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Old 04-15-2007, 03:08 PM   #1
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Unhappy 98 4.0L starting problem

I have a 98' 4.0 that has been sitting about a week now. (not a daily driver as of 4 months ago) I went out and tried to start it up today and all it gave me was a clicking sound coming from somewhere under the front right side of the engine - if your sitting behind the wheel. It has just over 100k miles and I just replaced the battery a couple months ago. Anyone have any helpful hints to what it might be? Any help is much appreciated!

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Old 04-15-2007, 03:17 PM   #2
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sounds like the solenoid to me, but I'm sure someone else knows better



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Old 04-15-2007, 03:51 PM   #3
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welcome to WF Have you tried jump starting it? Did you make sure the battery connections(possitive/negative) are nice, tight, and uncorroded? Sometimes they work themselves loose after a couple bumps when you replace a battery, and since the Jeep is no longer a DD for you, might have just surfaced. I would take the connections off, clean them up real good, tighten them real good, than try and jump start it. See if that helps any.

Low battert voltage will give ya a nasty clicking/grinding noise when attempting to start in almost any vehicle.
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Old 04-15-2007, 03:54 PM   #4
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check the battery cables - was there any corrosion when you replaced the battery? If they was I'm sure its mae its way into and down the cable a bit. And yes - sometimes its just as instant as something critical breaking. It will work fine and then just not. I'd slice open the cables a bit to see if there is any corrosion. THen I'd replace them for the hell of it.
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Old 04-15-2007, 04:21 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies so far!

I'm looking through my Haynes Repair Manual right now and I think you might be close with a solenoid problem.... it says in referring to "starter motor - testing in vehicle" : "if, when switch is actuated, the starter motor does not operate at all but the solenoid clicks, then the problem lies with either the battery, the starter relay (if equipped), the main solenoid contacts or the starter motor itself (or the engine is seized)."

The battery doesn't look coroded at all, I had taken it to Sears and they cleaned it up pretty well. I haven't had a chance to try and jump start yet, or check the cables. Hard to get anything done at this apt. complex.
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Old 04-15-2007, 05:28 PM   #6
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Did Sears also do a load test of the battery? While loose/dirty/corroded connections at the battery are a common cause of solenoid clicking, a battery that is too weak can cause that exact same symptom. And, of course, it could also be the starter motor itself (the starter solenoid is integral to the starter motor) but check the battery first if the connections are all ok. If you can jump start the Jeep, that will isolate the problem to the battery or the connections to the battery and away from the solenoid.
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Old 04-15-2007, 05:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khunt8211 View Post
I just replaced the battery a couple months ago. Anyone have any helpful hints to what it might be? Any help is much appreciated!
Maybe you have some kind of battery drain, do you have an after market stereo or alarm system, does the light under the hood stay on after you close it (had this happen to me on a chevy)
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Old 04-15-2007, 05:44 PM   #8
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not sure if this is true for TJ's, but I know the first thing to do when this happens to a CJ is to take a good hammer and give the starter a good heavy whack. I'm not completely sure what ti does, but i think it has something to do with the clutch mechanism in the starter.
Also again not sure what type of solenoid there is, but sometimes all it needs is a good cleaning or flipping the parts tha come into contact,(not sure what they are called) that let the bigger current pass thorough, these can also become corroded and then they will not slide together and have a bad connection
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Old 04-15-2007, 05:59 PM   #9
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If the starter is clicking, and since the battery is relatively brand new these are my guesses, from easiest to fix to hardest;

Loose battery cables. As I said before, you can really crank on em when R&Ring a battery, but they still like to work themself loose and need to be tightened, for whatever reason. Grab hold of the possitive cable, and try to force it to turn left/right, then do the same thing with the negative cable. If it moves at all, you need to tighten them more. Even if they dont, I would grab a wrench and double check. Remember, a 3/8 drive ratchet will give you almost double the torque as a regular size wrench.

If you dont already have one, go out to sears and get a cheap Multimeter. It will pay for itself over time (I use Flukes, great meters). Test the voltage at the battery (positive terminal to negative) and make sure you have atleast ~11.9-12.4 volts.

If you ARE getting a clicking sound when you turn the key, and you do have around 12 volts at the battery, and the terminal connections are tight, you are only really left with 4 possible solutions

Ignition switch (Which CANNOT be bad since you are in fact hearing a clicking noise)

Engine siezed (If your oil level is good, your motor will more than likley be fine also)

Corroted battery cables: Simple cut 3-4 inches of insulation away from the terminal side, and the starter side, and make sure the cables arent corroded. If they are ok, get some shrink tubing and seal em back up. If not, replace them.

