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Old 05-12-2014, 09:49 AM   #1
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Starter or bad ground or what?!

Recently i have been having this progressive issue where when i turn the key to turn on the jeep it give a click sorta like if was a dead battery (brand new battery like 3 months old ) so i figured the starter is going bad.
After a few tries it turn on fine. This problem is intermittent and not consistently reproducible .

And then last night my mygig started to act funny after one of these turning on trie and the screen looked like this

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I parked the jeep for a while and then re tried to turn it on. Perfectly fine and screen was normal.

What can this be?
Starter?
Alternator ? (Battery is charging and has never died on me)
Bad ground? If so then were are the points i should check?

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Old 05-12-2014, 10:03 AM   #2
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I'd say it could be any of the above but IMO, I'd tend to lean to the battery and charging system. You can take each component to an auto parts store and have them checked for free. The computers in our JKs are very sensitive when it comes to the electrics so you are going the right way in checking those out. I'd check things out in this order.
  1. The battery: It may be new but it also may be bad. Have you checked out the water level and cleaned the connections?
  2. The alternator: I'd check and clean the connections first and it that doesn't help, take it in and get it checked.
  3. The starter: Since you have other electrical problems, it's probably not the starter but as a last resort, you can get it checked.

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Old 05-12-2014, 04:19 PM   #3
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I'll check it out thanks.. Any one else experience this behavior previously?
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Old 05-13-2014, 07:35 AM   #4
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Way back when, my YJ acted the same way until I found corrosion INSIDE the battery ground cable. I found it by checking the cables resistance with a volt/ohm meter.
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:48 AM   #5
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This is a similar problem reported for some Grand Cherokee's (my other Jeep). Consensus is that it may be corrosion mostly in the connectors where the wire harness comes into the solenoid. Remove, clean or replace. On the GC's the starter area gets a lot of water splash.
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Old 05-13-2014, 06:18 PM   #6
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Gotta be a bad ground/ loose connection. Check your battery cables...make sure they tight.
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:58 PM   #7
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Gotta be a bad ground/ loose connection. Check your battery cables...make sure they tight.
Checked them at the battery post and they are tight and clean.
Will set up additional grounds to test this route rather than start removing stuff to test.
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Old 05-14-2014, 08:19 AM   #8
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Is there a diagram the shows all of the ground points in JK's??
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Old 05-14-2014, 05:23 PM   #9
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Gotta be a diagram someplace...I will do some research.

Is this something that occurs often or once in a blue moon type of occurrence?
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Old 05-14-2014, 05:42 PM   #10
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Do you turn off your radio when you exit the vehicle? Many people have had similar problems. I believe its called "surge". Surge can damage and burn out electronic devices. A computer is a good example. And car stereo is just another type of computer. They read devices, calculate distances, etc.

Some people have even complained about their blower motors burning out for what I believe are surges, when they admitted that they never turn it off.

Some people still believe today that it is better to leave their computers running all the time. I disagree. A power surge can ruin a computer. A fan running constantly can burn out the fan, and the constant heat can compromise the power inverter, and then damage the motherboard. There have been many older computer models with this problem. I have a friend with such a problem and he never turned off his computer. His power inverter went bad and it burned up his motherboard. It is a known problem for his particular brand of computer. If you have been having that radio problem while having starting/electrical issues, and the radio wasn't off, it has probably damaged the radio.

It could also just be a bad boot up caused by residual electricity in the circuits from all the bad boot ups with all the electrical problems. It's like repeatedly turning on your computer and turning it off before it boots up properly. You could easily ruin your computer that way, or at least your OS and hard drive. The same applies to the radio. Some may disagree, but this is my opinion.
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Old 05-14-2014, 06:37 PM   #11
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Pull the negative battery cable off, and leave it off for about 30 minutes. Hook it back up, and see what happens. Sometimes it just needs to re-boot, just like a home computer.
If that doesn't fix it, then put a meter across your battery terminals, and see if the charging system is working properly. If that is O.K., then I would take my new battery in, and have them load test it.

