i have a 98 4 banger.
i had a very similar problem, u might wanna check on urs to make sure.
in the steering column there is a rod that is maybe 2 or 3 inches long and about 1/16 of an inch thick which is made of pot aluminum, so very weak.
what this rod does is, when u turn ur key forward it gets pushed forward into the ignition switch. which turns the car on.
for me that rod broke.
it is very hard to find by it self, u will porlly have to get the whole unit around it to get that part which is obviously the way chrysler would do things to get more money down the road.
but check at local junk yards.
like i said that was my problem, so just double ckeck urs.
my gf has my jeep rite now so when she gets home ill take some pics of what imatalking about. and post em up.
again its in the steering column on the underside of it, rite next to the ignition key slot.
hope it helps.