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Renix CPS Testing and Adjusting

CPS drill mod

CPS location

Renix CPSs have to put out a strong enough signal to the ECU so that it will provide spark.

Most tests for the CPS suggest checking it for an ohms value. This is unreliable and can cause some wasted time and aggravation in your diagnosis of a no-start issue as the CPS will test good when in fact it is bad.

The problem with the ohms test is you can have the correct amount of resistance through the CPS but it isn’t generating enough voltage to trigger the ECU to provide spark.

Unplug the harness connector from the CPS. Using your voltmeter set on AC volts and probing both wires in the connector going to the CPS itself as shown in Figure 2 as Connector A, crank the engine over. It won’t start with the CPS disconnected.

You should get a reading of .5 AC volts.

If you are down in the .35 AC volts range or lower on your meter reading, you can have intermittent crank/no-start conditions from your Renix Jeep. Some NEW CPSs (from the big box parts stores) have registered only .2 AC volts while reading the proper resistance!! That’s a definite no-start condition. Best to buy your CPS from NAPA or the dealer.

Sometimes on a manual transmission equipped Renix Jeep there is an accumulation of debris on the tip of the CPS. It’s worn off clutch material and since the CPS is a magnet, the metal sticks to the tip of the CPS causing a reduced voltage signal. You MAY get by with cleaning the tip of the CPS off.

A little trick for increasing the output of your CPS is to drill out the upper mounting hole to 3/8″ from the stock 5/16″, or slot it so the CPS bracket rests on the bell housing when pushed down. Then, when mounting it, hold the CPS down as close to the flywheel as you can while tightening the bolts.

Another little tip to save tons of aggravation is to stick a bit of electrical tape to your 11mm socket and then shove the bolt in after it. This reduces the chances of dropping that special bolt into the bell housing. CPS bolt socket

Revised 8/8/2016

Sensor Ground Upgrade

Revised 05-03-2015

Find your Intake Air Temp sensor. It’s the sensor just to the rear of the throttle body, has 2 wires, and screws into the intake manifold.
Where the IAT connector plugs into the harness you will see that one of the wires on the harness side is brown with a white stripe. Follow the brown with white stripe wire back into the harness.

You’ll have to open up the split-loom plastic sheathing to follow it. It will come to a splice with 2 other brown with white wires with duct tape over them. They’re from the TPS and the CTS. The 3 wires will be spliced to a single wire headed toward the C101 connector if you have an ’87 or ’88. If you have an ’89 or ’90, you do not have the C101 bulkhead connector.

Now go to the MAP sensor.

Follow the brown with white wire into the harness from there. You will find a splice with 2 more brown with white wires with duct tape over them. At the splice you will find the 3 wires connected to a single brown with white wire going toward the C101, or just along the firewall towards the engine if you have an ’89 or ’90. On an ’89 or ’90 you will find 4 wires going to 1 wire. Along with the MAP sensor that you traced, they are the ECU sensor ground port and the diagnostic connector on the passenger inner fender.

Sensor ground wires

You now have 2 sets of 3 brown with white wires, one near the firewall and one near the engine. If it’s an ’89 or ’90, you have 4 wires going to 1 wire.

Cut the splices out of each set of wires eliminating not only the crappy factory splices, but also the single wire between them. Bring both sets of 3 wires together. Solder the 2 sets of wires together and insulate them properly with tape or shrink tubing.

Zip-tie up your new sensor loom to allow for engine movement. I prefer to cover it with some new split-loom or wrap it neatly with electrical tape when done.

Renix Sensor Ground Test


The sensor ground circuit affects the CTS, TPS, IAT, MAP, ECU and diagnostic connector grounds. It’s very important and not something to overlook in diagnosing your Renix Jeep as it is common for the harnesses to have poor crimps causing poor grounds. If any or all of the sensors do not have a good ground, the signal the ECU receives from these sensors is inaccurate.

Set your meter to measure Ohms. Be sure the ignition is in the OFF position. Using the positive (red) lead of your ohmmeter, probe the B terminal of the flat 3 wire connector of the TPS . The letters are embossed on the connector itself.Backprobe 2

Touch the black lead of your meter to the negative battery post. Wiggle the wiring harness where it runs parallel to the valve cover and also near the MAP sensor mounted on the firewall. If you have an 87 or 88 with the C101 connector mounted on the firewall above the brake booster, wiggle it, too.

You want to see as close to 0 ohms of resistance as possible. And when wiggling the harnesses/connectors the resistance value should stay low. If there is a variance in the values when wiggling the wires, you have a poor crimp/connection in the wiring harness or a poor ground at the engine dipstick tube stud.

