Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Electrical problems 2004 Grand Cherokee

I’m having trouble with my 2004 Grand Cherokee not starting. When I turn the key I get absolutely nothing, until 1-5 seconds after I turn it back from the crank position when all of my dash gauges flap back and forth for a few seconds. I am able to get it started after banging on the negative battery cable and the terminal. The battery cables do not have any corrosion.

A few months ago my dome lights, power windows and power locks stopped working. The dome lights have corrected on their own, and the power locks work only from the front passenger seat now.

Do I need a new set of cables? A new battery? Something else? Thanks in advance.

You have every symptom of bad battery cables or a very bad connection at the battery terminal or the other end of the cable.

Peal back some of the insulation on the battery cables. I’ll bet they are well corroded after 13 years.

The lug at the end of those cables could also be corroded enough to cause problems.

I’ll bet if you buy new cables and install them, the car will start up every time.


1 Like

Another couple of ideas, the battery connector can appear corrosion free, but still not make a good solid connection to the battery b/c of a mechanical interference in the tightening mechanism. If you are able to twist the connector w/respect to the post by hand, it is way too loose. It’s also possible you battery is shot. Ask your shop to do a battery load or conductance test.

Thanks. At first I could get it to start by wiggling the connection, though it wouldn’t move very much. Now I have to bang pretty hard on it for anything to happen.

Do you think the power locks/windows issue is related or is that more likely a fuse issue?

The first thing to do is replace the cables and hope you did not damage the battery post by banging on it. If that solves the starting problem then move on to other problems.

Did you clean the posts and cable ends so they are a bright metal color or are they black?

My guess, yes that is part of the same problem.

Thanks all. I’ll switch the cables and clean the posts to see if that solves it.

You will find that replacing battery cables is a much greater job than it was 40 years ago. The battery cables are integrated into the wiring harness. Replacement harnesses will be expensive and require a lot of labor to install.

It is possible to install universal cables in an overlay fashion, you will need to attach the auxiliary wires.

I don’t replace battery cables on a whim, it is rare for batteries to leak so badly that they destroy the cables. Inspect the cables, they may not be damaged and do not require replacement.

“Move very much”?? Are you talking about relative movement between the clamp and post? It should not move at all…zero…zilch…nada…

1 Like

It is possible for battery connections to have a very thin layer of corrosion on them that would cause a no start issue like you are having. You should always clean the battery connections as a first step when having that kind of trouble. If that doesn’t fix the trouble then there could be internal wire corrosion at the battery wire terminal which you can’t see from the outside of the wire insulation. You would have to replace the terminal(s) in that case. Another possibility is the battery has an internal connection problem. That could be checked by a voltage test on the battery terminals while trying to start the car.

The door lock and window issues are not related to the starting problem. The door lock problem is most likely due to a bad driver side door switch or a broken wire in the door jam due to wire stress. If there is a problem in the door jam you may be able to replace the short wire harness section in the door jam. After about 10 years of service this is a common issue. You didn’t state what was going on with the windows but most likely there is a broken wire in the door jam causing that issue also. You should first make sure power and ground are getting to the main switch panel. Power for the window motors is provided by a resettable circuit breaker, not a fuse.