Jeep Starter Replacement - Ever turn the key to just hear a click? No engine turning over, just a click of the solenoid. Or, it can even be nothing, not even the solenoid engaging. Either way, chances are are you aren't going anywhere. If you have a stick shift Jeep you can either roll it down a hill or have some friends push you to roll start it. Bur, if you are automatic transmission equipped, you're stuck.
You might be lucky enough to keep bumping the key and it eventually turns over and starts. Or, get a hammer and peck on it, turn the key, peck on it, turn the key in hopes of it catching hold and spin the engine over. Sometime it works .. sometimes it doesn't. Ether way .. get that starter changed ASAP!!
Well .. Jeep starters are fairly simple little starters. Unlike GM starters, they have no external mounted solenoid, which really lessens the things that can go wrong. Yeaaa for AMC/Chrysler being smart :-).
OK .. back to the point. Really, the only parts that can and eventually will go bad in a Jeep starter is the brushes and the armature. The brushes affords the ability to send voltage to the different contacts on the armature as the armature spins the engine over. One of these days I'll add pictures (or maybe even a video) to better explain whats going on here.
So, now that I've given you a brief summary of what the internal electrical parts do. Lets explain why a defective Jeep starter quits working or works when it wants too. Bear in mind, I'm going to make the explanation kinda generic. Simply because even though starters from different makes of cars varies as to bolt up configuration, solenoid or no solenoid, gear reduction or not. The basics of how electrically the starter armature spins is still pretty much the same.
One issue can be that on the armature contacts there can be one small bad spot. If after starting the engine, the armature just happens to stop where the bad spot meets one of the brushes. There will not be a sufficient electrical contact for that one brush to spin the armature over for the next engine start. But that repeatedly bumping the starter (turning the key like you are trying to start the engine) can little by little either move the armature just enough to make solid contact, then all of a sudden, engine turns over and starts.
The other thing that can cause intermittent "no starter turning over" issues is a bad set of brushes. The brushes can be made of a couple of different materials. One material being a metallic impregnated graphite type material. Or the other material being copper. Pressing the brushes against the armature will be a type of spring. Spring type can be a bent metal or coil spring. Either one can go bad over time. If the spring pushing the brush against the armature gets weak, that can cause it to occasionally not turn over. So, the getting out pecking on the starter case with a big wrench or hammer can sometimes jar the brush to again fully seat against the armature contacts.
But ... any of the above is a crap shoot. If the starter starts acting up, change it ASAP!!
The starter on my Wrangler YJ had been acting up for a while and really needed replaced. But, I would keep bumping the starter switch and it would eventually catch and spin the engine over. I knew it would eventually leave me stranded .. gamble I did anyway. Until one very cold evening after work that it would not start. I was flipping the switch and getting nothing but clicks. It was single digit temp and I was stuck. OK .. one more try .. after about the 6th or 7th click it turned over and started. No more putting it off .. get it changed!!