Question about 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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Starting problem. Is it the key lock cylinder, fuel pump...?? YIKES!

Hey mike, I just thought of something. When it does start, after a drive to the grocery always starts first time. However, I tried to start it today with no luck at all! Does this "flat spot" progressively get worse? and after I drive it and the starter is not "stuck in the flat spot"....does that explain why it starts after a drive?? Thanks for your time and effort

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  • Ladd Aug 23, 2008

    thank you for all your help mike. I will let you know what happens.



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Hello again,

Think of a 'flat spot' as Starter Roulette. When the starter is finished turning the engine over, it spins down and comes to a stop. Random. There is a position where the contacts are worn down (presumably). If it happens to stop in this position - trouble.

You say it always starts when warm? Instead of a starter problem, it may be the Solenoid. You still need to remove the starter to get to it (its attached). But it's a lot cheaper to replace.

What the Solenoid does: It's an electro magnet. It's an electric switch. A very high amperage electromagnetic switch. The current needed by your starter when turning over the engine would melt (fry, smoke, burn, etc) your ignition switch. So instead, the start position on the key flips an electric switch that can handle it. Inside the solenoid, there is a rod or piston on a spring. The end of this rod has a disk with a conductive coating. When the electromagnet is on (Start) the rod moves against the spring. There are heavy contacts that connect to the Starter and the battery. Turn your key to Start and you hear a CLICK. That is the solenoid. The magnet activates, the rod moves, makes connects the battery and starter motor contacts, starter spins.

These internal contacts can get burned too. That conductive disk can spin. It can have a 'flat spot'.

To tell the truth, there shouldn't be a difference. Most of the time, heat makes things run worse, not better.

And yes, it will get worse.
Let me know what you plan to do.

Posted on Aug 23, 2008


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Will not start

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So if you have a no start, to check for gas, listen for the pump- a distinctive hum or buzz from the tank, check the fuel pump fuse, see if you can feel or hear the fuel pump relay click when someone turns the key to on. (Did you remember to check if the tank has gas?). Finally, you would have to check for power on the fuel pump wire at the tank connector, while someone holds the key in start. If you have power there, it's likely you need a new fuel pump. If the pump is working, well and good, but keep in the back of your mind that a weak pump that puts out low pressure can cause hard starting problems and poor running. At any rate, if you have gas up to the fuel rail, the only other thing between there and the cylinders is the injectors. Are they working? A quick check would be to remove a spark plug or two after cranking the engine over a few seconds. If they are wet with gas, the injectors are injecting. Hope I've helped you out some. I know some people who say to spray some starting fluid into the air intake to check if you have a gas problem with starting- I've done it myself. But I've learned it's better to use carburetor cleaner spray instead, it burns cleaner and something about the potentially harmful effects of starting fluid, well. good luck.

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  1. Check fuel level in fuel tank, add fuel if empty.
  2. Check battery condition and state of charge. If voltage and load test below specification, charge or replace battery.
  3. Check battery terminal and cable condition and tightness. Clean terminals and replace damaged, worn or corroded cables.
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Starting problem. Is it the key lock cylinder, fuel pump...?? YIKES!

No, this pretty much sounds like you might need a new starter.

Sometimes, starters develop what is referred to as a "flat spot" (a spot where if the starter stops there, it does not want to operate before something causes it to move (rotate a little bit)) causing a hard start/no start condition.

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