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  1. #1
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    Default Electrical problems, hard starting, fuel pump, sputtering out - tons of problems!!

    Hey everyone,

    FYI I'm pretty new to car repairs, so please don't use lots of techie terms and just kinda "dumb it down" for me if you're explaining things
    (I've done repairs for: head gasket, cylinder head replacement, clutch master cylinder, power brakes, new aftermarket water temp gauge, that sort of thing so far to give you an idea of my knowledge/experience)
    I have a 1985 Cherokee, 2.5L 4cylinder carbureted

    To give you an idea of some of the ongoing problems:
    -hard start, need to give gas and try 5-10 times
    -power steering pump leaking quickly and whining
    -carb prob needs to be adjusted
    -A/C won't blow anymore
    -at idle, if A/C running then car will stall out

    So my car was running alright for a while, it would take a few tries (usually 5+) to start it, with my foot fluttering the gas and also holding the gas for 5 seconds down between one of the start attempts. After I start it and drive it a bit, then usually it starts easier.
    Then I tested it by driving it to Flagstaff, and I think the distance/uphill/cold temps killed it. When I got there, I noticed that pulling out of a gas station my car turned on after a few times but then as I tried to turn out of the station my car just sputtered out and died.
    The weird thing is that when this sputtering thing happened usually I'm in 1st gear, going up a slight uphill, and turning (power steering pump is also leaking and whining). I floor the gas but it just sputters out, if it catches then eventually it will start reacting to the gas, then once in higher gears and at higher speeds it runs just fine.
    Thought it might be the power steering pump going out and pulling too much electricity, along with the cold temps messing with the carb fuel/air mixture.

    So back in Tucson, its driving alright, not doing that sputtering thing anymore. One day I drive it around fine all day, then trying to leave a parking lot I don't immediately pull out of the parking spot and accelerate after turning it on, and it dies and won't turn on. There's white smoke, wires melting near the battery. Towed it home, trying to solve it from there.

    Maybe wires had been exposed and touching metal? So I replaced them, (tried pretty hard and couldn't figure out what they go to, some appear to go through firewall into dash). Tried to start car again, this time other wires melted, some again near battery in other spot and others on drivers side near air cleaner.
    I found lots of badly connected wires (twisted, barely covered with old electrical tape), exposed wires, wires that had melted:
    Also replaced the starter cable (from power to starter) because some wires were exposed from insulation and covered in oil/car crap

    Lots of questions:
    Is all this connected? Is one thing causing another?
    Planning to replace mechanical fuel pump, any recommendations? It is a mechanical pump in engine bay on passenger side. Was going to test if pump is working by disconnecting a fuel line to carburetor, turn ignition, see if fuel comes out (into a bucket). Can't find much info about a 2.5L engine mech fuel pump replacement, do you need to bleed the system and how? Release fuel pressure first?
    How do you replace wires that are like 2 fused together like the trailer hitch wires? Can I just completely disconnect trailer hitch wires and forget about it? They appear to already be spliced with these blue connectors.
    Could it be an issue with A/C blower motor causing wires to melt?
    What is this silver box thing (best guesses so far from friends/car parts shops is that it is a relay, one person guessed "Choke Heater Relay")?
    I have carb choke cleaner, would that help? I would adjust it but it is so complicated and not sure if I would just make it worse, only 1 person in Tucson said they do carb adjustments for like 300

    I have tons of pics so if clarification would help on something let me know, I know there is a TON in this post.

    I just want to fix this up so I can SELL it and have a reliable car that won't break down or not start when I need it to, so I can go drive out to the middle of nowhere and not worry about it.

    Thanks guys!!
    -Monika

  2. #2
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    Default Re: electrical problems, hard starting, fuel pump, sputtering out - tons of problems!

    Photos:




    initial wires that melted: 2 stranded green wires that connect to a ring terminal to power, other ends then split off each into 1 red and 1 red white (so 2 red and 2 red white total, with 2 green)



    noticed this whack attachment of this black wire instead of a ring terminal. possibly rubbed and exposed wires on other wire?



    exposed ends on cable from power to starter, replaced this




    2nd round, these wires melted on driver side, near air cleaner. yellow pieces attach to vacuum lines. not sure what this whole thing is? connects to pigtail that had a red/white wire, potentially same red/white wire as from 1st melted green wire?



    2nd round, these wires melted on driver side, near air cleaner. yellow pieces attach to vacuum lines. not sure what this whole thing is? connects to pigtail that had a red/white wire, potentially same red/white wire as from 1st melted green wire?



    2nd round, these wires melted on driver side, near air cleaner. yellow pieces attach to vacuum lines. not sure what this whole thing is? connects to pigtail that had a red/white wire, potentially same red/white wire as from 1st melted green wire?




    relay where wires had melted 2nd time around. what is it for? (friend says: heater choke relay). none of numbers show up when searched, not sure how to replace it. thought maybe there was an issue with this, that's why wires had melted right by it, and that's why I wanted to replace it.



    relay where wires had melted 2nd time around. what is it for? (friend says: heater choke relay). none of numbers show up when searched, not sure how to replace it. thought maybe there was an issue with this, that's why wires had melted right by it, and that's why I wanted to replace it.



    pigtail off of relay: can see exposed wiring where it got hot and melted when I started the car. <br/>relay where wires had melted 2nd time around. what is it for? (friend says: heater choke relay). none of numbers show up when searched, not sure how to replace it. thought maybe there was an issue with this, that's why wires had melted right by it, and that's why I wanted to replace it.

