97 Jeep Cherokee Electrical issue

My girlfriend has a 97 Cherokee (120,000 miles)that sporadicly acts like the battery is dead: no lights, just clicking sound when I turn the key, etc. I replaced the battery and had the electrical system checked out and it passed. Last night she called and told me it happened again so I went over and when I got there it was ok.?.? (About 20 minutes) This isn’t an issue where some things act funny; it is either totally fine or totally dead.

She soesn’t trust it anymore and is ready to trade it! Please help! Thanks.

First do the cheap thing. Check both ends and all battery cables. Make sure they are clean and tight.

If that does not do it, there may be a fuseable link in one of the cables or the cable itself may be defective. You can try moving those cables when it is not functioning or even moving them when everything is working. It is also possible that Jeep has some sort of main relay somewhere, but I know very little about Jeeps in general.

Thanks for the quick answer! I have checked the battery cables and connections and everything checked out. I like the fusable link idea. Excellent idea! That could very well explain why it was ok when I got to her house. (That one really tripped me up.)

I will dig up a wiring diagram, follow up on that and post the results.

It sounds like there is trouble in the main power lead to the accessories panel or there could also be a intermittent problem in the ignition switch circuit. Make sure that power is getting to the power panel under the hood while this trouble is occurring. If that is ok then check the dash fuse panel. One simple way to test the battery somewhat is to see if the horn works.

There could be a bad power relay causing this problem too.

I looked at some info on this and it shows that fuse 8, in the panel under the hood, supplies power to the ignition switch so make sure the connection to it is ok.

http://www.autozone.com/az/cds/en_us/0900823d/80/15/3e/8f/0900823d80153e8f/repairInfoPages.htm Click on this. Then, click on Fig. 41 for the wiring diagram. A voltage check from one place to another in the start circuit should show where the problem. This is best a two-person task. The key person (literally), should turn the key ON, OFF, ON, OFF numerous times, upon your instruction, as you are taking the voltage (or, ohm) readings. Anywhere, the voltage (or, resistance) isn’t the same each time, shows the fault is in that section of circuit.

Thanks to everyone for the great suggestions. After waiting patiently for the problem to return, it finally did and it appears to have been a bad end on the the battery end of the positive battery cable.

I was checking out a clicking noise in the fuse box on the passenger side kick panel and discovered the a camper supply dealer had at some time in the past run a wire from that panel to an after market trailer break controller by baring the end of the wire and shoving it into a slot with one of the fuses. WTF??? Who knows how long that had been there, but as little as I know mechanically I know that isn’t the way to do things. Anyway, I pulled it and then found the cable issue after pushing, pulling removing and cleaning all the cable ends I could find.

I hope this is helpful to someone at some time.

Remember if you are having any after market accessories installed, do a little research on mechanics!