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Unread 03-14-2012, 04:19 PM   #1
Registered User
1991 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 12
XJ will not start!!

Hey guys I am looking to get your input on where to start with fixing this issue.
Let me first give you a run down of this situation. My 91 XJ unfortunately sits sits all winter while I am away at school. I make a habit of starting it and letting it warm up when I come home on weekends though as few as they maybe.
The issue started when I tried to start the XJ the last time I was home. I installed the battery that i store in my heated garage, double checked my wiring to make sure no rodent activities took place. I then proceeded to try and start my XJ. Usually it starts the first time I turn the key especially if the day is not cold and I give it time to pressurize the fuel rod. However it did not start. I let it crank over for a few seconds to no avail. So like most people I tried again to the same end. The peculiar part is when I tried a third time and I was electrocuted through the key which is set up in the stock manner (I haven't tampered with that). I am not sure how it is possible to ground out the key so a current can travel through it. The jeep is fine in acc mode (the stereo works fine and all other electronics). When the key is turned to ignition mode its almost like the power is shut off and everything goes dead and wont turn over the engine.
I have not had time to do any tests yet. Just looking for what might have happened. So I can fix it when I go home after exams. The most probable causes in my mind are the ignition coil, the alternator, or the starter. However the starter is new last summer so I would like to think it is not that.

Any ideas/theories would be appreciated.

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Unread 03-14-2012, 06:31 PM   #2
It's the crank sensor!
tjwalker's Avatar
1999 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Central Minnesota, MN
Posts: 8,667
With the symptoms you describe, the ignition switch is a possibility here. The coil, alternator or starter wouldn't cause this issue.

I'd also freshen all of your engine grounds to be sure your electrical is working properly.

Grounds can be the root cause of many electrical gremlins. Refreshing grounds is NEVER a bad idea, and the investment of your time in this procedure is always well worth it!

You can't tell much of anything by looking at ground connections!! You must remove, scrape, clean until shiny the cable/wire ends and whatever they bolt to. Be sure to remove all paint from any ground connections.

Start with the one on the back corner of the head, and where it attaches to the firewall, as it deteriorates over time and is an area that makes it susceptible to damage. Best to replace that woven cable with a #4 or #2 gauge cable. You can attach the one end to the intake manifold if you would like.

Next go over to the engine dipstick tube stud. Remove the nut and clean the wire ends and scrape the block until shiny at the stud. Reattach tightly.

If you are so inclined, add at least a #6 cable from the negative terminal of your battery to one of the bolts on your radiator support.
99 Cherokee, 4.0 AW4, NP242
Past Jeeps: 49 Willys, 81 Scrambler, 88 Comanche
Without "data", all you have is an opinion!
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Unread 03-15-2012, 03:19 PM   #3
Registered User
1991 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 12
I will clean up all of my grounds. It never occurred to me that the switch itself might have gone bad.

Great ideas. I will definitely check them all when i get home.

If anyone else has any possible ideas please add your thoughts.
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Unread 04-26-2012, 11:34 AM   #4
Registered User
1991 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 12
My XJ now starts. When I got home from school I decided to try and start it. For some reason the XJ now starts but there are are several new electrical problems.

I cleaned up all the grounds as was suggested above but there appears to be no improvement. I reverted my aftermarket stereo back to stock and disconnected all of my after market lights. All of my fuses and relays are working and not blown.

I still have no power to my stereo, interior lights, my temp gauge, and my turn signals. Their may be other issues that I have not uncovered yet.

If you can help me determine if the issues are connected or stand alone, that would be helpful. If you can help me determine what the issue(s) is/are that would be even better.
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Unread 04-26-2012, 11:38 AM   #5
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CJ7-Tim's Avatar
2000 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: out in the garage - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Posts: 23,735
It would be logical to assume that the all the symptoms are related. Find and repair the short circuit(s). Start diagnostics with the steering column wiring. Consider replacing the ignition switch.

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electrical , ignition circuit , ignition trouble , please help , wont start

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