Sounds like the Starter. Borrow a voltmeter and check voltage to the starter 1st before trying to swap things out, or if your up to it, pull the starter and bring to local Auto Parts Store and have it tested on the bench.
'03 TJ Sport on 33's, 2"BB, 1"BL, 1"MML
try the hammer trick first, thats the timeless starter test. if still no go, check for power at the starter, and then power at the signal wire when someone has the key in the crank position. if power is present, the starter is bad, if no power present, time to check ignition switch, clutch switch, fuses and relays and so on.
do the lights stay on while you try to crank it, or do they cut out completely to. that would be more battery/connection related.
starter is on the passenger side,
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i just went out, turned on the lights, and it started up.
it did seem like the battery was a little weak when starting.. it turned 5 times before starting...
the shock of it starting put things in slow motion (not to mention my neighbors gave me a bottle of cabo-wabo for snowblowing their driveway the last 2 weeks so im a little tipsy)- but in my haze of shock and amazement i counted it.
i turned it off.. pinched myself, slapped myself.. and started it again.
this time it started right up.
the lights did dim when starting.
its -7 here right now. when i was trying to start it earlier it was around 9. so the cold doesnt seem to be a factor.
97 TJ, 4cyl, auto, bone stock, 86k miles.
It sounds like it's the starter. I have seen this a lot of times. It could be a bad spot on the armature and if the brushes never stop on that spot again it may never happen again or it could happen often. I just had the same think on my kids car a few months ago. After numerous times trying to start it it started and then it happened a few days later. As soon as I tapped it with the hammer it started and I replaced the starter.
i would guess check the wiring....make sure all is tight.....also the bolts that hold the starter in are what grounds it to the block so sometimes you need to pull those and clean em plus ice and water on them could cause a short......dont be afraid to hold a screw driver across the starter terminals to start......your talking 12v's....not gonna kill ya, not to mention i started my trail rig that way for 6 months when i was a poor college kid...u actually wont even feel a shock b/c the currents shortest path is through the starter not you and your rubber soled shoes
"its a jake thing you wouldnt understand"
01 tj, custom 4 link f/r, no track bars, 44/9"combo and some 39 tsls on rockathons