CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Goofy Jeep, acts like old Ford

My 98 Jeep Cherokee would not start a few times. I did the bang on the starter trick…that seemed to work. Fially, it would not start at all. It has 180,000 miles on it, so I changed the starter. Now after a month, it does the same thing again. I start the beast, bak it out of he garage, or drive somewhere close…shut it off, then it will not restart. There is plenty of power, all systems seem to light up, just seems not to actuate the starter. If I come back to it a half a day later, it starts normally. If this were an old Ford, I woud clean contacts in the Voltage Regulator. I don’t know if this one has one. It is a 4.0 In Line 6.

Assuming the starter solenoid is part of and got changed with the starter assembly, I’d go looking for a starter relay. One other possibility os that the starter assembly is being toasted by virtue of a missing heat shield and possible a manifold leak.

I know these are just wild guesses, but accept them as ideas.

Thanks, I don’t hear a manifold leak, but I will look up the starter relay when it gets above 0deg. outside.

It sounds like you’re not getting power to the starter relay at all. I don’t know if the parts are similar, but in my 05 Wrangler with a similar problem, the ignition switch was bad. Unfortunately, replacing the steering column (the tilt mechanism inside the car under the dash) is the fix. In their wisdom, DaimlerChrysler chose to make the switch integral with the column. Have had to do it twice, the first time under warranty, second time not.

Could you tell me where the starter relay is located? I am guessing you are right. I could get under the car with a volt meter and trouble-shoot it.

After the thing runs for a good while, and I stop…turn it off go inside and buy a Coke, I come out it usually will start again. It’s just the short trip thing. Thanks!
Burt on my shirt