Yesterday I climbed into the 1988 Cherokee, turned the key, and all I got was CLICK. Tried some more with the same result. I figured the starter is shot - it's probably original.
Today in anticipation of a trip to autozone for a new starter, I degreased and pressure-washed the old starter and surrounding area (boy is it greasy under there).
About 30 minutes later I turned the key again just to confirm the click-click sound (don't know why I did it) and instead, the car started!
I am now guessing that some wire around the solenoid had worked loose, and my cleaning job pushed it into better contact. So I figure the job now is to detach the battery, and disconnect, clean up, and reconnect the wires around the solenoid.
Does this sound like a fair plan? Am I missing something?
If the underside of the engine is a greasy mess, it's likely no one has done much cleaning and/or refreshing of ANY electrical contacts. I'd start by giving the whole thing a once over, cleaning wise, and then go here:
If the underside of the engine is a greasy mess, it's likely no one has done much cleaning and/or refreshing of ANY electrical contacts.
Quite true. A friend of mine with a similar-vintage Jeep just advised me that the "big" bolt on the solenoid is apt to become loose and corrode over time. He also warned me against overtightening as there are bakelite parts involved. Maybe that's why it loosens over time! Anyway, it was in fact not very tight at all. I took the connections apart, cleaned them up, added a little dielectric, and put it back together. The Jeep starts fine now!
Starters need a good positive connection AND a good ground which it get thru contact with the bell housing. Either could be the problem. Drop the starter, clean everything and reinstall. Should be an hour job in the driveway.