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Old 07-05-2011, 07:52 PM   #1
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Starter issues

Last week I went to start up the 93 YJ and when turning the key I got nothing but the infamous starter "click". I had replaced the starter a year ago so I knew the drill.

I tapped it with a hammer and still no go. I cleaned the battery connections and gave it a test. Battery was really dead so I got a new one. Turned the key and....click. Same thing.

I decided I must have killed another starter so I bit the bullet and got a new starter. It tested ok in the store and so I put it in and ...... click. $65 down the drain.

So $145 later I was no closer.

Today I noticed my negative batter cable looked shady so I replaced the whole thing. Click. Still nothing. $165 and counting....

I'm really hesitant to to replace the positive cable because it has some proprietary stuff going on and I don't want to slice it up unless it's a last resort.

I then got another bad sign. I heard I should try to "jump" the starter by putting a screwdriver between the posts to basically bypass the ignition system. When I did that I got nothing but tiny sparks. That tells me there's still a power (ground?) issue somewhere (?)

So...summary:

New battery. New Starter. New negative cables. Starter clicks when turning the key (which tells me ignition is ok, I think).

What could I possibly check next?? Going crazy and appreciate any ideas. Thanks!!

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Old 07-05-2011, 09:00 PM   #2
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Properly grounded? Doesn't sound like ignition...

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Old 07-05-2011, 09:24 PM   #3
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First things first, check for voltage at the control circuit (the small terminal) when the key is turned to start. Chances are you do if you hear the starter clicking, but don't rule out that you're not hearing another relay clicking. It's worth checking, all it takes is a test light.

Otherwise you may still have a bad positive connection. Just seeing an arc across the terminals doesn't mean it's not dropping out under load. Put a voltmeter between the positive battery post (the actual post, not the cable end) and the battery+ terminal on the starter. When trying to crank you'll get a voltage reading on the meter if there's resistance in the circuit. Normally you'll see a few tenths of a volt there, anything approaching a volt or higher will be a problem.
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Old 07-06-2011, 08:02 AM   #4
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ground and meter

Thanks guys,

LaterJim: Is the starter grounded simply by touching the plate behind it? I cleaned that to make sure it got a good connection but it seemed like the plate was bent a little (stuck out a bit on one side). I tried clamping it down to ensure it was grounding but the result was no different. Any other grounding I should check?

onroad: Good detailed advice here, thanks. I think I finally need to buy a meter I tended to just borrow my neighbors when he wandered by, but I probably cant call myself a jeep owner without one. Maybe I'll stop today and try your tests.

I'll report back, but am open to any other suggestions...
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Old 07-06-2011, 09:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob_Feature View Post
Last week I went to start up the 93 YJ and when turning the key I got nothing but the infamous starter "click". I had replaced the starter a year ago so I knew the drill.

I tapped it with a hammer and still no go. I cleaned the battery connections and gave it a test. Battery was really dead so I got a new one. Turned the key and....click. Same thing.

I decided I must have killed another starter so I bit the bullet and got a new starter. It tested ok in the store and so I put it in and ...... click. $65 down the drain.

So $145 later I was no closer.

Today I noticed my negative batter cable looked shady so I replaced the whole thing. Click. Still nothing. $165 and counting....

I'm really hesitant to to replace the positive cable because it has some proprietary stuff going on and I don't want to slice it up unless it's a last resort.

I then got another bad sign. I heard I should try to "jump" the starter by putting a screwdriver between the posts to basically bypass the ignition system. When I did that I got nothing but tiny sparks. That tells me there's still a power (ground?) issue somewhere (?)

So...summary:

New battery. New Starter. New negative cables. Starter clicks when turning the key (which tells me ignition is ok, I think).

What could I possibly check next?? Going crazy and appreciate any ideas. Thanks!!
Let me know how this turns out. I am having the same issues with my 95. Had a mechanic look at it and he said there was a wire coming from the firewall that was burnt and he replaced it but I still have nothing. I thought the same thing as you, that the ignition switch was bad and changed it out and nothing has changed.
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Old 07-06-2011, 12:09 PM   #6
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Went out and got a volt meter and am trying to learn to use it (never used one before). My main concern is cooking myself or the meter so I want to make sure I'm doing this right.

For all the tests recommended I should have the battery fully attached right? The meter instructions say never test with a power source connected but I'm assuming that's just overly cautious disclaimer stuff??

So with just the positive connected I checked for continuity on the small starter post. Put one lead on the small post and the other on the starter housing (ground?) and got a beep. So I think that passes, right? I didn't turn the key while testing this.

Now I want to do the second test between the battery post and the starter positive but am a little afraid of cooking myself (overly cautious since I don't really know what I'm doing). I should have everything connected and do this test right?

Thanks for the help
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Old 07-06-2011, 12:38 PM   #7
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For anyone's reference I found this page from a very old popular mechanics article helpful for detailed voltmeter testing procedure on the starter

http://books.google.com/books?id=euM...page&q&f=false
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Old 07-06-2011, 01:02 PM   #8
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Just did my tests:

When connecting the positive starter post to the starter body I only got a reading of 5v while cranking. Not good.
I then connected the meter between the positive battery post and the positive starter post and cranked. This jumped around so much it was hard to tell what was happening because it was really hard to reach both points at the same time. It seemed to consistently be going down (negative) when cranking.

I think this means it's time to replace my positive battery cable. Agreed?
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Old 07-06-2011, 02:58 PM   #9
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is it a "click" like a dead battery/starter? or does it sound like its trying to turn the engine and just doesnt have enough power to di it? My wrangler just gave me the same problem. $350 in replaced electric components/wireing and still nothing. eventually pulled the head off and had spun a bearing and locked up...hope you have a better outcome.
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Old 07-06-2011, 03:05 PM   #10
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Just ran more voltage tests per this post: Starter not starting? Read this! - JeepForum.com

My tests failed #5 there:
Quote:
Put the negative lead on the negative post of the battery, and the positive lead on the large post of the solenoid on the starter, where the live batter cable runs to. Perform the same tests as we did on the ground cable to check the live feed.
I'm pretty sure this means a bad cable from the battery to the starter, so I just ordered a new one. I'll install tomorrow morning, hope that solves it! (If not I'm REALLY stumped!)
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Old 07-06-2011, 06:43 PM   #11
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The multimeter connection above encompasses pretty much all connections in the starting system and doesn't really pinpoint the weak link, but I have a feeling the positive cable should do it since you've already checked and replaced most everything else. A bad positive cable can deliver enough amps just to power the solenoid but not spin the motor.

Long as you have a 12v signal on the control wire, a good cable from batt+ to the starter, a ground just as good, a working starter, and an engine that turns, there's nothing else stopping it.

The starter housing is ground, which grounds through the engine block, and back to the battery via the cable bolted to the side of the block.
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Old 07-06-2011, 06:50 PM   #12
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Thanks onroad. I'll report back after tomorrow's cable replacement!
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:07 PM   #13
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Good luck! If all else fails you could always convert to a hand crank. It would definitely be unique.
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Old 07-07-2011, 09:32 AM   #14
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As much as I like the idea of installing a handcrank.... The positive cable did it! (it BETTER have done it, I'm not sure what I'd do otherwise).

So, I replaced the battery, starter, both pos and neg battery cables and purchased a voltmeter. I guess I can consider my starter section 'revamped'

Thanks so much for everyone's help (especially onroad). I really appreciate it, and I'm back on the road.....

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