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Jeep died

I have an interlock installed in my 2002 Jeep Liberty Sport. I’ve been having electrical problems in it ever since it was installed. Prior to it being installed the jeep wasn’t mine, it was my grandfathers, and he says it really wasn’t driven for a while consistantly but it didn’t have any electrical problems before the interlock was put in. I’m not sure if this is accurate or not because I’d never driven it prior to the installation. Either way, now I believe I have a short in the electrical somewhere in the system. I’m not sure how to proceed, other then to check the fuses. The battery IS currently dead, but it wasn’t. I was able to start the car and get it down the road, hoping the alternator would charge the battery (the lights were out, none came back on) After a little bit of driving down the road I drove back into my driveway because I was scared to drive without headlights, and shut the car off. It hasn’t started back up and now none of the lights or anything are working at all. We’ve tried jump starting the car, thinking maybe the battery was dead or the alternator went out, but the cables just started smoking and getting really hot. I really need to know how to proceed to find this short, will I have to look at all the wires in the car? Or is it possible to just use the fuse box? My knowledge of electric in a car is very limited, though I do know the basic mechanics. I’m thinking I should take a meter out there and just run down the fuses, any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated

Odds are there is no short in the wiring and I wouldn’t dwell on that too much at this point It could be that the jumper cables getting hot and smoking could have been caused by repeated cranking of the starter motor in a no-start condition; especially if the cables are light duty.

The battery should be charged and tested and all fuses in the relay/fuse box checked as a first step.

With a fully charged or new battery in place you need to check for a parasitic current draw and determine how many milliamperes are being pulled with the engine not running and key in the off position.

Just curious, but how old is that battery?

A DIY’er here. If this were my car, I’d remove the battery from the car and recharge it overnight in the garge (or how long it takes until it is fully charged) on the “low” setting w/a battery charger. In the meantime I’d get out the owner’s manual and find out which fuse(s) are for the light circuits that aren’t working. Then I’d inspect those fuses to see if any are blown. I’d then replace any blown fuses, reinstall the battery, and see if that fixed the problem.

If doing the above seems to be beyond your abilities, or you lack the proper tools and equipment, no worries. Fixing this kind of problem? Exactly what professional mechanics are for. Best of luck.

Professional mechanics charge professional prices

If this were my car I would trade it. Older Jeeps are in line for more electrical problems.


“Professional mechanics charge professional prices”

What else would they do?

How long are you planning on keeping the Liberty?

No offense to anybody, but my research indicates it wasn’t considered a very good, as far as Jeeps go

Before everyone chimes in about dumping the Jeep, this sounds like a fairly straightforward problem. This is a problem that can develop with any vehicle, especially when the electrical system is tampered with by people with an unknown skill level. Would you advocate dumping it if it was a Toyota or whatever that developed this problem? It seems like there have been a few discussions on this forum with new Ford vehicles having these problems intermittently–I don’t remember anyone mentioning that they should immediately be gotten rid of…

The root causes most likely are one or more of:

-a bad battery
-a bad alternator
-a parasitic drain

Of these, the parasitic drain will take the most skill to locate and fix. A COMPETENT mechanic should be able to diagnose the problem. Since the problems started after the interlock was installed, it’s reasonable to start looking there. If this device cannot be removed for whatever reason, perhaps it can be replaced with a properly working one, or a switch installed inline to remove power from it without defeating the original purpose if it is found to be the cause.

Just some conjecture: If the interlock was installed improperly, it may be either causing the drain or keeping one or more electronic modules from going to sleep as they should, which will run the battery down. As a temporary workaround if a parasitic drain is found but cannot be easily repaired, perhaps an inexpensive “battery tender” charger can be hooked up if the vehicle is left to sit, to keep the battery from getting killed until the problem can be repaired properly.

First rule of troubleshooting is that if a problem shows up right after a maintenance procedure, revisit the maintenance procedure.

Why did you have an interlock put in? What type is it?

I didnt have an interlock put in. A friend did. I was trying to help her. After i told her it sounded to me like the battery was junk…she disappeared. Women…

A breathalyzer interlock? Perhaps having a dead battery is for the best.

I think so and agreed