Question about 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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Dangerous on road shutdowns.

I have a 1996 Grand Cherokee, aprox 125,000 miles. It has shut down completely while driving 65+ mph on the freeway. No lights, no power brakes, no power steering. Then I get to the side of the road, turn the key off and turn it back on, I get nothing. No click, no lights, not even hazzard lights.
Sometimes the Jeep will start after about 5 minutes, sometimes 15. It will also sometimes not start randomly. I was shopping today for about an hour, came out to go home, turned the key and got nothing at all. No lights, no radio, no click, no fuel pump etc etc. I have had it in hot and cold temperatures, same behavior.
Any Ideas?

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  • jamesl4012 Dec 15, 2008

    As they say, the simplest answer usually is. I overlooked the main terminals. I cleaned and reconnected the batt. terminals. Made sure they were tight. When I lifted the hood today, one was barely on there. Everything is working smoothly and perfectly since then.

    This morning driving to work, the computer flashed, "check Battery," and the gauge went up into the red on the charge. I don't know what caused that, but I popped the car into neutral for a second, and then back into drive and it went back to normal. That was before I reconnected the batt terminal.

  • erictag Dec 17, 2008

    I had the same problem. Took it to two mechanics before diagnosed correctly. It was a emissions sensor that was not giving the engine correct mixture information- would shut down when hot. Have computer checked on your engine for codes, that should give mechainic direction. cost me 480 to fix.

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Well it sounds like you are having complete power losses, so we'll start at the source, the battery. Check the connections to the battery, make sure they are completely tight and clean.  If there is any corrosion at the terminals disconnect them and clean everything with a wire brush.  Inspect the battery cables for corrosion, trace the negative cables to their connections, and pay particular attention to the connection points on the body and the engine block. Make sure these connections are clean and tight. Trace and check the positive cables (being careful with exposed parts of wires that could shock you) to their connections at the alternator and the power distribution block located behind the battery.  It doesn't sound like a bad battery, but if you notice bloating or cracking, have it thoroughly tested. It sounds like the problem should be isolated to the power source (battery, cables, and distribution block), as no other component failure would cause a complete lack of power to all vehicle systems.  Let me know how this goes, and we'll go from there.

Posted on Dec 14, 2008

  • Ken Wolter Dec 16, 2008

    Glad to hear you got it fixed.  Loose battery cables can cause any number of problems and false warnings. Make sure the battery connections are staying tight and use some terminal protector to keep them clean.

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