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Unread 04-13-2013, 12:18 PM   #1
dmacbow
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75 CJ-5 Electrical issues

The Jeep had issues with the headlights cutting in and out when I bought it. Replaced the headlight switch because I'd run into that problem in previous Jeeps.

Switch went in with no problems. Should have known it was too easy. When I went to start it up, the solenoid just buzzes. Replaced the solenoid and swapped out the starter, still have the same problem.

Any ideas for what to try next?

Thanks for any help you can offer.

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Unread 04-13-2013, 03:14 PM   #2
Galt
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Take the headlamps off of the stock wiring and run them through separate relays. It's been discussed on here several times and there are some how-to's floating around. I'm guess you have a bad ground but honestly the upgrade is so good why bother fixing the old crappy lighting?
I've done it, it's not bad. You'll need two hella relays out of a late model caddy (sera junk yard),
And you'll need one 50 amp circuit breaker and two smaller 20amp circuit breakers.
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Unread 04-13-2013, 03:47 PM   #3
dmacbow
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Galt,

Thanks for the info on the headlights. I'll try that at some point.

Right now my problem is getting it to start. Not sure what happened when I swapped the headlight switch, but haven't been able to start it since.

Is the solenoid grounded to the body? Could that be the problem?
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Unread 04-13-2013, 07:59 PM   #4
scoutboater
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The solenoid does need to ground through its base, so make sure it's mounted securely. If that doesn't work, you need to methodically work through the starting system and figure out which part is not working.

First, is the battery any good? We can assume it has some power in it if the solenoid buzzes, but how much? Your test may be as simple as trying to jump the jeep off, or even borrowing a battery off of something else for a few minutes.

Second, how do your battery terminals look? Brand new - make sure they are tight. Crappy - Clean them up, then make sure they are tight. While you're at this, look at the connections to the solenoid and the starter as well.

Third, if this all checks out, test your solenoid. There are a couple of ways to do this. Start with a test light (and a friend). Clip the test light to ground, and test both big posts of the solenoid. With the key off, one should light up and the other should not. Touch the light to the 'dead' post, and have the friend try to crank the jeep. The tester should light up. Another way (not really the 'right' way) is to test with a couple of long cheap screwdrivers. (Cheap being a key word. Don't mess up your good ones!) Make sure the jeep is in neutral and not going anywhere. Use the two screwdrivers to jump from one big post to the other, creating a direct circuit around the solenoid. If the starter turns then, your solenoid is not working properly.

Let us know what you find!
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Unread 04-14-2013, 01:42 PM   #5
dmacbow
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Scoutboater,

Thanks also for the good info. Here's what I've found so far...

First, I tried jump starting off my truck, same results.

I wire brushed the battery posts and terminals. Reconnected everything, still the same results.

I tightened the two bolts securing the solenoid to the fender. Still the same.

I had already bought and installed a new solenoid, but I used a check light and tested it anyway. I have a good test light on both the large and small posts on the positive side. Nothing with the key off on the negative side.

Now at this point I'm not sure which post to check on the negative side of the solenoid when turning the key so I checked both. The tester lights on the small negative post on the top of the solenoid, but not on the larger side post that goes to the starter. Could the new solenoid be bad or do I have another problem?
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Unread 04-14-2013, 03:03 PM   #6
CJuncky
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Another way to test the solenoid is to use a jumper wire if I remember correctly on the small terminals you should have a red and a blue wire. jump from battery pos to terminal with red wire. You may have to disconnect red wire to do this. Solenoid should click. This test can also be done with a solenoid not mounted by holding it with case grounded to neg post of battery jumper to same small terminal. Testing right at battery will let you know if the problem is the solenoid or something else with Jeep circuits

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Unread 04-14-2013, 03:09 PM   #7
CJuncky
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If your solenoid only has one a small term same tests will work

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Unread 04-14-2013, 03:14 PM   #8
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Replace your grounds. use #4 welding cable. Run the ground off the battery to the starter. Then run another ground cable to a copper buss bolt. Ground your head, block, Front lights, tail lights with 10 gauge. There is an article by Jeep Hammer which gives specifics. Get your battery checked with a load test. By getting good grounds you will eliminate most electrical problems. Your starter, alternator, lights, etc will work better and last a lot longer.
Proper grounding locations for starter, alternator, and dedicated grounds is what you would search. You will learn a lot from his articles.
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Unread 04-14-2013, 07:04 PM   #9
scoutboater
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmacbow View Post
...
I had already bought and installed a new solenoid, but I used a check light and tested it anyway. I have a good test light on both the large and small posts on the positive side. Nothing with the key off on the negative side.

Now at this point I'm not sure which post to check on the negative side of the solenoid when turning the key so I checked both. The tester lights on the small negative post on the top of the solenoid, but not on the larger side post that goes to the starter. Could the new solenoid be bad or do I have another problem?
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJuncky View Post
Another way to test the solenoid is to use a jumper wire if I remember correctly on the small terminals you should have a red and a blue wire. jump from battery pos to terminal with red wire. You may have to disconnect red wire to do this. Solenoid should click. This test can also be done with a solenoid not mounted by holding it with case grounded to neg post of battery jumper to same small terminal. Testing right at battery will let you know if the problem is the solenoid or something else with Jeep circuits
CJuncky is correct, it sounds like you have a problem with the solenoid at this point. From what you have said about the second small wire getting power, but not the larger one, I would bet you got a faulty solenoid. Just to be sure, try this test:

With the jeep out of gear and well chocked (or the parking brake on if you have one), hook a set of jumper cables to the starter, making sure to hook the red cable to where the solenoid wire hooks up, and the black cable to the case of the starter. Then, hook the other end of the black cable to the ground terminal of the battery, and the other end of the red cable to the hot post.

***FAIR WARNING*** There will be sparks, and this is not really the *right* way to test a starter, but it will tell you if the starter works. Also - DO NOT LEAVE THIS HOOKED UP!!! Only hook it up long enough to test the starter, just like turning the key!

If the starter turns, the solenoid is probably bad. At this point you should probably take your new solenoid back where you got it and ask for another one on warrenty.
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Unread 04-15-2013, 06:08 PM   #10
dmacbow
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Scoutboater,

I tried your suggestion and got sparks on the positive post on the battery, but no response from the starter at all. It is a new re-built starter, so I started believing it was the battery. So I took the battery in and got it tested. It was dead. Got a new battery, installed it and.....


IT IS ALIVE!!!!!!

and I'm a dumba$$ for not checking the battery before now.

To everyone else, Thanks for all the suggestions, and I will be incorporating some of them as I go forward with this Jeep
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Unread 04-15-2013, 08:40 PM   #11
scoutboater
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Wow, that must have been one dead battery.... Thats what I was looking for when you jumped it off, but I moved on when jumping it didn't help. It takes a very dead battery to ignore jumper cables.

In any case, I'm glad you figured it out, and now you're back on the road! (Which is more than I can say for mine... )
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Unread 04-16-2013, 05:26 AM   #12
dmacbow
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Scoutboater,

Yeah I thought jumping it would have worked too. All I can figure out is that the battery must have had a dead short in it.

Thanks again!
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