Tried jumping it with jumper lead but still wont start

Tiny
TONGA
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 JEEP CHEROKEE
  • 262,000 MILES
My jeep cherokee wont start it sound like it want to but just wont kick over, the lights and that work still, ive tried to jump it but it still wont start
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Monday, March 19th, 2012 AT 7:49 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
What exactly are the symptoms? "Won't start" means about as much as "I'm in pain".
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Monday, March 19th, 2012 AT 7:56 PM
Tiny
TONGA
  • MEMBER
Well when I turn the key it rings as normal but it wont kick over it just keeps ringing
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Monday, March 19th, 2012 AT 9:48 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Do you hear a single rather loud clunk from under the hood each time you turn the ignition switch to "crank"? Can you hear a very light click from the starter relay under the hood? That one can be kind of hard to determine because there will be other relays clicking too. What happens to the dome lights or head lights when you turn the switch to "crank"? Do they go out completely, get dim, or stay bright? Do you have a digital voltmeter or test light and know how to use it?
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Monday, March 19th, 2012 AT 10:27 PM
Tiny
TONGA
  • MEMBER
The lights stay bright, when I turn the ignition to start it rings for a sesond then starts to clank and no I dont have a voltmeter or test light
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Monday, March 19th, 2012 AT 11:05 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
I think you're going to have to enlist the help of someone who can listen to what's happening. If that "clank" is a single loud clunk, that can be due to worn solenoid contacts inside the starter. That's real common on the little silver Nippendenso starters. Repair involves replacing the contacts for about 20 bucks, but most people just replace the entire starter. That problem always starts out intermittent. At first you'll have to cycle the ignition switch two or three times before the engine will crank. As it gets worse over a few weeks or months it will take many more attempts before it will crank. If the symptom is the same but the problem started suddenly and is not intermittent, it can be due to a corroded battery cable or loose or dirty connections.

If you're hearing a ratcheting sound, sort of like a loud buzzing noise, the suspects are a bad battery or loose or dirty cable connections. The dome lights will typically stay bright but they'll flicker rapidly in time with that noise. You'll need a voltmeter to identify that. Start at the battery and measure the voltage. If you find 12.6 volts, the battery is good and fully charged. If you find closer to 12.0 volts, it is good but discharged. You'll need to charge the battery slowly for an hour, then continue with testing. If it cranks and starts, you likely have a charging problem.

If you find around 11.0 volts or less, the battery has a shorted cell and must be replaced.

You can find a digital voltmeter at Walmart, Radio Shack, Sears, or any hardware store, home improvement store, or auto parts store. Don't waste your money on an auto-ranging meter or other features you'll never use. If you have a Harbor Freight Tools store nearby, they have a perfectly fine meter for less than ten bucks. It often goes on sale for $2.99.

If the battery voltage is close to 12.6 volts, measure it again while a helper tries to crank the engine. If the voltage stays high, there are cable connection problems or those bad solenoid contacts. If the voltage gets drawn down to less than about 10 volts, suspect the battery. You need to start the testing right on the battery posts, not the cable clamps bolted to them. If the voltage remains high there, then, one at a time, move the probes to the cable clamps and measure again. You're looking for a place where there is a big change in voltage during the test. That is where to look for a bad connection. If that sounds confusing, I can send you to a web page that has drawings that might make more sense.
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Monday, March 19th, 2012 AT 11:49 PM

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