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Old 11-20-2011, 08:16 PM   #1
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won't start, won't crank

Hi there,

My boyfriend's 2005 TJ just decided not to start last week. He had driven several times during the day with no problems, then after parking for about 20 minutes, got in, and it would not turn over.

The battery does not seem to be the problem, because we have tried to boost with no success, the battery shows a close to 12.5 volt reading when checked, and he has checked and cleaned all connections.

He replaced the starter and solenoid with no change.

Right now he is gone to get an ignition switch an we are going to try changing that, and may also try replacing the starter relay. Do these seem the most logical steps? We did try turning the ignition with a screwdriver, which did the same thing - nothing but a single click, so that points to the ignition switch or the wires around it, right? But... we have also tried jumping the starter with the screwdriver trick - the starter turns in this case but does not engage the flywheel at all. We are both newbies when it comes to this stuff, so have found all the info to try the things we have so far by looking online (mostly on this forum) - as I understand, if the starter motor spins freely, it should also engage the flywheel and crank the engine, no?

Is there some sort of electrical system that could be responsible for both the ignition switch and the flywheel not engaging out of the blue? Nothing sounded unusual in the engine while running and everything always started without a problem before this happened.

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Old 11-20-2011, 08:24 PM   #2
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If the battery is dead enough, sometimes it can't even be jump started because the dead battery is sucking too many amps from the jump battery to allow the engine to be started.

Have the battery load tested by a battery retailer, that is the only way to determine a battery's true health. My guess is the battery is very likely dead.

Since it is late Sunday night, I would find/borrow a battery charger and charge the battery overnight and see what happens. Not for 15 minutes, not for two hours, charge it overnight. A truly dead battery won't charge up very quickly, it takes time.

And even if an engine can be successfully jump started, it won't run for long after the jump start battery is disconnected if the battery is truly dead.

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Old 11-20-2011, 08:25 PM   #3
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get a meter or test light and see if your getting power to the starter .
I start from the battery .
Dont forget to turn the key when testing power to the starter.
maybe a bad wire + or ground
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:48 AM   #4
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u can also turn on headlights to test. if lights r dim u have a battery, or charging issue. if lights r bright, turn key to start. if lights then dim u prob. have 'starter issues.. if lights do not dim it is probably a 'connections(& possibly an ign. switch) issue. Good Luck..
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:09 AM   #5
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Thanks everybody. We changed out the ignition switch last night with no luck, also put in a new starter relay, and disabled the clutch switch. No luck so far. As of now, we are thinking it is something electrical, and plan to check all the grounds we can find as well as the wiring from the ignition to the starter. We did test with a meter and found that we were not getting a reading at the starter end of the wire from ignition. Were hoping it was the ignition switch, but obviously it doesn't seem to be the case.

As for the battery, I can try to get a battery charger, but the lights seem to work fine, and the voltmeter gives a reading close to 12.5 like I believe it's supposed to. Can it really still be a dead battery then?

Hopefully we'll get a chance to work on it some more tonight - busy schedules at the moment. I'll update when we find out anything more!
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:18 AM   #6
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Is it automatic? If it is, put it in neutral and try starting it. If it starts, it's sensor of some sort. Mine had that problem and freaked me being new to jeeps as well. A jeep friend of mine helped me dx it. I did test the battery as you did and had same results. I can text him and find out exact name of component I told you about. So try cranking in Neutral. Let us know.
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
Have the battery load tested by a battery retailer, that is the only way to determine a battery's true health. My guess is the battery is very likely dead.
Try Jerry's suggestion. Start with the easiest and cheapest routes, don't just throw parts at it and hope for a fix.
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:37 AM   #8
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Correction, I took my battery to an O'reilly auto parts store and they tested it (took an hour). My buddy just responded and said the problem with mine is "Generally it is the shifter assembly itself or the shift cable adjustment". Hope this helps.
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Is it automatic? If it is, put it in neutral and try starting it. If it starts, it's sensor of some sort. Mine had that problem and freaked me being new to jeeps as well. A jeep friend of mine helped me dx it. I did test the battery as you did and had same results. I can text him and find out exact name of component I told you about. So try cranking in Neutral. Let us know.
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trigger View Post
As for the battery, I can try to get a battery charger, but the lights seem to work fine, and the voltmeter gives a reading close to 12.5 like I believe it's supposed to. Can it really still be a dead battery then?
Headlights don't require nearly as much power from the battery as the starter does. Did you charge it overnight as suggested yesterday? Make sure too that your battery connections are clean and tight. Remove them, wire brush them so they are bright and shiney, then securely reconnect them so they are tight. Battery connections can look fine and be good enough to power lower power consuming devices but not be good enough to get the engine started. Looking at the connections and thinking they are "probably good" isn't good enough when there is a problem, you have to physically remove them, clean them, and then reconnect them to make sure they are good.

One last thing... as battery connections age, they wear to the point where the connector's nut and bolt can't get the connector tight enough to assure a good connection. If you can still twist a connector by hand after tightening it, it's not tight enough. You need to either fix the connector so it can be made tight enough again, I can explain how to do that if you need to, or the connector needs to be replaced.
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:22 PM   #10
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X2
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try jerry's suggestion. Start with the easiest and cheapest routes, don't just throw parts at it and hope for a fix.
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:50 PM   #11
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It really sounds like a battery problem. Even a bad one can show 12+ volts and still be bad. As above a really dead one can drag down the whole system and prevent jumping.

