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Old 07-10-2012, 03:48 PM   #1
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Jeep won't start sporadically

Hello Folks

Today was frustrating. The Jeep has been working fine after my drama with Death Wobble late last year. Today I have a new issue and I'm not sure what it could be. So I've come to the experts here on the forum.

I'm driving to my work's team outing driving to HP and I stopped at Office Depot to pick up a few things I need for the home office. When I get out and try to start my Jeep, it goes click and NOTHING. A very nice older gentleman tries to help me jump start my Jeep to no avail.

I finally got to an NTB in the same parking lot. THey refused to come to the Jeep and help even with the bad weather overhead. I walked back over to the Jeep and put the key in and IT STARTS. I tried to start the Jeep 1/2 a dozen times before and it would not turn.

I drove the Jeep back to the NTB and they tested the battery and said it was fine. I asked if it could be the alternator and they said probably not becuase the battery had juice.

Now I"m wondering what the issue could be .. THis happened once before about a month ago but it was only one quick incident of not starting and when I turned the key a second time it started. Doesn't seem to be related to temperature as the first time it happened the Jeep was sitting overnight.

Any ideas what I need to be checking for if not the battery or alternator?

Thanks in advance.

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Old 07-10-2012, 04:02 PM   #2
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I have had the same problem; to the point that the starter will not engage at all, ever. Had it to the dealers and they were stumped. So with that, I hauled it back home and built a bypass system. Old fashioned, but it works every time. Ran a fused hot wire from the battery to a button that I had installed in the dash; the a wire from said button to the small terminal on the starter solenoid. Now turn key to "start" position and press button simutaneously and VOILA!! it fires right up; every time!!
Good luck

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Old 07-10-2012, 04:22 PM   #3
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I had the same problem ended up not starting in the middle of the city, got it towed to the dealer and it ended up being the starter. replaced it and now no more problems =)
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Old 07-10-2012, 04:42 PM   #4
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Could be trans temp sensor, ignition, neutral safety switch. Its been summed up as a Jeep Flu on the Jeep Commander. I havent herd of the Jk being effected. It was never one problem that was issue, or the same fix, so Jeep Techs nicknamed it the Jeep Flu. Good luck.
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Old 07-10-2012, 05:32 PM   #5
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Thanks so far for the suggestions. I was hoping this would be something simple I'm afraid this is a sign of something awful that's coming around the corner. UGH! I love this Jeep but it's like a marriage .. sometimes, you love em and sometimes you just can't get along with em.
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:54 PM   #6
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Check the battery cables, if you haven't done so. It could be something as simple as a loose cable or connection.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:04 PM   #7
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If you have another set of keys try it. The keys are coded, it's possible your key is bad.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbtj
Check the battery cables, if you haven't done so. It could be something as simple as a loose cable or connection.
Did that (what I could see) totally clean connection, no gunk on them, secure, Maybe something I can't see.
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:35 PM   #9
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I was going to say, what, it starts consistently? -- but I feel badly for the op, having gone through my own problem with a bad ground on the other end of the instrument panel wiring harness the first day went to sign for it from the dealer and later again the next week. When mine wouldn't start it wouldn't start in a very dramatic way -- panel all freaking out and lighting up like an xmas tree. Dealership found the problem and fixed it (nice). I am hopeful the same happy ending is in store for you.
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GonzoBobH View Post
I was going to say, what, it starts consistently? -- but I feel badly for the op, having gone through my own problem with a bad ground on the other end of the instrument panel wiring harness the first day went to sign for it from the dealer and later again the next week. When mine wouldn't start it wouldn't start in a very dramatic way -- panel all freaking out and lighting up like an xmas tree. Dealership found the problem and fixed it (nice). I am hopeful the same happy ending is in store for you.

