Losing my Mind. Please Help guys. Jeep won't start anymore. - Jeep Garage - Jeep Forum

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Old 05-05-2016, 02:29 PM
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Losing my Mind. Please Help guys. Jeep won't start anymore.

Hello everyone I am a new member to this forum.
Recently My 98 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 6 cylinder 4.0 started giving me problems and i have gone through a couple of weeks trying to figure things out and it is still giving me the same problem, except now it will not start at all anymore.

PROBLEM : Engine would crank and start. It would sputter until I hit 20 mph and then it would run fine. At stops and stop lights the engine sounded like it would turn off and sputter and I would rev it to keep it from shutting off. Although it would turn off every other stop. I would have to wait a while before it would start again. Engine would turn off while driving as well on roads and or freeway at higher speeds.

other small issues : Fuel Gauge goes crazy when it hits half - tank
When attempting to change into from 2nd to 3rd gear, RPM goes rather high, engine stops for a second or two and then continues accelerating into 3rd gear.
If I turn on the A/C the temperature gauge starts to climb when the car is Idle.
When changing from Parked to Reverse, there is a loud clunk

Attempts to solve the issue :
I have replaced Spark Plugs, Radiator hoses that run alongside Engine, Took it to get a Fuel Injection cleaning, Replaced the Battery, I replaced the Distributor Rotor and Cap because there was creaking coming from it. I have replaced the Distributor because the creaking coming from it when idle or when being driven continued and became worse. At this point, the engine cranks, but will not start. Instead it makes a whirring sound. I am out of ideas as to what it could be.

What can be the problem, why the engine won't start?
Is it the fuel pump, the distributor, am i supposed to adjust the timing or the pistons, ignition coil, or something else I am missing?


I also changed the rotors, brakes, calipers, brake hoses and bled the brakes. Front left side does a clunking sound when I brake now. What could be that sound?

I would really appreciate any help from you guys with answers and or suggestions on what to do because I really need to fix this as soon as possible, seeing it as it is my only vehicle at the moment. Please let me know what information you need and or pictures.

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Old 05-05-2016, 03:29 PM
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Re: Losing my Mind. Please Help guys. Jeep won't start anymore.

When you say whirring sound, do you mean that you don't hear the engine turning over?
If so, check your starter. It may be spinning but not engaging the flywheel, where if that worked before you started troubleshooting, you may have miswired something.

You COULD have a spot in your flywheel that has busted teeth, but lets hope not.
[turning the engine with a BFWrench could eliminate that]

What area of the country do you buy your gas in?
Around Los Angeles, the old 4.0's don't seem to run worth a crap at low rpm, but if you get east to Barstow or north above Solvang to buy gas, they behave nicely.
No idea if something to be tuned or just too much foo foo juice in the gas supply.
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Old 05-05-2016, 03:49 PM
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Re: Losing my Mind. Please Help guys. Jeep won't start anymore.

How do I turn the engine and what is a BF Wrench? Do you possibly have a video or an article on how to do that?

With regards to gas i put Mid-grade or premium.
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:46 PM
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Re: Losing my Mind. Please Help guys. Jeep won't start anymore.

First things first, if you feel mechanically inclined enough, go down to the local auto parts store and ask for a Haynes or Chilton repair manual for your Jeep. You don't need both, just one or the other. You can also get one cheaper on Amazon or eBay, but you'd have to wait for it to be shipped out to you... Which I'm guessing you don't want to do.

This repair manual will tell you the basics and give you some troubleshooting / testing scenarios to go through.

Personally, it sounds like a combination of issues to me and not just one thing. The starting issue with the whirring noise does sound like a bad starter that simply isn't contacting. Replacing the starter may be necessary, but I would try to run through the troubleshooting / testing steps in the repair manual you get first before spending money on something that your not sure is the problem.
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Old 05-06-2016, 11:51 AM
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Re: Losing my Mind. Please Help guys. Jeep won't start anymore.

Thank you sir.
I will see if i can acquire this manual.
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Old 08-15-2016, 03:57 PM
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Re: Losing my Mind. Please Help guys. Jeep won't start anymore.

Crankshaft position sensor , which is actually on driverside not passenger as book says, and while your at it do the cam sensor as well and buy the cps sensor new it's not worth the headache, also has the paper spacer which is important
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Old 08-15-2016, 04:00 PM
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Re: Losing my Mind. Please Help guys. Jeep won't start anymore.

Hopefully u still have the jeep let me know if that helps, it's been an issue with 3 jeeps I know of, aND these sensors don't throw a code
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Old 08-27-2016, 01:54 AM
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Re: Losing my Mind. Please Help guys. Jeep won't start anymore.

