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Official Curmudgeon
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Jeep won\'t start from key!

About a month ago, my Jeep wouldn't start from the key. It was raining and my first thought was that I had left the lights on, but I had plenty of battery voltage showing on the gauge. After doing an initial inspection, I shorted from the hot wire to the small start post on the solenoid and it started right up. When I got home, I went to look into the problem but it would start fine from the key then. Figuring it was a bad connection, I took the small wires loose on the solenoid and cleaned the connectors and the post.

About two weeks later the same thing happened. This time I was home so I got out the test light and hooked to ground and the small post on the solenoid to see if I was getting voltage to the solenoid. I turned the key to the start position and the engine fired right up.

This morning, it wouldn't start when I got ready to leave for work. I didn't have time to check much so I just started it by jumpering from hot to the start post on the solenoid. I had to leave the office to go to the Ford plant. It wouldn't start again but this time I was on a slight grade so I just let it roll down the hill and let out the clutch to start. I had to drive from the plant to the construction trailer, wouldn't start, jumper trick again. I went to leave the trailer to go home to find the problem and of all things to happen, it started from the key %*$#@*^%./wwwthreads_images/icons/mad.gif

I have been an electrician for 35 years, more if you count wiring houses with my dad on weekends from the time I was 12. I hate intermittent electrical problems. I know its not the cable to the starter, bad engine ground, bad starter or bad solenoid. I suspect, ignition switch, linkage to switch, bad connection at steering column connector, firewall plug, at terminal crimp or broken wire. Is there something that is USUALLY the problem.

This is an '80 Jeep CJ7 with a small block Chevy. The "start" signal wire bolts to the solenoid (not the slip on type). I really suspect the switch or the linkage but I don't know why.
 

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Re: Jeep won\'t start from key!

Hey Taz,
I had a similar problem with my Cherokee some years ago. Same symptoms as you describe. If I put the key in the run position and jumped the solenoid or sometimes I would jump the hot and ground right at the starter; it would kick right up and start. At least I knew I could get it going if I really had to.... turned out to be the starter having a small burn spot on the windings and would only cause trouble if it was in the right (actually wrong) position. My engine is a Chevy too, that powerhouse 2.8L V-6./wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif

That might be your problem....Good Luck! /wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif
 
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Re: Jeep won\'t start from key!

The ignition switch has 3 positions..Off, Acc, On, and start. The first three appear to be ok since it runs once its started. That leaves the ignition switch or a bad connection between the switch and the solenoid. My vote is a bad connection on that one wire. Here is a good way to find the problem.

Take the cable off the starter solenoid on the starter side. This will allow you to test without actually turning over the starter. Next, turn on the ignition switch slowly...you want to see if it energizes the solenoid each time and in the same spot. Typically, if its the switch, you have to go all the way on before it connects or it connects in different spots. If it works several times with the same results, then have someone hold the ignition on while you start the shake and pull test of the wiring harnes from the stearing column to the solenoid. If there is a bad conneciton along the way, you will know it when the solenoid drops out.

Let us know what you find.

John......southern CA
84CJ7, 3"lift, 32"BFG, 4.10's, ARB Locker, Solid Axle's, Durabak
 

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Re: Jeep won\'t start from key!

Ron -

My 78 had the same problem - and after pulling my hair out and nearly burning the little posts off the solenoid, it turned out to be a simple fix. An old crotchety civilian mech friend of mine got in and turned it to accessories (turning it toward yourself instead of the dash) so hard that I thought he was going to break the key off. He then turned it back forward and started it right up. It was a bad ignition key cylinder lock thing and for less that $10, I bought a new one at the local auto parts store. Pulling off the wheel is a butt kicker without a "steering wheel puller" (forget the proper name,) but I had access to one at the hobby shop here on base. I don't know if you can do the job without it. Chilton's and Hayes's have clear directions on the fix if this is the problem.

Liberals don't mind being lied to . . . they just want to be lied to by someone they trust!
 

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Re: Jeep won\'t start from key!

I had the identicle problem with my YJ. It drove me crazy till I found it was the ignition switch. I replaced it and then tore the other one apart. I found the contact for the start position was loose. Sometimes it would make contact and sometimes it would not when thekey was turned,,,Replace the switch and your problems should go away with the old switch.
GP'n
 

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Re: Jeep won\'t start from key!

igtion switch.. get a new one for like 12 bucks..

survival is instinct, but living takes guts
 
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