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post #1 of 14 Old 03-18-2008, 10:35 AM Thread Starter
jdminton
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Electrical Issue

I'm hoping someone out there can point me in the right direction with this. I have a 1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 Ltd with 130k miles. I had the state inspection done on Tuesday last week and the following day after a few short trips, it wouldn't start. There was maybe a half second of turning over noise the first attempt and nothing after that. I had a two year old battery, but I replaced it since that was the most likely culprit. It ran fine all week and weekend.

Yesterday, I got in my GC to leave work and noticed the clock was flashing. I reset it at a stop light and the power completely shut off. I turned the key off and it started fine. This morning it started a little weak, but did start. When I pulled into the gym parking lot the power flickered off but the engine stayed running. When I left the gym and was backing up at work, the power went out and the engine died. I re-started and it started fine again.

I have an ipod FM transmitter that I was using yesterday that I disconnected after the first power failure. I was using my lights this morning and my fog lights are always on when the lights are on. I have had other minor nuisance electrical problems in the past (turn signals intermittently stop working in the rear, steering wheel controls don't respond on first touch), but I don't think those are related to this issue directly. I don't know if the new battery is what is getting me by for now. I don't want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere though. I live in Texas and the weather has been very moderate so cold wouldn't be related. If anyone can help, please let me know.

Thanks,

Joel
1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited
130,000 miles


Last edited by jdminton; 03-18-2008 at 11:04 AM.
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post #2 of 14 Old 03-18-2008, 10:37 AM
tsconver
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check all of your connections to the battery and to the ground fromthe battery. Take it to a local parts store and have them diagnose the battery and charging system they will do it for free. Original battery? If so probably that is the culprit.

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post #3 of 14 Old 03-18-2008, 10:40 AM
micifus
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Ok so all your problems went away after you replaced the battery?

9 times out of 10 strange electrical problems like you describe equal bad battery. For some reason ZJs eat batteries, for the entire time I have owned my ZJ I have not had a battery last more then a year and a half. Also make sure you clean the terminal on the batttery and jeep and use vasaline on them to stop corrosion. You may also want to have your alternator checked most Auto parts stores will do this for free.

IMHO I would say problem solved though


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post #4 of 14 Old 03-18-2008, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
jdminton
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I will try the vaseline to reduce corrosion. I may not have stated clearly that these issues all happened after installing the new battery.
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-18-2008, 10:57 AM
lothar863
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had a problem very close to this but mine only had problems startign once it started it was fine. sometimes it started fine otheris it was slow to crank our wouldn't at all. lights burned bright and stero windows all worked.........ignition cable on the starter was loose. tightened and rolling strong again.
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post #6 of 14 Old 03-18-2008, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
jdminton
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Cables were all tight - I brushed off corrosion where I could see it.
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post #7 of 14 Old 03-18-2008, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
jdminton
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Does anyone else have any ideas about this issue? I'd like to have an idea of the cause before I drive it to an auto parts store. I'm not likely to accept that the brand new battery is defective.

Joel

1998 Grand Cherokee Limited 5.9L
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post #8 of 14 Old 03-18-2008, 12:58 PM
micifus
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I would take it to the auto parts store, they can check the battery and alternator two likely causes.

Do you own a digital multi meter? If so take a reading of the voltage of the batter with jeep off then, the engine runing, Then touch the throttle and try to get an idea of what the voltage reads. It should go up as you increase RPMs. If you dont have one then take it the the auto store there alternator test will tell you.

You wouldnt be the first person to by a new battery that was no good, have them swap out for a new one just for good measure.


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post #9 of 14 Old 03-20-2008, 07:24 AM Thread Starter
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Update

So yesterday, I get in the car at the store (it sat about an hour in the parking lot). I turned the key and got nothing. I did hear a click click that I have only heard when the battery was dead prior. I turned the key again and nothing. I looked around for something to unplug but couldn't find anything. I turned the key the third time and it started like there was never anything wrong.

I drove it to an auto parts store and they tested the battery and alternator. Both were showing optimal power readings. The ground cable was fine. Since the car has lost power while driving (albeit slowly in a parking lot), I know it is not the starter - at least not solely the starter.

I would really appreciate some assistance on where to look now.

Thanks.

Joel

1998 Grand Cherokee Limited 5.9L
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post #10 of 14 Old 03-20-2008, 10:22 AM
HighLonesome
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdminton View Post
When I pulled into the gym parking lot the power flickered off but the engine stayed running.
When you say power, do you mean dash/console lighting? What's the voltmeter read when this happens?
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post #11 of 14 Old 03-20-2008, 10:25 AM
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Loose ECU connection? Loose connection somewhere.
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post #12 of 14 Old 03-20-2008, 12:25 PM
Marcos
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I had similar symptoms once on another vehicle. It turned out that there was a miniscule layer of corrosion between the battery post and the cable/clamp on the negative. Not enough to see from the outside.

Power would intermittently shut of and then come back on (while driving, or when trying to start). Sometimes I would turn the key on and the car would act like the battery was really weak, and then I would re-set the key and it would come on full power.

I would say take off both battery cables, give them a good cleaning with a wire brush, as well as the posts, put them back on real tight and cover with either dielectric grease or a special spray on substance that they make for battery connections. Also check for corrosion in the cables themselves where they connect to the clamps.
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post #13 of 14 Old 03-20-2008, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
jdminton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by five.nein View Post
When you say power, do you mean dash/console lighting? What's the voltmeter read when this happens?
All electric components shut off but engine stayed running. I didn't look at the voltmeter in that short second that it flickered. I imagine if it had been longer, the engine would have shut off also.

Joel

1998 Grand Cherokee Limited 5.9L
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post #14 of 14 Old 03-21-2008, 11:24 AM
HighLonesome
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I'd guess you are losing main power to the PDC. Could be one of the big cables/connections/grounds. I'd start by reseating and cleaning all the fuses and relays in the PDC. Scrub the spades with alcohol and acid brush. Free.

Oh almost forgot...funny how the problem started after the inspection. I would find out what they touched and look there first.
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