PLEASE HELP! Cranks for 3-5 seconds, sputters, starts. After 2 weeks, does't start! - Jeep Wrangler Forum
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:49 AM   #1
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PLEASE HELP! Cranks for 3-5 seconds, sputters, starts. After 2 weeks, does't start!

Okay. I REALLY need help. I have a 1997 Jeep Wrangler 2.5 cyl 232,046 miles (yes, I know that's a lot and I know I probably need a new engine). Ever since I bought it, it has had a tough time starting. It would crank for about 3-5 seconds and then sputter a bit (maybe for 0.5second-1second) and then finally start right up. It continued to get worse. A month after I bought it, it wouldn't start one morning. It would crank all day but not start. I got the fuel pump replaced and it worked for two more weeks with the same initial problem (crank for 3-5 seconds and sputter [for 0.5second-1second] and then finally start). Then it wouldn't start again after two more weeks. It would crank all day with no start again. So I took it back to the shop and got the fuel pump and fuel pump motor replaced AGAIN. It's been two weeks now and it's about to do it to me all over again.

purchases:
new spark plug wires. two new fuel pumps. I checked the spark plugs, they all have perfect spacing and all spark perfectly.

I have heard that a new crankshaft position sensor would fix this but I need more conformation on that theory, I don't really have the money to just throw around (which is contradicting because I bought a Jeep).

My father has his BA in some sort of automotive engineering, and he's been right about everything that has been wrong with it so far, except he has no clue about this one. I have the first jeep my immediate family has ever owned, so we don't have really any jeep experience. I LOVE my jeep and I couldn't ever get rid of it. Please please please PLEASE help!!

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Old 04-04-2013, 03:36 AM   #2
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I don't think this is your problem, but how old is your battery.

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Old 04-04-2013, 07:15 AM   #3
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Did you have the fuel regulator/filter assembly replaced ? If not, I would have the shop check the fuel pressure and regulator/filter.
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:40 AM   #4
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Did you have the fuel regulator/filter assembly replaced ? If not, I would have the shop check the fuel pressure and regulator/filter.
I forgot about that. My buddy has that problem with his. His regulator is failing which allow the fuel to drain back to the has tank. Which causes a similar problem to this.
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:07 PM   #5
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Yep if all of the fuel drains out of the fuel rail via a leaky fuel pressure regulator, the engine can sputter when first started until the fuel can make it to all of the injectors. My '04 did that & it took replacing the fuel pressure regulator twice to fix it. The first FPR I installed was defective & left me with the same problem which was confusing to say the least... it misled me so much that it took me a while to convince myself to try another FPR which finally fixed it.
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Old 04-04-2013, 01:27 PM   #6
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Is there an AutoZone parts store anywhere near you? They have a tool rental program, and I believe one of the tools you can borrow is a fuel pressure gauge. It will hook up to a connector on the fuel rail. Does anyone here know what the normal PSI or Bar for the 2.5 engine is?

Hook it up, and have someone turn the key to the On/Run position (right behind Start). The fuel pump will come on briefly, watch the gauge to see what kind of pressure you get, and if it bleeds back down.
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Old 04-04-2013, 01:32 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Jlocher92 View Post
I checked the spark plugs, they all have perfect spacing and all spark perfectly.

I have heard that a new crankshaft position sensor would fix this but I need more conformation on that theory...
If the spark plugs are "sparking perfectly" while you are cranking, the CPS isn't likely the problem.
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Old 04-04-2013, 01:34 PM   #8
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Does anyone here know what the normal PSI or Bar for the 2.5 engine is?

