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Chris, Shop Foreman
Category: Jeep
Satisfied Customers: 3340
Experience:  Jeep Certified Master Tech
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I have a starting issue with my 1993 Jeep Cherokee XJ 4.0.

Customer Question

I have a starting issue with my 1993 Jeep Cherokee XJ 4.0. Some times it starts right up and runs great and sometimes it's really difficult to get it to start. It's more often that it will NOT start right up. It's usually hard to get it to start.Prior to this issue I had done some work on the engine. I had the head rebuilt and I installed it myself. At the same time I replaced the camshaft and the timing chain/sprockets. I also replaced the lifters and push rods. I also replaced the distributor, distributor cap, rotor, and cables along with the spark plugs.When I turn the ignition the engine turns over but it sounds like it wants to stop at every cylinder ignition. It will struggle to turn over and sometimes it will just stop turning. Other random occasions it will just start right up! Today I drove it around a bit and it drove with low power. Usually it will run with good power even though it struggles to turn on.I think the problem has to do with the ignition or timing. If I unplug the ignition coil to distributor wire the engine will turn over fast and with no resistance. I can keep turning the key ignition on and off all day long and the engine will ALWAYS turn fast and freely. When I plug the wire back it will have the hard start problem.Today I tried jumping the distributor over one tooth in each direction from where I had it. That just made things worse so I put it back to where I had it originally. Is there a chance that my distributor is defective? The "camshaft" sensor is inside the distributor and I've heard that the sensor should be purchased OEM mopar. I replaced the distributor because I wanted the gears to be new and I wanted to make an oil pump drive with a drill to pump the oil before my first start up after all the new engine components. I used the shaft from the original distributor to make the pump drive. The distributor is made by Omix-ada.The engine runs lean but I'm not sure if that is related to the problem. Sometimes it backfires a little bit and other times it doesn't. It seems like an electrical problem or a faulty sensor. Maybe a bad ground? I replaced the battery post to ground cable recently in an attempt to fix the problem. I do know that the ignition coil is at least 11 years old and it's not a mopar ignition coil. It's a cheap and easy replacement but I want to get an opinion before I start replacing parts blindly.The engine sat in my driveway for about 1 year before doing the head and other components mentioned.This problem is driving me crazy!! Can you guide me in the right direction?Thanks!!
Submitted: 8 days ago.
Category: Jeep
Expert:  Dan replied 8 days ago.

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I'm here to help get your problem solved.

Expert:  eric remington replied 7 days ago.

I will try and help with a phone call its faster and more effective

Expert:  eric remington replied 7 days ago.

drivability is my speciality

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Hello Eric. I just wanted to give you an update. I went ahead and replaced the ignition coil just because I wanted to upgrade it to an MSD coil upgrade anyway. It's a direct replacement to the stock ignition coil. No dice though! Problem persists! I'm going to go ahead and replace the battery cables and the cables for the alternator and starter just because I want to upsize the cable sizes anyways. I'll probably go to an Interstate Battery center so they can made them for me. Anything else I should fiddle with?Thanks!