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'96 Cherokee here and right now I'm dealing with a no start after a few weeks of suspicious symptoms. She's been driven a lot less over the past year and about a month ago she began starting a little slow. I've got an oversized battery in there so usually she cranks right up no problem. I started monitoring batt voltage and saw around 12.04 V with engine off and 14.10 V or so running. Right before I get the new battery I head to Advance and they run a battery/alternator test. Kid tells me my batt is bad but alternator is still good.

So I lay out the $ and install the same size 34N EverStart Maxx 800 cca from Wally's and the slow start persists. Measuring the new battery with engine off yields consistent readings of just under 12.7 V, so for the past few weeks I began charging the batt at 2A which seemed to help. A few days ago I venture out for an errand and the engine doesn't restart to get me back home. I get no clicks or cranking at all with a key turn. Batt measures 12.67 V at the terminals. Dash gauges seem to react with the key on, voltmeter reading ~11.5 V, although I'm not sure how accurate that is. Fuel pump pressurizes.

Something that happened right after battery change out, which may or may not help in diagnosing the problem, is that my pass side headlight only illuminated half way while the driver side stayed full bright. I have an LMC Truck aftermarket headlight wiring harness giving 55/100w low high beam. It's the kind where you run the lights straight off the battery through additional relays. Had to tinker with the light harness a bit to get the new batt in and may have compromised a connection? Maybe a ground? Either way the pass headlight started showing full bright after only 1 or 2 occurrences and has been right ever since. With my alternator testing good and a new battery I wondered if maybe a loose connection was draining my voltage. I was in the middle of testing batt V connected vs. disconnected over time but this no start happened before I could get it done.

Last thing to mention is that recently I've been removing both my fuel pump and starter relays for security reasons. The way it's acting now is exactly like when trying to start with both relays removed. Being that the fuel pump is pressurizing should I consider testing the starter relay? Other than that could I have caused some kind of part failure by removing and reinstalling the relays maybe around 5-6 times over the last month?

All ears

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Turns out I've got a problem starter. Cleaned both batt terminals and engine ground and got nothing. Tapped the starter a few times and it fired right up. So what kind of starter should I look for? Want something decent with a warranty but not too expensive. Do most people just go for something like an Ultra from Oreiley's with the lifetime? I've got a 70$ credit at Napa so I was thinking maybe one of their reman Bosch around $120.

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Hey bradleyheathhays, 

Good job finding that starter problem!  I've had good luck with starters from places like O'Reilly's/AdvanceAuto etc.  And when you do the work youself, it's less of a risk if you have to do it again in a few years compared to someone who has to pay a shop to do it, so go ahead and save some money.

I've also had good luck pulling used parts from yards, although fewer in my area are letting customers pull parts themselves these days.  It's a good way to get original quality parts for cheap.

That '96 is the last year with the original AMC dash before Chrysler updated it, right?  I've got a 2000 XJ that my father-in-law gave to me when the cylinder head cracked, he was fed up with it!  I've had to fix a bunch of stuff on it, but the 4WD works great and I've been plowing with it the past 3 winters.  I plan to put in a 2WD-LO kit from TeraFlex to make it easier to make tight turns in low range.

Do you have any off-road mods on yours?

 

 

 

 

 

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Oh, yeah, and I forgot to mention RockAuto is a great online source for parts, if you can wait a couple days for shipping.  I often find the same part for WAY less, exact same brand and part number, that they sell in the big chain stores! 

I generally buy from the chain stores only when I need something same day.

 

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