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Unread 12-28-2007, 08:11 PM   #1
chicagoshooter
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Hard starting XJ 2001

My Cherokee consistently takes about 3-5 seconds of cranking before the engine fires. I have heard this is sometimes normal, but I am also aware of ones that crank up right away.

I am not having any performance issues other than a VERY rare (once every 20-30 starts) rough idle when I first start it up, but a few hits of the gas seems to make that rough idle go away.

I was told this may be a fuel pump issue. I was quoted approximately $400 for a new one to be installed. I was also told to wait on replacing it until I experience a performance issue and not worry about the long cranking.

Is this pretty much a fuel pump issue or something else I should look at?

Thanks,

Mike

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Unread 12-28-2007, 08:55 PM   #2
SmrtJustin
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Try turning the key from Off to Run (letting it sit in run for about 2 seconds) 2-3 times before starting it. If it fires right up its most likely a check valve issue. Fuel is flowing back to the tank while it sits, then when it goes to start it cranks until that fuel reaches the fuel rail again. I *believe* there may be two check valves, one in the fuel pressure regulator, and one in the actual pump. To replace either of these you'll have to drop the tank.
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Unread 12-29-2007, 01:12 AM   #3
MGrobe
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x 2. Justin has the right idea. Try the key check as your first step in troubleshooting.
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Unread 12-29-2007, 08:26 AM   #4
Jeep gal
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...and check the battery. I had the same problem recently with my Jeep.

I did the key on and of and it would start. Everything pointed to fuel pump.

But rail pressure tests showed that it was holding pressure just fine.

Turns out it was the battery. Fuel pumps get all squirley if the juice isn't just right.

It's been about 3 weeks since I had my battery replaced. No problems at all now.
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Unread 12-29-2007, 08:56 AM   #5
CJ7-Tim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagoshooter
I was told this may be a fuel pump issue. I was quoted approximately $400 for a new one to be installed. I was also told to wait on replacing it until I experience a performance issue and not worry about the long cranking.
Have your battery load tested at the repair shop or auto parts store. If it checks OK, most likely your check valve on the fuel pump is failing. 1997-2001 there is just one check valve. You can do the key on/off/on/start trick forever, it's cheaper than an new fuel pump and it doesn't hurt anything.
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Unread 12-29-2007, 09:22 AM   #6
chicagoshooter
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Thanks...

The key on and off trick does not seem to make much difference. It will still take a while to turn over. I have noticed occasionally on very cold days it will sometimes start right up. I will see about having the battery load tested sometime today...
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Unread 12-29-2007, 09:55 AM   #7
Rowingfish87
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Same Problem

I have a 99 cherokee classic and have been having the same problem. Ive been told everything from the fuel pump relay, fuel pump, check valve, battery, crank position sensor and map sensors all could be the problem... the only thing i haven't checked are the pump and the check valve. The run/off/run/off/crank works almost everytime, it gets annoying, but it works. Where is the check valve located on the 99's?

and i had my battery and alternator load tested...both fine.
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Unread 12-29-2007, 09:58 AM   #8
Jeep gal
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Check valve is in the tank with the pump.


Have the pressure checked at the rail.

If the pressure is good then you know that you don't have a fuel problem but a spark/elec problem.

And make sure they do a bleed down test. If it is the check valve, pressure will bleed down over a period of time.
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Unread 12-29-2007, 01:19 PM   #9
chicagoshooter
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Thanks

I just had the battery load tested and it is good, the starter and charging system are also good. I am taking it to the dealer on Monday to have the fuel system tested. I will remind them of the bleed down test. I have a 3 month 3,000 mile warranty from them so hopefully they do not jerk me around and say it is all good so they can avoid having to fix it.

Thanks

Last edited by chicagoshooter; 12-29-2007 at 04:08 PM..
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Unread 01-08-2008, 01:31 PM   #10
chicagoshooter
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so...

I took my Jeep to the dealer to check out this hard starting. I am told that the fuel pressure and bleed down test look good. I am now being told it could be an injector, the crankshaft position sensor or a camshaft sensor...does this even sound right or am I being jerked around?
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Unread 01-08-2008, 04:08 PM   #11
chicagoshooter
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update...

Everything checks out on the Jeep according to the dealer. They suggested a spark plug change and running some BG 44k through...except, I did those things when I first got it...any ideas? I have heard these like to crank hard and long sometimes. I can live with it if it really is a normal or common thing...
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Unread 01-08-2008, 07:34 PM   #12
tjwalker
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If it is a longer crank period but then it consistently starts, I'm pretty sure it ISN'T the crankshaft or camshaft sensor. If it cranked and didn't start it could be one of those two sensors but it sounds like it is starting after a longer than normal crank. It still smells of a fuel delivery problem to me. Don't let them throw parts at it without more troubleshooting. The crank sensor can be checked for resistance readings to start with. Did they check that?

If you're getting conflicting opinions, then maybe just live with it for a while and see how it progresses. This type of problem is not likely to leave you stranded. Only downside is a bit more wear and tear on the starter.

