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Unread 06-27-2013, 07:25 PM   #1
max1010
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1989 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: iowa
Posts: 63
starts without a key now wont start

My 89 hasn't had a key in the ignition since I purchased it. It usually will start but sometimes it will just click when I turn the switch. I can repeatedly turn the switch on and off until it starts but now it is dead. Is the switch finally bad or does it drain the battery since it isn't working correctly?

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Unread 06-27-2013, 09:34 PM   #2
superj
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1987 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: corpus christi, texas
Posts: 6,602
I would say the swich is probably bad but put a multimeter on the battery to see the charge and you can test some other wires to verify the switch is bad before you buy anything unneeded
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Unread 06-27-2013, 10:03 PM   #3
Joe Dillard
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1991 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: King George, VA
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I'll go out on a limb & say the switch was bad before you bought it.

Not sure what would have had you think it was okay to use it without a key unless somebody gave you some sort of BS story.
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Unread 06-27-2013, 10:15 PM   #4
dancytron
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1990 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: st. louis
Posts: 1,303
When you say it clicks, does it click in the steering column from turning the key, or does it click under the engine from the starter solenoid or starter?

If it is clicking under the engine, then it is either the battery or the starter solenoid or maybe the starter. If it clicks in the steering column, then it might be the switch.

Turn the headlights on. When you try to start it, do the lights dim? If yes, the ignition switch is probably working and it is probably the battery, starter or starter solenoid.

On my 1990, the starter solenoid is mounted to the starter and they are sold together. I think earlier ones might have the starter solenoid on the firewall, like old Fords.
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Unread 06-28-2013, 05:56 AM   #5
Rproject
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1987 YJ Wrangler 
 
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Location: Sandwich, IL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dancytron View Post
When you say it clicks, does it click in the steering column from turning the key, or does it click under the engine from the starter solenoid or starter?

If it is clicking under the engine, then it is either the battery or the starter solenoid or maybe the starter. If it clicks in the steering column, then it might be the switch.

Turn the headlights on. When you try to start it, do the lights dim? If yes, the ignition switch is probably working and it is probably the battery, starter or starter solenoid.

On my 1990, the starter solenoid is mounted to the starter and they are sold together. I think earlier ones might have the starter solenoid on the firewall, like old Fords.
THIS!

And yes - the older ones have the starter solenoid on the firewall.
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Unread 06-28-2013, 10:24 AM   #6
dancytron
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1990 YJ Wrangler 
 
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I forgot the battery cables. It could be them too.
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Unread 06-29-2013, 09:30 AM   #7
max1010
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1989 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: iowa
Posts: 63
The battery and starter were both new last summer.
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Unread 06-29-2013, 10:29 AM   #8
dancytron
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1990 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: st. louis
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Where is the click coming from?

I had a cheap rebuilt starter go bad on mine in about 4 months.

I'd replace the battery cables first if they don't look new.
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Unread 06-29-2013, 11:41 AM   #9
XJ93
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1995 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Michigan
Posts: 783
Where your key goes in is called the cylinder, on the top of the column behind the dash is the switch. Push the rod that goes into the switch and see how much movement you have. It's very possible that the switch may have slid out of position and is not making contact. The cylinder has to be replaced as well, you are just inviting trouble by not having a key.
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