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Unread 12-14-2013, 12:04 AM   #1
Jaheki
Registered User
1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: medicine hat, ab
Posts: 2
First Post / 98 zj No Start and How I fixed it

Hi all, this is my first post, I'm new here, I'm also new to Jeeps, And new to engines!

Previously I drove a Cavalier but I never cared much about how an engine works.

I got my 98 Jeep Grand Cherokee for $2000 in September, and I fell in love with it!

I was actually dumb enough to buy the Jeep (at night in darkness) without even looking under the hood, or barely inspecting it.
I just thought, "It's a Jeep I need it!"

I had to change the water pump already, but that was no big deal.

but then it just stopped starting! Originally I would hear some lifeless whirling sound, but after several attempts, all I would get was one little click!

this isn't a Crank but no turn over problem, this is a straight up, no nothing click

Spoiler alert! I replaced the starter and it runs like a charm now!
BUT IM FRUGAL! I am a poor college student with a kid and bills, and I needed to do absolutely everything I could to spend little money fixing the Jeep!

after lots of research, and help. here is the rundown of the process I did, to troubleshoot the problem!

1. new battery (fail, my old battery was fine, should have got a multimeter)

2. Neutral safety switch, this one is easy, just turn your key, and hold it in ignition position, while shifting from P to N. when I did this, I got clicks every time, if the Jeep were to start , I would have found the problem to be the Switch

3. Check wires and clean grounds/connections. probably would be good to have a multimeter for this. but everything seemed legit, still no start. moving on!

4. Fuse box, everything was good, I even changed the starter relay. no luck though...

5. PCM: Oh my god what even is this?! I cleaned the pins but what even is?! I don't want to take this apart and reconnect capacitors! I would much rather bang on the starter profusely! thank god my PCM turned out to be fine or I would be in big trouble!

6. You guessed it, Bang on starter profusely! I later found out excessive hammering is not always good for a complicated electrical motor.

7. one more try at the switches itself, I disconnected my ignition switch, and connected the red wire, to the red and black wire (goes to starter apparently), still a click. I will assume that the ignition switch is fine considering it worked well before.

8. Jimmy the starter with a screwdriver, I got a wonderful array of clicks, clunks, and sparks.

I could have gone straight to the starter, but I needed to check every part of the start up process first, because if it turns out to be a relay, thats a 12 dollar fix! I was not this lucky however.

9. remove starter, take apart, clean, my diagnosis said that my starter was beyond repair, a simple solenoid and brush kit was not going to help me at all.

10. a glorious new starter, what a wonderfull thing! after two weeks of not having wheels, it was well worth it. an easy DIY install too

Now I can finally enjoy my jeep, and hopefully nothing else goes wrong with it so I can start customizing it!

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Unread 12-14-2013, 12:09 AM   #2
JasonStebbins
Registered User
1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 3,138
You should have asked on here first.

A no-nothing sound start/one click is almost always the starter if jumping the battery doesn't work.

Welcome to the forum, don't be afraid to ask next time!
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Unread 12-14-2013, 12:35 AM   #3
Oldfrog
Web Wheeler
1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Louisiana/Texas
Posts: 3,841
Welcome !
And dont worry about the PCM being bad ...yet.

It will let you know one day. In rush hour traffic. On a crowded freeway, in the left lane so you cant pull over ( coast over...) to the right. When you're running late for an important event. While wearing nice clothing.

In the icy rain.

It's only a matter of time and has become a "right of passage" in 96-98 zjs.
Embrace the experience.
__________________
Cajun Recipes and Fishing tips

Words of wisdom, Posted by Zeejay:
"..it's not air, it is the opposite of air... suckage so to speak."

Stalling? Work through Zeejay's list
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Unread 12-14-2013, 12:40 AM   #4
JasonStebbins
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1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 3,138
Strangely I just rolled 218,000 miles and haven't had mine act up yet in three years of ownership, though I have no way to tell if it's original.
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Unread 12-14-2013, 02:48 AM   #5
Jaheki
Registered User
1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: medicine hat, ab
Posts: 2
Haha. I optimistically hope my pcm will be good for a long time

I was going to ask for help on the site byt i figured it was such a common problem. I ended up sifting through older posts.
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Unread 02-11-2014, 04:12 PM   #6
JPropp
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1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 53
Hey Jaheki!

I'm having the same problem. Heavy rain the other night, and woke up the next morning to my 97 ZJ not starting. No turn over, at first it was clicking real fast, but now it's only a single click.

Dome lights and under dash lights come on when I turn the ignition once, but they flicker when I try an start.

I also have a random clicking coming from my fuse box under the glovebox.

I'm thinking it's my starter but is there an interchangeable relay I can test the starter relay with?

Any help/advice would be much appreciated.
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Unread 02-11-2014, 07:37 PM   #7
JasonStebbins
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1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 3,138
Sounds like a weak battery. Did you already try jumping it and/or the starter?

The horn relay is a common thing to swap with when trying to diagnose bad ones.
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Unread 02-11-2014, 08:38 PM   #8
JPropp
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1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 53
Yeah I tried jumping it, but it was too weak to ignite. The engine would turn over but would not fire.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to try and swap the battery with a working one and see what happens. Guess I'll go from there.

Thanks so much I appreciate the help. Will let you know what happens.
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Unread 02-11-2014, 08:44 PM   #9
JasonStebbins
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1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 3,138
Was it cranking strong and not starting or was it a really pitiful crank? If it's cranking strong it could be fuel related.

Most likely just a dead battery, but could also be the alternator not charging it. Report back.
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Unread 02-11-2014, 08:51 PM   #10
JPropp
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1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 53
It was awfully pitiful. Very weak.

And will do.
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Unread 02-12-2014, 04:56 PM   #11
JPropp
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1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 53
Hey Jason

Thanks for the advice. Tested the battery and it was way dead. Popped a new one in just now and it fired up!

Again thanks for the help!
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