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2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee Reluctant Starting

The starter on our 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the 5.7L Hemi engine doesn’t want to engage on the first attempt of most days. A relay in the dash clicks, and multiple warning icons and messages light up on the instrument panel including: Voltage Warning, Malfunction Indication, Air Bag, Oil Pressure, and Anti Skid icons; ESP and BAS lights; and cycling Check Gauges, Transmission Overtemp, and Service 4WD System messages.

If you wait five minutes or so with the key on and try again, the starter engages and the vehicle starts. However, the engine fan comes on at high speed, the transmission will only shift to R or 3rd gear, and the ESP & BAS warning lights are on as is the ESP/TCS warning icon. If you turn the engine off and restart it, the fan is back to normal, the transmission will shift to D, and all of the warning lights, icons and messages are out. The vehicle will start normally for the rest of the day.

There is one other clue–We had the Jeep in low humidity western states this summer and had mostly normal starting for several weeks at a time.

The local Jeep dealership, which is tired of repeat visits (since May this year), wants to replace the ABS module because of a recurring error code even though the ABS Warning isn’t one associated with the failure to start on first attempt.

How long have you had this car? Could it be a flood damaged car?

We’ve had it for about a year. It is not flood damaged so far as I can tell, and it was a “Certified, Previously Owned,” vehicle purchased from a “reputable” local dealer. Local dealer does not mean local vehicle, though, and when I checked out the VIN number for accidents, etc., before purchase, I learned that it was a lease turn in out of New Jersey.