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Old 04-29-2009, 02:55 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2009
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88 yj ignition

i have a 88 yj 4.2. I believe I am having some electrical problems. When turning the key nothing happens. There is no clicking or lights or anything. The problem started while i was driving, the dashlights turned off and the engine slowly stopped too. I got out and smelled something burning on the passenger side of the engine. There was also a little bit of smoke coming from that area, between the battery and starter motor.

There was connector on the "starter relay" i guess its called. Its a box a little smaller than a playing card but is about 2 inches thick. Theres a few connections all around it but there is a main bolt that has 3 or 4 O-rings around it with wires connected to them.

However the last O-ring (closest to the front of the car) has just shreds of wire comining from it. I figured it had to be the problem but I can not find any loose wires anywhere under the hood. I've looked time after time and i can not find any, i even looked down the road where it broke down and didnt find any on the road.

I've replaced the starter relay and it hasent helped.

My main ground strap is ripped but i recently replaced it and it works fine, but when i took the strap off my dash lights would not work right. I mention this because when i take the strap off, turning the key does light up the dashboard, just not the right lights. To my knowledge, this rules out the key part as my problem.

my headlights still work fine

starter is newish and still works. I dont know what else to add

any help is appreciated

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Old 04-29-2009, 05:30 PM   #2
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sounds like a short somewhere. how do you know the starter still works? just curious.

post some pics of that relay and that bolt w/ wires coming from it, maybe we can see something.

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Old 05-12-2009, 01:54 PM   #3
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here is a picture of the relay. as you can see there is one connection that is empty. The empty connection gets power because i tapped it with the green wire that goes to the starter and the starter turned. hope this helps
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Old 05-12-2009, 01:57 PM   #4
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this picture shows the loose connection
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Old 05-13-2009, 09:11 PM   #5
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check for a wire (may be brown) going to the starter relay. relay box in front of battery.

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Old 05-13-2009, 09:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by htopball View Post
Attachment 8285

this picture shows the loose connection
So the terminal that's missing it's wire, (about 7 O-clock) is the one that (what) melted off?

Find that wire, & using a voltmeter, Ohm it to ground. If you get a reading, it's a short. Start tracing it, (unless you already know where it goes) & see what it leads to. That's where the problem likely is.

Most of the other wires connected to the starter relay, have a fusible link to prevent electrical fires. I would suggest putting one on that wire too, once you get the short squared away.

I was rolling on a highway about ten years ago, in my 1978 Dodge Ramcharger. All of the sudden, there was lots of smoke coming from under the dash.
I pulled right onto the shoulder, opened the hood & undid the positive battery cable via it's quick release. There were three wires glowing & the covering dripping off. I got to it just in time, before it ignited into a flaming deathtrap.

Don't take this lightly, you need to fix this right! If you can't figure it out then take it to an automotive electrical specialist.

Fire hurts real bad, when you can't get out of it quick enough!
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Old 05-14-2009, 02:53 PM   #7
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i havent been able to find any loose wires that might have gone to this empty terminal. ive looked over and over.
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Old 10-19-2009, 03:44 PM   #8
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You probably solved this but, the wire that melted is a fusible link. If I am looking at it right, then it looks like it is your 12v constant that runs to your ignition switch. If that wire melted then you have a short on that circuit and should backtrack it to either your ignition switch or column. I almost the exact thing happen to me, except the car shut off right after I hit the turn signal. Maybe a coincidence but I am backtracking and have isolated the short to somewhere between the Ign switch and turn signal/wiper switch. I think....

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