Question about 1989 Jeep Cherokee

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Replacing Neutral Switch on 89 Jeep Cherokee Laredo 4 X 4. Used to start by moving from park to neutral but won't start at all now.

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You can find switch on right side of the transmission, opposite where the linkage goes in on the drivers side The harness connector is near the dipstic fill tube top. They are usually stuck on the shaft so you will need lots of wd40 a little gentle prying and some patience to remove it. You can replace with one from a scrapyard or get a new one (about $200 new) You can take them apart and clean contacts, but be very careful not to loose or mix up internal contacts (they will fall out if you are not careful) When re-installing I usually adjust start positon in neutral ,partially lock switch down and re - check reverse & park positions, then fully tighten. It's plastic so don't "animal" on it tightening...use lock tab to keep from backing off.

Posted on Mar 02, 2009

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Test/Service/Replace

The circuit on newer cars with automatic transmissions has a neutral safety, or neutral start switch installed between the ignition switch and the starter. The ignition switch cannot operate the starter motor unless the transmission is in park or neutral.
Late model vehicles with manual transmissions have a starter/clutch interlock switch that requires the clutch to be depressed to the floor.
Neutral Safety Switch
Normal operations of a neutral safety switch provides a quick check for the adjustment of the gear selector linkage.
  • To do this, move the selector slowly until it clicks into the PARK position.
  • Turn the ignition key to the START position.
  • If the starter operates, the PARK position is correct.
  • After checking the PARK position, move the lever slowly toward the NEUTRAL position until the lever drops at the end of the NEUTRAL stop in the selector gate.
  • If the starter also operates at this point, the gearshift linkage is properly adjusted.
  • This quick test also tests the adjustment of the neutral safety switch.
  • If the engine does not start in either or both of these positions, the neutral safety switch or the gear selector linkage needs adjustment or repair.

CAUTION
Since you must work under the vehicle to adjust most shift linkages make sure you properly raise and support the vehicle before working under it. Also, wear safety glasses or goggles while working under the vehicle.
A voltmeter can be used to check the switch for voltage when the ignition key is turned to the START position with the shift lever in PARK or NEUTRAL. If there is no voltage, the switch should be adjusted or replaced.

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1 Answer

91 jeep cherokee laredo sometimes start in N or P,switch problem?


Likely you have an AW4 transmission. The switch is located on the passenger side opposite the shift lever where the linkage connects on the drivers side. With the side clip on the connector facing up, in neutral or park there should be continuity between the two lower center terminals of the harness plug. If not, the switch is bad. (terminals may be labeled B&C)
A new switch is around $200. but you can take it apart (very carefully...there are small contacts and springs inside) and usually clean it up and re-use it. Or, you can get one far cheaper at a scrapyard.
Don't forget to check the starter relay in the power distribution center and the starter itself as often the only part of moving the shifter and other things done while starting is only busy work while turning the ignition key more than once, which is the actual thing that works.
As for the lights, I have no idea but have seen strange things happen before...take care of the starting problem first and then see if the light thing was just a fluke.

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Just pull up on the 4 wheel drive lever .. You can shift on the fly to part time and full time but you gotta stop and in park or neutral you can shift into 4 wheel lo .. I have one myself .. love those jeeps .. you "understand"

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