My Grand Wagoneer won't start?


Asked by Mar 26, 2013 at 08:24 PM about the 1991 Jeep Grand Wagoneer 4 Dr STD 4WD SUV

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I didn't drive my jeep for about 4 days, went to start it this morning and she started up on my second try,
which is semi-normal when starting cold. Idled really high, faster than what it normally sounds like first
thing in the morning, normally I would tap on the accelerator to bring the idle down to normal. I didn't get
a chance to tap on the accelerator today, and about 20-30 seconds later the engine just shut off. And
hasn't started back up since (8 hrs ago), I tried many times and the engine would turn over, but not start.
The battery is about 2 months old, and I even tried jumping it, and it didn't help. I have a half tank of gas,
I added a quart of oil about a week or so ago (I have a slight leak and have to do that every once in
awhile). Could this have happened because I may have added too much oil? I also thought maybe I flooded
the engine trying to start so many times this morning, but came home and tried 7 hrs later still with no
luck. It smelled like gasoline after trying a bunch of times. My mechanic adjusted, what I think is, the
choke for when I start to engine, to allow for more fuel for an easier start up. So I was looking at that with
my Haynes manual : What does the choke look like when the car is not running? With the engine off, it told
me to push the accelerator to the floor and I would see the choke completely close, but it already looked
closed when not doing anything. Then while trying to start it, with the engine turning over, I pushed a
little on the accelerator and the choke opened just a little. I hope this is a simple fix, only thing different
this time than any other time is that I left her sitting for 4 days. Thank you!

6 Answers


Did your mechanic clean the carburator? Sounds like maybe the choke is stuck or the float is not adjusted properly. Adding extra oil wouldn't be associated with the non-starting. Smell of gasoline probably means it might be flooded. I'd have your mechanic diagnose the issue, but it sounds like it's rebuild time on the carburator. How old are your spark plugs, rotor and cap?

1 people found this helpful.

Dirty air filter may have initially contributed to and complicated the flooded engine. Take your air filter off and hold choke open with a screw driver or such as somebody tries to start it. If you get it going put a new air filter on if it needs one. It might not flood after that.

1 people found this helpful.

Tom - I do not think my mechanic cleaned the carb, but they did degrease the entire engine to fix some oil leaks, if that counts for anything! I have some spray on carb cleaner, is that stuff a good idea, whether this is the problem or not? Spark plugs and rotor cap (don't know about actual rotor) in Dec. 2011, and driven about 6,000 miles since. The carb was also adjusted at that time. This was done by the previous owner, I purchased in 6/2012. How much would a carb rebuild cost approximately? The kit looks to be only $50 on, but I probably can't do it myself. mrmoony - My air filter is often kind of dirty because I have oil blow by that gets into my air filter housing that I have to clean out every once in awhile, but it's never posed a problem before, and it didn't look too bad. (unfixable, I guess, because my #5 cylinder has low compression.) I will try the screw driver/choke idea. I am giving the engine a couple more hours incase it was flooded, in hopes it'll dry out? I haven't tried to start her for about 17 hrs, since yesterday evening. (If you guys are interested in what else I had done a couple of months ago, you can look at my last response of my detailed question on here that Kurt helped me with a few months ago in the Jeep Grand Wagoneer section.) I'm really trying to avoid going to my mechanic - have to tow and all, and just gave them $2,300 a couple months ago, but I will if this doesn't resolve itself today.


Tried to start today and tried your idea MRMOONY, no go. Just had her towed to my shop. On a different note, I emailed an unrelated question about my wagoneer to Jeep, and they mentioned that I actually have an outstanding recall : Recall #698 description : CAT/CONVERTER & CARB. type : CALIFORNIA EMISSIONS status : INCOMPLETE. They said any Jeep dealer will do this for free. I don't even know what this recall really is though, or when it was issued. Does anyone know what this is, and if so, is this something I should move forward on, hopefully once the starting issue is resolved. Or could it be some weird coincidence that this has something to do with my non-starting? I'll contact the dealership about this recall to get more info, just hate bringing my car to a new shop for something, and also don't want to open a can of worms if things are working fine (besides the not starting!).

1 people found this helpful.

You mentioned oil blowby, how is your PCV valve and hoses? Low compression on cyl. #5. Hmm, throwing $2300 a couple months ago to keep it running? Ouch. And now possible more? Let me ask you how is the exterior/interior of the jeep. The reason I ask is, before you put anymore money into it, are you sure you just don't want too walk away and purchase a newer vehicle that won't require an engine rebuild and other parts? Let the dealership look at the vehicle and do the recall, and maybe they can find the reason of the no start. Get an estimate before you have the work completed. It's easier to sell a running vehicle.


Thank you so much Tom, I know it's a lot of money to be throwing at my wagoneer, but I love my car! And she is cherry, nearly perfect inside and out and is a '91 - final edition. If this was just any old car, I would totally agree with you Tom :) The PCV valve and hoses were replaced during that $2300 job. I got my jeep back yesterday and it turns out it was my distributor. Does that sound right? $388 for the job, they said it took them awhile to figure out what was wrong, and then the part was $150 and then labor for an hour or so. So far so good and she is starting up. We'll see I guess! And I will follow your advice and go to the dealership for the recall, but any other work from them would probably be very expensive.

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