1990 XJ Will Crank But Won't Start - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 5 Old 04-23-2009, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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1990 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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1990 XJ Will Crank But Won't Start

I have a 1990 Jeep Cherokee Laredo with the larger engine option (I forget which it is, currently). I bought it in November with about 165k miles on it.

About a month ago, I went out to start it one morning, and it just refused to start up. It cranked and cranked just fine (not a sluggish crank like you'd hear if the battery were running down), but refused to ever actually start. I tried it for three days (these were all very, very cold days, sub-freezing), with no luck.

A friendly neighbor suggested that the ballast resistor is often to blame for this trouble, so I ordered a new one from the dealer. On the day I went to replace it, which was a warmer day than the previous few, the car started before I even changed the resistor. I replaced it anyway, but had no further starting issues with it for about month.

Until last week, when the problem arose again. It was damp and cool, but not nearly as cold as it had been then. I waited a couple hours, went out to try it again, and as it was turning over, I gave it a little gas and it hesitantly turned over and started. I drove it for another few days with no problems, but this last Wednesday, same problem. It wouldn't start for about two hours, even with me pumping the accelerator (which I normally do when starting the vehicle). Finally, in a fit of frustration, I jammed on the accelerator after letting it crank for about 5 seconds, and it caught and started, again, very hesitantly.

Additionally, sometimes, lately, when I start the vehicle, it idles very high for a couple seconds before dropping back to its regular idle speed.

I got my oil changed yesterday and asked the guy about it, and he said that it would be tough and expensive for them to try to diagnose it if the problem was only happening intermittently.

I should also note that during my emissions inspection at the end of last December, they replaced all my plugs and the plug wiring. They also informed me one of the fuel injectors was bad, but since it passed inspection it didn't NEED to be replaced. Being on a budget, I haven't gotten around to having that taken care of.

It is now refusing to start (despite starting up with no trouble 6 times throughout the day today), and it looks like I'm about to miss work tomorrow, see if I can get it towed, and wind up paying an exhorbitant amount of money to get it fixed.

Anyone have any ideas?

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post #2 of 5 Old 04-24-2009, 06:27 AM
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1995 XJ Cherokee 
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Location: north Ga.
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You need to check if it is spark or fuel that you don't have, try spraying some starting fluid into the breather hose while starting. If it starts momentairily you have a fuel delivery problem. If this doesn't work remove a plug and test for spark. If you have no spark, most likely the crankshaft position sensor is bad. http://www.lunghd.com/Tech_Articles/...iagnostics.htm this link is helpful in diagnosing the sensors for your model.

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post #3 of 5 Old 04-25-2009, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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1990 XJ Cherokee 
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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I just had the plugs and wires replaced a couple months ago (apparently, the originals were still in there, from 1990!), so hopefully it's not that.

Back when it was happening the first time, we sprayed some starting fluid into the airbox, but that didn't help.

As far as the current situation, I had it towed to a local service station, and as soon as they got the thing down off the tow bed, it started up. The tow truck driver suggested maybe it was just low on gas, but the same symptoms were evident even when the tank was full several days previous. The mechanic at the station said he'd have a tough time diagnosing it if it was starting, but he tested the fuel pressure during crank, and said it was fine. He said that we might try replacing the fuel filter, so I did that, but when driving it home, I stopped to get groceries and when I got back to my car, it didn't start again. I spent two hours in a grocery store parking light, trying it intermittently. Eventually it did start, I filled it up with premium gas, and it hasn't not started since then (that was yesterday afternoon), but it hesitates more than I would like.

I'm having it looked at again this week, I will make sure to mention these things, thanks a lot!
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post #4 of 5 Old 04-25-2009, 08:29 PM
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1988 XJ Cherokee 
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Location: Wi
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Check you TPS.
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post #5 of 5 Old 04-27-2009, 04:31 PM
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1990 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: H-town TX
Posts: 25
okay there are a couple things if its getting good psi at start you could have more injectors startin to go out or it could be your tps like 1deadeye suggested try the little white thing that is mounted on the inner fender towards the front on the driver side, only two wires go into it, it regulates the power going to the fuel pump. Mine had some corrosion on the contacts and it was causing it not to start. but it was intermittin. Not to familar with the what the crank position sensor acts like when it goes out, make sure ur getting spark, new plugs and wire dosent mean theres nething going on on the inside, check your coil to. hmm thats all i can think of good luck and keep us updated.
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