that done. I'm a little more hesitant to tackle that big of a job just yet, and on a vehicle that I need to have running. I suppose once I get my project car I'll tackle jobs like that.

I'm looking for that wire in particular but having a hard time finding it to replace.

Anyways. I took a pic or two. Thoughts?
 

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