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Old 11-17-2010, 07:43 PM   #1
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1997 Jeep Wrangler won't start

A new poster here with a problem looking for help, so appreciate the help.

Weird is the only way I can describe this. Here is the history..

About 3 weeks ago while driving, alternator gauge pegged out at 19 volts for 10 seconds and went away. First sign of gremlins in the jeep , went away , everything was fine

About two weeks ago, had trouble starting it. I had to put foot on gas pedal, got it start but it would not idle. While on the way home, the idle returned to normal and no issue.

I was figuring it was a matter of time before the jeep would break down on me. Well today she would not start.

Turn key, Absolutely nothing it was making not attempt to start. Gauges would jump around a bit. Lights would not come on, the horn barely blew. Jeep would not jump or could not push and pop cluctch.

Battery had 12.8 volts, so I figured it had to be something with power to start rely. I had 12.5 volts on one of the relay poles and no volts on other poles as expected. When key was turned, the 12 volts dropped to 4 and the pole with none had 3 volts. I figured it has to be the ignition switch. I changed it out but still had same results.

Battery was two years old, decided to get it tested at autozone and it tested good. They swapped it for free, so I took it and went home put it in.

Jeep started immediately, lights worked horn blew!! I left it running while I picked up my tools probably 10 minutes. Since I had to put my steering wheel together from changing ignition switch, I put her in the garage. Once in the garage, shut her off, then tried to restart NOTHING! DEAD, no horn no lights, check battery 12.6 volts.

So I am lost. I was going to pull the alternator to go get check next but not sure if that is the next step , since it would not jump and I only got one start on the new battery.

Any suggestions on what should be next? can you get the computer tested?

Appreciate any suggestions

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Old 11-17-2010, 08:14 PM   #2
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Sounds like a bad or loose battery cable.
Put a voltmeter on the battery terminals, try to start it. It should maintain at least 12 volts.
Go to the relay box, right fender - voltmeter on the red posts on the end - bet it drops to that 3 volts or so.
Somewhere between the battery and that post is a bad connection. Try it several times then feel the cables - look for somewhere it's warm - the bad spot.
Don't forget the ground cable - and the bolt where it attaches the the engine.
Use the voltmeter - test the other end of the pos cable at the starter, it will always read 12 volts unless there's a load on it. Headlights on should be enough to drop it enough to find the loss.

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Old 11-17-2010, 10:01 PM   #3
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You saved me from pulling the alternator , as i think you are correct. Hard to troubleshoot this yourself to read voltage without putting the key on, but I was testing voltage between that post and the battery. It was at 12.6 so I was starting to wonder again, then tested continuity between battery terminal and that post and notice it was not constant. I checked voltage again at the post, this time had 7 then went to 10 and jumped all around. So no constant voltage must mean a bad wire. I wish I had more time tonight to look for it, but will reply back when i find it. Thanks!
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:34 AM   #4
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Do mean its the terminal connector?
You should never use your ohm meter if there is a chance of voltage being transfered as it has the potential to damage the ohm meter.

My jeep does the same thing with the built in voltmeter I get out and twist the terminal back'n forth and its good again for a bit. Need to get new terminals or something just dont like the looks of the bolt on ones.
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Old 11-28-2010, 11:12 PM   #5
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J10, I was testing continuity over the wire from the battery to the relay box with the battery post disconnected. I re-read my post and was not that clear. As RRICH sugested, that wire had a nice burn on it, so that was my main problem. I replaced that wire, but also took J10 comment and realized I did not like either one of my battery post terminals. They were old and really did not tighten up that strong anymore. Probably just a matter of time before they bit me as well. So new wire, two new terminals, Jeep is running like a champ again.
Thanks for responses it help me get back on the road quickly
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