Ha Ha. It's definitely a love hate relationsihp with my Jeep, but luck for me, I have a brother who is a mechanic. Bad thing is, I have to drive nearl 2 hours to get to his shop. So, I'll be borrowing my dad's little FORD truck (without AC in the Texas SUMMER!!) while my brother fixes my Jeep .. he thinks it's the starter. The lights on the dash come on, it just clicks and then nothing. Battery good, alternator good. Jeep be good to me .. I take care of you!!
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Old 07-11-2012, 11:58 AM   #11
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Check connections to starter and all grounds for corrosion and fuses are all seated
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Old 07-11-2012, 12:04 PM   #12
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You should also check the fuses/relays inside the fuse box in the engine compartment. When I first got my Jeep, I was having intermittent starting issues. I checked these fuses, and sure enough there was one that had vibrated out of its slot just a little bit. I pushed the fuse firmly back in and haven't had any starting problems in over 1000 miles.
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Old 07-11-2012, 12:16 PM   #13
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Also wanted to ask if you tried putting it in neutral to try and start?
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:56 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bengen1
Also wanted to ask if you tried putting it in neutral to try and start?
I have not tired to start it in neutral but I will and let you know.
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:03 AM   #15
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If you hear a click but no start, it's most likely the starter. The click means your getting a start signal to the solenoid, but it sounds like a bad spot on the armature in the starter. When it does it again, it's a simple test: have someone with a test light see if there's power going to the small wire on the starter solenoid when you turn the key to start, if so, it's the starter. If not, time to dig deeper.
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:34 AM   #16
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There are plenty of threads on the various forums dealing with this intermittent starting problem, which is almost always caused by one of two things: first, static electricity affecting the ability of the starting computer to recognize the key. This is easily diagnosed because your remote doorlocks will not work when the car won't start. If this is your problem, the key computer has to be replaced, which is not cheap if not under warranty.

The far more common problem is an issue with the transmission range sensor, which is the little switch in the transmission that tells the computer what gear you're in. Over time, the grounding of this unit gets weak and it fails to send the correct signal, fooling the jeep into thinking you are in gear when you are in fact in neutral or park.

The (fortunately dirt cheap) solution is to install some heavy gauge ground cables connecting the engine block, frame and transmission to the negative pole of the battery. It's about five dollars in parts and an hour of your time.

It's incredible to me that jeep dealers are not familiar with the problem and the fix. My dealer replaced the starter in my 2008 Rubicon before I finally threw up my hands and did the research online that led me to the ground problem/solution. Since installing some ground straps six weeks ago I've never had another starting issue. I also replaced my stock battery for good measure.

If you want to find out if this is your problem, wait until you're having the starter problem, then use a set of jumper cables to connect the engine block (and, if you can reach, the transmission) to the negative pole of the battery. If your car starts, you've found your problem, and you should install the redundant ground cables permanently.
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Old 07-22-2012, 12:21 PM   #17
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??????????

And what was the problem? How did they fix it?







Quote:
Originally Posted by G.I.Barbie View Post
Ha Ha. It's definitely a love hate relationsihp with my Jeep, but luck for me, I have a brother who is a mechanic. Bad thing is, I have to drive nearl 2 hours to get to his shop. So, I'll be borrowing my dad's little FORD truck (without AC in the Texas SUMMER!!) while my brother fixes my Jeep .. he thinks it's the starter. The lights on the dash come on, it just clicks and then nothing. Battery good, alternator good. Jeep be good to me .. I take care of you!!
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:50 PM   #18
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Same Problem here JK Wrangler (08)

First, thanks for all the info here. I think I have the Xmission park/neutral sensor issue.

I replaced my battery 7 days ago. I go to start my jeep, single click of the solenoid engaging but that's it. All dash lights are on nice and bright as it the interior dome light. Verified the head lights are bright.

I tried to jump it, no luck. Same single click.
Did some reading and found many threads like this, lots of internet churn on this topic. Saw something about the neutral starter switch and decided to try that. I moved the shifter a bit but did not get it into neutral (did not have the key all the way to run) and decide what the heck and gave it a try. Started right up.

I then verified the voltage levels at the battery to see if the alternator was pushing power back to the battery. I have an old analog multimeter, is was pushing 14.5 to 14.8 VDC. I then removed the negative cable from the battery (while running) - it kept running. I've eliminated my alternator/serpentine belt.

