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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all,

Long time reader, first time poster. Great forum guys!:rock:

Anyways, this is the girlfriends Cherokee, and it has some problems.

Cherokee Specs/Info/Background
95 Cherokee Sport, 4.0l, 4x4, 4 door, auto. Around 150-160,000 Miles. She bought it this summer, has been a pretty good Jeep, it has its problems, and has seen at least one front end accident before we got it.


Main Problem
The problem is this Cherokee likes to randomly completely power down. While running it will completely turn off, as if you turned the ignition off. No engine power, no electrical power. This will happen randomly, sometimes after driving 2 minutes, sometimes after 2 hours. Other times not at all. It will also occasionally shut down the first few seconds after being started, unless you hold the key in the start position for like 20seconds after its running. The weird thing is, that if you put the car in neutral and turn the key to start it, it will start right up and keep going like nothing happened.

Other
I haven't had a lot of time to investigate this due to Work/School. However I have this weekend to look at it so I want an Idea of what I should check out first. Another thing that I think should be noted is that there appears that at some point there was an alarm system, but it was removed, so the under dash is a bit of a rats nest. So I am wondering if one of those wires is an ignition wire or something of the sort, and maybe lose. (I have shaken them all in the past, and nothing happened.) However I don't feel it rules it out just yet.

She’s planning a long trip soon, and I want to try and get her Cherokee all sorted out. Any suggestions let me know, I will use them as first things to check when she comes home this weekend.


I have an identical 96 Cherokee, so I have a lot of testing parts/test bed to test some of her parts in.

Keep in mind this is a full shutdown, not just the engine, the entire electrical system goes down too. Radio, Air, Lights everything.

Thank you guys very much.:bow::bow:

Jason
 

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muddin moderator
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this happend on my brothers xj we replaced the alternater and battery cut out his old battery connectors and put in new ones .... and that finally got it so i say check your wires first
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thats a good idea, I will definitely check that first, I think I remember them looking green and corroded. I'll let you know.


Thanks.

If anyone else has ideas keep them coming.
 

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ummm...... those symptoms tell me that your crankshaft position sensor (CPS) is bad. That's where I would start and then go from there. I highly doubt that it's a battery terminal issue.
 

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a battery terminal issue wouldn't let you start your vehicle in the first place. I'm guessing it's a computer problem like sport said. I would find a friend that could help you pull codes...otherwise goto a stealership and have them help you out.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I was thinking CPS too. However wouldn't the CPS cause the engine to shutdown not all the power in the vehicle? (Just wondering, I don’t know) Either way it’s on my list of things to check. As for the battery/power lead issues. Couldn't a poor/faulty ground give those symptoms? I am just wondering and throwing things out there... I have never encounter any of these problems on my Cherokee, however my girlfriends Cherokee seems to have every problem I have ever heard a Cherokee could have. : P

Thanks again Guys, I really appreciate the input.

Be careful though... Help me fix it too fast, and I will ask for advice on more problems... Its kind of like if you give a mouse of cookie. : )
 

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dont feel alone on this subject my 87 cherokee does the same thing. Starts great sometimes then sometimes it just starts and dies. I dont think cherokees have a kill switch do they??? I dont know. great subject though.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
dont feel alone on this subject my 87 cherokee does the same thing. Starts great sometimes then sometimes it just starts and dies. I dont think cherokees have a kill switch do they??? I dont know. great subject though.
Thanks. The only "Kill" type switch I believe the Cherokee has is the neutral safety switch, which I believe shouldn't come into play while the vehicle is already running.

Hopefully I will have this solved by the end of the weekend, I am anixous to start.

Also, anyone know a cheap place for the CPS. Autozone is around $65. However I randomly decided to check Pepboys, and they showed one on their site for $30 something, but it says to call for details, so I am not sure if it is real or just an error. Maybe I will call them today and see.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Okay so I finally have some time with it... I checked the CPS via the ohm meter check, and it checked out completely open and healthy. So just for kicks I decided to unplug the CPS while it was running. The engine shut down of course, but the cabin electrical was still running without fail.

Any more Ideas? I am going to start shaking wires until it shuts off, or I can find something else.
 

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That old alarm system rats nest sounds scary but it should not cause everything to shutdown. If indeed EVERYTHING shuts off like you say then begin at the beginning...check the battery terminals...clean, tight, no corrosion. Check the powewr grounds, battery to engine block and battery to body and engine to body. Don't just assume or do a visual, take everything apart...inspect and clean. Check the power distribution center under the hood for corrosion. The problem has to be at or near the source.
 

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I agree with carl check the condition of the cables and the ends also the ground loop is very important make sure you have a body ,frame ,and engine ground .
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well, today I removed the alarm system. It turned out to be a Viper, and it seemed like it was still half armed or something. Some things were still live on it. I removed the whole thing and the car is running fine so far. During the process I was also working on locating a squeak coming from the serp. belt or pulleys. Turned out to be the water pump, so I had to replace that today and put off tracing the shutdown problem. However now that the alarm and the dieing water pump have been dealt with the car has been running with no issues thus far. We have been starting and stopping it and driving it around and no shutdowns thus far. Each time we are able to start it like normal and it doesn’t try to shut back down. The engine also sounds stronger and healthier then before...:dunno:

The main battery cables don't look great and I will probably wind up taking them off and cleaning and reseating all of them just in case, tomorrow. I went through and shook every cable hard, jiggled the battery, jiggled the power distribution center, and every large relay/breaker inside there. Nothing affected the running of the vehicle. I am not calling it case closed yet, however right now I have nothing more to go off of then cleaning and inspecting all major connections for problems. I am really hoping that the alarm was the problem since it seemed pretty hacked in there, and had some random unprotected leads, and the unit was still getting power. It also had a shock sensor attached to the very bottom of the steering wheel near the firewall, which was still detecting shocks (aka me poking it with my finger :D ) So I will do my best to get everything else in tip top shape, and then I have to just wait and see if the problem is solved. Unless someone else has a suggestion.


Thanks guys,
Jason
 

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OK, getting that hack alarm system out of there should give you some peace of mind and maybe even correct your problem...who knows how they cobbled it into the vehicle wiring. However, still check out those battery cables especially since you say they may be fubar...repair or replace them...nothing but all kinds of problems if they aren't right.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Ya. It got its big test today, and was driven for 2-3hours straight back to her school and it didn't shutdown once. I don't believe she has been able to make it home or back without it shutting down at least once so between everything (mainly that alarm I think) her Cherokee may be all set. Thank you all for your thoughts and Ideas. You have all been great. I'll let you guys know how it continues to go.
 

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We had a ZJ in our shop with the same exact problem and the fix was the alarm was shorting out kind of like someone was cutting the wire and it was setting the alarm silently (didn't have the load horn on it) witch would shut down the jeep and put it in disable mode. But then it wouldn't start after it shut down. Hope your problems fixed. Electrical is always frustrating.
 
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