So, here's a quick rundown of how and when it stopped working. Trying to give as much info as possible and I'll try to keep it fairly brief, because I'm in a bad spot due to this thing not starting and the whole situation is incredibly frustrating.
Last Thursday night I buy this '96 XJ 2WD w/ auto trans. Was told there were no issues at all, but I knew the A/C compressor was going bad (groaning loudly). Over the weekend, the A/C compressor dies and the groaning mostly goes away, along with any cold air being blown. Not a HUGE deal, as I can survive w/o A/C for a short amount of time and it seemed to run fine despite that going out.
Sunday night, I'm backing up into a parking spot and notice I don't have any reverse lights. Odd, but I never thought to check that when buying it, so I figured it was a fuse or bulbs.
Yesterday, I drive it up to a store and it's running fine. Park it and my girlfriend are in there for probably about an hour. Go to start it up and it seems the battery is dead. It tries to crank, but won't start. With each turn of the ignition, I get less and less. Call a friend to come give me a jump. He gets there about a half hour later. Go to crank it and get nothing.
Check the fuses on the passenger side in the engine bay and notice one of the big 30A fuses (the front, right most) is blown. Don't know when it blew, but I figured when trying to jump it. Pull one of the other fuses and toss it in there and it blows as soon as I turn the ignition and nothing happens. Get some more fuses and same thing. Realize now I was likely blowing that one due to the other being pulled. Head home leaving the truck in the store's parking lot. That brings me to this morning.
I go out and buy some more fuses, put them where they're all supposed to be and turn the ignition and get absolutely nothing. When I turn the key past the "ON" position to crank it, it's as if I'm doing nothing at all.
When I put the key in and turn it to ON/accessories, the gauges move, the buzzer sounds, all the lights work, etc, but it doesn't even try to crank.
After doing some reading and calling the guy who sold it to me, I determined it is likely the NSS. The previous owner admitted to me that there have been times where he had to wiggle the shifter to get it started and with the reverse lights being out, that just made sense to me. After doing reading I bypassed the sensor by doing this:
I did this, along with a couple other variations I saw online and there were no changes at all. Couple questions with this. Do I have to bridge those to wires, then reconnect the connector? Based on what others were saying, it didn't sound like that was necessary and that I could leave it disconnected. Also, to confirm the reverse lights aren't working, if I put the key into the "ON" position and shift into reverse, should I get reverse lights despite the car not being started?
I've since tried jumping it with that bridged, amongst other things (tapping on the starter, cleaning the battery terminals a bit, etc). Everything I'm doing, I'm doing in a grocery store parking lot in a dirty, oily spot and it's currently over 100*f outside. Between that and my currently limited access to tools, I haven't been able to do too much thoroughly.
When I put the key in and turn it on, most of the gauges stay about where they are, but the voltmeter does go up (little over halfway between 9 and 14) and the BRAKE, GEN and CEL light up and then go off after a few seconds. Like I said, all the lights seem to work and the radio was, too. But when I go to crank it, it's as if I'm doing nothing at all.
Any help is greatly appreciated. This is my only vehicle at the moment and it's been an absolute nightmare thus far.
Also, this is possibly completely unrelated, but what is this?
Near the steering column up towards my right knee and gets very hot.
Thanks in advance, any and everyone.