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Old 06-28-2009, 11:26 AM   #1
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No crank, no start

I am a brand new member of WF, but I have been using the site recently as a guest looking at some answers to similar problems. The site has been so helpful of late I could not help but join. I have a problem with my 97, 6cyl. not cranking at all. I will preface all of this by saying that, until recently, the trickiest thing I have done to the TJ has been to change the brake pads. A friend of mine and I replaced the clutch, master and slave cylinders over the past several weeks. That is a story all to itself and I am thinking of posting a write-up of the process and the numerous and often stupid problems that we had. Anyway, after replacing the whole clutch system she was working great. For a day. Yesterday I wound up stranded since the damn thing would not crank. I have power to the dash lights, headlights etc, but it does not seem like the starter does anything - not even a click like I have heard with a dead battery. I have ruled out the clutch safety switch (bypassed it after I had stupidly cut the wires - but I spliced them back together. Didn't realize it was so simple to bypass.) I did remove and clean the connections to the battery terminals, but that did not help at all. I am working on the assumption that the battery is good - maybe a year old and it had enough juice to fire up Friday and Saturday morning. The dash lights and headlights do not dim at all (at least as far as I can tell - it was broad daylight) when I turn the key. That would also indicate to me that the battery has decent charge. My guess, at this point, is that the wire connections to the starter may have loosened up while we were taking it off and putting it on replacing the clutch. Have not yet had the chance to get back to the parking lot where she is sitting to check. Just curious if somebody had any other ideas of things that I should check if those connections do not turn out to be the problem. I have also tried tapping the starter. Read that it might help and it seemed like an easy thing to try. No luck, obviously. If I try to jump the starter, that should crank the engine (if I understand correctly) but will that actually get the engine to fire? Wouldn't matter if the starter is not getting juice, but I am curious to know if that would fire it up. Any ideas are more than welcome at this point. It was nice to have her on the road for about a day after the clutch project. Thanks for all of the great info on the forum. It was helpful even before I joined.

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Old 06-28-2009, 01:36 PM   #2
Knows a couple things...

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If you have the ignition switch turned on while bypassing the starter solenoid (make sure it's in Neutral first!), the engine will start... at least it will if the starter motor cranks the engine.

My first suggestion is to go back to your bypass connector wiring and look for a problem. One thing I always do when making electrical connections... make sure it's done so well (mechanically sound and soldered then well insulated with heat shrink) that I'll never have to worry about it.

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Old 06-29-2009, 01:19 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice. I have a little more information now after having spent some time on it yesterday. Got back to where she was sitting yesterday afternoon. Figured I would clean all of the connections and maybe try to jump the starter if necessary. Just out of curiousity, before I did anything, I thought I would give it a try. Fired right up, no problems. Drove home and parked on a little incline (just in case). Fixed up the bypass splice. Pulled off the battery connections again, the grounds to the frame and to the engine, the connections to the solenoid and from the solenoid to the starter. Cleaned all of them thoroughly and reconnected everything. Tried starting it. Nothing. Grabbed a cresent wrench and gave the starter a dozen solid, but not brutal, taps and jiggled the wires from the solenoid to the battery and ignition. Tried again and it fired up, but sounded a little rough - I can only describe it as "chunky" if that makes any sense. Only for a split second though. Turned it off and tried again and again it fired right up. This morning I went to go and nothing. Tapped on teh starter and jiggled the wires again - still nothing. Just pop started her then. Got where I was going, found another little bit of a hill to park on. Turned it off and then back on - started fine. I am leaning toward thinking it is a problem with the wire from the battery to the starter. Without a voltmeter/ohmeter (not even sure which would do the trick) I guess I have no way to tell for sure without trying to jump the starter. Maybe somebody out there knows if this sounds like a dying starter rather than a wire problem. Maybe the relay? A connection that I didn't clean? That rough sounding start doesn't seem to fit with an eletrical problem, but I suppose it could be related to tapping the starter. Any thoughts are more than welcome.
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Old 07-05-2009, 01:30 PM   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: northern VA
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Have your starter tested...I went through something similar...After getting a new starter...It took me maybe 10 minutes to get off the old and install the new
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Old 07-18-2009, 01:07 PM   #5
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This is probably after the fact and you've fixed the problem but I thought I'd add my 2cents worth.
It sounds like a short inside the starter giving you intermittent results.
If you decide to replace it I would look at one of those delicious mini-starters with the 4.1:4 gear ratios.
I installed one in my '72 Corvette and it was one of the best things I could do.
It cranked easier, faster and used less voltage doing it. Besides they are so much smaller it was that much easier to put in.
Just some advice from a stranger
Good luck,
Mark
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