Engine struggles to turn over. - JeepForum.com
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Unread 07-10-2010, 09:33 AM   #1
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1998 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Clarksville, TN, TN
Posts: 16
Engine struggles to turn over.

I have a 98 Wrangler and for the past month its become increasingly difficult for me to get her started... my normal start-up sequence goes like this:

1) turn key, hear knocking and whine... wait four seconds.... turn to off
2) repeat 1
3) after 3 or 4 seconds engine catches and starts

I have a Haynes manual has so many possible issues for "Engine will Rotate but will not start" that I really have no idea were to start

Is my starter going? My entire engine/powertrain is original, and runs great with 115K on them, except for a fuel pump that was replaced in december.... Any thoughts or tips on where I could troubleshoot would be appreciated

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Unread 07-10-2010, 10:50 AM   #2
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1990 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: The southern armpit of California
Posts: 2,093
The whine you describe is probably the starter spinning while not engaged with the flywheel. The knocking is likely the starter teeth trying to engage with the flywheel teeth but not quite fully.

I'd first check the wiring for any faults or damage.

If the wiring looks fine then I would suspect the starter to be going bad. Sometimes starters crap out without a warning and other times they slowly die on you.
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Unread 07-10-2010, 01:00 PM   #3
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2004 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Maryville, TN
Posts: 54
How old is your battery? It is possible the battery is bad or going bad or the starter/solenoid is bad. Take the starter out and go to the local auto parts store and have it tested. They can test the battery in the Jeep before you go through the trouble of taking the starter off and can probably "test" the starter while still on the Jeep as well, but the bench test for the starter gives better results and is more accurate in my experience.
The Jeep is gone, I had to have a truck.
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Unread 07-10-2010, 02:03 PM   #4
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2000 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 628
Check the starter solenoid. I have yet to do the one on this Jeep, but most of the ones from modern day engines are serviceable. The contactors in the solenoid which provide power to the starter are usually the culprit. They arc over and pit over time making a less than desirable connection. Makes the engine sound like it's dragging on start or bangs like yours is doing

Many I've seen, you can roll over the contactors or file smooth and be good for the next 100K.
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Unread 12-13-2010, 09:27 AM   #5
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1998 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Clarksville, TN, TN
Posts: 16
got the battery tested... good... still working on getting the starter's solenoid off, bolts are a pain in the butt to get to and are rusted on pretty good

its been working fine since i posted last (albeit I have to try to turn the engine over twice before it catches)... idk if the problem corrected itself or what but it starts and sounds a lot better now
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Unread 12-13-2010, 10:15 AM   #6
Douglas S.
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Posts: 2,645
It's only a matter of time until it fails completely. Address it now.
1991 Land Cruiser HDJ81
1987 YJ Laredo
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