If it does not start "cleanly" upon catching, yes it could be a bad injector leaking raw fuel into the cylinder but isn't the dealer able to diagnose that for you? If not, that's a pretty lame dealership response!!

Bottom line if it were me? Find a different shop!
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Unread 02-18-2008, 08:09 PM   #13
lazermule
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I had the same issue 2wice

My wife was complaining of hard starting in the Cherokee (2001) and I was like "What, it's a Cherokee it always starts good". Anyway, when it would sit for a it would require the key on off on drill to start cleanly. That symptom pointed me to check the fuel rail pressure. Running it had 45-50 psi but would quickly loose pressure upon turning the key off. Yep, more than likely flowing back to the tank due to a bad check valve. After consulting a couple of buddies of mine who are auto techs for a living (I used to be) it was a concensus that although this problem was annoying it was not likely to leave the little Jeep on the side of the road.

So now I knew I had some time to shop for a good deal on a new pump assembly. I checked some of the area auto stores and they were $200-$300! And the dealer was $400+, WOW! This lead me to check online and I ended up finding a new one on ebay sold by Global Automotive out of Florida for about $100. I bought the pump off of ebay and I had it within a week or so. When the pump arrived, I installed it which really isn't that tough of a job. I think it took me longer to get all of the gas out of the tank (pumped it out with one of those little purolator pumps) then it did to drop the tank replace the pump. If I had to price out the job to do it for someone I'd probably price it at $300-$500.

Anyway, I got the Global Automotive ebay pump installed and started up the Jeep. The rail pressure tested good at 50 psi and it held pressure over night. I was happy, the wife was happy and all was good. Then about 1000 miles later my wife started complaing that it was starting hard again. This time it was only starting hard if she stopped for a short time like to get gas or a quick stop at the qwikee mart or something. Hmm, seemed like a vapor lock of some sort as if she raised the hood and allowed it to cool off a bit it would start right up.

I got the Jeep home and started the diagnosis. Reading the rail pressure I saw 80-90 psi which clearly showed that the regulator was going nuts. Upon key off and a warm engine I saw the rail pressure rise to 140 psi! DANGER! Not sure what the burst pressure is on these fuel systems is but that is too high. Anyway my diagnosis was that with the higher pressures of the pump (80-90 psi) on key off and the excursion pressure (140 psi) due to the added heat of the engine, upon restart the rail pressure was so high that the injectors could not open causing the no start situation until the engine bay cooled down.

Seeing the eminent danger of the high pressures and not wanting to see the fire that 140psi and 5 gpm on a hot manifold would produce, it was off to the local Checker auto to get a good quality Carter fuel pump assembly to replace the cheap chinese piece of junk sold to me by Global Automotive on ebay. The Carter pump was $212 at Checker and worth every penny in my eyes. I installed the Carter and it has been working great. I then contacted Global Automotive for a refund and I got the "We're sorry sir, but we don't give refunds, you need to re-read the policy on our ebay page". Yep, there it was "No refunds, we'll only replace your piece of junk with another piece of junk". Well, I guess I'm screwed there but I'm not interested in putting my family in danger again with another 140 psi pump.

Anyway, there you have it. My experience with the Cherokee fuel system. Sorry this was so long, but hopefully someone can learn from my experiences and my mistake in buying from Global Automotive, LLC in Miami FL.

Incidentally, my wife didn't like the word "danger" used to describe the junk pump and decided it was time she got a new car. I guess Global kind of screwed me 2x as now she is driving around in a BMW M5. I kept the Cherokee as well and I drive it now. I drive a 3 series BMW as well but the Cherokee will be a good ride in inclimate weather.

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Unread 02-25-2008, 02:35 PM   #14
txhurricane
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Hard starting + Gas Smell + Cat codes

My 2000 Limited has the "grind away" starting problems in spades. For a while, it always took a long time to start after sitting for a while, but started up immediately if only off for 15-20 minutes. During some recent cold weather, it started normally most of the time regardless. Now that it's been warmer, it seems to take a long time no matter what.

Since I bought it (less than six months ago), I've replaced the fuel filter/regulator and had the spark plugs replaced. I also had a CEL and a bad catalytic convertor code, for which I replaced the cat. CEL went away for a few months and is now back again - same code. When I had it checked, the guy said that it was going to clear itself. It did, only to come right back a few days later. When I checked the injectors, there was no indication any were leaking.

Haven't had the battery checked, but I guess I will. I'm no mechanic. Doing the Heater Treater was about my limit. Any ideas?
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Unread 02-25-2008, 08:45 PM   #15
lazermule
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If the 2000 xj is the same as the 2001 xj, then the regulator and filter is part of the fuel pump assembly in the fuel tank. I think they are the same (00&01), so if they didn't drop the tank more than likely they didn't do as they said. When it does the grind away start, if you stop and to the key on and off slowly 3x does it help? My first replacement pump assy went out in less than 1000 miles purchased brand new from the source mentioned above. Maybe yours is from there too.

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