zip. zero. zilch. (ignition problems.) -
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-21-2011, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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1986 CJ7 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: marietta
Posts: 51
zip. zero. zilch. (ignition problems.)

Ok, I could really use some help here Jeep gods.

Recently, I went to start my CJ and had nothing but the tell-tail click of a solenoid gone bad. I replaced that and attempted to try it out, and the new starter would not disengage. I disconnected the battery quickly and began to trouble shoot the system again. This time I decided that the ignition switch (on the column) may be bad and needed to be changed out, (that was a pain in the a$$ by the way) only to find out that I had gotten a bad switch, BWD brand (?) from advanced auto. well after I had the joy of re-doing that, I hook everything back up and now have nothing at all. zip zero zilch. battery is fully charged. connections and cables are new, starter is new, soleonoid is new. today I attack the fuse box and wireing. I know befor I even ask for advice you would love pics but I am not sure how to up load them and I am very sorry. I never want to present a problem witout a solution so;
1) Does anyone have a clear image of the soleonoid PROPERLY hooked up?(Im only human and may have mixed somthing up.)
2) I have seen a lot about the ignition moduals going bad. is there a quick check for this? and dose this sound like the culprit?

thanks so much for any help, if you post instructions on how to do the photo uploading Ill get some up ASAP.

P.S. (I have the hanes manual but it gets a little vague.)
1986 cj7

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post #2 of 8 Old 08-21-2011, 12:07 PM
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1979 CJ7 
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I had to replace my solenoid recently and my solenoid wasnt getting a good ground so I ran a wire from the base to the neg side of battery and it fired right up. My inside of the fenders are also coated with durabak!
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post #3 of 8 Old 08-21-2011, 07:04 PM
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Before you start throwing more money at it, check the grounds. Ground the starter. Ground the solonoid. Ground the heads. Add some more grounds.

79 CJ7 "CJ Express" 4.2L, NV4500, D44 rear
69 800 with SBC, SM465, NP205, 14BT
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-22-2011, 03:50 AM
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If the starter is not turning over it is NOT an ignition problem, the two systems are not linked.

The best thing in this type of situation is to find a wiring diagram and buy yourself a test light or meter. be very methodical in testing the system bit by bit until you find the problem.

I agree with above, make sure your earthing is good, the starter draws high amps (unless you have a winch highest draw on the vehicle) and will not go if the ground is bad.

On your model you will probably have a neutral safety switch in the start circuit (with a jumper if a manual, no jumper if auto. Go figure) as well as the ignition switch. Best way to test the circuit from the battery, to the fuse box if wired through there, to the bulkhead connector, to the neutral safety switch to the ignition switch and then down to the solenoid. As far as the ignition switch you should have power in Run and after that only in Start.

But it depends on your wiring set up.

There is also a wrinkle in these things as failuer to start can just be the linkage between the key cylinder and the ignition switch.

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post #5 of 8 Old 08-22-2011, 05:47 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, Im listening. Got a test light and will dive into it tonight, but keep em' coming. electrical problems always have me pulling my hair out. makes me sick to my stomach to think about going back over all the little thing Ive done and trace the grounds!
thanks so much for your input guys!
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-22-2011, 06:52 AM
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On my 85, I bought a new battery negative cable that has a smaller cable spliced into it with a connector on the end. I ran the main cable to the starter bolt and added a star washer to get better bite into the metal.

The smaller cable, I used as a firewall/fender ground. I cleaned a spot on the firewall free of paint, and used a through bolt and again, star washers. Come off this with another wire and go to the base of the solonoid. It needs a good ground to work.

Now you have a dedicated ground for your solonoid and starter, and your tub.
You need to come from the engine block to the frame. The reason for this is because the motor mounts have a rubber pad keeping current from flowing to the frame. If you look, you should have a cable going from the block to frame at the driver side motor mount.

Since the block is grounded, the spark plugs need a good ground, and so there needs to be a ground from the block to the heads. The head gasket acts as an insulator here, so it is advisable to add a wire from the block to each head. This insures a strong spark.

There are a bunch of other advisable dedicated grounds that are needed. For instance, the grill has rubber insulators between it and the fenders, so you need to have a ground linking the grill and fenders.
I added one for the alternator to the block.

To test and see if something is a ground, you should get a test light and hook one lead up to battery + and touch the other lead to an object such as the frame. If the light lights up, then the frame is grounded. Not saying it is a good ground path, but only that there is somewhat of a ground present.

You would have to ohm it out to see how good the ground really is, but the basics is what I'm trying to cover here.

So first off, take your test light, and hook the red lead to your batt + and touch your base of the starter solonoid to the black lead. Does the light show a good ground? If not, add a dedicated 12ga. wire from the base of the solonoid to the battery negative and see if that fixes you up. If not, check the starter mounting bolt and see it is good. Etc, on and on until you have checked all possibilities.

For the starter to spin, it only needs to be grounded while 12 v is applied to the main cable hooked to it.

79 CJ7 "CJ Express" 4.2L, NV4500, D44 rear
69 800 with SBC, SM465, NP205, 14BT
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-28-2011, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, so I had some time to play with the jeep this weekend. I replaced the battery, starter, soleonoid, and cables ( to include starter cables). I also instaled a Reese solid type tow bar. I can now pretty confidently say its not that part of the ignition system. I have trouble shot it to the steering column/ fuse box area. the fuse box dosen't have any blown fuses, and given the after market stero (PO) the wireing seems pretty standard. for a 20+ yead old heap. how difficualt is it to work on a stearing column, and dose any one have any tips or pointers?

P.S. -HB tought me another lession on "great deal" tools A test light has what 5-6 parts?!?! how do you mess that up?!
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-28-2011, 03:48 PM
Mike Romain
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If you have the small side terminal cables reversed on the solenoid, the starter will not turn off. this can also kill the contacts in the solenoid.

When you turn the key to start, you should have 12 volts on the S side terminal of the solenoid. If you have power there, then the keyswitch is ok.

A sneaky one is the battery negative cable to the block connection.

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