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Unread 11-27-2013, 11:16 PM   #1
Tobs
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1996 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Townsville, QLD
Posts: 10
car cranks but won't start

Hey guys,

first of all I know that thing with the "engine cranks but wont start" is a common issue with those jeeps, I read a lot about it but it seems like I cant work that out myself...

if got a jeep Cherokee xj 1996 4ltr auto.

a few days ago I serviced my tranny. after doing that my car didn't want to start. the car cranked over but i had had no spark and fuel pump didn't want to gauge either. I got it started after i did the ignition dance (50 times on off to reset the computer).

my check engine light came on and stayed on. i checked for codes without a scanner but nothing serious came up, just code 12.
I drove around for a week with no issues at all, till i decided to get rid of that check engine light by detaching the negative battery cable what didn't work. so I did the ignition dance again cause i thought that would do it's job, but it didn't. i started the car normally, went home turned the car off, five min later tried starting the car, same problem again.. it cranks but no spark & fuel pump doesn't gauge.
after checking different sensors, fuses, plugs etc and not able to find one helpful faulty bit, i decided to swap my computer. the car started straight away just that the engine turned back off after 2-3 seconds.

so now I'm totally stuck, any helpful advice would be greatly appreciated guys!!

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Unread 11-28-2013, 02:48 AM   #2
sAe23
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1995 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Los Angeles / SFV, California
Posts: 2,372
Did you try jumping the NSS connector? Or just unplugging it then plugging it back in? This helps mine on occasion...
This site talks about cleaning the switch:
http://www.cherokee-jeep.com/1-2swremov.htm
But I think your plug looks like the one below. If you jump the harness side so it thinks it's in PARK, and it starts reliably, you'll need to clean the NSS.
Also, put your old ECU back in
1996-nss-plug.jpg

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Unread 11-28-2013, 04:33 AM   #3
tjwalker
It's the crank sensor!
 
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1999 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Central Minnesota, MN
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If the engine turns over but does not actually start which is I believe what you are describing, the problem is not the neutral safety switch. If the NSS is the problem, the engine will not even turn over.

The fact that you have no spark and also that your fuel gauge doesn't work are common combinations for a failed crankshaft position sensor. Try unplugging the crank sensor at the connector near the firewall on the driver's side. NOW check your fuel gauge. If your fuel gauge now works with the crank sensor "out of circuit" that is proof that your crank sensor is toast.

If you end up replacing the crank sensor, do yourself a favor and buy a MOPAR unit from Jeep. Aftermarket crank sensors are very "hit and miss" with a lot of miss......
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Unread 11-28-2013, 05:20 AM   #4
Tobs
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1996 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Townsville, QLD
Posts: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjwalker View Post
If the engine turns over but does not actually start which is I believe what you are describing, the problem is not the neutral safety switch. If the NSS is the problem, the engine will not even turn over.

The fact that you have no spark and also that your fuel gauge doesn't work are common combinations for a failed crankshaft position sensor. Try unplugging the crank sensor at the connector near the firewall on the driver's side. NOW check your fuel gauge. If your fuel gauge now works with the crank sensor "out of circuit" that is proof that your crank sensor is toast.

If you end up replacing the crank sensor, do yourself a favor and buy a MOPAR unit from Jeep. Aftermarket crank sensors are very "hit and miss" with a lot of miss......
I just disconnected the cps and the fuel gauge still turned on..
so that is an indication that the cps is toasted right?!
I already ordered one today so cant wait to test it. I don't think it's a mopar though...
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Unread 11-28-2013, 05:58 AM   #5
tjwalker
It's the crank sensor!
 
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Location: Central Minnesota, MN
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Yes, if your fuel gauge didn't work with crank sensor connected but now DOES work with crank sensor disconnected, then a new crank sensor will likely cure your starting problem and fuel gauge problem.

Hope you didn't order a no-name crank sensor. Serious reliability problem with some (not all) aftermarket crank sensors; some don't even work out of the box because of "spacing" issues. The crank sensor is a hall effect sensor so proper spacing is critical. Keep this in mind if you think you are having issues with your new sensor.

Keep us updated.
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Unread 11-28-2013, 06:15 AM   #6
Tobs
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my fuel gauge works both ways with cps connected and disconnected.. sorry little bit of misunderstanding there?!
I just don't have any spark at all...
I checked the voltage on all my sensors and they seemed fine, but I'm not so sure yet about the cps. I have to wait till I get one on Monday. but I don't think there is anything wrong with it cause the fuel pump still works when I turn the ignition on. the only thing I haven't got is a spark. how do I check if the camshaft position sensor is failing? as well with my old pcm, I had nothing like fuel gauge ,check engine light, or spark, as soonest I connected the new pcm it started fine but turned back off after 2-3 seconds, it did that a few times, now I cant even get it started at all, it just cranks but no spark. should I put my old pcm back in and go from there or leave the new one in cause it eliminates the above mentioned issues? any suggestions?

Last edited by Tobs; 11-29-2013 at 12:57 AM..
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Unread 11-29-2013, 04:20 AM   #7
sAe23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjwalker View Post
If the engine turns over but does not actually start which is I believe what you are describing, the problem is not the neutral safety switch. If the NSS is the problem, the engine will not even turn over.

[snip].....
Oops...I plead sleep deprivation... yeah... NO! I was sleep posting, that's it.
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Unread 11-29-2013, 10:32 PM   #8
JTAlweezy
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same issue here. Purchased a new crank sensor still getting code 54. and no spark.
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Unread 11-29-2013, 10:40 PM   #9
JTAlweezy
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but am getting fuel
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Unread 11-30-2013, 05:51 AM   #10
tjwalker
It's the crank sensor!
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTAlweezy View Post
same issue here. Purchased a new crank sensor still getting code 54. and no spark.
Code 54 is for the "camshaft position sensor". It's located inside of your distributor on your 95. They can be tested with a meter and a manual; I'd highly recommend testing it before replacing it.
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Unread 12-01-2013, 11:51 AM   #11
JTAlweezy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjwalker
Code 54 is for the "camshaft position sensor". It's located inside of your distributor on your 95. They can be tested with a meter and a manual; I'd highly recommend testing it before replacing it.
Lol so i went to check it and removed the dist. The dist shaft was cracked and the gear was shredded. Luckily the cam gear was not in the same condition as the dist gear. Put a new dist in an am having trouble finding tdc on compression stroke. I put the dist on with the ear lobe positioned at 1 oclock an the dist went in and line up perfectly with the bolt hole on the block. However when i try to start it i get exhaust out the intake, i think i am 180 degrees off. Will mark the dist then rotate it 180 degrees from its current spot. Wish me luck. Need my xj for winter cause my terminator does not like rain nor snow an i live in ct and winter is quickly approaching.
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