Question about 1988 Jeep Wrangler

3 Answers

Starter problem 1988 Jeep Wrangler

My Wrangler does not start. Replaced the starter thinking it would be a quick fix with a replacement part from Auto Zone. The starter was firing but was not engaging the flywheel. I went back to Auto Zone exchanged the starter for a different one thinking it was deffective. Came back installed the new one and got the same result. Could it be that the flywheel has shifted and therefore the reason why the starter is not engaging the flywheel. I'm stuck. What gives?

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  • sgt_medina May 30, 2009

    Forgot to add that my wrangler is manual 5 speed, V6, 4.5

  • sgt_medina May 30, 2009

    I saw part of the fly wheel when I took the starter off and I saw no teeth that were messed up. As to the solenoid, I am getting electricity all the way to the starter so that would eliminate that theory. Maybe the starter is going past the flywheel or maybe not far enough and therefore not turning the flywheel. What do you guys think?

  • sgt_medina May 30, 2009

    Saw part of the flywheel when I replaced starter and no messed up teeth on flywheel. And if solenoid is bad why would I be getting electricity to the Starter?

  • sgt_medina May 30, 2009

    Locked up motor? What does that mean?

  • sgt_medina May 30, 2009

    Yes the solenoid you are referring to is up by the battery. Could the fix be that simple?

  • its420_us May 11, 2010

    Just because you're getting power to the starter from the solenoid doesn't mean it's not bad. Your positive battery cable is a direct connection through your solenoid, so of course you're going to get power to the starter. Your solenoid isn't throwing your starter enough to make it engage with the flywheel. No visible damage to your flywheel, and a new starter, says "your solenoid is bad". You can play with your issue for weeks, months, and ignore what I've told you; or you could spend $20.00 or less on a new solenoid and resolve your issue.

  • its420_us May 11, 2010

    If I remember correctly on a 1988, your starter has a seperate solenoid. The solenoid would be your issue, it has nothing to do with your flywheel at all.

  • its420_us May 11, 2010

    Your flywheel did not move. Maybe your "starter solenoid"?

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  • Master
  • 316 Answers

I sit here on this site and help people with their issues all the time, and I do it for free. I've been in the mechanics trade for over 24 years, and I think I have a good idea of what I'm talking about. I don't know it all, and I even need assistance from time to time. The only thing I ask in return for my help, is a good rating from the people I help. Once you replace your solenoid, your issue will be resolved. Yes the fix is that simple. Remember to disconnect the negative cable from the battery before you replace it, so you don't ground anything out.

Posted on May 30, 2009

  • its420_us May 30, 2009

    And chriskelton4 FYI, "the starter and solenoid are NOT a single unit".

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  • Contributor
  • 27 Answers

Did u hear a real bad grinding sound before the starter went out?? or even a loud sound when it would turn over would indicated a bad flywheel. meaning the teeth on the flywheel has been chewed off. pull the starter off and check the flywheel with a flashlight if u see any messed up teeth theres your problem. flywheels do not come off easily definitely since there is a transmission behind it. make sure there are no shims that could be installed to keep the starter at the right distance from the flywheel otherwise you will have the same problem.

Posted on May 30, 2009

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  • chris kelton May 30, 2009

    so when u try to start it do you hear any grinding?? or just the starter spinning freely?? you have already replace the starter twice so i do not believe that is your issue. if it spins freely try removing any shims between the starter and the tranny. if its grinds or a loud bang and nothing else happens you may have a locked up motor.

  • chris kelton May 30, 2009

    the starters on the 1988 jeep wranglers do not have separate solenoids. its just a direct power wire going to the starter assembly with the built in solenoid. FYI.



  • chris kelton May 30, 2009

    take a screw driver and jump the 2 terminals if it turns over that is the problem. but u did say that the starter spins right??

    and when i said the motor could be locked up i mean your 4.5 v6 can be locked up to where the starter cannot engage fully or just stops spinning all together as it grabs the flywheel.

    just make certain u have the right starter like it matches with the old one or exactly with application. a different chrysler part could be the whole problem, as some of them do bolt up right but does not engage fully



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  • Master
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Flywheel ring gear needs replacing.Teeth are badly worn and the starter cannot reach them

Posted on May 30, 2009

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