Next is the starter but I'm leaning on the transmission safety switch. Mossman, I will give your test a shot, jumper cables are in the jeep.

Thanks
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:55 AM   #19
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OK, time for an update.

I've had this problem 3 times this week. In all cases I did not have a chance to do the jumper cable test. However it is coming down to the neutral starter safety switch. In all 3 cases when it would not start I simply left the key in the 'run' position and shifted to neutral. Attempted to start again, started right away.

I'm going have a look under the vehicle to ID some likely points to add the ground wire that Mossman suggested then off to the parts store to get what I need.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:20 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mossman
There are plenty of threads on the various forums dealing with this intermittent starting problem, which is almost always caused by one of two things: first, static electricity affecting the ability of the starting computer to recognize the key. This is easily diagnosed because your remote doorlocks will not work when the car won't start. If this is your problem, the key computer has to be replaced, which is not cheap if not under warranty.

The far more common problem is an issue with the transmission range sensor, which is the little switch in the transmission that tells the computer what gear you're in. Over time, the grounding of this unit gets weak and it fails to send the correct signal, fooling the jeep into thinking you are in gear when you are in fact in neutral or park.

The (fortunately dirt cheap) solution is to install some heavy gauge ground cables connecting the engine block, frame and transmission to the negative pole of the battery. It's about five dollars in parts and an hour of your time.

It's incredible to me that jeep dealers are not familiar with the problem and the fix. My dealer replaced the starter in my 2008 Rubicon before I finally threw up my hands and did the research online that led me to the ground problem/solution. Since installing some ground straps six weeks ago I've never had another starting issue. I also replaced my stock battery for good measure.

If you want to find out if this is your problem, wait until you're having the starter problem, then use a set of jumper cables to connect the engine block (and, if you can reach, the transmission) to the negative pole of the battery. If your car starts, you've found your problem, and you should install the redundant ground cables permanently.
I think this might be my problem. The issue had not reared it's ugly head until yesterday and recalling this answer I moved my gear shift more forward (there is a little play in the gear shit) and VOILA - it started. What a pain.
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:12 PM   #21
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I think this might be your part (range sensor):

$23.79, 659677AC

2008 JEEP WRANGLER Neutral Safety Switch / Range Sensor

More Information for STANDARD MOTOR PRODUCTS NS212

Make sure it fits your year (I think it's 2008 - 2010), not sure but probably fits an 2007 and 2011 as well.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:59 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3JKs1H1
I think this might be your part (range sensor):

$23.79, 659677AC

2008 JEEP WRANGLER Neutral Safety Switch / Range Sensor

More Information for STANDARD MOTOR PRODUCTS NS212

Make sure it fits your year (I think it's 2008 - 2010), not sure but probably fits an 2007 and 2011 as well.
Awesome, possum. Can a girl replace that part ? .
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:32 PM   #23
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Here's a pic of where it goes:

Sensors Drive Train. Fits: WRANGLER 2.4L 4 Cyl DOHC 16v SMPI, 6-Speed Manual, NSG370 SE, WRANGLER 4.0L Power Tech I-6, 4-Spd. Automatic, 42RLE RUBICON... | FACTORY CHRYSLER PARTS

It's a bit tight (behind the driveshaft) so easy to do on a lift where you can get your hand in there, or drop one end of the driveshaft (if you have fat fingers)

You should print the pic and take the part to a shop, smile, and say "can you put this little old part in here for me". That's the easiest way.
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:33 PM   #24
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Unfortunately it's not easy to replace the Transmission Range Sensor (TRS). You have to pull apart some of your transmission to get to it.

