99 XJ New Engine, Spark, Fuel, but no start - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 19 Old 04-27-2021, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
Rdharper02
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Xj 99 XJ New Engine, Spark, Fuel, but no start

So I picked up another 99 XJ that needed an engine. I found a gently used 96 4.0 through a good friend. Before slinging it in we replaced just about every sensor minus the (MAP and TPS), the coil, and the cooling components. I just figured it was out and a heck of a lot easier to do. I've got to mention that I was taking my time buttoning up under the hood due to removing the interior and installing new floor pans. I still don't have the interior in, but managed to finish plugging in the new engine. When we go to start it we get it to crank, but no start. The initial check at the fuel rail shows pressure has built at the rail, and we can smell fuel when pulling a plug. Initially we have no spark at the plug, or the coil. I change out the new CPS for the known working old one....still no start. After resting on it, I double check the connection at the distributor and found it unplugged. After plugging it in we have spark at the plug. Go to start it and nothing. Switch from the new Accell coil to a known good coil, still no start. We had also replaced the injectors, so for the giggles of it we tried some brake cleaner as starting fluid down the throttle body......nothing. I'm at a loss at this point. Any help is greatly appreciated.


Field Find: 1974 J10 4x4, with a 4.2 and extreme weight reduction (rust).
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post #2 of 19 Old 04-27-2021, 03:02 PM
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Hoping one of the members familiar with what fits what will chime in, flywheel/flexplate timing notches etc.

Fuel pressure post PSI, you will need a gauge.
Is there 12v to injectors - do injectors pulse?
Do you now have spark at several plugs?
How do plugs look maybe they are fouled after all that cranking.

DId you set timing maybe replaced distributor?
Often overlooked, is setting timing at TDC on COMPRESSION stroke.
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When I see the price of OEM I think aftermarket.
When I see the quality of aftermarket I think OEM.
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post #3 of 19 Old 04-27-2021, 04:05 PM
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Sounds like timing. First disable the fuel pump. Then verify TDC on #1 cylinder. Either finger-in-the-plug-hole trick or watch the valves open and close. Then I like to remove all the plugs and ground them against the block. Then I take a timing light and hook it up to #1. Have a helper crank the now-unburdened engine and set the timing with the timing light. Put the plugs back in and enable the fuel and she should be good to go.
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post #4 of 19 Old 04-27-2021, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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I forgot to mention she is the distributor style with the camshaft sensor built into the plate within. Plugs are new, and I am 99% sure I stabbed the distributor correctly. I'm hoping tomorrow I'll be up to checking the fuel pressure and injector pulse. If there good, I'll bounce back to testing all the plugs for spark. If I'm good there, it's time to pull the distributor and start from scratch at TDC.
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post #5 of 19 Old 04-27-2021, 09:11 PM
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Be sure to have engine on TDC compression.

When I see the price of OEM I think aftermarket.
When I see the quality of aftermarket I think OEM.
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post #6 of 19 Old 04-28-2021, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rdharper02 View Post
I am 99% sure I stabbed the distributor correctly.
I wish I had a dollar for every time I sat there scratching my head and the whole time I was 180 off.
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post #7 of 19 Old 04-28-2021, 07:00 PM
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I wish I had a dollar for every time I sat there scratching my head and the whole time I was 180 off.
Me too I would have like $15.
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post #8 of 19 Old 04-30-2021, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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I'm still at a loss here. I started from scratch on the distributor alignment. Set the engine to TDC and found that I was (clockwise) a cylinder off? No matter how much I tried, I couldn't get the distributor stabbed to line up with what I had previously set as number one. So I lined up the rotor and the tower it rested on and started the firing order from there (about 6 o'clock).* Tried to start, no luck. Hooked up the fuel pressure gauge to the rail and verified I'm building pressure there. I was doing it by myself, so I was seeing around 40 lbs before it bled off as I rounded the fender.* So I figure I'm getting enough pressure at the rail. Hooked up the spark test light and I still seem to be getting spark to the cylinders. Cranked the heck out of it, quickly pulled a plug and didn't see the fuel soaking I expected.* Still can't believe it could possibly be that all six injectors could be bad, but neglected to noid test them before it got to late. I've pulled the aftermarket Crank Position Sensor and put the, known good, old sensor. So I believe the Accel Coil is good, the CPS is good, the plugs are new, wires/rotor distributor/PCM were in working order on the the previous*motor. Any ideas?
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post #9 of 19 Old 05-01-2021, 03:37 AM
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you are using the 1999 CKP and distributor with 1999 CMP.