Good Luck!
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Old 05-14-2014, 06:45 PM   #12
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Oh, and the starting issue sounds like the starter is going out to me. Mine did the same thing. When the starter got cool, it would start fine. But, it didn't happen consistently. In fact, it happened only a couple of times over a three month stint. Then, one day, after it happened, I let the starter cool overnight. The last time two times it worked. This time, nope. I took it to my mechanic, and he changed the starter, and it never happened again. That was two years ago. You might want to check your battery terminals too, and make sure that they are clean, tight and making good constant. I would check the ground at the starter and make sure it is tight too.

A troubleshooting technique that I have heard, is that you can knock on the starter with a wrench to unfreeze it, and that will work, temporarily, until the next time.

How do you know if a starter in a car is frozen and how do you fix it the only thing i hear when i turn the key is a click and nothing but headlights are bright and everything works fine
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Old 05-15-2014, 06:57 AM   #13
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Oh, and the starting issue sounds like the starter is going out to me. Mine did the same thing. When the starter got cool, it would start fine. But, it didn't happen consistently. In fact, it happened only a couple of times over a three month stint. Then, one day, after it happened, I let the starter cool overnight. The last time two times it worked. This time, nope. I took it to my mechanic, and he changed the starter, and it never happened again. That was two years ago. You might want to check your battery terminals too, and make sure that they are clean, tight and making good constant. I would check the ground at the starter and make sure it is tight too. A troubleshooting technique that I have heard, is that you can knock on the starter with a wrench to unfreeze it, and that will work, temporarily, until the next time. How do you know if a starter in a car is frozen and how do you fix it the only thing i hear when i turn the key is a click and nothing but headlights are bright and everything works fine
I crawled under mine for a week and smacked it a couple times with a hammer to get my starter to work, until I could find the time to swap it out. Not realizing that the starter on the jeep was super simple compared to starters on some other vehicles. The bolts to mount it (at least on a 95) point straight down so they are really easy to get at.
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:46 AM   #14
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Will look into it. I dont think its the starter because it is not consistent. I figured if it was the starter it would do it almost every time but it doesnt
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Old 05-15-2014, 08:21 AM   #15
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Will look into it. I dont think its the starter because it is not consistent. I figured if it was the starter it would do it almost every time but it doesnt
mine was intermittent, next time it won't start give the starter a couple whacks and if it starts and nothing else changed, there's your problem.
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Old 05-15-2014, 08:23 AM   #16
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It starts within a matter of seconds. Lets say first try (clicks and no start) try 2 or 3 time with about 5-10 second wait intervals inbetween it starts right up
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Old 05-16-2014, 10:56 AM   #17
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It starts within a matter of seconds. Lets say first try (clicks and no start) try 2 or 3 time with about 5-10 second wait intervals inbetween it starts right up
Not all starter issues are exactly the same. There could be different components going out on your starter. Lets say that one of the wires in your starter is going bad. When there is enough current around that bad motor coil in the starter, it will eventually start up. The starter also swells sometimes, which can be a different issue that causes it to freeze when it gets hot.

My issue only happened at the same exact place, over a three month span.
It only happened at a particular 7-11 when I got off work. I figured that the short amount of time it took me to go into the 7-11, after driving and heating up my starter, which was going bad, didn't allow my starter to recover. So, it would freeze. Eventually, it just seized, when I came back out and tried to start it.

At least when it no longer starts at all, you have an idea and a couple of trick to try to verify that it is the starter. Like the knocking on it method. It costs about $100 dollars to change the starter at a good mechanic. But, there is no guarantee that it is actually a starter problem based on an internet diagnosis. But, if you knock it with a hammer, and then it starts, that is a very good indication that it is the starter.

Even that method does not guarantee that your particular issue with the starter is because it is frozen. The starter may be bad for other reasons, or it may not even be the starter, but another primary electrical issue. One thing seems for sure, it is a primary electrical issue.
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:12 PM   #18
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Can you give us an update? as I am suffering from the same symptoms
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:18 PM   #19
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I replaced the starter, it wasnt bad but the new one is stronger.

Havent tried the ground straps but that seems to be the next easiest solution although i dont know exactly where on the engine and trans the grounds are located.

My next major thing to check is my electronic sway bar which might be the culprit. As it may be shorted out

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