Hook it up, and have someone turn the key to the On/Run position (right behind Start). The fuel pump will come on briefly, watch the gauge to see what kind of pressure you get, and if it bleeds back down.
49 psi.
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Old 04-05-2013, 02:40 AM   #9
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My dad knows what was replaced, he was the one who gave it to the shop twice. I'll send him this thread. I do know that a couple things like, or related to, the fuel pump were installed. We don't like dropping the tank, which is why we gave it to the shop in the first place, otherwise I would know every exact detail (I would have done it myself). He put a lot of money into this Jeep so I don't like to ask him questions about what he had to pay for twice. So I'll just send him this thread and keep you guys up-to-date with what is happening or what will happen. Also, my battery is fairly new.
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:30 AM   #10
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Have the battery tested. I had a similar problem (long cranks, needing to rev the engine to stay running, etc.) and it gave me FITS. Had my battery checked, then replaced and the issue completely went away. Sometimes its the simplest things that are overlooked.
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:44 AM   #11
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Well once it starts, it runs well... when it starts.
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:37 AM   #12
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Well once it starts, it runs well... when it starts.
If it is the fuel pressure regulator.
That is bc the fuel has repressurized in the lines and then all is good. It is the initial start up that takes time bc the fuel has to make it back thru the lines from the tank.
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:50 AM   #13
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It would crank all day but not start.
After cranking for a few seconds with no start, the PCM shuts the injectors down to prevent flooding. So, don't crank for more than 5 seconds at at time. Typically, with a fuel pressure regulator leaking down, the engine won't start on the first attempt, but will start immediately on the subsequent crank.
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Old 04-05-2013, 01:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by tangofox007 View Post
After cranking for a few seconds with no start, the PCM shuts the injectors down to prevent flooding. So, don't crank for more than 5 seconds at at time. Typically, with a fuel pressure regulator leaking down, the engine won't start on the first attempt, but will start immediately on the subsequent crank.
I didn't realize the pcm did that. I love this forum. Learn something new everyday.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:07 PM   #15
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Okay guys. New problem. But I'm fixing it now (You should probably read this anyways though). My engine finally quit after 232,046 miles. It turns out the radiator was leaking water into the oil (because the oil level was significantly above the "do not overfill" mark. While I was driving on the highway at about 60mph, my engine started to slow down and thick white smoke was coming out the exhaust pipe. I pulled over and engine coolant was all over the top of the radiator and all over the underneath of the hood. So it exploded I guess, but everything was still intact. But the radiator was empty. So I'm pretty sure the engine locked up. The jeep is in the garage now and my dad is throwing in the new engine as I type this.

Could this have answered anybody's (or even my own) questions?

Ill post more updates about how it runs after the new engine is installed. Ill also check the fuel pressure regulator later. But one step at a time.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:38 PM   #16
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Maybe a question you don't want to answer, but how did the oil level get so high?
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:51 PM   #17
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Maybe a question you don't want to answer, but how did the oil level get so high?
I think he is saying thay water was mixing with the oil, causing it to be over filled.
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:43 AM   #18
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Yes, the water was leaking into the oil. I dont know a whole lot about how exactly this could have happened. I guess the engine was just old as shit, it was just its time.

It has dirtied up my garage a bit though.
http://i.imgur.com/m923QYs.jpg
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Old 04-11-2013, 07:26 AM   #19
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Sounds like I am having the same issues that you initially had. I have taken the battery out and plan on running it to autozone today after work.

I hope its nothing as serious! I just bought the Jeep I don't want to drop a new engine into it!

Its odd, the only thing i've been able to do to it so far is oil, spark plugs, and cleaned the filter (k&n). I drove it every day for two weeks after that as my DD was in the shop. After I got my DD back, I went to take the jeep out after 4 days of it sitting in the driveway and the same problems you listed above started.

It would crank and start, then die instantly. Crank, gave it some gas, started right up, died when I let go of the gas. Crank, try to start, turned over and died.

A mechanic I know and trust says it may be something with the Mass Airflow or a sensor of some type? Thinks I may have over oiled the air filter and thus ruined an airflow sensor. Any thoughts?
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Old 04-11-2013, 07:59 AM   #20
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I've had my Jeep since August 2012, and this has plagued me since, over the winter it was just cranking and cranking and I even killed a battery.... I'll be testing the pressure tonight.... I'm on 263123K and still going strong, though I suspect what's on the clock is not what's on the engine.
No oil in my coolant, no knock, replaced a CPS two weeks since, and had all new ignition leads, she runs like a dream.
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:31 AM   #21
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A mechanic I know and trust says it may be something with the Mass Airflow or a sensor of some type? Thinks I may have over oiled the air filter and thus ruined an airflow sensor. Any thoughts?
I am not sure I would trust a mechanic who thinks that TJ's have mass airflow sensors. They do not.
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Old 04-11-2013, 07:09 PM   #22
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I am not sure I would trust a mechanic who thinks that TJ's have mass airflow sensors. They do not.

Haha I may have mixed that up, my friend suggested MAF Sensor, my mechanic suggested something along lines of air filter.

Anywayyy Got a new battery today, it started right up. Hopefully the results are the same this weekend when I take it out

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4 cylinder , crank , crank position sensor , sputter , start

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