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post #1 of (permalink) Old 06-30-2006, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Jeep wont start

So I walk outside to show off my jeep to a friend who just got into to town and has never ridden in a jeep before and it doesnt start.
Turn the key, no lights, no radio, no gauges, starter doesnt even try to engage.
So I try to jump it. Again I turn the key to start but still no electronics or lights and the starter doesnt budge. Also when I turned the key the jump cables started smoking and the metal clamp on the pos terminal turned red hot. Not sure what this indicates.
Im thinking the ignition switch could be bad, I dont need a key to turn it to the on position.
Is this a good place to start or should I be looking elsewhere like an ignition relay or something. Thanks.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-01-2006, 12:39 AM
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Re: Jeep wont start

David....take it to a mechanic.....

Not trying to rag on you....and I give you credit for trying....but if you think the ignition switch is bad because the pos post turned red hot? you are not even in the ball park.....

Red hot means TOOOOO much current flow....as in a dead short....your lucky the battery did not explode or the wiring catch fire.

Ok...if I had to speculate, it might be a short in the starter or the wire that goes to it.....a quick way to troubleshoot is to remove the large heavy wire that goes to the starter. Make sure the end does not touch anything and inspect it to insure that it is not cut or has any exposed wires....and make sure you disconnect the battery terminal before trying this.....

Now, hook up the battery lead and see if your gauges work....assuming your battery is charged. If not, you have a major short somewhere and I doubt we can help you troubleshoot it.
post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-01-2006, 12:46 PM
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Re: Jeep wont start

I agree with John. Red-hot wires are one thing, VERY DANGEROUS. Get it to a mechanic before you have some real trouble, like a fire! Tinkering with an axle is one thing, electricity, brakes, steering or anything that may result in fire needs a experienced person to help you, in person!
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-01-2006, 03:33 PM
 
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Re: Jeep wont start

I have to agree with the guys here...
Exploding batteries are no fun!
Fires are a little more fun, unless it's your vehicle!
--------------------------------

If you do decide to tackle this problem on your own, get some one that knows something about automotive electrical circuits.

Don't forget to use a non conductive cover over a battery that has the potential for exploding.
---------------------------------

Pardon me for asking the obvious, but are you ABSOLUTELY SURE you had the jumper cables hooked up correctly?
Were the clamps biting into the Jeep terminals?
Weak clamps and bad connections will cause the smoke and hot spots you described...
---------------------------------

"...no lights, no radio, no gauges, starter doesn't even try to engage..."

Did you get a starter solenoid clicking?
Or was it completely dead?

If there was a solenoid clicking, the starter switch (and the rest of the starter circuit) was working.
You may just have an excessively dead battery...
Seriously dead batteries will draw massive current when you try and jump them, especially if you don't have a particularly good clamp to terminal contact to start with.
Very flimsy jumper cables will smoke pretty easy.
--------------------------------

Did you have any 'Idiot' lights on the dash before you tried to start it?
Turn the ignition over to the 'Run' position (NOT START!) and see if you have dash lights.
This is your starting place...
-------------------------------

"I turned the key the jump cables started smoking and the metal clamp on the pos terminal turned red hot."

If the battery was completely dead and you attach a good battery to it, then throw a load at the dead battery you will smoke all but the most hardy jumper cables.

First order of business is to remove the battery, test and/or charge it up.

Second will be to inspect the battery cables (and other wiring) to see if there is any obvious damage, like where a positive starter cable got into an exhaust manifold and grounded out, or where the positive starter cable got against something and rubbed through.

Third thing I would do is to hook up jumper cables to the Jeep battery terminals.
Turn the ignition switch to 'Run' and see if dash & warning lights came on like they are supposed to.
Jumpers will throw enough current to do these tests, but DON'T try and start the vehicle on jumpers.
If something goes wrong, you can unhook jumpers much easier than trying to unbolt a battery!

Fourth thing I would do is use a known good battery to try and start the vehicle again.
If you try this, BE CAREFUL!
If the problem occurs again, Remove the starter!
I've never actually seen a starter dead shorted internally, but I have heard of it and read about it in the trade journals.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2006, 08:41 AM
 
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Re: Jeep wont start

You should have the battery checked also, I have herd of the plates in a battery breaking off and causing a dead short.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2006, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Jeep wont start

The battery is good. I replaced the ignition relay mounted to the top of the steering column. Now when I turn the key everything powers up except for the front headlights.
Still no power to the starter though.
How the hell does the key and tumble come out? I took it to a master tech at a garage and he was as baffled as I was at how to get it out. It wont fix my problem but it needs to be replaced anyway since I dont need a key to start the jeep.
Anything else I could look at? How can I test the solenoid on the firewall? Or the starter? Almost ready to cave and take it into a mechanic.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2006, 08:12 PM
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Re: Jeep wont start

[ QUOTE ]
Also when I turned the key the jump cables started smoking and the metal clamp on the pos terminal turned red hot. Not sure what this indicates.

[/ QUOTE ]

Most likely you didnít have a good connection between the jumper cable clamp and the post clamp. Wiggle the jumper cable clamp around on the battery post clamp or use some sandpaper to get the crud off so you have a good connection between the jumpers and the battery cable end.

If the cables get hot in the middle, they are too small. Get some bigger cables. 4AWG might make it for a small, low compression engine in the summer time when the oil is thin. 2AWG is bare minimum for year round. Aught, two aught or larger is much better. See if you can get some welding cable and some good clamps.

[ QUOTE ]
Im thinking the ignition switch could be bad, I dont need a key to turn it to the on position.

[/ QUOTE ]

Not needing a key is not the ignition switch, just the tumbler. None of Ďem need a key to turn from on to off, this was a GM feature for years, and you have a GM column. Originally, you would need a key to turn from lock to off but the tumbler pins wear, dirt gets into the lock, springs get weak and the pins donít lock the tumbler. Mines been that way for the 19+ years Iíve owned it. Sometimes it locks and sometimes it doesnít. If I need to make sure itís locked, I can jiggle the key a little and the tumbler will lock.

If you really want to change the lock assembly, you need to remove the steering wheel, the lock ring and I think the turn/flasher switch assembly. After that there is a clip to depress or a screw to loosen and the tumbler comes out.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2006, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Jeep wont start

Well it's way beyond me, thanks for the help and suggestions. I replaced the battery cables and starter wire, cleaned all the connections and Im just going to have the jeep towed when the budget allows. Thanks again.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 07-03-2006, 09:07 AM
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Re: Jeep wont start

It sounds to me like the end of the + starter cable - right at the battery - the crimped connection between the wire and the clamp is corroded/defective.
It smoked from there, and now it lets the accesories work, but too resistive to run the starter.
For about $2 you can replace the cable end.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 07-03-2006, 01:57 PM
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Re: Jeep wont start

Unfortunately I am having a very similar problem. But I have power to everything until I turn the key to start. then i get one click and everything goes dead. I replaced the starte relay on the firewall and same thing.
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