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cranks but doesn't start
#1324908 Thu Sep 05 2019 03:35 AM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 12
B
New Guy
So I got this '96 Jeep Cherokee XJ that cranks but doesn't start. It's got around 180k on her but I keep everything in good shape. Batt seemed strong.

I used to drive it everyday but this past year I've driven it only about twice a week. It's been just slightly slower to start in the last couple of months, but just barely slower. Was guessing it had something to do with aging plugs or something.

Drove it yesterday and everything was normal like always, sat overnight and today it cranked but didn't catch.

Any ideas on where to start?

Re: cranks but doesn't start
bradleyheathhays #1324910 Thu Sep 05 2019 03:53 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 20,562
H
Boltergeist
Fuel injected or carbureted? If it's fuel injected, give the bottom of the fuel tank a hard thump with a rubber mallet or a 2X4 while someone holds the key in the "start" position. Sluggish starts, followed by a "crank-- - -no start" condition is a classic symptom of an in-tank electric fuel pump failing. Sometimes you can coax one more start out of it by massaging the fuel tank. If it starts- - - -go directly to a shop that can change the pump- - - -"Do not pass GO- - -do not collect $200.00"- - -and DEFINITELY don't turn the engine off again!
Jerry


The murder victim was drowned in a bathtub full of Rice Krispies and milk.
The coroner blamed the crime on a cereal killer!

Cringe and wail in fear, Eloi- - - - -we Morlocks are on the hunt!
Re: cranks but doesn't start
bradleyheathhays #1324986 Thu Sep 05 2019 09:07 PM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 116
D
Shop Shark
I've run into that on everything from a '69 Datsun roadster to an 89 C10. On the Datsun, it was a dirty screen on the tank sump. I'd simply pull the hose off the intake side of the fuel pump, and blow hard. Then drive off. All until I found the chance to empty, and clean the tank.
So don't rule out a dirty sump. The (in tank) pump may well be OK. smile

Chris


'64 Chev C20 LWB stepside ( Ol'Blue )
[img]http://boltbucket.org/img/OlBlue-C20-badge-64x64.jpg[/img]
Re: cranks but doesn't start
bradleyheathhays #1325041 Fri Sep 06 2019 02:26 AM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 9,290
5
Master Gabster
We had a Chevrolet minivan towed home by AAA. After he dropped it off, he asked what's wrong with it? I told him that it acted like no fuel.
He walked back to his truck and brought a giant, heavy tow hook and crawled under the van. I'm thinking, "what is this crazy old man going to do with that?!"
He tapped on the underside of the tank and said, "OK, start it up." I turned the key and it fired right up!
I am so proud that I didn't say anything to him while he was dragging that giant hook of death under my van.
He said to just replace the fuel pump and you will be good to go. Yep.

Re: cranks but doesn't start
bradleyheathhays #1325063 Fri Sep 06 2019 05:05 AM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 116
D
Shop Shark
LOL. That was a great story, Carl. Thanks!

Chris


'64 Chev C20 LWB stepside ( Ol'Blue )
[img]http://boltbucket.org/img/OlBlue-C20-badge-64x64.jpg[/img]
Re: cranks but doesn't start
bradleyheathhays #1325156 Fri Sep 06 2019 09:43 PM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 12
B
New Guy
Yeah that was a great story. Good lesson too.

So far I've been able to run a couple tests..

Hooked up a fuel pressure gauge and first key turn got it up to only 20psi. Second turn got it up to 45. And third and subsequent turns got it up to 48. It only fell to 43 after 2 minutes so I think that means the fuel pressure is good.

Hooked up a spark tester between a plug and wire and it didn't light at all when cranked so I'm guessing I've got a spark problem. I'll start by doing a tune up with new rotor, cap, wires and plugs then see what happens. After that it I'll go after the crank position sensor and spark sensor.

Last edited by bradleyheathhays; Fri Sep 06 2019 09:44 PM.
Re: cranks but doesn't start
bradleyheathhays #1325384 Mon Sep 09 2019 12:51 AM
Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 6,797
W
Master Gabster
If you have ever had an MGA you would carry a long-handled screwdriver the pump was behind the passenger's seat and if the ticking stopped you would reach and tap it and usually it would run again. I has an MGA for 49 years and had to do it a couple of times until I replace it with a solid state unit.


Ron, The Computer Greek
I love therefore I am.

1960 MGA Roadster Sold 7/18/2017
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