1985 Jeep Laredo is it the battery or the alternator?

  • 1985 JEEP LAREDO
  • 4 CYL
  • 4WD
  • 140,000 MILES
I just bought an '85 Jeep Cherokee Laredo 2door, 4x4, 5speeed, 4cylinder, 140K miles off of Craigslist Seattle. The guy said it had a bunch of recent work done, including a recent new alternator, and indeed it did seem to be in good shape.

The second night I had it I accidentally left the key in the ignition, car turned off (which could have drained the battery if it had been left in the on ignition position? I don't remember if I did). When I came back the jeep needed a jump start. Then it stalled a block later up a hill and wouldn't restart until I got another jump start. Then same thing happened a block later so I just parked it.

The next morning I came back to pick it up and put in a couple gallons of gas (was low and I wanted to eliminate that as a cause of the problem) and it started up. It got me to a gas station where after turning it off it wouldn't start without another jump.

Next morning it took a couple tries but it started up and then I drove it around and then to the mechanic's. The mechanic changed the squeaking/slipping alternator belt since that may have been preventing sufficient charge. So then I drove it home ok.

Then this morning it wouldn't even turn over - just made a clicking kind of grinding sound. I didn't bother getting a jump start. The mechanic HAD checked the battery and said it was fine. He HAD checked the alternator and said the charging system was ok but running low when I had all the electrical stuff running (lights, engine, radio, heat) so I COULD drive it but not at night with stuff on and I should get the alternator fixed soon.

Does this sound right? I had a car before that a mechanic said the battery on it was fine though I kept needed jump starts. It turned out the battery was nearly dead but his measurements never picked up on it. I think the guy off Craigslist who I bought this from was trustworthy and he did say it was a newer alternator. Could it just be a new battery I need and how do I make sure? If I get someone to put in a used alternator how do I know it won't be a dud? Help please? Any advice?
Do you
have the same problem?
Wednesday, December 31st, 2008 AT 12:28 AM

1 Reply

Check the battery terminals/cables to ensure they are tight and free of corrosion. Also ensure other end of ground cable is tightened to vehicle and free of corrosion as well. I suggest getting a jump and taking your vehicle to a local part store such as AutoZone or Advance Auto Parts. These places can test alternators and batteries for free (on the vehicle OR off). This will pinpoint the issue out for you.
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Wednesday, December 31st, 2008 AT 12:47 AM

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