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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all, I have an 03 Rubicon with 16,000 miles on it that's having problems starting. I turn the key and the gauges come on. I turn it a little more but it never cranks over. It "sounds" like the actuator pin is bad which I know is common, but here's the thing...
Sometimes it works.

If I turn the key slow enough, I can find that "magic spot" where it will work. And once it works once, I usually don't have a problem with it for a while.

If I let it sit for a while, or it gets cold enough out, it's very hard to find that "magic spot" like today, I can't seem to find the magic spot. Sometimes I leave it alone and come back to it in a couple hours, and I'll be able to find the "magic spot" again. Then I can usually find it all day long.

It sounds like the actuator pin is broke, but if it's broke... it just shouldn't work at all correct? Like it won't work until I replace it right?

It's been slowly doing this for a while and seems to be getting worse, meaning it's harder and harder to find the "magic spot".

Maybe the ignition switch is going bad?

I dunno... what are your thoughts?
 

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Shouldn't be hard to pull it apart and check. If you're not experienced take lots of pictures during disassembly. There must be a YouTube vid of someone removing it.

Maybe check the starter relay. Could be that or a bad connection on the starter itself.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I had thought about the starter, but its got that weird "if I turn the key juuuuuust enough, it starts every time" issue.

I did just pull the ignition switch off and can see the actuator pin for it. The plastic needle and the steel "rectangle" piece is in tact.

Does anyone know how to test the ignition switch or "hotwire" it from the ignition switch harness?

In this picture, I've found that I get continuity between these two terminals when the ignition is on, but I can't find a winning combination when I actually try to start it. (Using a screwdriver) Leads me to believe that it "could" be an intermittent ignition switch, but I'd like to be able to confirm it before I get one.
 

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Every ignition switch I've replaced had some adjustment in it. I would think you'd be able to adjust yours some to fix this situation.
 
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I wonder if the factory service manual has a schematic of the switch.
 

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I just replaced the Ignition switch and actuator assembly because mine was/is doing the same thing. It worked fine for a couple of weeks and is now starting to act the same way again.:crying:
 

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Mine acted similarly and after changing the accuator assy it fixed it. No issues ever since. I just used the Autozone one. Took maybe 30 minutes and wasn't expensive - like $24. Didn't change the ignition switch and had no issues.
BTW, my pin was intact but the plastic pieces up inside the assy around the pin was what failed.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
Problem solved. I couldn't find a way to test the old switch so I called Auto Zone and they had one in stock for 17.00. I figured if it wasn't the problem I could return it.

I plugged it in, turned it with a screwdriver and it started right up. I finished the install and it works perfectly. No need to replace the actuator pin assembly either.

What is that thin plastic pin in the actuator assembly for? I thought it would be a theft deterrent thing. So if someone pulled off the plastic and pulled out the ignition switch, they couldn't start it with just a screw driver. The pin had to push in something inside the ignition switch. But just a screwdriver does work to start it. I didn't have to push anything in that tiny hole... oh well. Problem solved. I won't worry about that.
 

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Mine is doing the same thing with the "sweet spot". Seems to not like the cold or infrequent use. Otherwise, works most of the time. Guess I better brush up on switch replacement.
 

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Mine no longer works, so the search for a fix is on. Found a good video that shows/explains how to change out the switch and actuator very well.
I watched 2 or 3 and this one seems to be the best and clearly explained one to watch for future members having this problem.
https://youtu.be/IiKXqr5_0D0
 

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Bought both pieces after work. Tore the column down when I got home and found the switch was bad. The actuator pin assembly was still good. Save it for a rainy day.
Hardest part for me was getting the plastic column covers back on so the two bottom screws would line up correctly. Once I figured out the rubber boots for the blinker and wiper stalks went both inside AND outside the plastic halves, stuff fit much better.
Doorman Actuator pin assembly came with printed instructions with colored pictures. After watching the video & jotting down some notes, never looked at the instructions.
 
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