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Discussion Starter #1
Hello. I am new here but have researched in here and now need help diagnosing.

I have a 2009 Liberty sport 160,000.
I bought used from a dealer with 130,000. I only use it for winter.
For the last 2.5 years, I have had a sporadic crank won't start on the first try and then will start next try and but then jeep will have rough idle...... with dashboard lights flashing... as if the car was running out of gas. When I turn it off and then restart, the jeep will fire up very next try and run perfectly fine.

This will happen so infrequently over 2 years (20k miles) that I never had it checked out.
One day, the same thing happened except this time it took maybe 20 minutes of crank /no start. When the engine finally started, rough idle with engine knock. I had it towed to my private mechanic.

He said cylinder 2 misfired and knocked one of the rocker arms loose (causing the knock) and the cylinder was stuck open. He replaced the ring (it had a crack in it), repaired the cylinder, cleaned out all the cylinders on the left side (I think that was the side this one was located.. sent cylinder/valve to a machine shop to check for internal damage.. and then reassembled. $850.

So question.....
  • I asked him if carbon build-up on cylinders on left, won't the same condition for be on the cylinders on right? I was told with labor and effort, people don't just take apart the right for general purpose... it may not happen again.
  • I asked about Royal purple since it is recommended to clean out the gunk in the cylinder/valves.... I was told Mobil would be recommended (his personal favorite). It didn't seem like Royal purple rang a bell with him... ??
Had the jeep about a month no problem. Then bam! Same thing it was doing before. Sporadic crank/won't start... and rough idle that resolves after turning car off and restart.

I am worried that I will find myself in another ring cracked and valve job.

Another question:
  • Anyone have any ideas about this?? My mechanic says the rough idle is the cylinder stuck open. and he has never heard of one resetting itself as I have described when turning key off and re-trying.
  • Would Royal Purple be a good choice to try to clean out the valves?
I have been told by coworkers that the crank no start could be a sign of starter issues and maybe I have 2 issues that I think are related but not. The starter will just spin and not engage when this happens. They suggested that there is a dead spot on the starter that every so often I will find that spot and will experience the crank no start.
  • But why will rough idle?
  • Also, could it be the other issues I have read about the starter relay (SR) and neutral safety switch (NSS)?
  • Would changing the starter address all other associated starter issues such as SR and NSS?
Also, they suggested that my fuel pump could be going bad.. and not getting enough fuel...
  • So maybe pump, filter or maybe I have malfunctioning injectors?
  • could using a fuel additive to clean out jets help and change filter, test the fuel pump to see if it is drawing more amps?
My mechanic has told me to dump the jeep asap. He suggested turning key on first and then turn off and then try to start the jeep after giving it a gas pedal pump. So far this has worked... but not sure if it is actually doing anything or if my problem is just sporadic and haven't popped up lately.

I have a small loan of about $5k. So I pretty much owe what it is worth.... I only use during winter driving.. and the body is good. But I have had some other issues with expensive leaks.. that I have already put money into. Oil pan, and then transmission pan and transmission cooler pan... So all together I have spent about $1400 since Halloween on trans leak and then valve job. The oil pan was covered by extended warranty that has now expired.

Thanks for reading and look forward to reading any advice.
 

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What engine?

..I have been told by coworkers that the crank no start could be a sign of starter issues and maybe I have 2 issues that I think are related but not.... The starter will just spin and not engage when this happens. ....
This could be caused by a few things not in any order;
-Yes a bad starter motor
-Discharged or bad battery (considering the Jeep is used only in Winter)
-Alternator not charging the battery properly
-Battery cable terminals are loose or corroded
-A bad ground wire connection
-Loose or corroded cable connector on the starter motor

You need to verify first the battery condition and charging voltage;
You need to get the battery load tested,
clean the battery cable terminals and battery posts,
check the battery voltage first thing in the morning before starting the engine (not much lower than 12.6 Volts DC)
then with engine on, check the alternator's charging voltage (around 13.8 to 14.7 Volts DC).
Do all of the above before even thinking on replacing the starter motor.

The 2nd issue is/could be more serious as its not clear to me whats going on.
Depending on what work was done on the cylinder head could determine whether the engine is or about to be junk.
As mentioned the cylinder head had a loose rocker arm and a ring was replaced.
Can you clarify what this cracked 'ring' is?

