Hard start in cold, now I need a new engine?! - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 3 Old 05-07-2014, 06:45 AM Thread Starter
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2000 XJ Cherokee 
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Hard start in cold, now I need a new engine?!

Hey guys,

Ok so I'm a girl and I know some stuff about cars/trucks, but not a lot (big surprise lol). My husband and I picked up a 2000 XJ 4.0 Sport with 144,000 miles a year ago. After a couple of months, when I'd start it in the morning, it would crank but wouldn't turn over or sometimes it would turn over but shut off again. My husband said to just press the gas pedal a little while turning it over till he could take a look at it. Well he ended up getting deployed again. Despite being in the Army, we get ****ty pay and don't have a lot of extra cash, so I've been dealing with this issue for a while now. Hubby didn't seem too worried about it, so I didn't really worry about it.

So I moved back up to RI from KY, drove the Beast up in November last year. I had the usual issue starting up in the cold weather and it seemed like it was getting worse. Figured it was because RI is WAY colder than KY, but kept it on back burner as an issue to have looked into when I had the money. A month later, usual issue with cold start, I blew a transmission line. No big deal, got it fixed. Then a couple months later, I put $1000 into her getting new brakes, shoes, drums, hubs, etc to make her safer cuz I didn't have any brakes in the rear lol. Also got an oil change. (I figured I'd lay the time line of fixes for you guys just in case it helps). I mentioned the issue of hard starting to the mechanic both times, they said I shouldn't be having this problem since its fuel injected. But they never got back to me on what was the problem! 4 DAYS after spending all this money, its a super cold night and I work second shift. And she would not turn over. I'm sitting there a good 5-7 minutes, I'm tired and stressed out and just want to get home. So I keep on turning the key and pressing the gas.....she finally turns over and then there's HUGE knock noise coming from the engine - FRIGGIN GREAT!!

Luckily I work for an after hours answering service and one of clients is a tow company, so I got a tow home for free lol. The next day I have the Beast looked at, they say to me that the oil is fine, the fuel is fine (it didn't flood), but now I need a new engine!!! This particular mechanic refuses to actually go into the engine and find out whats wrong with it and I'm not paying $3000+ for them to put a higher mileage engine in there (cuz thats all they could find at the salvage yards at the time), without first seeing if its something that can be fixed within the engine.

Okay sorry about the post......So guys, you got any ideas? Thanks so much

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post #2 of 3 Old 05-07-2014, 03:52 PM
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1998 XJ Cherokee 
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Mechanic seems a bit sketchy.. What oil are you running?
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post #3 of 3 Old 05-14-2014, 07:42 PM
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2010 JK Wrangler 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 7,096
Your issue might be a stretched then snapped timing chain. That might give you the hard starting because the timing is not correct. Once it snapped which is the possible source of the noise it doesn't start!

You could have snapped a camshaft also.

Get another mechanic. find a 'jeep guy' locally here on JF that might be able to take a peek at it for you.

I would pull the dizzy cover and turn this engine over, if possible, to see if the rotor spins. My guess is it won't. Next pull the valve cover. Turn it over and watch your rockers. I suspect they won't move either.

If I am right then the timing chain cover needs to come off next.

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