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Electrical accessory problems when first starting 95 Jeep Cherokee

I have a 95 Jeep Cherokee that has a strange electrical problem. When I first turn the car on after it has been sitting for several hours, the following accessories do not work:

  • Air conditioner/Ventilation
  • Wipers
  • Cigarette lighter

There are two really odd things going on here: The first is that the radio will not work if any of the above three things are turned on, but it WILL work if they are all turned off. For example, with the wipers and AC off, and cell charger unplugged from the lighter, the radio will turn on. As soon as I plug the charger in, or turn on the wipers or AC, the radio goes off. None of these accessories actually turn on, but simply being putting them in the “on” position kills the radio until they are switched off.

The second weird thing is that after a few minutes of driving, everything will return to working as normal - radio, AC, lighter, etc. They continue to work until the next time the car has been sitting for several hours, at which point the same problem repeats.

FYI, I recently replaced the alternator to address an unrelated issue, but it did not make a difference with this one.

I searched the car talk forums for similar issues, but did not have any luck - while it does look like there are some other Chrysler vehicles that have electrical problems, I couldn’t find anything dealing with an intermittent problem. Please let me know if you need any more info, and I appreciate any suggestions to help me troubleshoot this!

After looking at some data it looks like the trouble is due to an intermittent connection with one of the switch sections of the ignition switch. There is a violet colored wire connected to the switch that ties power to the things you mention along with some others like the flasher unit through some fuses. When the trouble happens again check the power getting to fuses 2, 5, and 8 (15A,30A, and 20A) in the dash fuse panel. If the voltage is low there then the switch is most likely at fault. To verify that is the trouble you could jumper the red wire, that supplies power to the switch, to the violet wire running to the fuses. If the trouble clears then replace the switch.

I can finally confirm that it was the ignition as first suggested. Had
the problem occur on me yesterday, and to “solve” the problem I turned
the key from the “on” position slightly into the “start” position. It
wasn’t far enough to run the starter, but it did turn the accessories
on. Thanks for the help Cougar!

Good deal, another one solved. You’re welcome for the help and thanks for the update.