    where the relay connected to (battery side passenger side). 3 wires to 1, 4 wires to other, both these attached to relay. <br/>this is where wires also melted the 2nd round



    where the relay connected to (battery side passenger side). 3 wires to 1, 4 wires to other, both these attached to relay. <br/>this is where wires also melted the 2nd round




    found some exposed wires for trailer hitch.



    trailer hitch light. if you notice, the wires for Tail Ground and Left Turnstop are all attached, but for some reason the green wire (The one that had been exposed) is cut and instead spliced to some random unknown green wire leading into car



    trailer hitch light. if you notice, the wires for Tail Ground and Left Turnstop are all attached, but for some reason the green wire (The one that had been exposed) is cut and instead spliced to some random unknown green wire leading into car



    exposed green wire. green and yellow wires are somewhat connected side-by-side, how do you replace this kind of wire? can't really cut strip and use butt connectors when you have these two sets of wires basically attached but not electrically connected


  3. #3
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    Sep 2009
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    Default Re: electrical problems, hard starting, fuel pump, sputtering out - tons of problems!

    That is quite a laundry list. But first things first. You have some shorts you need to find. Just replacing wires where they melted is not going to be enough. So, I need to educate you on how to find them. There is a thing called an Ohm Meter. The analogue ones, with the dial are cheap. It doesn't need to be accurate, but it does need to work. You put a battery in it and on the ohm setting it will measure how much resistance a wire or something has in it. So set the thing on ohms and find any light bulb and put one probe on the center and one on the rest of the metal. You should see the needle show a value. Next put the probes together. It will peg the needle on one side of the scale. This is just for practice. Now you get to work and check each one of those wires you have replaced for shorts. One probe goes on the wire and the other goes to ground. If it pegs the needle, it has a short and you have to fix that. If you don't, it will just toast itself again. The green wires by the starter solenoid look like they might be fusible links, a type of fuse that is a pain in the ass. When these go, they will leave you stranded. You can replace them with inline fuses. The green are 20 amp if I remember correctly. After you get this straightened out, we can address your carb issues
    230 hp 4.3L Chevy
    Built 4L60E with manual lockout
    Atlas 4 speed
    Griffin radiator
    On board air
    Warn 9.5ti on custom bumper
    7.5" RE front and bastard pack rear on custom long arms
    30 gal gas tank
    lockers
    And a bunch of other stuff

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Electrical problems, hard starting, fuel pump, sputtering out - tons of problems!

    If you don't use the trailer hitch, at this time. I would suggest just getting rid of that cluster %*#. Looks like someone just hacked it in. I hate those quick splice connectors, as they almost always cause corrosion, with time. I believe, that you should really solder and heat shrink all connections.
    Also, the relays under the hood could have been added, for example, for lights that were installed, or any other add on electrical device.

    You may want to go around and check, easily accessible, factory connections. See if the rest of the connectors and connections are sound. This include grounds. I'm assuming that you may know a bit about wiring from what you wrote. If not just ask, many here are willing to help.

    I would rip out anything that was added and start with what was originally installed on the vehicle at the factory. If you are unsure what was added, and you know it has defective wiring, disconnect it for now. Then get a Service Manual for your year vehicle and learn how to read, at least a basic, wiring diagram.

    It would seem you have a real project on your hands.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: electrical problems, hard starting, fuel pump, sputtering out - tons of problems!

    Quote Originally Posted by 4.3LXJ View Post
    That is quite a laundry list. But first things first. You have some shorts you need to find. Just replacing wires where they melted is not going to be enough. So, I need to educate you on how to find them. There is a thing called an Ohm Meter. The analogue ones, with the dial are cheap. It doesn't need to be accurate, but it does need to work. You put a battery in it and on the ohm setting it will measure how much resistance a wire or something has in it. So set the thing on ohms and find any light bulb and put one probe on the center and one on the rest of the metal. You should see the needle show a value. Next put the probes together. It will peg the needle on one side of the scale. This is just for practice. Now you get to work and check each one of those wires you have replaced for shorts. One probe goes on the wire and the other goes to ground. If it pegs the needle, it has a short and you have to fix that. If you don't, it will just toast itself again. The green wires by the starter solenoid look like they might be fusible links, a type of fuse that is a pain in the ass. When these go, they will leave you stranded. You can replace them with inline fuses. The green are 20 amp if I remember correctly. After you get this straightened out, we can address your carb issues
    this is probably a really dumb question, but while testing with a multimeter for resistance, should the wires be all connected and the battery connected?
    and would you be testing the end of the wire, like at a ring terminal, disconnected or connected, like obviously you can't test in a middle of a wire unless it is exposed/cut

    right now most of those wires that were fried I cut out, and so the system isn't connected in general, unsure of where to go from here.
    still trying to find replacement relay and pigtails, as well as the whole emissions/vacuum mess from the drivers side near air cleaner...
    (fixed the trailer hitch mess, just cut out the tap-splices and reconnected original wires to themselves using butt connectors, disconnected the random stray green wire and used a closed-end connection there)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Electrical problems, hard starting, fuel pump, sputtering out - tons of problems!

    Not dumb at all. When using the multimeter, you need the battery disconnected. After doing that, check all your wires from an end you can get too. So for lights, check from the bulb end. Remember ground wires should show little or no resistance. Positive wires should show nothing, or infinite resistance, or on a digital OL for open loop
    230 hp 4.3L Chevy
    Built 4L60E with manual lockout
    Atlas 4 speed
    Griffin radiator
    On board air
    Warn 9.5ti on custom bumper
    7.5" RE front and bastard pack rear on custom long arms
    30 gal gas tank
    lockers
    And a bunch of other stuff

  7. #7
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    Default Re: electrical problems, hard starting, fuel pump, sputtering out - tons of problems!

    That's a helluva task you're taking on Steve. Good on ya!

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