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Unread 12-30-2014, 05:45 PM   #1
Bedlam_YJ
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1987 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Powhatan, Virginia
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'87 hesitates sometimes when starting

So, it's been a while since I've been here. But fear not; I have a new problem for the JF sleuths to solve!

I've been having some starting issues with my '87 recently. It started probably back before Halloween. The Jeep is intermittently having starting troubles where it has symptoms of a dead or dying battery.

I tested the battery and it came back low on CCA. Put it on an overnight charge, tested good. Throw it back in and it still gives me the same issues.
$120 bucks and a new battery later, the problem persists. Figured it may have been the starter, so I ended up replacing that as well. Problem persists still. And now the starter is giving a very odd 'metallic grinding' noise during crank, so I'm going to end up replacing that again. That's another story though.

Pulled the cables off the battery after I started it one morning, and the Jeep continues to run leading me to believe it's not the alternator. As far as I know, the solenoid is still good as it still starts, just not right away.

New plugs and wires were put on about 2 months ago as well. Someone suggested it might be fuel related, but I disagree. This seems to me to be a spark related issue, and not fuel. If it was, I'd be getting dry, fast cranks and not the slow, hesitant, 'reminds-me-of-a-dying-battery' starts, right?

Anyone have any insight as to what my problem could be or where I should direct my furious gaze?

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Unread 12-30-2014, 06:01 PM   #2
Mark05059
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change the battery cables and clean the connections. If yours are like mine are they are corroded internally
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Unread 12-30-2014, 06:25 PM   #3
Bedlam_YJ
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That was actually going to be my next purchase. The negative is the oldest cable I have in there, as it's been on for as long as I've owned the Jeep. The positive is fairly new (1 year maybe?), and I have a accessory y-split cable that it's attached to that is physically hooked to the battery. I needed a cleaner way to hook up the CB, stereo, KC lights, and amp.
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Unread 12-31-2014, 01:28 PM   #4
dancytron
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The cheapest, easiest way to replace the battery cables is to get marine terminals and then regular lugged cables. Go up a few sizes while you are at it. It will also let you organize any accessories you have. Obviously make sure everything gets properly fused.

Make sure to follow the small positive battery cable and clean up the post on the starter relay and all the ends of the 10 gauge wires on the same post.

On the ground side, it sure wouldn't hurt to run some extra grounds, like one to the firewall, an alternator mounting bolt. Search Jeephammer on the CJ forum for more details than you could possibly want.
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Unread 01-03-2015, 06:02 PM   #5
coleslaw
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I had the same issue and it was a bad ground at the starter. As for the grinding starter...that is an old issue with 87's. Get a Mean Green starter, make a 3/4" spacer out of polypropylene and bolt it all on. Clock the starter so the solenoid clears everything and you should have no more troubles.
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Unread 04-15-2015, 10:19 PM   #6
Bedlam_YJ
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Just an update. (I can bump my own threads, riiiiiight?)

I replaced the starter solenoid the other day, thinking that might account for the hesitation. No dice. Still does it. Haven't replaced the cables yet. Actually, I totally forgot I was going to replace them in the first place. (Don't judge me!) Someone had suggested it might be the ignition switch, but I'm hoping it's not. It'll be impossible to get the steering column out. I've already tried that once a few years ago. "Bedlam used PB blast. It's not very effective..." heh.

Less pretend for a minute that it's not the battery cables. Where else would you guys suggest I look? Everything else from the previous posts above still applies. Battery is doing fine, the alternator seems to be charging as it should.

(Also, when I say hesitates, I mean it cranks once, stops like dead battery, but if you keep the key turned it starts cranking again. Not sure if I was descriptive enough above.)
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Unread 04-15-2015, 10:55 PM   #7
dancytron
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There is only so much in the circuit. If it isn't the cables, solenoid or the ignition switch, then it is a bad starter.
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Unread 04-16-2015, 05:41 AM   #8
Mike Romain
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Bad connection on one if the main battery cables causes those symptoms.
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Unread 04-19-2015, 08:39 PM   #9
Bedlam_YJ
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The posts on the battery are fine. No corrosion on the cable ends, either.
I replaced battery cables anyway. The problem still persists.

The only thing I haven't replaced is the ignition switch.
After that, everything that I can think of that's involved in starting the vehicle is brand new and tested for full functionality.
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Unread 04-20-2015, 06:41 AM   #10
Mechman71
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Check your ignition timing. You may have a stuck advance plate in your distributor. I'd check it both static (key on but not running, turn engine over by hand) and dynamic (running, with a timing gun). If your timing is too advanced when you are starting the engine, it can cause it to be hard to turn over.
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Unread 04-20-2015, 07:06 AM   #11
Mike Romain
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechman71 View Post
Check your ignition timing. You may have a stuck advance plate in your distributor. I'd check it both static (key on but not running, turn engine over by hand) and dynamic (running, with a timing gun). If your timing is too advanced when you are starting the engine, it can cause it to be hard to turn over.
That's a good point. Most folks don't realise the wick under the rotor needs a couple drops of engine oil every tune up to lubricate the advance plate. Be sure the rotor moves one way under heavy spring load.
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86/00 CJ7 Laredo, 33x9.5 BFG AT's, 'glass nose to tail in '00, 'New' frame,wires and plumbing in '09. Carter BBD Carbed 4.0 HO in '10.
89 YJ Renegade. BBD Carbed 4.0 HO. Locked front and rear with 33x9.5 BFG AT's
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Unread 04-20-2015, 07:33 AM   #12
Que89YJ
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You replaced both the positive and the negative battery cables? Including the one from the starter solenoid to the starter? The easy thing is to use a jumper wire to the battery and bridge the wires. You could have a bad starter solenoid. Use the jumper cables to bridge it too.
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Unread 04-20-2015, 07:46 AM   #13
roadyrob
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechman71 View Post
Check your ignition timing. You may have a stuck advance plate in your distributor. I'd check it both static (key on but not running, turn engine over by hand) and dynamic (running, with a timing gun). If your timing is too advanced when you are starting the engine, it can cause it to be hard to turn over.
X3 on checking the timing, also check the distributor for end play. I went threw this a while back, replaced more than a few starters, battery, cables etc. ended up being excessive end play in my 6 yr old CRT HEI distributor, it was advancing the timing and putting a strain on the starter. replaced a bunch of parts before I found an article about this being a problem with the HEI distributor.
on a positive note I ended up with a bunch of new parts.
also, if your looking for a better starter check out alterstart on ebay, they sell a gear reduction starter like mean green for about half the price.
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Unread 04-20-2015, 09:20 AM   #14
mike134
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Just buy a big bulk spool of the biggest wire diameter you can afford. I wouldn't bother with buying different red/black colors or different sizes if its much cheaper to get a single reel.

No reason to not use 0 gauge black wire everywhere if you can afford it. Or 2 gauge everywhere depending on what you can afford. You can even label it with tape wire labels every foot along the line as "Battery Positive" or "Ground"

I see SAE compliant 0 gauge wire runs $5.70 per foot at Mcmaster-Carr. Does anyone else have a better (cheaper but reliable) source for wire? Mcmaster is awesome in that they always have everything in stock ready to ship that day, and it always works great, but they are always pricey.
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Unread 04-20-2015, 01:57 PM   #15
dancytron
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I used cable from the welding shop, marine terminals and a hammer crimper to redo mine. I used 0 gauge to the starter and engine block ground and mostly 4 gauge everywhere else.
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hesitating , slow crank , starting issue

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