The 3rd issue, the long engine crank no start.
Does the engine actually turn over? Is this correct?
Turn the ignition on for about 10 seconds without starting the engine.
(This allows a sluggish failing fuel system to build up pressure.)
Then start the engine. If it fires right up thats typically a sign of a fuel pressure issue.
If so get a fuel pressure test done.
Could be a bad fuel pump, clogged fuel filter or a bad fuel pressure regulator.

If the fuel pressure test fails per spec that means the fuel pump assembly needs to be replaced as the filter and pressure regulator are typically integral in the fuel pump assembly in most modern vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What engine?



This could be caused by a few things not in any order;
-Yes a bad starter motor
-Discharged or bad battery (considering the Jeep is used only in Winter)
-Alternator not charging the battery properly
-Battery cable terminals are loose or corroded
-A bad ground wire connection
-Loose or corroded cable connector on the starter motor

You need to verify first the battery condition and charging voltage;
You need to get the battery load tested,
clean the battery cable terminals and battery posts,
check the battery voltage first thing in the morning before starting the engine (not much lower than 12.6 Volts DC)
then with engine on, check the alternator's charging voltage (around 13.8 to 14.7 Volts DC).
Do all of the above before even thinking on replacing the starter motor.

The 2nd issue is/could be more serious as its not clear to me whats going on.
Depending on what work was done on the cylinder head could determine whether the engine is or about to be junk.
As mentioned the cylinder head had a loose rocker arm and a ring was replaced.
Can you clarify what this cracked 'ring' is?

The 3rd issue, the long engine crank no start.
Does the engine actually turn over? Is this correct?
Turn the ignition on for about 10 seconds without starting the engine.
(This allows a sluggish failing fuel system to build up pressure.)
Then start the engine. If it fires right up thats typically a sign of a fuel pressure issue.
If so get a fuel pressure test done.
Could be a bad fuel pump, clogged fuel filter or a bad fuel pressure regulator.

If the fuel pressure test fails per spec that means the fuel pump assembly needs to be replaced as the filter and pressure regulator are typically integral in the fuel pump assembly in most modern vehicles.

It is a 34.7 liter engine.

The ring I was told came out of the valve. It was flat cylinder metal. Very thin similar to this except this ring was a complete circle that had a small crack through the ring. The diameter of the ring was approximately 2 inches wide. and the thickness of this ring was less than 1/4 inch thick. It looked like an arm bracelet. Except it was made out of matte base metal, maybe stainless steel, and a diameter of about 2 inches.

It's funny that you mentioned a battery because during the 3 weeks my mechanic had the car he said that the battery died on it and he had to replace the battery. I never had a problem with the battery, like dim lights etc.

As far as an alternator, I thought the alternator job was to keep the engine running (charged) during operation. If the alternator was bad, the car would run off the battery and would not last very long because the battery was not charged up by alternator during use. The car runs GREAT once started. Would a bad alternator cause the car to not start? or rough idle during the first few seconds of firing up?

So the battery was changed. I just assume that all the connections and terminals were checked before a new battery was replaced.

I was told that the cylinder had no internal damage when it went to the machine shop for testing. I asked the mechanic after getting it back if I should get rid of it since it was now working good. He told me that the jeep was running good and if it was his jeep he would keep it. So I will assume that the cylinder check was favorable.

About the engine crank no start. Now I am aware of the difference in starts after reading more. So when I have this issue, the starter is whirling.. but the engine does NOTHING. Not even try to engage... This has happened sporadically in the past. And then when I try to start again after the starter is working maybe 3 seconds the engine would start IMMEDIATELY but then the idle was rough like running out of gas and the dash lights flash like it is about to stall. When that happened. I would turn the key off, then 2-3 seconds later try the key again and then the car would start less than 3 seconds, engine fires up and run fine.

In the past 3 days I have tried the turn the key on, (engaging the fuel pump) turn key off, then turn key on again..wait 3 seconds, then pump the gas pedal and then start and the engine fires up no problem. Once during these 3 days, I have tried to start without pumping the gas pedal before turning key and the starter whirled and the engine did not turn over. I turned key off, gave the pedal a pump and then tried again and the engine started.

So reading your reply.. I am really thinking about the fuel system. Because when it doesn't start, it acts like it is out of gas... when it has a rough idle it acts like it is running out of fuel.

I put a bottle of fuel additive in it STP during my latest fill up. I have never done this before, but the bottle said it would help clean off carbon. Since I have been told my cylinders were 'carboned up' and causing the valves to be gummy and sticky... I figured the fuel additive couldn't hurt.

