86 CJ7 Won't Crank - Ideas? Short? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 5 Old 04-03-2010, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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1986 CJ7 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Missouri
Posts: 6
86 CJ7 Won't Crank - Ideas? Short?

Hello All, I'm new to this site, and I've also posted to JeepAholics, so I'm pasting this to here as well, any help would be appreciated, hopefully I'll be able to help someone back after this, though some of the posts I've seen from others WELL exceed my knowledge. I've had 3 CJ7s over time, an 80, and 83, and now an 86. It's my summer car, I don't do any wild wheeling, I just love to enjoy the sun knowing I can take it city or around doing light off road things. And, its the time of year to start my baby up.

I did NOT have the chance to enjoy it last summer due to the economy. So the CJ7 has been sitting idle for a year and a half. When I went to jump start it off my 01 Cherokee - nothing, zero, not even an attempt to turn over, and so I let it sit for a few min, and the damn jumper cables (admittedly too low a gauge) started to melt!

I bought it used, it has an alarm system which I have never activated, and I have installed a Motorola two-way radio and a cell phone (yes, I've had it so long, that there is a phone actually installed in it). But while those things certainly drain the battery slowly over a few months, they all work when the key is 'on' and they wouldn't draw enough to stop the starter from turning over.

But now, it won't turn over, at all, dead the instant the key hits the 'start' position...

I have replaced the battery, I have replaced the old 3 post solenoid with a 4 post from auto-zone, I have replaced the starter...

Nothing, I even feared that maybe the engine somehow magically was seized, but there's no click when I turn the key to start, the whole electrical system just dies. In the 'on' position I see voltage on the dash, but the instant I hit the starter, it drops to zero and nothing happens.

So - it's a short, right? But like I said, battery, solenoid, starter, all replaced...

My dad is old school - an original WWII Jeep user when he was in the Navy, and he's also an engineer, so I've been talking to him a lot - but he's at a loss as well. His view is that it should be that simple, battery, solenoid, starter, connect the dots, the starter turns. I even took the brand new starter in an had it tested - nothing wrong with it.

BUT - when I (somewhat foolishly) decided to involve nothing and touch the positive battery cable right to the starter's POS post, all I got was sparks, no turn - of course, this was after 2 days, the battery isn't showing 13v anymore - but I'm not even hearing it click or try.

I'm dying for ideas here... I sat and stared at it all and wished I could pull half the 'Laredo' options out of the engine compartment to make things simple - but this is a CJ7! It IS simple, isn't it? WHAT am I overlooking?

So fellow Jeepaholics - I'm calling out to you, especially those of you who've slaved over the CJ's electrical chasis - I'd love some ideas. It's going to rain the next few days so I'm taking a break, but I'm online, I have both the Haynes and Chilton manuals, so any ideas or suggestions I look forward to.

Thanks all.


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post #2 of 5 Old 04-03-2010, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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1986 CJ7 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Missouri
Posts: 6

I just towed the CJ7 out of the garage and pulled the battery out - I then connected the semi-melted 8 gauge jumper cables pos to the POS on the starter and neg to the NEG battery cable of the CJ7.... then, I connected the other end to the running 01 Cherokee. I didn't get much, but the started made an almost attempt to rotate, and with that, the engine.

So, the engine isn't locked, and the starter is def. good... (I didn't expect much from bad cables and a hand held connection, but its progress).

I'm living in fear of the idea of having to replace the ignition switch as I went to find it this AM and its well behind the dash on the top of the column over the Laredo AC vents. While I'm sure I could assemble it well on a table in front of me, replacing the ignition switch with all that in the way seems like a nightmare waiting to happen. So, before I enter that realm I'm up for any other suggestions. I have a friend on the way over with heavy cables who can help me test the solenoid, etc by turning the key while i have a meter on it. I'll let everyone know how things progress. Thanks again, and I look forward to any ideas.

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post #3 of 5 Old 08-01-2010, 09:31 AM
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1986 CJ7 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Georgia
Posts: 13
Did You get the problem solved ??

hey.. just wondering... did you get the problem solved ??... This sounds exactly like what my 86 cj7 is also doing ?... whatd ya do to fix it ???
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post #4 of 5 Old 08-01-2010, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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1986 CJ7 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Missouri
Posts: 6
how i got it fixed

ok - after buying 2 new solenoids (1 from Autozone, 1 from O'Reily) that were the crappy plastic ones with an S and an I post....

turned out, my problem was a BAD BODY GROUND...

a local jeep expert came by to help, and since i'd also gotten new battery cables, he used a bad one to un a connection from my negative post to my body... only had one problem since, and that was because it got loose.

I hope this helps someone else, sorry i didnt report this sooner!
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post #5 of 5 Old 08-01-2010, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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1986 CJ7 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Missouri
Posts: 6
oh - and - the original 1986 CJ7 solenoid is still good - anyone know where i can get a normal solenoid in the event that it blows out some day? does everything have to be something crappy from China?
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cj7 , crank , ignition , short , starter

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