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Unread 07-31-2005, 12:32 PM   #1
MrDantastic
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Jeep Wont Start

First off, I am so glad I finally found a forum for jeeps. I have been looking all over, but I was not fortunate enough until now to stumble upon this great website.

I am having some problems with my 1983 CJ7. I was driving down the road and came to a stop light, all was well until I started to go; as I let off the clutch, it just died on me in the middle of the intersection. I was unable to restart it and had to tow it home.

The motor will turn over, but it will not start. Sometimes when I let off the ignition the engine will cough once right before it stops. I have replaced the Ignition module, Starter Solenoid, Fuel Lines(they needed it anyway), Coil, Ignition Module, and the Spark Plugs. I have also taken apart the carburetor and checked to make sure it was not clogged up or anything, and it looks fine. I also took off the distributor cap and looked at the rotor and the cap, they both looked fine, I cleaned them out and put them back on.

The engine is getting gas, and I am not so sure about the spark, before the battery started going dead, it seemed to be getting a spark every time, but now, it only seems to get a spark when I let off the ignition, but I think that is due to battery dying.

Does anyone have any idea what I should due next? I have been told to check the timing on it, but I do not know how to do that without the jeep running.

Thanks in advance,
Dan

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Unread 07-31-2005, 12:46 PM   #2
thenubsterman
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sounds like a ballast resistor
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Unread 07-31-2005, 12:58 PM   #3
MrDantastic
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I am kind of new to working on jeeps. What and where would I find this ballast resistor? Is there any way to test it?
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Unread 07-31-2005, 04:36 PM   #4
MrDantastic
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UPDATE:
I have done a little more research and it seems to me that if you can tell if the ballast resistor is bad by push-starting the jeep. If it starts, its bad, if it doesn't, try something else. I recruited the assistance of many men and together we pushed the jeep and tried to get it going. It did not work. Later, I was talking to another person who said the compression on his jeep was so high that he couldn't push start it. Would this make any difference? Does anyone have any other ideas on what I should try?
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Unread 07-31-2005, 05:32 PM   #5
thenubsterman
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well, when my ballast resistor goes it wont start, it will try. but it won't. its hard to belive couldn't push start it. are you getting power to your coil. thats an easy check just turn the key on and take a test light and touch the + side of the coil. You have electronic ignition right?
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Unread 07-31-2005, 06:06 PM   #6
John C
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You mention the battery dying. Is this because of trying to start the motor or have you had charging issues? Check spark before trouble shooting components. Pull the coil wire out of the top of your coil and hold it about 1/4 inch above the tower. Have someone try to start the JEEP.You should be able to easily see a spark jumping to the wire. And you should definatly be able to jump a spark that far. If you have no spark or a weak yellow spark let us know there are several things to check some being mentioned allready. BUT...the cough on letting go of the key tells me it's the ignition switch. Run a jumper from your battery to the coil + side and try cranking it. Ignition would also be a culprit in charging problems.
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Unread 07-31-2005, 06:35 PM   #7
gosupes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDantastic
UPDATE:
I have done a little more research and it seems to me that if you can tell if the ballast resistor is bad by push-starting the jeep. If it starts, its bad, if it doesn't, try something else. I recruited the assistance of many men and together we pushed the jeep and tried to get it going. It did not work. Later, I was talking to another person who said the compression on his jeep was so high that he couldn't push start it. Would this make any difference? Does anyone have any other ideas on what I should try?
This won't work. The ballast knocks down the coil voltage when the key is in the RUN position only. If the resistor is open, there would be zero voltage at the coil and you would just have to push her home. Take a volt meter and measure the voltage at the coil, one probe to the + side and the other to engine ground (not - side of coil). Also measure voltage when cranking. You can disconnect the main power lead going down to the starter to keep the battery from draining too fast.
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It's just a Jeep, and if you don't wheel it once in a while, it's not even that.
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Unread 07-31-2005, 06:52 PM   #8
Geer_hed
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once again, right behind gosupes

You can tell the ignition resistive wire is bad by checking voltage on the + terminal of the ignition coil with the ignition ON, and seeing how much voltage is there. Should be 7 - 10v. If the resistive wire fails, you'd most likely see no voltage, or 12v with the ignition in the ON position. resistive wires don't die a pretty death, I let the smoke out of mine and that was all she wrote. Melted garbage all in my harness.

