1990 Wagoneer overheated and will not start

25

Asked by Apr 19, 2015 at 11:46 PM about the 1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer 4 Dr STD 4WD SUV

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 1990 Grand wagoneer, bone stock with 360 v8. I had ordered a new radiator
and thermostat to fix the issues with overheating, however I had to drive the jeep about
100 miles for work. I made it back to town fine, made a quick stop at the auto parts
store to check on my orders, then started it back up and ate in at a Dairy Queen for
dinner. when trying to leave, the car would not turn over, no noise to even suggest it
was trying. I tried a few times, the best I had was I could get the accessory panel to
light up, but still did not even sound like it was trying to turn. I assumed the vehicle was
just being stubborn from the engine temp and the drive so I let it sit a few hours. I went
back to change the battery and try again. Still would not turn over. Does this mean the
starter went? or are there other things such as the spark plugs/distributor cap/timing
chain etc that may be an issue? I intend on trying again in the morning as the jeep has
been weird on me before and started up fine the next morning... just frazzled and tired
now. Fluids are at normal operating levels.

13 Answers

7,020

Battery cable ? Engine ground cable ? Cable ends at the battery ? The starter motor has a burned armature ? Try turning the engine by hand with a wrench, a stuck starter can sometimes release its gear when rocking the crank both directions. I have found many ways these many possibilities can stop the engine cranking. On jeeps, I have found ground cables that attach to a painted bracket bolted to a painted engine ! ... 30 ohms to ground, supposed to be less than .5 ohm so as the wise old man always said...the fix is where you find it. Jeeps did rewire fuselinks and cables involving the power distribution center in the mid 90's. You may just have connections that exceed .5 ohm, or you could need to remove redundant wires and simplify. She how it looks in the am, and bring a stiff jumpstart and good cables.

7,020

I dont want to say it, but if you run it overheated and keep running it, you could have exceeded it's ability to cool down and forgive you. Once you cook something, it can turn into something else. Youy want the crankshaft to turn freely, the accessories to turn freely and I have seen removing the belts required to free the engine to turn. Like a seized pump. You get to decide after checking some things, will it make it to the parts store ? or do you call AAA

7,020

You could have one that's wired somewhat like a ford with the starter relay up on the fender. Could be a simple as that part, its connections, or the start enable wire has no voltage during cranking. That should come from your ignition switch and be enabled by neutral switch/clutch switch, As long as you are looking at everything in the daylight, be sure of the gearshift position and you are doing things right and not sleep deprived.

7,020

This must be the full sized jeep? With a 360? But a 1990? they have surprised me often, so i found where their i.d. plate was and researched them on the jeeps I had to get running. different books had different answers. The bible sized chilton books were best for system and component i.d., and i must say, the vehicle's age can mean just about every electrical component for starting can be suspect and need to pass your tests. I had an"86" supposedly, grand wagoneer driving me crazy one summer, it ended up having something wrong with each and every part in the electrical system. The "dies and wont start, but cools down and starts" for that one was its GM ignition switch connected to its ford duraspark and wired different but using a ford starter relay. needless to say, must see to truly appreciate. cough, cough

25

The AMC 360 v8 was a common engine in it, was the standard engine in it for decades. I believe you could get the 401 AMC in it as an option, as well as the 258 i6. I do not know the electrical stuff, as that is not my area of expertise, and I have my manuals for the vehicle on order but not yet in hand. but it is time to go and see it for myself today

25

I had went to check on my Jeep today, wires seemed to be all connected, minus areas found where it seems that they pigtailed and simplified wiring before my ownership. The grounds up front all seemed to be non-corroded including the engine to bracket/frame ground. I did notice on my inspection that it seems my oil pan has a class 1 leak (oil collected on pan, no droplets formed, no puddle on ground) as well as an unknown item mounted on the frame above the rear of the driver's side leaf spring that seems to also have a class one leak.... but at some point it was a class 3 as it had gotten what I would guess to be water on the leaf spring. the liquid was clear, odorless and tasteless... so I am at a loss as I am running 50/50 in the cooling system as I live in IL. My auto parts store had a decent deal on a starter with a lifetime warranty so I have that now.... just in case. All of the fluids are still in operating levels, and there were no puddles, granted its realistically a crapshoot with the transmission as I could not run the vehicle, also I would have to tow it a couple blocks home at the current moment as the starter still falls silent.

