Online Manual Jeep > Jeep Cherokee > Jeep Cherokee (XJ) > 1984 - 1991 > IGNITION SYSTEM - 2.5L W/RENIX ELECTRONIC IGNITION


1988 Jeep Cherokee

Distributors & Ignition Systems JEEP RENIX ELECTRONIC IGNITION

2 . 5L TBI: Cherokee, Comanche, Wagoneer, Wrangler


The Renix electronic ignition system consists of a solid-state Ignition Control Module (ICM), a distributor, a Top Dead Center (TDC) sensor, and an Electronic Control Unit (ECU).



The ignition control module is located in engine compartment, just left of battery. The ICM consists of a solid-state ignition circuit and an integrated ignition coil that can be removed and serviced separately.

Electronic signals from the electronic control unit to the ICM determine the amount of ignition timing or retard needed to meet various engine requirements. The electronic control unit provides an input signal to the ICM. The ICM has only 2 outputs: a tach signal to the tachometer and diagnostic connector, and a high voltage signal from the coil to the distributor cap.


The TDC sensor senses TDC and BDC crankshaft positions as well as engine RPM. Sensor is located on left rear side of engine and is not adjustable. Sensor is secured by special shouldered bolts to flywheel/drive plate housing.


1) Disconnect ignition coil wire from center tower of

distributor cap. Using insulated pliers, hold coil wire about 1/2" (13 mm) away from engine block. Crank engine and check for spark between wire and engine block.

  1. If spark occurs, reconnect coil wire to distributor cap.
    Remove spark plug wire from one spark plug. Using insulated pliers,
    hold wire about
    1/2" (13 mm) away from engine block.

  2. Crank engine and check for spark between wire and engine
    block. If spark occurs, check fuel system for problems. If no spark
    occurs, check for a defective rotor, distributor cap, or spark plug
    wires. Replace parts as necessary.

  3. If rotor, cap and wires are okay, check for loose or
    corroded connections at coil terminals. If necessary, clean terminals
    and wires. Ensure wires are properly seated on coil terminals and not
    wedged between coil body and terminal. If okay, go to next step.

  4. Check for loose connectors at ICM or ECU. Verify that wire
    connectors are firmly plugged into ICM and ECU. Also check for loose
    ICM or ECU ground wire connections at oil dipstick bracket. Clean and
    tighten if necessary.

  5. Load test battery to ensure battery is fully charged.
    Replace battery if necessary. If battery is okay, check voltage
    between terminals "A" and "B" of ICM connector while cranking engine.
    See Fig. 1.

  6. Minimum voltage reading should be 9.5 volts. If voltage is
    okay, go to next step. If voltage is low, check continuity of ICM and
    ECU ground wires. Repair or replace as necessary.

  7. Using an ohmmeter, check ignition coil resistance.
    Resistance on primary winding should be .4-.8 ohms. Secondary
    resistance should be 2500-4000 ohms. If correct, go to next step. If
    not, replace ignition coil.

  8. Check ECU and ICM with Tester (MS 1700) . Replace ICM or
    ECU if either fails MS 1700 test sequence.

Fig. 1: 2.5L TBI ICM Connector Terminals Courtesy of American Motors/Jeep Corp.


NOTE: The 2.5L TBI distributor contains no electrical components other than the rotor and distributor cap. If any other distributor part is defective, the entire distributor assembly must be replaced.