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Unread 04-03-2014, 06:23 PM   #1
pohustla
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1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: WV
Posts: 8
97 XJ Stalling

Edit: Just realized I posted this in the wrong forum... sorry can't figure out how to delete or move it.

I just bought a 97 ZJ on Saturday from a private party. Drove and looked great, had a write-up from a garage giving it a full workover and thumbs up. It's a primarily stock vehicle, former owner put on a push bar and aftermarket fog lamps which are wired to a custom switch mounted inside. There is also an aftermarket stereo.

Ever since I have been trying to pinpoint an issue. Sorry so long, summary at the bottom.

Sunday - Driving at 70mph with cruise control on, I feel a barely noticeable "miss" or "slip". I'm thinking I'll change the plugs and wires, no big deal.

Monday - I drive 25 miles to work, the last 10 of which is highway. After getting off the highway I've slowed to about 35mph, I feel the vehicle lurch and lose a lot of power, I hit the gas and after about a second of hesitation it's back to normal. Drive home without incident.

Tuesday - In the morning, less than a mile from home it cuts off while driving (was under 10mph). Restart it, it cranks a few seconds longer than it should, but starts, and I go to work and then back home with no incident. Tool around with it that evening, change a light bulb that was out, then start the vehicle, after a few seconds it shuts off like I had turned the key (no sputtering or anything). Start again, again it shuts off. Start again and rev the engine up to 2000 rpms for about 10 seconds, then let off, it idles just fine.

Wednesday - Get to work no problem. Take a mid-day break and drive it no problem. Leave work and go to a parts store across the street to have them test the battery (wanted to rule that out first). Battery tests "Good - Recharge" which showed the 660 CCA battery at 598 CCA. Starter Test and Charging System Test both report normal with no problems. Drive about 15 miles on the highway and get off, go to another parts store to test the battery again. This time it just comes back as "Charge Required" with a measurement of 493 CCA. At this point I'm thinking I need an alternator, as it's apparently not charging my battery (after 15 miles on the highway it measured lower).

Today - Cuts off again on the way to work, after I'd been driving for about 15 minutes and was pulling up to a light. Again it started right back up. Got to work ok after that, and when I went to leave at the end of the day, it won't start. Cranks ok, and once could get it to fire up but it immediately shut off. Have a code scanner and it showed code P0320. Got a jump start and once I -barely- got it started, I revved the engine for about 30 seconds, was able to then get it home. I spent the evening removing and thoroughly cleaning the throttle body and IAC with carb cleaner. Started it when I was done, after about 5 seconds, once again it shuts straight off.


TLDR: Vehicle stalls while driving, battery not staying charged, idles fine but prone to stalling, now having trouble starting it at all.

Do I have more than one root issue here? Where do I start with replacing or testing parts? I have a *very* limited budget. I do have a junk 96 ZJ I can use for many parts, but it was not well maintained so I don't know which parts are reusable and which are not. As far as I know battery and alternator should be good on the parts car. Should I be looking at the TPS and/or the IAC for the stalling issue? Should I swap the alternator, or should I just try a new battery (I worry if the alternator IS bad I would kill a good battery and waste money).


Last edited by pohustla; 04-03-2014 at 06:53 PM..
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Unread 04-03-2014, 06:46 PM   #2
morrie
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1999 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Birmingham, al
Posts: 257
I am not an expert at diagnosing mechanical issues, but it could be your O2 sensors. You have 2 of them...both located on the exhaust pipe. One is just before the catalytic converter and the other is behind the cat just before the muffler. Also, have you checked your plugs and wires connections? Then, there's the possibility of problems with your fuel injectors, or maybe the fuel filter, or the throttle body assembly. I suggest you take it to a trustworthy mechanic and get a diagnosis before you start sinking $$ into it. The problem could be something real simple. Best of Luck!!
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Unread 04-03-2014, 06:53 PM   #3
CJ7-Tim
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2000 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: out in the garage - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Posts: 21,512
Low battery voltage from a faulty alternator, battery/alternator wires, or wire connection issues, or a weak battery will cause the symptoms you describe. Fully test the start and charge systems, including the ground connections, cable/wires, and cable connectors.