19,725

You ran the risk of overheating and destroying your engine- do you know if it, indeed, overheated? Sooner or later, it sounds like you will need professional help-

25

Now here is the weird answer to my woes... I went back to replace the starter at about 1 pm today, I popped open the hood and decided to check the fuses, as my dad had suggested it sounded as if it would be a fuse or a solenoid issue. Checked the fuses to make sure none burst, then wiggled them around to ensure they had a good connection. I decided to put the key in the ignition one last time, turned it, and it started right on up, prompting me to drive it home. I let it sit about 30 minutes, and started it right up again,and again... so I am rather confused, but it is an old vehicle. Everything works as it should at the moment, so I assume it is just an overheating issue, which will be fixed when I go back in to return the starter and pick up my Heavy Duty radiator in about 30 minutes. I suppose I will post another thread to see if anyone has had similar experiences with their Wagoneer and to see if it indicates anything.

7,020

Alright that gives me some clues, but what I was wanting to know for sure was is this the fullsize grand wagoneer or the smaller grand wagoneer that replaced it. The starter relay wiring changes when the body does, and you have some GM systems replacing Ford mixed with AMC. ...............Are those fuses glass tube or "ATC" style modular colored plastic ? You may have a switch where the grease inside it is actually mixed with (green and black) worn areas. The parts may be spring loaded, if you inspected it you could lose parts. A new one can be inexpensive. If you have the chrysler ignition switch, it can be cleaned if you have some corroded innerds. .............But the point of it all is identifying what you have, the style parts in use, and the correct schematic that is resulting from the changes.............If you went to mitchell automotive database you may be able to specify and get what you would need for a map of the wires. There are updates for dealer use that mitchell database can provide, but you have to find the dealers update info because the books through those years were a mess. It could be simpler to have a tech find your intermittent wiring and connection issues. They could be plentiful if it is likw the jeeps I had to help with. There was a small fleet of scabbed amc design jeeps where I lived. The newer ones can be similar as the problems are different but similar for each system they used. So, schematics can help. ID what parts you have. first step.

7,020

Starter parts and starter wiring can be confusing because of terms we use. A fender mounted relay for relaying the Battery positive to continue down to the starter is a Ford starter relay. ..............A relay that is mounted on the starter and used to cause starter engagement at the same time as electrical current runs the motor of the starter is referred to as a solenoid. A vehicle can sometimes be equipped with one or both. The fuse links attach there, they are power distribution before the use by jeep of the power distribution center box near the battery. We can be of help if we knew. Or you have to get it to an auto electric tech. Your own diagnosing means ohm checks, volt drop tests, then disassenbling and cleaning. Replacing all the components that are in play can be done using CROWN automotive parts to ensure you arent just installing parts that fail again in a few months. In my experience.

7,020

There are recalls and service bulletins that address the problems with connectivity, bad connections, and deletions of redundant wires as the system tried to evolve. The library can be the best place to research the many places. The confusion ends at the database with dealer update info. It is somewhat hidden in the database and some librarians can help. To make an effective schematic can take taping several pages together to keep from having the wires keep running off the page.

7,020

I had to do this for each jeep I tried to save, and each one was different even though the jeeps may look similar to one another on the outside. The ignition switch tests were found in the chilton reference manual at the time. They are readings of voltage taken at cold and then at temperature. The moisture entry can be traced to leaves and tree debris entering near the wipers, falling into the body sides near the fenders, piling up, and the fresh air vents are where it comes in on the carpet. When the sun comes out, the moisture vaporizes and re-condenses on the parts above it like the interior fuse panel causing connectivity issues there and moisture in the ignition switch, add that to the vehicle's age and you have the cause of corrosion. This was mostly experienced before the smaller grand wagonneer. But the issue can still be similar for the smaller body jeeps. Your temperature, wiggling of electrical parts, and connections coming and going are evidence of this.

7,020

Jeep harnesses can get baked and not be in plain sight. Heat in the engine compartment can affect a wires resistance resulting in hot and cold experiences with no start and losses and regaining electrical power. The baked harness can short to ground, short to power or circuits can combine. you can also experience open circuits. .............The fact that the newer smaller jeeps do not have good protection for their fuel tanks may be a very important reason to decide not to make a large investment. There has been many discussions on the safety issues and deaths by NHTSA, the result, unfortunately has been to mandate changes for the rules and laws to widen or broaden the allowable design factors, NOt the issuance of safety recalls. You can look into how it affects your vehicle's design. You can try to add skid plates, renew your fuel lines, and put some bumpers on yours to absorb impact. If your tank is behind the rear axle? The newer design parameter has been reduced to protection only at lower speeds. This may or may not affect your vehicle, and you can google it and read all about it...........Happy jeepin, be safe. or get safer, is what I tell my friends that have them.

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