Take the battery out and try with another one. Borrow it from another vehicle and see if it starts them.

Follow the other suggestions regarding ahifter sensors as well.

Never replace parts unless you know they are bad. It's just a waste of money and very frustrating.
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Old 11-21-2011, 01:17 PM   #12
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have an auto parts store test the battery. i had one that would show fine on a volt meter but fell on it's face under load.
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Old 11-22-2011, 01:18 AM   #13
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OK - we haven't had much time to work on it outside of work and sharing one vehicle... Couldn't get a battery charger last night. We'd already cleaned all batt contacts etc. But did so again today, and also cleaned all ground connections we could find. No luck, so took the battery in to be tested. Shop said would take an hour - when done they called and said battery tested good, was fully charged. Can't pick up until tomorrow, but will try it to see if charging it helped anything. Thanks again everyone for all the suggestions - will keep updating.
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Old 11-22-2011, 06:07 AM   #14
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I had this happen on my 2004 TJ. Battery good etc. The ignition switch connects to a piece of plastic that goes under the steering column to the ignition cylinder (the part you put the key into) This piece of plastic has a small metal piece in it that rotates the ignition switch when the key is turned. If that metal piece breaks then you can turn the key all day long an nothing will happen. If you take apart the steering column and remove the ignition swtich. Try turning the switch with a screwdriver if it starts then the problem will be the piece inbetween the cylinder and the switch.
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Old 11-22-2011, 09:25 AM   #15
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Thanks Garlandxj - we actually still have the steering column apart and have only been testing with a screwdriver in the ignition switch since changing it (the ignition switch)
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Old 11-22-2011, 09:29 AM   #16
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Oh - also, in regard to the comment about the neutral safety switch - it is a standard, so the potential problem could be a clutch switch, right? We put a fuse into the clutch override and that hasn't helped yet.
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Old 11-22-2011, 10:58 PM   #17
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Well, unfortunately charging the battery did not change anything. At this point I think we're giving up and hauling it to a mechanic My best guess now is some wiring is bad between the ignition switch and the starter - no power seems to be getting through there.

I'll update whenever it is solved. Thanks again, everyone - really appreciate the help.
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Old 11-23-2011, 06:22 PM   #18
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i just had this same thing happening 10 minutes ago. I think the only thing to add, is that it appears my steering lock has broken. May or may bot be related. Don't know when THAT stopped working.

When something similiar happend a few years ago, jeep had to replace the steering column since something inside the key cylinder lock broke -- it was like $800 to replace the column. :-(

I've tested all above suggestions myself - clutch bypass, starter, relays, battery, reset computer even... I'm hoping to hear back on this one (after the Holidays). I can't think of what else it would be. Mine just died on me.

Must be a switch that failed somewhere.

Isn't there a way to jump the starter relay to rule out safty switches?

Mine won't even let me jump the starter. the engine turns over, but it won't start.
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Old 11-25-2011, 04:57 PM   #19
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i have the exact same issue Trigger!

Im dying to hear the outcome of your Jeep, just had mine towed home this afternoon!

Please let me know what the problem was!!?

Best regards,

Matt
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Old 11-28-2011, 01:29 PM   #20
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UPDATE:

I've loocked into mine. Played around with everything. Looks like the steering lock/broken key cyclinder issue is back.

I'm going to call around and see about hotwiring in a start switch or possible remote start. I do not want to pay $900 for a new steering column again.

If anyone has any experience bypassing this steering column defect...lemme kno...

Call me at (Shawn) 831.331.six59one

Cheers,
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Old 01-27-2012, 05:30 PM   #21
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Sorry that I took so long to get back to this. It took the mechanics a couple weeks before they had it figured out too! They originally thought the computer needed to be replaced, so they ordered one and changed it out, but it didn't solve the problem. So, they kept looking and discovered about a dozen wires corroded right behind the battery. Once those were replaced, the problem was solved. Ick - hope nothing like that ever happens again! Can't believe that we took the battery out and didn't see those corroded wires.
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:24 AM   #22
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Just had this happen to my 02 TJ over the weekend. It turned out to be the exact problem that Garlandxj described. Mechanic did some searching and was told by dealer to replace the stearing column. But he did some research and found a place that makes the small metal piece that rotates the ignition for just this problem. Going to get it installed today. Check out D A V E Y S J E E P S . C O M - Specializing in Jeeps & Jeep Parts for parts...
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:21 PM   #23
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Do I need a whole new steering column>

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garlandxj View Post
I had this happen on my 2004 TJ. Battery good etc. The ignition switch connects to a piece of plastic that goes under the steering column to the ignition cylinder (the part you put the key into) This piece of plastic has a small metal piece in it that rotates the ignition switch when the key is turned. If that metal piece breaks then you can turn the key all day long an nothing will happen. If you take apart the steering column and remove the ignition swtich. Try turning the switch with a screwdriver if it starts then the problem will be the piece inbetween the cylinder and the switch.
Garlndxj - I'm told by my dealer that I need to replace the entire steering column because of this broken metal piece in the ignition switch. We started it by putting a screwdriver in the switch and it started right up. Is there a way to fix this without replacing the entire steering column?

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