If you don't have an OBD2 meter you can get one for under $80 and IMO they are worth every cent. Some parts store like Autozone will loan you one with a returnable deposit. If the Jeep was working some places will run the diagnostic for you. All vehicles starting some time in the 80's have On-board Diagnostic post located below the dash usually on the driver side below the steering wheel. On the 4.0L ZJ you can follow the manual for counting the flashing Check Engine Light that will lead you to the category of all errors generated. The newer the model, the more features that the OBD2 codes capture. My iPhone App store has a free or low cost (under $6.00 for the most expensive) that will give you the meaning of the codes and the Haynes manual will lead you to the sections that narrow the problem down.

There is a website that you will have to search for that helps you determine the sensors and bad or failing parts using a Volt Ohm Amp meter. It shows you how to insert the Volt meter leads into the sensor ports and will tell you I'd the part is working properly by measuring current.

Pulling the error codes require the ignition key to be off when plugging the OBD meter r into the port. You don't need to start the engine, but once your plugged in you turn the key clockwise and stop before attempting to turn over the engine. Follow the OBD meter instructions as it checks all circuits and previously stored emissions readings. Follow the arrow keys on the meter and accessing each section toy can retrieve the error codes and the description of the error. Even the least expensive meter I bought at Autozone will capture and store your codes which can help your mechanic locate the problem or get him started. Most shops have the latest test equipment that go back to the start of the use of the first OBD ports. But if your attempting to do it yourself it can lead you quickly to the problem.

Where you live is a valid question especially in arid desert regions of the US where a battery will discharge quickly if you don't drive every day. My wife as gone for a couple of months and I stayed home with our granddaughter and our dogs. I didn't leave the house for three or four weeks because the desert in the Coachella Valley typically reaches 115 to 125 degrees this season. The first year we lived her we hit 128 degrees in the beginning of August. This year I decided to get the jeep washed even though it is garage kept. The Battery was Autozone top of the line Optima battery and when I tried to start it it was totally dead. Fortunately, I keep a jump start accessory in the back and even this still had some charge left - enough to get fuel from the tank through the pressurized fuel pump and enough to start the Jeep (a 1997 ZJ 4.0 L).
I decided to take her out more often but what I really needed was a decent trip to Palm Springs and back to La Quinta which is about 70 miles round trip. This was enough to recharge the battery. Prior to that I had to start it and keep the A/C off for a few miles or the air conditioner would pull to much current from the batter and the engine would die while I was driving. If it didn't die from too much current pull as the alternator was attempting to recharge it, the engine would stall at lights or while at stop signs. Fortunately, I had enough power built up in the batter that I didn't need to keep jump starting the engine, I just opened the windows and turned off the A/C.
I picked my wife up the other night as she flew back from Illinois and made the round trip again to Palm Springs airport back to La Quinta. She's running great now. Tomorrow were going to do some grocery shopping and I'm not expecting any problems.

Let me add that my Jeep is 18 years old. About a year or so ago it would not start on the first attempt. Always took two attempts and a few months ago it took three attempts. I had an idea that the fuel pump was going but I didn't want to have to replace the pump because you have to drop the gas tank and if you have the Off-road package, there is a 150 pound steel skid plate that needs to come down.
I ended up putting the money aside to get the work done and now I very glad I did. Except for the times I don't go out and let it sit, my '97 ZJ starts as soon as I turn the key. It was the fuel pump that was going so sooner or later the work needed to be done.
If I add up all the work I've done on my Jeep which really is in "Cherry" condition including new tires, warped Cylinder head repairs, A/C Compressor, 4x4 transmission front and rear seals, hoses replaced, new battery, fuel pump and new computer board and sensors for the ABS system that broke down only about five years just after my warranty ran out; well the entire investment in parts and labor were closer to $6,000 with new Goodrich Off Road Tires., I couldn't come close to replacing this Jeep for that much investment. She runs like new, steering is tight and aligned, had the engine mounts replaced and put a new Kenwood Execelon Radio head in that is controlled by my iPhone along with dew speakers from Crutchfield it is a dream to drive.
I love these older Mopar engines if only because they engine is simple mechanical combustion engine. The design of the 97 and 98 hade the plastic side panels that do a great job of protecting the car. Sure, I get dings but that product Dr. color chip I think it is called is great. Also, I like the plastic bumper and side panel product called Wipe New is fantastic. I use in anywhere I would have used Armor All and the original color and shine comes back while removing all oxidation. The trick is reading the instructions to avoid causing streaks upon use.
The hood pull release just broke off and I'm using pliers to open the hood from inside. Autozone delivered a new pull and cable assembly but I tried to follow the existing cable past the firewall and lost track of it if the drivers side wheel well. It should be about a 15 minute job that I'll let my mechanic install since he can lift up the jeep making it easier than my failing vision can do on my own. After 18 years the lactic pull cracked like a tooth the this is why you need the kit including the attached cable.

Let us know how your doing with getting your ZJ running again. I think it's well worth the money especially if you live in an area of the country that is free from rust problems.
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