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  #1  
Old February 16th, 2008, 10:55
Jess Jess is offline
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odd no start

First of all, this is a Jeep I am looking at buying...not mine so I don't know alot of history. It is a 97 4.0 auto. I go to look at it and the body is in great shape, then I pop the hood. The first thing I notice is the valve cover is gone. Since it was off, I checked everything and all the arms were tight and the oil showed no signs of coolant. Everything else seemed intact, so I went to start it. The battery was dead so I jumped it and the starter only popped. I removed the key and the starter continued popping (without the key in) until I disconnected the jumper cables. I pulled the starter relay and it did not appear burnt, so I manually jumped the starter with a screwdriver and it just spun and didn't kick the plunger out.
The problem sounds as simple as a bad starter, but with the missing valve cover I am usure of any underlying problems. It is being sold from a repo place so they have no mechanical input or history information on it.

I want to try to get it started to make sure there is no internal damage, but how do I do it without buying a new starter and replacing it?

Thanks for all the help in advance.
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Old February 16th, 2008, 14:11
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Matthew Currie Matthew Currie is offline
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Re: odd no start

Valve cover off is kind of suspicious, but of course if the thing sat for a while before being repossessed, maybe somebody just stole it or took it out of spite.

First thing I'd do is try to get a wrench on the crank pulley and make sure the engine even turns over. It could be that the thing is seized, and that's why the starter failed, or stripped a gear. If you can, you should try to turn it over far enough to make sure that the valve train is operating, too, as a check against a busted timing chain or camshaft.

I can't see much chance of actually starting an auto trans. Jeep without a starter. If it were a stick, you could possibly roll start it or even do the old VW trick of jacking up one rear wheel and using it to crank the engine over in gear, but the slushbox kind of nixes that.

One other possibility is that the problem is not with the starter itself but with the relay. It might be worth disconnecting the lead from the starter and using a remote starter switch to see if it behaves better.

If they let you fool with it for long enough, you might be able to take the starter out, and see first of all if it shows obvious signs of damage, and perhaps even to open up the solenoid and see if you can bodge it back into action for long enough to work.
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Old February 17th, 2008, 08:58
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birchlakeXJ birchlakeXJ is offline
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Re: odd no start

Man, this one better be offered for a good price.....there are lots of red flags here....Don't buy it without hearing it run unless you are prepared to pop in a different engine. And keep looking, lots of XJs out there.
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Old February 17th, 2008, 14:25
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Matthew Currie Matthew Currie is offline
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Re: odd no start

Quote:
Originally Posted by birchlakeXJ
Man, this one better be offered for a good price.....there are lots of red flags here....Don't buy it without hearing it run unless you are prepared to pop in a different engine. And keep looking, lots of XJs out there.
Many red flags indeed. It could, after all, have been purposely cooked by an angry owner prior to repossession, or abandoned, or who knows what. Although it's possible that it's not bad, I'd hesitate to pay more than the price of a good body and axles, because condition of either engine or tranny or both is suspect unless you get it running. It's a little like those ebay dealers selling some electronic product and saying "I didn't turn it on to see if it works or not."
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Old February 17th, 2008, 16:43
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Boatwrench Boatwrench is offline
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Re: odd no start

Jess,

If you never have bought a repo or lein sale vehicle two words of caution. Be patient. There are plenty of hidden costs with these vehicles.

The 1st lein sale I bought cost me $50....initially. Registering it YOU will need to pay MOST of the back fees. The only thing actually waived will be the accumulated parking tickets. The 1st one I bought had stolen plates, so even though it looked like current registration it was 3 years in the rear. This costs about $250 Next came smog, well since it was basically abandoned by the owner (the fees to get it from impound) worth more than the vehicle it wasn't well maintained. Catalytic, complete tune, PVC hose retro, new battery cost around $300 to get smogged. After all is said and done I'm into this thing about $600. The Jeep runs good, hard to kill a 4.0L.

2nd lein sale $25. So far, $150 for an exhaust manifold, $75 for motor mounts, $25 for water pump and I'll see if it passes smog tomorrow.

So what I'm long windedly saying is it better be a good deal and the chances are that your getting a dream ride are very slim. If the previous owner couldn't afford payments, he probably couldn't afford maintenance either.

Good Luck,
Tom
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  #6  
Old February 17th, 2008, 21:17
Jess Jess is offline
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Re: odd no start

I see all the red flags, but from the condition of the body I believe it has been taken care of. There were plenty of reciepts in the glove box to show routine care had been taken. I have a spare Renix starter and found it will fit this year, so I think I may swap the starter out and see if that does the trick. I don't think it is the relay because jumping the starter should work even if the relay was bad.

I am not going to jump in blind. I know there are lots of XJ's out there. I really don't need another one now, but the wife wants a 97+ body style. To date, I have owned 7 XJ's and still have 3 right now...but its hard to pass up a good deal (if this actually is one).

As for the fees, I have verified it does have a clean title and TN has no smog testing (or any other inspections).
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Old February 17th, 2008, 21:23
Shorty Shorty is offline
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Re: odd no start

take a couple minutes and pull a starter from one of yours and bring it with you. Swap 'em around long enough to see if it cranks that way-- costs nothing but time!
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Old February 17th, 2008, 21:49
Jess Jess is offline
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Re: odd no start

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty
take a couple minutes and pull a starter from one of yours and bring it with you. Swap 'em around long enough to see if it cranks that way-- costs nothing but time!
I don't even have to pull one, I've got a spare in the garage.
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