Turn key and gauges flicker. Jeep will not start. - Jeep Wrangler Forum

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Old 10-03-2009, 04:21 PM
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Turn key and gauges flicker. Jeep will not start.

2004 Wrangler, I6, Manual transmission.

While I am sitting here waiting for a friend to pick me up, I wondered if anyone had any input on this. I have had no problems at all with my Wrangler until about an hour ago. I just drove it to the mailbox and got back in to start it and nothing. The gauges will flicker, as in from 0-100mph or 0 rpm to 4000rpm or no fuel to a full tank, etc... and it will not start. It is obviously an electrical issue, but aside from the battery, I do not know where to start. I am going to pull the battery and take it to local auto zone, but beyond that where else should I be looking?

Any input would be appreciated!

Thanks!

Eric
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Old 10-03-2009, 04:42 PM   #2
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Clean your battery connections, any amount of corrosion, no matter how insignificant it seems, can cause this. In time this will kill your battery completely. Your guages are jumping because the comp is trying to reset. If the battery is not already shot, cleaning the connections should get you going. Same thing happened to mine. Oh and welcome to the forum

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Old 10-03-2009, 04:52 PM
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I moved recently and in the process took all my tools out of the Jeep and forgot to put them back in. So nothing has been done yet. Everyone and everything I have checked so far says the battery. It's the OEM (I know...) and need to replace it anyway. It's just frustrating because I have not had any issues and had started it less than 10 minutes before this happened. I stopped to pick up my mail and got in and went to start and this.

I did clean the cable and connections within the last month and that was the first place I looked. It all looks just as clean as it did before. I checked for any loose grounds or exposed wiring and came up wit nothing. The fuses looked good. I am hoping all it is is the battery. I am a bit strapped for cash at the moment and really cannot afford to start randomly replacing things or get it looked at by a shop,
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Old 10-03-2009, 06:07 PM   #4
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borrow a battery from another vehicle and see if it starts. I had the same experience. Drove my Jeep about 20 miles, parked for 15 minutes and when I got back in, nothing. Just clicked when I turned the key. The guages started jumping and would continue even without the key in the ignition. Shutting the door would make them stop. I had mine towed, (like you no tools on board). Picked up a new battery, cleaned the connectors and she has been good to go since. That was back in July. So this one I am willing to bet on.
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Old 10-03-2009, 06:50 PM
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That was it. The battery was toast. Put a new one in and started up instantly.

Thanks for the responses!

Eric
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Old 10-03-2009, 06:55 PM   #6
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Glad to here it. Just make sure you keep those connectors clean.
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Old 10-09-2009, 08:02 PM   #7
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mine did it too

My 06 also did the same thing. Dealer said no problems, so took it to a battery shop and it had a 3 inch crack in it and only giving 40% power. Replaced it and no problem since. But this week FYI it has high temp on the gage, screaming belt and a glazed iddler gear. Waiting to hear from the shop what the "H" is going on with it. Only 23,000 miles and this is what I got.
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:55 AM   #8
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Exact same thing on Saturday! Took battery to Checker Auto and the reading on the meter/monitor actually came back as "Unstable"... "unstable"? What the hell kinda diagnosis is "unstable"? Jeffery Daumer was "unstable", Hitler was "unstable"... a battery is either good or bad... but not unstable... haha so I asked the guy for a "stable battery"... worked first crank...
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:12 AM   #9
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Nothing worse than an unstable battery. Any little thing and they become "homicidal, suicidal", or some other "cidal"
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Old 10-12-2009, 03:58 PM   #10
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Old 05-09-2014, 11:50 PM   #11
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Had the same issue. Wildly fluctuating gauges when ignition key was inserted; Jeep would not start.

Used Auto battery contact cleaner and new terminal bolts, tampered down tight… $8. 20 minutes… Back in business.
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Old 04-22-2016, 01:14 PM   #12
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Since this thread has already been brought back from the dead, I figured, why not do it again?

I had something similar happen last night, but the cause wasn't the battery. I drove home from work, 20 minutes later I go out and turn the key...nothing. When I pull the key out the gauges start going crazy like mentioned above. I checked my battery voltage, it was a little low but far from dead (it's a 5 year old battery). I cleaned up the terminals and connections like JDsDream said, and boom, it fired right up! Sweet, right? Not quite.

I started driving around to make sure everything was good, turned on the radio, then flicked on my headlights and my radio turned off and back on again. I could do this repeatedly while driving down the road. When I got back home, with the engine still running, the voltage on my battery was the same as if my engine was shut off. I figured my alternator had crapped the bed. I went to the local auto store, they checked the battery and alternator and confirmed this. Battery was still fine, but the alternator was toast.

I just followed this thread to replace the alternator and belt:
HOWTO: Alternator Upgrade

About an hour later, she fired right up, and no more issues with using the radio and headlights, and voltages look good, both on and off. Thanks everyone for helping me troubleshoot!

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