Intermittent Starting Issue Fixed -
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Unread 01-11-2014, 02:08 PM   #1
Registered User
1991 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: mesa, az
Posts: 30
Intermittent Starting Issue Fixed

I've learned a lot from this forum, and just wanted to post this in case it helps someone in the future. I was having intermittent starting issues. Some days the engine would start right up, some days I would get no crank at all. I thought the starter motor was bad, because I could knock the old starter and get it to start on a few occasions (this turned out to be just a coincidence).

I took the starter to AutoZone and they put it on their tester and it failed. Cool. Problem solved (in hind-sight this may have been a coincidence as well because the guy might have hooked up the starter to the machine incorrectly based on the fact that when he hit the test button it blew a breaker in the wall panel-haha). New starter was installed in a few minutes. The Jeep started up just fine for a couple of days, then back to the same intermittent issue, only this time it would fail more often than start.

I tested the following:
- I could start the jeep by jumping the battery and ignition terminals on the starter with a screwdriver. Starter motor was fine.
- I was getting constant power to the starter relay in the power distribution center (aka PDC, fuse box) as it should
- I could hear/feel the starter relay clicking when the key was turned to 'start'. For good measure I even swapped it with one of the other identical relays in the PDC. Same thing…relay clicked, starter did not crank. Relays are fine. Ignition switch must be fine.

That left me feeling that the issue must be between the starter relay in the PDC and the starter. I followed the green wire from the ignition terminal on the starter solenoid back up towards the PDC. The wire went into a wiring loom then came back out of the wiring loom and into a connector. I though I would check the resistance of the green wire, so I went to disconnect this connector. When I started wiggling the connector, the green wire pretty much just fell out of the female connector. So there was my intermittent issue…sometimes it was making contact inside the connector and sometimes it wasn't. I disassembled the connector, reseated the wire (with a dab of solder this time) and put the connector back together. Plugged it in and problem solved. It took me a while to figure out how to take the connector apart, so maybe these pictures will help someone. It starts with using something like a pick to pull the white retainer out (there's a little hole that a pick fits in perfectly). Then push the metal part out toward the wire side of the connector. There is a small tab inside the connector from the female end that you might need to mess with when taking apart/putting back together. Use a very small flat screwdriver.







Last edited by kbson; 01-13-2014 at 08:38 AM.. Reason: typos
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Unread 01-11-2014, 04:46 PM   #2
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1999 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Ceiba, PR
Posts: 869
Thank you for the great write up and pix. Very neat soldering job and professional habits.


Jim W
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Unread 01-13-2014, 07:39 AM   #3
Web Wheeler
1989 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Posts: 18,774
Great info. Thanks for the writeup!
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Unread 01-13-2014, 09:37 AM   #4
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Walland/Knoxville, Tennessee
Posts: 59
I've been having a similar issue and this is giving me a couple of ideas to look into. Thank you for the write up and pictures!
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Unread 01-13-2014, 06:33 PM   #5
Web Wheeler
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1991 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: , GA
Posts: 1,031
Yea I had the same thing going on about a year ago. It has stopped doing it but I will look at this. I bought the switch that the key pull rod goes in to but have not changed it.
Waiting on my Rough Country lift to sag!
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crank , intermittent , start , starter

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