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Unread 07-29-2007, 03:35 PM   #1
BeesJeep
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1981 CJ7 
 
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Location: Roland, Arkansas
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electronic help needed

I purchased a 1981 CJ7 a couple of years ago. It has a 258 ci engine. About ayear after driving it I noticed a small box, in the engine compartment on the passenger side, was melting. It looks kind of like an igntion module. Metal on the outside with the plastic molding on the back side. i took it off and the Jeep ran fine so I left it off. The Jeep also has a regular ignition module on the drivers side below the master cylinder. The back of it has started melting. The Jeep runs great but the ignition module and alternator get hot. Does anyone know what the module on the passenger side is? Is it supposed to be there or was it added by one of the many owners? What would cause my ignition module to melt?

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Unread 07-29-2007, 03:39 PM   #2
Uncle Russ
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Sounds like it could be the alternator's voltage regulator, but I'm not sure.
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Unread 07-29-2007, 04:16 PM   #3
Happy Joe
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81's came with an internal regulator (but someone could have swapped it). The 81 that I had didn't have any boxes on the pass side (that I can remember).
(A pic would help!)
Enjoy!
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Unread 07-29-2007, 08:23 PM   #4
Bard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Joe
81's came with an internal regulator (but someone could have swapped it). The 81 that I had didn't have any boxes on the pass side (that I can remember).
(A pic would help!)
Enjoy!
Close, they are external regulators. Jeep had a few years where they did this. I know people have bypassed this and upgraded to a newer alt, say 83 up to 86. They key is to replace the solenoid, coil and alt with a higher voltage, so it won't melt. Not sure on the distributor and cap. Someone else can chime in.
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Unread 07-30-2007, 10:40 AM   #5
BeesJeep
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So the 81's had an external regulator? Where can I get a new one? The parts catalogs do not list this.
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Unread 07-30-2007, 12:35 PM   #6
John Strenk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bard
Close, they are external regulators. Jeep had a few years where they did this. I know people have bypassed this and upgraded to a newer alt, say 83 up to 86. They key is to replace the solenoid, coil and alt with a higher voltage, so it won't melt. Not sure on the distributor and cap. Someone else can chime in.
Funny my 76 had an internal regulator as did all the 258's afterwards. Only the V8's had external regulators on the alternator. Just look at a schematic. By 1980 all the alternators, V8 or I6 were internal.

What may be puking it's guts out may be Idle Speed Switch.
Does it look like one of these:?



The Idle Speed Switch would kick up the RPM if the Electric manifold heater or AC compressor was engaged. If you took it off your RPMs would not change and may drop low when there was any load on the alternator.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeesJeep
So the 81's had an external regulator? Where can I get a new one? The parts catalogs do not list this.
They don't exist for 81 CJ's. That's why they can't find them.
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Unread 07-30-2007, 02:05 PM   #7
BeesJeep
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Yes, that's it! I took it off last year because it was melting and the Jeep kept running fine. I noticed the other day that my igntion module was getting hot and melting and I didn't know if that had anything to do with it. The Jeep does not have AC so I wonder why it is on there. Do you think it is ok without it?
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Unread 07-30-2007, 03:30 PM   #8
John Strenk
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Yes, it's probably OK but if you have your headlights on and you just started your jeep and the Heater manifold is on and your jeep dies, just step on the gas a little. They put it on all CJ's that year to keep the engines running with all the emmission stuff before they came out with the computer in the '82 (CA) and '84 and later CJ's It didn't matter if you had AC or not.

It should not have anything to do with the ICM but you might want to purchase a spare ICM just in case the current ICM overheats and dies. They are about $30.00 and save you a walk home.

Don't leave your key in the ON position listening to the radio or testing your electrical system. This kills the ICM fast.
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Unread 07-30-2007, 03:51 PM   #9
BeesJeep
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Thanks John. That was helpful info. Do you know where I could get a new Idle Speed Switch? I can't find them in any catalogs.
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