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Car Crank Sensor Problem?

A question from one of our customers–do you have a question for our Arizona Republic Car Care column (running every other Wednesday in the paper)? Send it to us and we’ll try to help–your question may even appear in our column in the Arizona Republic!

My parents own a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee V8 4WD with 149k miles. Once the engine has been on and running for about 15-30 minutes, the car will often cut out suddenly and will be able to crank over well, but will not start-up again for a period of 15-30 minutes. The car’s electrical power is good and doesn’t seem to be a problem. We checked different parts that could lead to this problem but all seem to be in working order including the Fuel Pump, Ignition Coil, Spark Plugs and Wires. We are completely out of ideas, and I don’t know if this is problem you can help with, but I have run out of options at this point. I don’t know if an ECM computer could be the problem but they have said those either work or don’t, they don’t not have problems like these. I would appreciate any help you could provide or opinions on what you think I should do. Thank you for your time.

Cole, We’ve run into this problem before. If there is too much of a gap on the crank sensor it will cause this exact problem. If the gap is OK, I would suspect that the crank shaft sensor needs to be replaced. It is a common problem, and it will not always set a code. If your dad has a scanner, when the vehicle is in a no start condition, have him hook up the scanner and crank the engine over monitoring the RPM signal. If it reads 0 then it is probably a bad crank sensor. If neither of those options solve your concern, we would need more info to point them in the correct direction.

  • Has the shop they took vehicle to been able to duplicate the concern?
  • If so, what test did they do and did they replace any parts?
  • If parts were installed, did they use dealer or aftermarket

If we can duplicate the problem, we should be able to find out what the cause is and repair it.

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