Your description of your issue with the engine trying to start when you let off the key sounds very much like what I so cutely termed the "one spark of death" I battled it for about a month after I resolved other issues and thought I was going to get to actually drive the thing. You really need to do a sparktest b/c I'm thinking that's where your problem is going to be. When you do, get someone else to try cranking the engine while you watch for spark. If you only get the one spark when the key is cycled from START, you've got a component failure in your ignition circuit. Mine was the EECU. It died and took my spark with it. I had to bypass it to get my fire back, but that was after many many nights of troubleshooting all the other garbage. I've documented some of those troubleshoots here. The EECU is not the only thing that can cause that though. That should be your next point of attack.

You're right, you can't really check timing without getting the engine to idle first. You could try to statically time the engine if you really grew suspicious of your timing, but IIWY, I'd start with the spark. Here are some timing links for you...
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Unread 07-31-2005, 09:44 PM   #9
Shameless Elmer
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What about the timing chain

It sounds like a lot of parts have been replaced but I don't recall reading anything in the original post about checking to see if the distributor is turning when the engine in cranked.
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Unread 07-31-2005, 11:26 PM   #10
MrDantastic
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Thanks for all the help. I have a lot of ideas on what to check after I get back from the dentist (no worries, routine cleaning, if anyone was worried) in the morning.

I did end up charging the battery, and I am still getting the "Spark of Death". I have also ran a wire straight from the battery to the positive side of the coil, but that did not help either.

For future reference, when timing the jeep, which cylinder do I use for my top dead-center?

Hopefully I will have good news further in the afternoon or the evening, depending on if I am lucky, and the weather holds out.

Thanks!
Dan
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Unread 08-01-2005, 06:35 AM   #11
gosupes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geer_hed
once again, right behind gosupes
easy there big fella....
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It's just a Jeep, and if you don't wheel it once in a while, it's not even that.
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Unread 08-01-2005, 07:23 AM   #12
gigihurt
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For future reference, when timing the jeep, which cylinder do I use for my top dead-center?

You start with the number 1 cylinder @ TDC and make sure your rotor button on your dizzy is pointing at or very near the number one plug wire on the dist cap. That should get you close enough to crank it up if its a timing issue.
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Unread 08-01-2005, 07:50 AM   #13
killersheep
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Quote:
For future reference, when timing the jeep, which cylinder do I use for my top dead-center?
Cylinder 1 is closest to the radiator if you have the I6 258.
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Unread 08-01-2005, 11:39 AM   #14
Geer_hed
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gosupes
easy there big fella....


Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDantastic
I did end up charging the battery, and I am still getting the "Spark of Death". I have also ran a wire straight from the battery to the positive side of the coil, but that did not help either.
I wouldn't have expected it to. The only reason you'd use a jumper to the positive terminal on the ignition coil is if you suspect low or, more likely, no input current to the coil. This can quickly be eliminated with a testlamp or a DVM (which BTW, if you don't have one or both, you'll need them) using gosupes method above.

The key element I'm still drawing off of your description "Sometimes when I let off the ignition the engine will cough once right before it stops". This is a good way to describe the one spark of death. It's different from a NO spark, in that the capacity for fire is still there, but there's a component failure in the circuit. The cool thing is, only certain ignition components can fail in such a way to cause the dreaded one spark, whereas many things can cause the no spark.

Have we even determined you have a spark issue yet? Shameless Elmer also had a good point about the rotor button travel, but that might be a couple steps down the line. Especially if you consider that if this was a timing event, to happen the way you described, then either your dizzy spun, gear is eaten, chain broke, or chain skipped teeth. IMHO, I'd still stick with spark for now.
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Unread 08-01-2005, 01:39 PM   #15
jadams68
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If it were timing or broken dist gear or cam gear teeth, it would start, but run like a$$...

I agree with Geer_hed....Definitely need to see if you're getting spark...
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