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jenrmccoy 08-06-2012 09:23 AM

Battery/Starter/Electrical Problem?

I'm hoping someone will have some ideas on what the cause of a problem I'm beginning to experience with my '96 jeep cherokee. I posted this same question on another jeep cherokee forum and had no responses so I'm hoping someone can help here.

Lately, (I'd say over the last month) my jeep has been rather slow to catch on the start. It's not as though the battery is low and it's having trouble cranking, it just seems to take a second or two longer to catch. Over the last few days I've noticed it more often, and I'm not sure if the weather has to do with it, though I've never had this issue before (I'm in KS where we've have triple digits after triple digits daily).

I've had the car since '05 and over the last two/three years on the rare occasion I'd notice as I would start accelerating down the street after starting the jeep that it would almost seem to stall for a second or two before the RMPs would catch back up with the gas pedal and the engine would essentially take off. Again, lately I've noticed this happening more and more, which leads me to think I may have an electrical problem somewhere. I had been having battery cable problems - they were always getting loose no matter what I did, but a family friend cut off the old stripped bolts and put on new ones and I haven't had problems with loosening cables so far.

For a while I thought it may be a battery going bad, because when I would drive with my air conditioner on, the battery reading would drop from it's normal reading to reading at the mark right above the redline (which I think is 9 if memory serves). Same thing would happen when I dive at night with headlights on, though the gauge doesn't drop as low. Once, with the AC on and my CD player playing, the AC and radio cut out all together as though I lost all power before it kicked on a split second later.

I cleaned the cables to the starter a few months ago after I changed my oil, but I'm wondering what areas could cause this and if anyone can point me in a direction to look about getting it fixed. My dad's a car guy and would normally tinker around with it, but we live 10 hours away and living in rural Kansas, I need my car to get around. He's suggested changing the spark plugs or looking into it being an ignition problem, and while I can do the plugs easily enough, I'm not sure about anything having to do with the ignition.

*update since having posted this question on the other forum*

The fuel pump has been changed within the last two years, and I recently put in a few air filter. Yesterday I bought a new battery, after the jeep wouldn't start and wouldn't take a charge after sitting all night on the charger. I also went through and took off all connections and cleaned them, but still no luck, so I assumed the battery was just bad (it was 5-6 years old anyway). However, it's still starting/catching on the slow side, again, almost like it's winter outside, which leads me to now thing I may have a starter problem???

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!


buildin1XJ 08-06-2012 10:34 AM

Take your Jeep to a parts store and have the battery alternator and starter load tested.After you have replaced the battery and cleaned connections The starter is suspect.You might also rule out a fuel pump by turning your key to on not start position a few times and then see if it starts right up.

muaddib420 08-06-2012 11:42 AM

Sounds like your alternator to me. Try this test. Put key in and turn it to ON position without starting it. Read the voltage on the gauge. It should read around nine. Then start her up. Now read the voltage. It should go up to right around 14. Now turn on every electrical item on your car. Lights, heat, fans max, radio loud, roll windows up and down. This is load testing. The gauge should still stay close to 14. If it doesn't then your alternator isn't charging the battery.

jenrmccoy 08-06-2012 09:30 PM

Well I can tell you right now I haven't read around 14 on my gauge for several years, though I haven't had any problems until now. I read probably between 12-13, and that's even with the new battery I bought yesterday. When I do turn on my lights or A/C, it will drop slightly.

chasitylb 09-12-2013 05:28 PM

I Ihaving trouble with my 96 jeep cherokee autozone.I have replaced the fuel pump the map sensor the battery the camshaft sensor the crankshaft sensorand had the alternator checked. the battery will not hold a charge while running my headlights.what else should I look for. I have also used the MIL Method

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