Confirm you are using the 4.0L alignment hole for CMP tining.

Instead of the spark checker remove several plugs ground plug - is htere a white blue spark, not a yellow?

Get a noid light onto the injectors. flashing, on steady no light at all.

The engine is a1996 IIRC there is a FPR (fuel pressure regulator) remove vac hose from FPR there should be NO fuel in vac line.

PS a diagram I thought might help
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When I see the price of OEM I think aftermarket.
When I see the quality of aftermarket I think OEM.
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post #10 of 19 Old 05-01-2021, 07:10 PM
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When you set the engine at Top dead center for #1 cylinder, are you sure you did that with #1 being at the end of the compression stroke? That's what the other guys were saying in regards to being 180 degrees off. If you do it with the engine being at the end of the exhaust stroke, it isn't going to run. If you flood it with enough fuel, you might get some kind of pop out the intake or exhaust but I wouldn't count on it.

If you can't get the distributor to drop in, I am pretty sure it means that it isn't engaging the oil pump drive. Notice how the rotor turns as it drops in and pulls out? You need to compensate for that. Get it right, and then have someone push the distributor down gently as someone cranks the engine. Once the oil pump drive lines up, it'll drop in place and also turn more at which point we hope it isn't pointing towards the wrong cylinder number on the distributor cap. At least, I think that's how the old 4.0 works. When you're done, and it is at top dead center of the proper engine stroke, the rotor should be pointing towards the #1 ignition wire within the distributor.

I put an engine from a 1993 into a 1998 a long time ago. I remember the distributors being different. I am assuming you switched those. I am also going to take a guess that the reluctor on the flywheel is different from 1996 to 1999. I am unsure of this, but it is certainly possible.

As far as setting timing with a timing light... well, the distributors aren't meant to turn in 1999 (I think) and with a crankshaft sensor and a camshaft sensor, it has enough information to adjust the ignition timing itself. No timing light necessary. However, you can use a timing light to see if the distributor is 180 degrees out.

In summary, you either have the wrong distributor, may have the wrong crankshaft flywheel (but the parts books suggest that they interchange from 1996-2001, some say from 1991-2001), have the distributor out of time, or a combination of the above. There's really nothing else it could be. Unless, of course, this thing has an anti-theft system in it. With the interior ripped apart.....I have to consider it. But even then, it should start and run for a couple seconds and die like the other Chryslers of the era would. And make sure your engine block is grounded properly.

I hope this helps. I hope I didn't just ramble on and cause confusion. But I think you have a pretty simple issue at hand.
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post #11 of 19 Old 05-01-2021, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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All the components are from the 1999 engine, including the intake and fuel rail. I'll likely work the noid light and spark part tomorrow. I've pinned the correct distributor hole, but have never really known the 2nd hole was for the 2.5. Makes absolute sense. So every picture of the distributor appears to have #1 at either the 6 o'clock or 5 o'clock position. Currently my number one cylinder at TDC has the rotor pointing at about 6-6:30 when you look over the passenger side fender. I couldn't seem to stab it and get the rotor pointing at the 5 o'clock position like most of my pictorial representations show. So I set the distributor in and utilized the tower that the rotor pointed at for #1. Being that everything is computer timed, I keep thinking that I might need to fix this.

Field Find: 1974 J10 4x4, with a 4.2 and extreme weight reduction (rust).
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post #12 of 19 Old 05-01-2021, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phantomrt View Post
When you set the engine at Top dead center for #1 cylinder, are you sure you did that with #1 being at the end of the compression stroke? That's what the other guys were saying in regards to being 180 degrees off. If you do it with the engine being at the end of the exhaust stroke, it isn't going to run. If you flood it with enough fuel, you might get some kind of pop out the intake or exhaust but I wouldn't count on it.

If you can't get the distributor to drop in, I am pretty sure it means that it isn't engaging the oil pump drive. Notice how the rotor turns as it drops in and pulls out? You need to compensate for that. Get it right, and then have someone push the distributor down gently as someone cranks the engine. Once the oil pump drive lines up, it'll drop in place and also turn more at which point we hope it isn't pointing towards the wrong cylinder number on the distributor cap. At least, I think that's how the old 4.0 works. When you're done, and it is at top dead center of the proper engine stroke, the rotor should be pointing towards the #1 ignition wire within the distributor.