1. You can live with it - shift to Neutral, back and forth from Park to Neutral, juggle the handle, etc. to start it when it fails. (free but a pain at times)

2. Try to do it yourself, but it's a pain. (messy and not the easiest job)

3. Take it to a dealer and have them do it. (cost?)

4. Bypass the TRS with a wire, but your Jeep will now start in Drive, Reverse, 1st, etc. (cheap but potentially dangerous)

5. I've seen a company that sells an external to the transmission switch that bypasses the TRS and supposedly does the same thing. (not sure of the cost, but it’s supposedly “easy” to do)


I had the same problem, but caught it under warrantee and had the dealer fix it.
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:36 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3JKs1H1 View Post
Here's a pic of where it goes:

Sensors Drive Train. Fits: WRANGLER 2.4L 4 Cyl DOHC 16v SMPI, 6-Speed Manual, NSG370 SE, WRANGLER 4.0L Power Tech I-6, 4-Spd. Automatic, 42RLE RUBICON... | FACTORY CHRYSLER PARTS

It's a bit tight (behind the driveshaft) so easy to do on a lift where you can get your hand in there, or drop one end of the driveshaft (if you have fat fingers)...
It's actually located INSIDE the transmission under the valve body...
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:56 AM   #26
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neutral safety switch

I had the same starting problem with my '08 Wrangler. I replaced the battery and the starter and still sporadically had the issue. I foud it is the neutrak safety switch. Now when it happens I shift into neutral and it starts every time. I've heard all you need to do is clean the switch, but I can't find it. Anyone know wher it is? Thanks!
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:06 AM   #27
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Here is a write up that might help
http://www.bc4x4.com/tech/2010/jeep-...ty-switch-nss/
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:08 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G.I.Barbie View Post
Did that (what I could see) totally clean connection, no gunk on them, secure, Maybe something I can't see.
mine did that, it was the opposite end of the battery cable at the starter side. It was only finger tight... just something to check. And for your terminal connections you have to pull them off the battery and clean them with sandpaper or a wire brush inside the terminal and on the post. Should be all scored up then seat them together and tighten rather well. If they are shiny, they are dirty. Should be dull and scratched to hell for a good connection.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:38 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hankj311 View Post
I had the same starting problem with my '08 Wrangler. I replaced the battery and the starter and still sporadically had the issue. I foud it is the neutrak safety switch. Now when it happens I shift into neutral and it starts every time. I've heard all you need to do is clean the switch, but I can't find it. Anyone know wher it is? Thanks!
It's a Transmission Range Sensor now, and it's located inside of your transmission under the valve body.
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Old 09-28-2012, 12:26 PM   #30
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Angry :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by G.I.Barbie View Post
Hello Folks

Today was frustrating. The Jeep has been working fine after my drama with Death Wobble late last year. Today I have a new issue and I'm not sure what it could be. So I've come to the experts here on the forum.

I'm driving to my work's team outing driving to HP and I stopped at Office Depot to pick up a few things I need for the home office. When I get out and try to start my Jeep, it goes click and NOTHING. A very nice older gentleman tries to help me jump start my Jeep to no avail.

I finally got to an NTB in the same parking lot. THey refused to come to the Jeep and help even with the bad weather overhead. I walked back over to the Jeep and put the key in and IT STARTS. I tried to start the Jeep 1/2 a dozen times before and it would not turn.

I drove the Jeep back to the NTB and they tested the battery and said it was fine. I asked if it could be the alternator and they said probably not becuase the battery had juice.

Now I"m wondering what the issue could be .. THis happened once before about a month ago but it was only one quick incident of not starting and when I turned the key a second time it started. Doesn't seem to be related to temperature as the first time it happened the Jeep was sitting overnight.

Any ideas what I need to be checking for if not the battery or alternator?

Thanks in advance.
I'm with you on this one! How frustrating. Just put my Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport in the shop yesterday for a list of things, one being it won't start periodically, the same way yours does. They can't figure it out either, checked everything. The girl there tells me it MAY be the WIN Module and the service bulletins say it's supposed to be upgraded later this year. Meaning, I will have to pay to have mine changed soon enough. And of course, it's out of warranty.
Besides the not starting thing, it supposedly affects a host of other things from the clock losing time, to the low tire pressure light staying on constantly etc.
I also have water on my floor board on the passenger side, that I thought was coming from my AC and is apparently not. They can't figure that one out either.
I love my Jeep, but she can be such a B*tch sometimes.

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