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Old 06-21-2011, 04:34 PM   #1
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Stranded by TJ

Howdy all. I need to pick your collective brains (again). First, I towed my '99 2.5 back to Austin from where I was, just because I had the option to. Everything was fine.

I unhooked it, drove around a bit, with no problems. Made a big left, she sputtered, and died. Turned the key, and it DID try to start, but didn't fire up.

What I checked: Disconnected the battery for about 5 minutes, hooked it up, and tried again with no joy. Then I checked and cleaned the distributor wires at the cap and the coil ends. No joy. Checked the injector rail for fuel (that little valve on the rail I pressed squirted gas at me, so I presume fuel is getting there). No joy. So I got a tow home, disconnected the battery over night, and tried again this morning. It SOUNDED like it wanted to start, but didn't. Tried again, and NOW the the gauges won't even come alive.

I'm speculating that my computer is going sideways on me, but would really appreciate other things to check out. She's my only ride, so I'm a bit on the stranded side right now. Thanks for your help!

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Old 06-21-2011, 04:50 PM   #2
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Gauges are dead because your battery is dead now after all those tries to start the engine. Most likely it is your CPS (Crankshaft Position Sensor) that has gone bad. It is common on Jeeps for this sensor to go bad. Your computer is fine!

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Old 06-21-2011, 05:27 PM   #3
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banipal19 - Thanks for your input. I'll check it out. Is there a way to reliably test the battery with a voltage meter? The reason I ask is that I had a similar problem with what I THOUGHT was an ignition issue. The gauges wouldn't come alive, etc. It turns out that after I let the computer completely reset overnight by disconnecting the battery, everything was fine the next day. Thanks again!
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Old 06-21-2011, 05:42 PM   #4
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No .. you cannot test the battery with a volt meter. Volt meter will tell you how many volts a battery has but will not tell you how the battery will perform when putting a load on it. You can take your battery to Autozone/Sears etc and they will do a free battery test for you.
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Old 06-21-2011, 05:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banipal19
No .. you cannot test the battery with a volt meter. Volt meter will tell you how many volts a battery has but will not tell you how the battery will perform when putting a load on it. You can take your battery to Autozone/Sears etc and they will do a free battery test for you.
Turn the key with the voltimeter hooked up. If you see a nasty drop from 12.5 v to 0 then its a good sign your battery is no bueno. Once the engine starts look at your dash to verify you are around 14.5 volts, that will verify your alternator is functioning properly.
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Old 06-21-2011, 05:54 PM   #6
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Better description needed: Jeep would not start...sounded like it wanted to? When you turn the ignition key to the start position does the engine turn over? If it turns over, does it turn over slowly like a weak battery? Or does it turn over quickly (like normal).

A weak battery "sounds" like it wants to start, but just doesn't have enough oomph to do so.

Rules out the battery and the ignition switch and I buy the Cam Position sensor as your next obvious check.

Explanation ignition switch: Key switch (on my jeep) has 4 positions. OFF, ACC, RUN and START. They are listed in the order in which you cross them everytime you turn the key. It is entirely possible that your 'run' circuit has shorted out. Hence jeep turns over but it is same as if key is in off position and you manually energize the starter.
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:44 PM   #7
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CapnDean - Thanks for the observations. Yes, yesterday the engine turned over when I cranked the ignition key, and sounded like it normally does when starting. As I was turning the corner, it sputtered and died, so I initially suspected the fuel supply. Am I right in presuming that since there was pressurized fuel in the injector rail, there's gas getting where it needs to go? How could I test the 'run' circuit, btw? I'll get to checking the battery tomorrow.

Thanks again for the help.
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:27 PM   #8
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Hold on a second, we got you going in two directions at once. Fuel/spark. or lack of.

Let's figure out which it is first. Then start looking.
#1 OK it turns over fine/normal. Sounds like the battery is OK, but have it checked anyhow.

#2 Does it have spark at the plugs? Yes/No

If No, let's see why it has no spark. Pull a wire off and see if you have spark there. Yes/ No
Yes, you got bad plugs. No, problem is further back, maybe bad cap/rotor/coil.
Look at the coil close where the plug wire attaches. If you see small cracks, or lines, the coil is bad. Also look at the cap and rotor for damage inside.

As stated, CPS could easily be at fault, Ohm meter check, 200 Ohms +/- 75 is the range. If you have a volt meter, it more then likely has an Ohm meter on it.

