2002 Jeep Liberty has problems starting back up


Asked by Jul 15, 2013 at 02:54 PM about the 2002 Jeep Liberty Sport 4WD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

So, I've had my 2002 Jeep for a couple years now. Only in the past few weeks have I had this problem when I run errands. I can start my car up just fine and drive it around. The temperature gauge goes to the halfway point buy never goes beyond that. If I turn the car off, go into a store and get my shopping done and come back within 15-20 mintues, the car won't start again, depending on how far I've driven. When I turn the key the engine and fuel lights come on, but both are perfectly fine and have been inspected by a service station. I usually have to wait about 20 mins or so before it starts up again, and the temperature gauge still doesn't go above the middle line. My friends had also borrowed my Jeep early in the summer for a trip and they had the same problem, but when they talked to a AAA representative they said it was something to do with the anti-theft system.

29 Answers

NO...it is a simple case of vapor-lock...the gasoline when next to the engine starts to boil...your system wants to see liquid for dispersion and control...it cannot control a gas vapor...when the gas STOPS boiling it returns to normal....not sure what you could do exactly will research some insulation to keep the engine heat away from the fuel line...

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.

halfway up is good, any hotter, like in the red "melty zone" will continue to broil itself until smokin' if ran without coolant...you have a thermostat (under the water neck) probably a 195 or 212 for a hotter engine...will shop for "fuel line insulation" for you now~

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

here we go twenty beans a spool for the clothy-asbestozy reel~

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

I'd start at the fuel rail and work my way back~

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Do a cooant flush and put in a new t-stat (they are cheap)~

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

if you were fine before...and suddenly you're NOT fine, would say the problem lies in the coolant, and clobberation nation in your cooling jacket~ You know but correct me if I am wrong...the electric cooling fan continues to run long after you've got the key out and am marchin' on into the costco~ it is designed to keep runnin' until the coolant drops down to a safe temperature...you might just ask if this feature is "stuck" in operation now, think that yours had it...am not crazy...ask your mechanic~

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

most likely I "nailed it" second time today...it was only through a process of asking the right questions we can figure it out~ kudos....me.~

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

researching there should logically be a "TIME delay relay" to accomplish this task but according to word on the street is the responsibility of the ECU and the thermal sensors (don't know how many offhand, but I guarantee there is an ambient air sensor) temperature at the block, at the radiator, am going to have to pull up a schematic and study it to gain some insight into the cooling system design~.....then again they pay me ZERO...and a little encouragement here and there so I don't have to do the heavy lifting and "hold up the show" an "GOOD MOVE" or "I tried that already" moving on now...

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Mike Breiburg

I'm having the exact same issue with my '02 Jeep Liberty. Did you get it figured out? Was it the vapor lock/coolant issue? Please let me know, this has been confounding my mechanics for nearly half a year. You can email me at mike.breiburg@gmail.com

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
Matthew Powell

I'm also having a similar issue with my wife's '02 Liberty. However, I don't think it is due to vapor lock. When it fails to restart (such as after filling up at the gas station or coming back in from the 7-11), it doesn't even try to turn over. Doesn't vapor lock merely prevent the fuel from igniting in the carburetor? It appears to be electrical to me, like it doesn't sense that it is in Park. That doesn't explain why it will restart after a "cool down" period though, which sometimes is a half hour or so and sometimes after only a couple of minutes. It has also happened after only about a 5 minute trip to the gas station and then won't happen again for a few weeks. Very inconsistent and doesn't appear to be heat related.

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.

Here's what I did to fix it. My '02 Liberty won't start when hot. All dash lights work, everything seems ok but the engine won't crank until it cools down. I replaced the starter (no fix), I replaced the ignition switch actuator (no fix), I tested everything and couldn't find the problem. So I spent $10 for a push button start button. I ran a hot wire from the fuse box to the start button then a wire from the start button to the small starter wire. (Problem solved). Now when the car is warm and won't start I turn the key on and push the button.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

This might be a dead end now, but I have the exact same issue with 2002 Jeep Liberty, which has been in the shop 4 times x 4 days each, and nada. Only happens in hot weather, and I live in SC, so 8 months of the year. On going issue for 3 years now. I need HELP