O2 sensors are not a likely cause.


Perform routine maintenance of the start and charge systems. Remove, clean, and firmly reconnect all the wires and cables to the battery, starter, and alternator. Look for corroded or damaged cables or connectors and replace as needed. Copper wires should be copper color, not black or green. Do the same for the grounding wires from the starter to engine block, the ground wires at the coil, and the ground wires from the battery and engine to the Jeep's frame/body. You must remove, wire brush, and clean until shiny the cable/wire ends and whatever they bolt to.

Jeeps do not tolerate low voltage, bad connections, or poor grounds.

Place your DVOM (Digital Volt Ohm Multi-Meter) on the 20 volt scale. First check battery voltage by placing your multi-meter's positive lead on the battery's positive post ( the actual post, not the clamp ) and the negative lead on the negative post. You need a minimum of 12 volts to continue testing. Next, leave your meter connected and take a reading while the engine is cranking. Record this voltage reading. Now connect your positive lead to the battery terminal stud on the starter and the negative lead to the starter housing. Again, crank the engine and record the voltage reading. If the voltage reading at the starter is not within 1 volt of battery voltage then you have excessive voltage drop in the starter circuit.

Typical voltage drop maximums:
• starter circuit (including starter solenoid) = 0.60 volt
• battery post to battery terminal end = zero volts
• battery main cable (measured end to end) 0.20 volt
• starter solenoid = 0.20 volt
• battery negative post to alternator metal frame = 0.20 volt
• negative main cable to engine block = 0.20 volt
• negative battery post to starter metal frame = 0.30
• battery positive post to alternator b+stud = 0.5 volt with maximum charging load applied (all accessories turned on)

Test the output at the alternator with your volts/ohms multi-meter. You should be measuring 13.8-14.4 volts. Load testing the alternator is still recommended.
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Unread 04-04-2014, 06:15 PM   #4
morrie
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1999 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Birmingham, al
Posts: 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ7-Tim View Post
Low battery voltage from a faulty alternator, battery/alternator wires or wire connection issues, or a weak battery will cause the symptoms you describe. Fully test the start and charge systems, including the ground connections, cable/wires, and cable connectors


O2 sensors are not a likely cause.


Perform routine maintenance of the start and charge systems. Remove, clean, and firmly reconnect all the wires and cables to the battery, starter, and alternator. Look for corroded or damaged cables or connectors and replace as needed. Copper wires should be copper color, not black or green. Do the same for the grounding wires from the starter to engine block, the ground wires at the coil, and the ground wires from the battery and engine to the Jeep's frame/body. You must remove, wire brush, and clean until shiny the cable/wire ends and whatever they bolt to.

Jeeps do not tolerate low voltage, bad connections, or poor grounds.

Place your DVOM (Digital Volt Ohm Multi-Meter) on the 20 volt scale. First check battery voltage by placing your multi-meter's positive lead on the battery's positive post ( the actual post, not the clamp ) and the negative lead on the negative post. You need a minimum of 12 volts to continue testing. Next, leave your meter connected and take a reading while the engine is cranking. Record this voltage reading. Now connect your positive lead to the battery terminal stud on the starter and the negative lead to the starter housing. Again, crank the engine and record the voltage reading. If the voltage reading at the starter is not within 1 volt of battery voltage then you have excessive voltage drop in the starter circuit.

Typical voltage drop maximums:
starter circuit (including starter solenoid) = 0.60 volt
battery post to battery terminal end = zero volts
battery main cable (measured end to end) 0.20 volt
starter solenoid = 0.20 volt
battery negative post to alternator metal frame = 0.20 volt
negative main cable to engine block = 0.20 volt
negative battery post to starter metal frame = 0.30
battery positive post to alternator b+stud = 0.5 volt with maximum charging load applied (all accessories turned on)

Test the output at the alternator with your volts/ohms multi-meter. You should be measuring 13.8-14.4 volts. Load testing the alternator is still recommended.
Thanks Tim for your expertise.
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