On the first test if you had spark, you need to look at fuel. If you got a pretty good splash of fuel, more then likely fuel is not your problem. Injector maybe, but acts like fuel pressure is good.

From your description, it sounds like an electrical problem, spark.
Note if there is not spark, and you keep cranking on the engine, you may end up fouling the plugs out.
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:51 AM   #9
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Sounds like what happened when my fuel gauge went out. I ran it out of gas, but before it was completely out it would die when I was turning.

Put some gas in the tank and see if it will run.
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:54 PM   #10
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Thanks for the continued help, all.

So the latest development sounds a lot like a problem I was having months ago. Charged battery, stick in key, turn forward a click, hear "normal" chime, turn forward one more click (expecting instrument panel to come alive with fuel status, voltage, etc.), and nothing. The chime goes away, as well. What solved it last time was disconnecting the battery and letting the computer reset overnight. Came back in the morning, and it fired up just fine. Not working this time, I'm afraid.

So, I've opened up the instrument panel and discovered how insanely cruddy of a job somebody has done wiring stuff up. Right away, I noticed a loose ground strap coming off the plate where the instrument cluster is connected to. Can anybody tell me where that ground strap is SUPPOSED to connect to? Will anywhere do?

Thanks again.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottunzicker View Post
So the latest development sounds a lot like a problem I was having months ago. Charged battery, stick in key, turn forward a click, hear "normal" chime, turn forward one more click (expecting instrument panel to come alive with fuel status, voltage, etc.), and nothing. The chime goes away, as well. What solved it last time was disconnecting the battery and letting the computer reset overnight. Came back in the morning, and it fired up just fine. Not working this time, I'm afraid.
Could be an intermittent/dirty/loose/corroded battery connection. Remove both battery connections and do a THOROUGH wire brush cleaning of the battery posts and the inside of the connectors. Get 'em bright & shiny clean, then tighten the connectors securely back onto the battery posts.

No, don't just look at the connectors and pronounce them as 'ok' because they can look fine and not be connected well enough for it to start or even power everything up. A bad connection can let the lights and radio work but not once the key is turned further where it requires more amperage from the battery than the ACC ignition key position does.
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Old 06-24-2011, 11:25 AM   #12
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Thanks, Jerry. I'll do that here in a bit! Also, do you know where the ground strap to which I was referring is SUPPOSED to go?
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Old 06-24-2011, 11:40 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by scottunzicker View Post
Thanks for the continued help, all.

So the latest development sounds a lot like a problem I was having months ago. Charged battery, stick in key, turn forward a click, hear "normal" chime, turn forward one more click (expecting instrument panel to come alive with fuel status, voltage, etc.), and nothing. The chime goes away, as well. What solved it last time was disconnecting the battery and letting the computer reset overnight. Came back in the morning, and it fired up just fine. Not working this time, I'm afraid.

So, I've opened up the instrument panel and discovered how insanely cruddy of a job somebody has done wiring stuff up. Right away, I noticed a loose ground strap coming off the plate where the instrument cluster is connected to. Can anybody tell me where that ground strap is SUPPOSED to connect to? Will anywhere do?

Thanks again.
Not sure that this will help, but as I was workin on some electrical stuff the other day I came across this ground as well. Mine was also unhooked. I could not find a place for it to attach or what it was for. came from the instrument panel. I left mine unhooked, and have no issues. I would try attaching yours to one of the bolts that the harness for the radio goes to. should get a good ground there and if thats your issue? also for your dash, since it just happened randomly, check your fuse box. I blew the fuel pump fuse somehow randomly, and it cause my whole dash to go dead.
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Old 06-25-2011, 09:40 PM   #14
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Have you checked fuses? I had one blow on me, because and 02 sensor was shorting out. My jeep sputtered, and then left me on the side of the road. I would suggest checking those!!
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Old 06-26-2011, 09:26 PM   #15
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Howdy, All.

I'm happy to report the problem is fixed. In short, those who pointed me in the direction of the CPS were close. One of the wires going into the molex connector to the CPS had worn through and disconnected. A buddy stripped all three wires going into the connector, soldered them back in, and heat wrapped and taped the bundle. Voila! She started right up. Per Jerry's suggestion, I cleaned (via brass brush) and deoxed the living daylights out the battery's terminals and cables, and all's well with the dash, etc., too.

So, once again, thanks all for the help!!!

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