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Mike Breiburg

This problem got solved for me by taking it to the Aamco in Glendale, California. Last summer. Turned out to be a transmission thing, or so they told me. I'm not entirely sure on it but it had to do with an overheating failsafe. The engine code we got was: "P1698 BAD TRANSMISSION MODULE//NO GROUND OUTPUT FROM TRANS-MODULE TO STARTER RELAY//RECC DEALERSHIP" I think if you take that info to your mechanic, he might set you down a patch that leads to a resolution. If not, I'd call the Glendale Aamco. Forgot the name of the person I dealt with but if you describe the problem, they should have some experience in dealing with it now. I've seen enough messages over the years detailing this same issue, I'm surprised Jeep isn't already on it.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Mike Breiburg

*path, not patch. Also, I should mention, after they got it fixed, it was perfect for almost a year. Than a few weeks ago, the problem came back. At least it's very rare now but, maybe twice or so within a week but I'm worried it might come back as it gets hotter. This is the problem that won't go away. However, it was fine for almost a year after the service and when it did come back, just a few times and hasn't happened since.

Great. An almost impossible problem to diagnose and also a never ending one. Story of my life

I have 6 recall notices on this. Would one of this fix this?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Donna Daisylov

My car is doing the same thing Its been to the mechanics. ..its been to the auto electrician and after alot of money and headaches about to dump it. Everyone seems to have the same problem that no one can fix Trust me after this i will never ever buy a jeep again

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

Donna, is yours a 2002 Jeep Liberty?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Michael DiSantos

I have to say, I do like ..tims1999..idea !! Since no-one is able to accurately diagnose or come up with a fix..I say, by-pass the problem altogether !! (if it really works;( I`m also beginning to think that Jeep..could give a rats *^# for the "older" consumers of their products..I`ve had 3 Jeeps so far..THIS IS THE LAST !! 02` Liberty 3.7 V..gas addict..

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
David Pease

I have '02 liberty sport...code says transmission shift moduel....but I took off cover around automatic gear shifter....and tightened up the little screw for the sensor that actuates when the button on shifter is pressed in to tell car shifting outta park or back into park.....seemed to work....I also had replaced the ignition switch...seemed like a few of wires was loose somehow that clip into ignition switch from wiring harness....replaced that...tightened up screw under shifter column inside...and haven't had one problem since...just a heads up ;-)

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I have a 2009 jeep liberty and we have had it into the.mechanic 3 times new filter gas cleaned the fuel injectors and valves new throttle new software .. still doesn't start after warm shakes when trying to start tries to turn over takes 20 min cool down and starts .. my mechanic says has to be doing it when I bring it in .. I want it fixed .. some one help please.could it be the remote modular or do you think the transmission module or the valve to the fuel pump ..

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I want to go see my great grandaughters 2000 miles away .. I'm scared to drive it..

My 2002 Jeep Liberty used to do this (only during spring/summer months). I had to have transmission module(s) replaced about 2 years ago, and it has not happened since (with my fingers crossed).

Chelsea Brines

I'm now having this problem with my '05 Liberty. Please help!


Mike on here was right I had the same exact issuse and ended uo being a transmission issue. Turned out they had to replace the entire valve body.

Matthew Powell

We got ours fixed several months ago with no recurrence. It is indeed a transmission issue, related to thermal sensing. Apparently it is the proximity of the sensor to a heat source. When it overheats, the vehicle does not sense that it is in Park. It is not an expensive fix, just very hard for the mechanics to diagnose once the vehicle has cooled down. If you're having this issue, take it to a reputable transmission place and tell them where to start looking.


Matthew hit it right on the nail guys, dealership will kill you saying they have to replace the entire valve body like they did to us, when it's very much posibly be the transmission range sensor. My girlfriend payed $1218 to get it fixed. We went with the dealer since this problem is extremely hard to diagnose since our dealer warranties their work. We even ended up with a "free" starter.


Just replaced transmission on my 2002 jeep liberty sport replaced battery and starter but it won't crank any answers please


Rodgers have you checked the ignition switch or ignition switch actuator pin ?

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