I put an engine from a 1993 into a 1998 a long time ago. I remember the distributors being different. I am assuming you switched those. I am also going to take a guess that the reluctor on the flywheel is different from 1996 to 1999. I am unsure of this, but it is certainly possible.

As far as setting timing with a timing light... well, the distributors aren't meant to turn in 1999 (I think) and with a crankshaft sensor and a camshaft sensor, it has enough information to adjust the ignition timing itself. No timing light necessary. However, you can use a timing light to see if the distributor is 180 degrees out.

In summary, you either have the wrong distributor, may have the wrong crankshaft flywheel (but the parts books suggest that they interchange from 1996-2001, some say from 1991-2001), have the distributor out of time, or a combination of the above. There's really nothing else it could be. Unless, of course, this thing has an anti-theft system in it. With the interior ripped apart.....I have to consider it. But even then, it should start and run for a couple seconds and die like the other Chryslers of the era would. And make sure your engine block is grounded properly.

I hope this helps. I hope I didn't just ramble on and cause confusion. But I think you have a pretty simple issue at hand.
No, I'll be truthful, everyone's input has been helpful. If nothing else, it makes me think on the problem a bit more. I would love the problem to be that I'm 180 out at this point. What I'm fearful of is that the flywheels are different even though I checked into it prior to dropping the engine in. I've got a buddy that ran me through the distributor drop in to the point I can pretty much recite it. Turn the oil ump to 11 o'clock, pin the distributor on the first hole, start the distributor tabs at about 1 0'clock and the helical gear will bring the hold down tabs to the mounting position. Hopefully he's right....at least all his Jeeps are running. I looked into Chrysler's alarm and you're absolutely right. It will start, then shut down. So I don't appear to have one. I think I will take your advice on the grounds. I re-terminated the negative with a military style battery end, but did not replace any of the ground leads like I did with a couple of the positive leads.

So it looks like I am going to hit up the grounds, noid the injectors, set this thing on fire, and then go through the process of placing the distributor in again.

Sad part about all of this is the engine was not even a concern. In my mind the pans where the hard part and all I needed to do was fill with coolant and turn the key...lol

Field Find: 1974 J10 4x4, with a 4.2 and extreme weight reduction (rust).
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post #13 of 19 Old 05-02-2021, 06:10 AM
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As I posted in first reply above someone who knows "what fits what" - these are flexplate part #s - IDK we need an expert to help here.

TMI
1993 XJ 5211 7761
1999 XJ 5211 8551

When I see the price of OEM I think aftermarket.
When I see the quality of aftermarket I think OEM.
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post #14 of 19 Old 05-02-2021, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Rdharper02 View Post
I couldn't seem to stab it and get the rotor pointing at the 5 o'clock position like most of my pictorial representations show.
There are two things that must occur when installing any distributor. First is the rotor must align with the #1 spark plug terminal. This was addressed by phantomrt. The gear on the distributor shaft meshes with the camshaft gear and turns the shaft as it goes past. You must add some rotation to the distributor so that as it goes down in it ends up in the correct location. The second thing is the oil pump drive shaft. It must align with the tang on the distributor shaft. All it takes is to turn the oil pump shaft with a big screwdriver so that when the distributor slips down they mate. It is easy to explain but not so easy to accomplish, so keep working at it.

Mark in Queens- Home of Spiderman and the Ramones
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post #15 of 19 Old 05-02-2021, 03:37 PM
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When I look up a flex plate on Rock Auto, they show two variations. One says it fits 1991-2001 and the other says 1996 to 2001. When I look at car-part.com, they list them for 1996-2001. Unless it got damaged during install, it should be fine. Even if it did get damaged, with how these ignition systems work, I would expect it to still run albeit with a misfire.

The only thing I haven't read is the absolute certainty that the crankshaft is at TDC of the compression stroke. This may be preaching to the choir, but there's 2 crank revolutions to every 1 revolution of the distributor. Some people miss that fact and I have to make sure.

I find factory alarms in XJs to be rare. In fact, I never saw one. I would expect to find the alarm module behind the glove box, as that's where they were in the other Chryslers of the era. I would also expect there to be a theft light of some sort flashing on the dash if this was the case.
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