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sprinkles08
sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Jeep
Satisfied Customers: 23099
Experience:  Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep Master Certified, ASE Master and Advanced Certified, Trans and Hybrid Specialist
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My 96 jeep Cherokee had not been run most of the summer. I

Customer Question

My 96 jeep Cherokee had not been run most of the summer. I had to jump start it the other day and it wouldn't stay running unless I had my foot on the throttle. I put battery on charger over night and the next night it started up fine and ran fine. Now my running lamps and dash lamps blink constantly. If I pull the light switch to the on position they quit blinking. There is a black relay box underneath the dash that clicks when the lights blink. It even clicks still when I turn my light switch to the on position.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Jeep
Expert:  Amedee replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I can assist you with your question.

I have been in the auto repair business for many years and specialize in diagnosing vehicles with problems like this one you are describing. I am confident we can resolve your problem together provided you stick with me and run the necessary tests. Please understand that I don't know your skill level and that I can't see, smell, hear, or touch the vehicle either, so it may take a few replies to get to satisfactory results. I am also going to do my best to direct you with the fastest, easiest and most common things to check first to make this as simple as possibly for both of us. I just ask that you provide me with the all of the correct information up front and with the most accurate tests results as we move on so that I can point you in the right direction. I would also appreciate a positive rating from you in return for sharing my time and knowledge and expeirence with you in a timely mannner. Even if you rate my answer after the first few replies, we can still continue our conversation at no further cost to you. With that being said, lets get started.

Can I start by getting your VIN? Thank you!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I do not have the VIN number off of that jeep at this time 96 jeep Cherokee 4.0

Expert:  Amedee replied 1 year ago.

Ok, no problem. That should be enough info for us to get started

Expert:  Amedee replied 1 year ago.

Is this black relay box uner the dash (that clicks) aftermarket?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

no it is not aftermarket as far as I know

Expert:  Amedee replied 1 year ago.

You might just have low battery voltage or a bad battery. What is the battery voltage at?

Expert:  Amedee replied 1 year ago.

If the battery is low or if there is low system voltage due to a bad connection, the electrical system will act very strange and do some funky things.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I checked the alternator last night and I was getting 13.7 volts out of it and when I shut the jeep off I had 12.7 and after about 20 min it dropped to 12.5

Expert:  Amedee replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for that information. What is the battery voltage at when trying to start the engine?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

12.0v

Expert:  Amedee replied 1 year ago.

And the starter does not engage correct? Does it click once or multiple times?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

the jeep starts and runs just fine. its just the running lights and dash lights that are blinking constantly. with the ignition on or the ignition off they blink. once I pull the switch to the on position they quit blinking but that black relay box still clicks like they are blinking

Expert:  Amedee replied 1 year ago.

Have you tried unplugging that component to see if that blinking stops?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

yes it is full of relays I have taken each relay out and put them back in.

Expert:  Amedee replied 1 year ago.

Can you take a picture of it and upload it to this page?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

this is similar to what it looks like the relays are in a different positions

Expert:  Amedee replied 1 year ago.

Ok, so which relay is clicking?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

that whole box clicks not just one relay I pulled all the relays out and that box still clicked

Expert:  Amedee replied 1 year ago.

And did the lights continue to blink?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

yes

Expert:  Amedee replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. I am going to leave this open for other experts.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The running lights and dash lights blink. The black relay box under the dash clicks every time they blink. when you pull the switch out the lights quit blinking but the black box still clicks

Expert:  david craig replied 1 year ago.

Hi Im David, I noticed you said that the alternator was putting out 13.7 vdc. That is not good and could be your problem. a functional operating alternator should put out no less than 14.4vdc.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I was checking that at the battery. Should I check is somewhere else and what do you think my problem is then

Expert:  david craig replied 1 year ago.

at the battery it should be 14.4 ish...i believe you either have a loose/corroded negative battery cable at the engine block, loose or corroded connection at the alternator or a weak alternator

Expert:  david craig replied 1 year ago.

check the output at the alternator

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

would that cause my clicking noise in that relay box and my dash and running lights to blink continuously

Expert:  david craig replied 1 year ago.

yes because the components arent getting the proper voltages

Expert:  david craig replied 1 year ago.

also check the smaller body grounds at the fenderwells and radiator support.

Expert:  david craig replied 1 year ago.

hows it going?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm going to attempt to check this out over the weekend
Expert:  david craig replied 1 year ago.

ok

Expert:  david craig replied 1 year ago.

hows it going?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Still struggling on where all the grounds are at
Expert:  david craig replied 1 year ago.

have you checked the output at the alternator?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I checked the alternator last night and could not get a solid reading at it. I left my volt meter at the battery and I was getting like 13.6 to 13.7 volts. I turned my lights, heater, and flashers on and it dropped clear down to 13.2. After about 10 to 15 min of watching the volt meter I got under the jeep and it kind of sounded like the alternator was making a clicking sound. I just decided to take alternator out and am getting a new one tomorrow. I sure hope this is the issue. One thing I did notice last night was when I had the heater in the on position it would also turn on and off with that clicking sound I was hearing under the dash

Expert:  david craig replied 1 year ago.

a weak alternator will cause that

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I replaced alternator. Still does it. Replaced grounds and cleaned stuff up. Still does it. It does it even when the key is off. Dash lights,running lights, and blower motor all turn on and off like a constant blink. The problem is not fixed and now I'm down 150 bucks.
Expert:  david craig replied 1 year ago.

ok, im going to opt out. im out of ideas. hopefully another tech can help. good luck

Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer!

Do you have an aftermarket alarm or remote start, or did you buy the vehicle used leaving the possibility there is a remote start or alarm you weren't aware of?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am not sure I guess. That was being looked into also. I was under the dash yesterday and found a black box and unplugged the wires. It has quit now with all that blinking stuff. My concern now is what will happen now that I unplugged that.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

The black box is most likely an aftermarket remote start or alarm module, which I suspected the click was actually coming from. Can you upload a picture of it or see any brand and part number markings?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will get a pic of that tonight
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

Great!