Bad solenoid. If your terminals are tight, and your battery has 12 volts, my money is on the solenoid. Now a days, its usually much more cost effective to simply replace the starter with a reman.ed unit than it is to replace the solenoid. Just make sure ya shim the starter right when putting the new one in.

Good luck
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Old 04-15-2007, 10:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Maybe you have some kind of battery drain, do you have an after market stereo or alarm system, does the light under the hood stay on after you close it (had this happen to me on a chevy)
Scotty... it used to have an alarm system, but I ripped it out b/c A. the transmitter went through the wash and it would cost more to replace that than get new system, B. It started going off when the battery died and I couldn't shut it off. I did have a cd player but it stopped working as well... still grabs some power (only when the Jeep is on), but doesn't light up or play (nice, eh?, but it's a jeep so not worried about that yet.) and also... the light under the hood doesn't work either... no suprise with all the other problems I've had so far (bought this used back in Aug. '06... and I haven't had the time to fix little things yet)
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Old 04-15-2007, 11:31 PM   #11
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id say if it's been sitting out there it might be the battery.. i'm not saying it junk it can be just low in voltage. Try jump starting it.
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Old 04-17-2007, 07:57 AM   #12
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Sounds like the classic - not enough battery energy (amperage) to-start. You changed the battery for a reason but was it the correct reason? New batteries drain down too if you have a parasitic component drawing down your system (stereo amplifier, alarm system, chaffed wire, etc).

Step 1: Get a new baseline reference:
Remove the battery terminal wires and recharge your battery using a charger over night until a full charge is registered on the charger display. If the charger does not register "fully charged" then you have a bad battery and should replace it. The odds are, the battery is OK. I would not recommend jump starting a dead battery, it can be very dangerous unless you absolutley have to.

Step 2: Reconnect the battery and start
Disconnect the charger and thoroughly clean and inspect the battery terminals. Clean the wire terminals using some sand paper until you see nothing but shiny lead. Reconnect to the battery. A dab of vaseline on the terminals will prevent future corrosion.

Attempt to start the engine. If the engine fires, this means you probably have a drain in the system and you need to trouble shoot the source of the leak using a voltmeter or do a physical check of the wiring harness. Look for wires rubbing on metal parts. All exposed wiring should be protected from moisture and abrasion.

If the engine does not fire, disconnect the battery wiring and clean and inspect all the connections to the starter and starter solenoid and chassis ground wiring. I've had a few times when sticks have come through the engine compartment while off roading and caused major problems with engine wiring.

Reconnect and re-attempt to start the engine. If it fails to start again, change the starter solenoid (it's a cheap part). If it fails to start after you made that change, then I would change the cables and then the starter itself. The cables will degrade with time and mileage. They become less conductive as time goes by... you're probably over 100K miles with a '98 and I would say it's cheap insurance to replace all of them (don't forget the chassis ground)
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Old 04-17-2007, 09:38 AM   #13
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Sounds like low battery voltage.
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Old 04-17-2007, 01:02 PM   #14
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Sounds like low battery voltage.
i second that
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Old 04-18-2007, 02:39 AM   #15
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another thing to add at 10 years old when u get a new battery would be 2 new battery cables..
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Old 04-18-2007, 07:30 PM   #16
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I finally was able to get the spot next to the Jeep and attempt to Jump it. It started on the first try... I then took it for about a 45 min drive around town... did not turn it back off. I have yet to try and start it again, as I would like to wait a day and see if it starts right up. I checked the connections for tightness and they are both really snug. I then got my multimeter and checked battery voltage... came out at 12.38 V. I have read through all the replies about 10 times... am I correct in saying that: A. The solenoid and starter are not the issue, B. The battery is good.... C. My problem is most likely in the battery cables being corroded (I have not checked this yet - soon) and I should go ahead and replace them anyways, and finally D. There could be a drain in my system somewhere that is running down the battery? {as I mentioned before though, the cd player doesn't work, alarm system is mostly taken out... which might be part of the problem... (I ripped out all the main boxes and stuff, but some wiring remains) and none of the interior lights/underhood light work.} What do you guys think?

PS - I REALLY appreciate all the help!... I don't know much about cars (mechanically) but I know WAY TOO much about Air Compressors.... and if anyone has questions about that, I can help.
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Old 04-18-2007, 07:47 PM   #17
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I had the same problem on my MJ, thought the terminals were clean...just the slightest amount of corrosion (I couldn't even see any). Shine 'm up good! (LUCK)

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