I will ask my mechanic about changing the fuel filter. and check the fuel pump (I had this happen to a car a long time ago).

I am not sure how much it would cost to get the fuel injectors cleaned or changed. I had a VW Super Beetle a long time ago that had this problem. Replacing the jets was costly and a long time waiting for parts from Germany. Hopefully, this being a domestic car the parts will not be as much if this is a problem.

Thanks so much for your reply. If I could sell it, I would but I am kind of stuck until spring.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The ring that I was told came off my car that was cracked looked like this one.
 

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I think your Jeep has multiple unrelated problems.

First off if the alternator is not charging the battery properly or if the battery is on its last legs or if there is some thing draining the battery over night (parasitic draw), there would not be enough battery voltage/amperage to turn the starter motor over.
But you indicated the battery was replaced. Still i would eye ball the battery cable terminals to make sure they're tight and not corroded.
Did you take the battery voltage measurements as i suggested?
Or we can't completely rule out a battery related issue.
Although its starting to look like a bad starter motor if the grounds and the starter motor cable terminals are intact.

The pic of the 2" diameter 'ring' looks like an O-ring, no clue where or why that has anything to do with rebuilding the cylinder head or a loose rocker arm.
Unless it was a spark plug tube sleeve seal which could all kinds of drive ability problems
Are you sure it was the cylinder head that needed rebuilding?

Finally get a fuel pressure test and a fuel leak down test at an independent shop or if you have money to burn the local Jeep dealership.

I think there's more to this story.
It would be great if your mechanic would chime in here to fill in the blanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you for your reply and assistance. I will ask my mechanic if that was specifically the cylinder head that needed to be rebuilt and where exactly that ring came from.

I will have to buy the tool to measure the battery voltage and take a look at the battery cable terminals to verify they are tightly in place.

I did just discovered how to check for engine error codes using the key. No codes despite having hard starts. So perhaps these past few days have been just a few hiccups and nothing to worry about.

I do believe you are correct; I have several unrelated problems that are overlapping. This is pointing to me to get rid of this jeep as soon as I can figure a way to get rid of it...pay off and sell outright for as much as I can or trade it in on something else (not likely).

I am not mechanically handy and really need the help of a good mechanic to troubleshoot. And I am not sure I have the best mechanic to troubleshoot. I had already decided with my other car, Honda Civic, that I would take the car to the dealer to get diagnosed and then take it to my private mechanic to do the repairs since he is cheaper and able.

It appears I may need to do the same with this Jeep. When I had this cylinder misfire and engine knock, I researched on google and found a youtube video of a Liberty with the same issue... apparently, my mechanic viewed this same video and was pretty surprised that I could understand what he needed to do etc.

He may have been impressed with my knowledge, but I was pretty surprised that he was basically doing the same thing I was doing... googling.

At any rate... I will research and figure out how to measure the battery voltage and report what I find. I could have a battery drain but it is very minor. I lose time on my clock.. but only a couple of minutes every 4 - 5 months. No biggie.
 

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You can get a digital voltmeter at Harbor Freight Tools for around $15 give or take which is good enough for automotive purposes, i have a couple of them in addition to more expensive ones.

If you've never used a voltmeter, i strongly strongly suggest getting a friend who knows how.
This is only to verify there are no battery related problems or a parasitic draw which is the first step for troubleshooting.
Both the before the 1st start in the morning (parasitic draw test) and later engine running (alternator test) battery voltage measurements should take no more than a couple minutes each for someone who knows how to use voltmeter that is.

Putting the 'known' pieces of the puzzle together 'seems' to indicate and only guesses:
1. Engine not turning over. Bad starter motor or battery related issues

2. Loose rocker arm. That could indeed cause knocking, misfires and a rough idle.
Depending on the severity of the loose rocker arm thing might of warranted pulling the head and having it rebuilt.

3. Hard starting-engine turns over. Everything you've said points to a fuel related issue.
Get a fuel pressure test and a fuel leak down test performed which will once and for all verify a fuel pump related issue.
If the fuel pump is confirmed bad, replacing it is gonna be expensive. Just say'n.

Its still unclear, after the cylinder head was reworked, does the engine still misfire and/or have a rough idle?
If it still has a rough idle that could open up another whole can of worms.

Your mechanic might be right after all, get rid of it before it becomes a money pit.
 
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