Refreshing of the dipstick tube connection is covered in Renix Ground Refreshing, and the sensor ground upgrade is covered in Tip #6 – Sensor Ground Upgrade.

On 87 and 88 models, you could have a poor connection at the C101 connector as well. See Tip #2 – C101 Refreshing and Tip #27 – C101 Elimination.

Revised 1-31-2016

Renix ICU/Coil Contact Refreshing

Coil ICM connectors

The contacts between the coil and the ICU on your Renix Jeep can become corroded and loose causing a complete or intermittent no-start condition. I recommend the following procedure as a maintenance precaution to insure this is eliminated as a possible cause now and in the future.

Coil ICM 2-001

The coil is attached to the ICU by two T20 Torx bolts. Remove these two bolts and lift the coil up off the ICU. You will see 2 pins and 2 sets of contacts. Clean both the pins and springy contact pieces with a good electronics cleaner and some fine sandpaper.

Squeeze the springy contacts closer together with some needle nose pliers. Apply some OxGard to the contacts. Bolt the coil back on to the ICU.

While you’re right there, unplug the connectors from the ICU and inspect the pins in the harness connector. Make sure the pins are not retracted into the connector. Spray out the connector and the receptacle of the ICU with the same good electronics cleaner you used earlier.

I feel this procedure should be performed at least once in the lifetime of a Renix Jeep.


Connector and Relay/Receptacle Refreshing


10-pin connector

I suggest unplugging EVERY electrical connection in the engine bay you can find, whether engine related or not, and spraying it out with a good electronics cleaner, visually inspecting the terminals making sure they haven’t retracted into the plastic holder, and then plugging it back together.

There’s a critical 10-pin connector for the front lighting system located in front of the air cleaner and behind the left headlight assembly. Don’t miss that one. Also be sure that the connectors to the ballast resistor mounted near the air cleaner housing are clean and tight.

ALL of the relays should be removed, the terminals wire-brushed until shiny, and the receptacles sprayed out with contact cleaner. Then plug them back in. I do this on every Renix Jeep I purchase or work on for someone else.Ballast Resistor

Revised 1-31-2016

Renix C101 Connector Refreshing


The C101 connector on 1987 and 1988 Renix Jeeps was a source of electrical resistance when the vehicles were new. So much so that the factory eliminated this connector in the 1989 and 1990 models. The factory recommended cleaning this connector to insure the proper voltage and ground signals between the ECU and the fuel injection sensors. We can only imagine how this connector has become a larger source of voltage loss and increased resistance over a period of more than 25 years. The C101 connector needs to be cleaned at least once in the lifetime of your vehicle. Chances are it’s never been done before.

Almost every critical signal between the engine sensors, injectors, ECU, and some to the TCU, travel this path through the C101 connector.

That said, the cleaning described below is a real MUST DO right off the bat for any new-to-you Jeep. But, I strongly advocate eliminating the C101 at some point by following the procedure with photos and video in Tip 27. Soldering skills are required and it takes about an hour and a half.

The C101 connector is located on the driver’s side firewall above and behind the brake booster. It is held together with a single bolt in it’s center. To get the connectors apart, simply remove the ¼” bolt and pull the halves apart. You will find the connector is packed with a black tar-like substance which has hardened over time.

C101 connectorTake a pocket screwdriver or the like and scrape out all the tar crap you can. Follow up by spraying out both connector halves with brake cleaner and then swabbing out the remainder of the tar. Repeat this procedure until the tar is totally removed. This may require 3 or more repetitions. Wipe out the connectors after spraying with a soft cloth.C101 connector

If you have a small pick or dental tool, tweak the female connectors on the one side so they grab the pins on the opposite side a bit tighter before bolting both halves back together.

If you wish to eliminate this connector entirely (highly recommended), see Tip #27 – C101 Elimination

Revised 1-31-2016

Renix Ground Refreshing


The Renix era XJs and MJs were built with an under-engineered grounding system for the engine/transmission electronics. One problem in particular involves the multiple ground connection at the engine dipstick tube stud. A poor ground here can cause a multitude of driveabililty issues, wasted time, failed emission tests, and wasted money replacing components unnecessarily.

All the components listed below ground at the dipstick tube stud:

Distributor Sync Sensor, TCU main ground, TCU “Shift Point Logic”, Ignition Control Module, Fuel Injectors, ECU main ground (which other engine sensors ground through, including the Oxygen sensor, Knock Sensor, Cruise Control and Transmission Sync signal. All extremely important stuff.

The factory was aware of the issues with this ground point and addressed it by suggesting the following:

  • Remove the nut holding the wire terminals to the stud. