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Old 08-14-2013, 10:28 PM   #1
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Electrical system dead?

Drove my '01 Wrangler (4.0L, automatic) to work this morning, backed it into my usual parking space, shut it off, pulled the key and went inside. 8 hour later I come out, hop in the jeep, turn the key, odometer lights up the goes out and nada, nothing, no starting, no radio, no lights, nothing but the gauge needles bouncing and when I open the door there is a weak beeping. Checked all fuses (good), checked relays (seem ok), checked battery voltage (12.45vdc). Checked & proper voltage is getting to the fuse panel. Pulled the covers off the steering column to get the ignition switch and the parking cable was hanging loose (looking at it, it seems to only keep the shifter from being able to move from park to any other gear when the ignition switch is off or no key is in the ignition). Didn't have the proper tool to actually pull the switch, but notice a immobilizer next to the key switch (part of a coded key security system, I think).
So has anyone had this happen to them? Any ideas what the solution might be? Ignition switch? Coded key system problem? Vehicle's computer? I'd like to save some $$$ and fix it myself, but I'm somewhat stumped and about ready to have it towed to the dealer to see if they can figure it out unless someone here has an idea what it might be.

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Old 08-15-2013, 12:03 AM   #2
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Did you try jumping it. Just because the voltage is ok doesn't mean sufficient amperage is present. The weak beeping suggests that.

How old is the battery?

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Old 08-15-2013, 06:57 AM   #3
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No I didn't try jumping it off. With the battery testing at 12.45vdc and nothing electrical working on the vehicle I figured the problem would be somewhere other than the battery. I'll test the battery under load this morning before towing it to the dealer to see if the voltage fluctuates.
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Old 08-15-2013, 08:53 AM   #4
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I rechecked the battery, tried operating the winch which is connected directly to the battery, nada, still showing 12.45vdc. But when I wedge my meter leads into the battery clamps the light under the hood comes on! So figure the ground clamp is bad. Going to change it this afternoon and see if that solves the problem.
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:21 AM   #5
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Bad/corroded connection at battery posts? Remove clamps off posts and clean clamps and battery posts. Or possibly bad battery ... pull the battery and get it load tested. Try cleaning it first.
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:27 AM   #6
Knows a couple things...

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A battery that is too dead to run anything can still show 12v at the posts. Then when a load is applied, the voltage would drop off to nothing. Take the battery to a battery retailer to have it "load tested" which will give the battery's true health. That is the only way to really know if the battery is good or not, a voltmeter will not & cannot give a correct analysis of a battery's condition. Also use a wire brush to clean the battery posts & connections after removing both connections from the battery, then securely tighten the connectors afer reinstalling them. Battery connectors that look ok can still not have a good enough connection to the battery which can cause a problem like you're having. I would at clean the connectors first before having the battery load tested.

I had battery in my Toyota that was less than a year old that went bad, luckily it was covered under warranty. It had a bad cell that was causing the battery to barely be able to restart my engine after a long drive, & not at all if I did a lot of stops during the day.
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:36 AM   #7
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Doubling with the Dog. All those signs point to a bad battery connection.

Pull, clean, reseat.
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Old 08-16-2013, 06:48 AM   #8
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Cut the clamp ends off cables running to the battery, installed new eyelet ends on them, put new marine type clamps on the cleaned battery posts, connected the wires to them and everything is back working as it should be. No problems with the battery was just the clamps on the end of the cables. They didn't appear to be very corroded, but once I removed them I could see they were glazed over and just not making contact (especially the negative clamp). Have dealt with dirty corroded connections on batteries before with other vehicle just never seen one act like this and that is what had me stumped. But when I realized the winch wasn't working I knew the problem had to be with the connections at the battery.
Thanks for all you folks help.

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