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Jeep-Short Wheelbase All discussion of short wheelbase Jeeps: CJ, TJ, YJ and JK

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 04-20-2008, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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Hard to start

I have a fairly new 360 in my CJ7. The battery is fully charged and putting out 750 CCA. The starter is new and tested good. The problem I am having is when you turn the key it turns real slow and occasionally fast. When I say slow I mean a turn avery few seconds. Could this be distributer timing being off. I just started doing this recently and was working find in the past. One thing I noticed tonight was when you hold the key in the start position and it is cranking real slow smoke comes out of the steering column by the key.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 04-21-2008, 12:14 AM
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im gonna guess a bad wire in the column or bad ignition switch

your problem is probably rooted exactly where the smoke is coming from

as a coworker likes to say...

"all electrical parts come with smoke inside em, if it gets out you have a problem"

'74 CJ5232 ci,Dana 30 & 44,basically a stock rig with fiber body
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 04-21-2008, 05:20 AM
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If you can trace the smoke to it's source without starting a big fire, then you'll find the worst part of the electrical circuit. You'll find where there is a lot more resistance than there should be. After fixing that you should probably go through the whole starter & ignition circuits and clean up all the connectors as there is likely other places with too much resistance due to corrosion.

A quick way to verify this is to take a piece of wire and bypass as much of the switch wiring as possible. Battery to the relay or starter and see how the starter operates. I helped a friend with a similar problem (hold the key just right to run the starter) and ended up with a temporary push button switch to run the starter. It was a temporary solution until he had time to replace the ignition switch.

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 04-21-2008, 06:05 AM
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Yeah, when the smoke gets out there's definitely a problem. But that's not the cause of the slow cranking. The ignition switch just controls the starter solenoid, which is an on/off device. If it gets enough current to engage, that's as good as it gets.

If the problem is with the starter circuit it's most likely a high-resistance connection between the battery and the starter motor, or in the return path from the starter motor back to the battery. It's probably a good idea to disconnect, clean and reconnect every connection - battery , solenoid, starter, and all ground connections.

Or you can find the bad one with a volt meter. Put the probes between the battery post and the terminal on the starter while it's slow cranking. You will get a small reading, but if it's more than a few hundredths of a volt it shows a problem between those two points. You'll probably get a reading of several volts somewhere. Find out exactly where by moving the probes closer together. Then put the probes on the starter motor housing and the battery ground terminal and repeate the process for the ground side of the circuit.

Of course it could be an ignition timing problem too, but that would not llikely be intermittent nor would it start to happen by itself.

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 04-21-2008, 09:53 AM
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It sure stands to reason that if there's a corrosion/resistance problem in the column, there could be more corrosion in the starter circuit.

Another possibility - since the column is smoking during cranking, it may be lowering the system voltage - the voltage to the ignition module and coil. A low voltage to the ignition keeps it from firing properly, and sometimes even causes the module to advance too far, causing the engine to "buck" against the starter, causing slow cranking. Stopping the smoke may cure all of it.

The smoking column is VERY important to fix before the Jeep burns down! Careful!
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 04-21-2008, 04:09 PM
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IMHO, if you're electrically challenged... buy a new/used column and forget the troubleshooting. By now, with smoke coming out, the insulation on the wiring has melted, and it's only going to get worse.

By the time you've got it torn down, found the problem inside the column and reinstalled everything you may be money/time ahead by buy a used/rebuilt column and installing it.

But, you've got to get this fixed before you start mucking about with anything else... it's a real hazzard. If you do want to still delve into the steering column, then start by clicking on the photo below:


You could always disassemble the column and put in new/used wiring and reassemble. At least now you've got a guide.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 04-21-2008, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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It is a new rebuilt colum but I guess it could have problems.

I will take a look at it.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 04-21-2008, 05:19 PM
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If it didn't ... it does now...
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 04-22-2008, 07:49 AM
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You only have one bundle of wires running up into the steering column of an 1986 CJ, they are for the turn signals and the horn. All of the ignition wiring is terminated at a switch fastened to the lower part of the column, your problem is probably the switch or the starter solenoid, I had to replace mine (the switch) cause one section was burnt. When vehicle manufacturers started putting the keyswitch on the column they installed a metal rod down through the column to activate this switch when the key is turned to start the vehicle. With some of the newer vehicles the manufacturers might have started to put some ignition wiring back into the column but it makes for toooo many connections to get dirty/dusty and quit working, all make and break connections, not where the wiring plugs in should be dry and clean. Hope this helps.

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post #10 of (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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I took a jumper cable and connected the positive from the battery to the starter side of the solenoid and it cranked slowly just like when I turn on the key. I also connected the battery directly to the starter and it did the same thing. I assume this means it is not the ignition or solenoid. I did it with two different batteries and a portable jump starter so I assume it is not the battery. I also messed with the timing by turning the distributor and that did not seem to help.

The 904 automatic transmission has a tendency to dump fluid all over the garage floor every once in a while so the tranny is low on fluid right now but I canít see that effecting anything.

Any other ideas?
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