2000 Jeep Cherokee Starting

Tiny
BDIET0997
  • MEMBER
  • 2000 JEEP CHEROKEE
  • 6 CYL
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 124,000 MILES
We just started having trouble with starting. It will be fine for five startups and then it is completely dead when turning the key. The rest of the electrical is fine. Horn lights etc. My wife discovered by rolling the car a little this will solve or just trying to start another ten times as well. Is this a bad starter or perhaps something loose? I am thinking just to get a starter and replace?
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Thursday, March 4th, 2010 AT 1:17 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
It would be helpful if you could describe the symptoms, sounds, and observations beyond what you already have, but it sounds like it will crank if you turn the ignition switch to "crank" a few times. If that is correct, you likely have the little silver Nippendenso starter. They commonly develop worn solenoid contacts. Those can be replaced for 20 bucks, and an hour of your time, but for quality of repair, most people just replace the entire starter. The problem will get worse over time, but will continue to crank for a long time yet if you keep cycling the ignition switch.

Caradiodoc
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Thursday, March 4th, 2010 AT 1:42 PM
Tiny
BDIET0997
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Most of the time it starts with no difficulty at all. Every fifth time for example, I will turn the key and nothing, no noise, nos ticking, dead silence. While doing this, I noticed the lights, radio, and horn worked fine. I will have to turn key at least ten more times in attempts to start before it will, then it is good for awhile. If I roll the car a bit while in neutral, that seems to temporarily fix the problem.
Is the starter for a Grand Cherokee the same for a Cherokee Sport?
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Thursday, March 4th, 2010 AT 1:59 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
I'd have to rethink my starter diagnosis. It IS a very common problem with certain starters, but you should hear one kind of loud clunk when it engages but doesn't spin.

Since you noticed moving the vehicle helps, is it possible the same thing could be accomplished by just moving the shifter? Try cranking it in neutral or by just moving it in and out of park a few times. If either of those things help, it's time to look at the transmission range selector. That's a fancy name for the neutral safety switch.

If moving the shifter doesn't help, the next time you catch it acting up, remove the plastic cover from the starter relay and try to crank the engine by gently squeezing the contact. If it cranks that way, (be sure its in park), that proves the starter itself and the wiring are ok. If it fails to crank even once, suspect a gummed up shaft that the starter drive slides on to engage the engine. You can do this multiple times if you leave the ignition switch off.

Also, with that cover off the relay, watch for the contact to move when a helper turns the ignition switch to "crank". If it doesn't click, you will need a test light or cheap digital voltmeter, and I'll give you the steps to take. If possible to catch this acting up in a convenient location, try to keep it in that bad state so a defect will show up during testing. Some people will poke and pry until the dead circuit works, then think there's something to find through testing.

Caradiodoc
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Thursday, March 4th, 2010 AT 4:25 PM

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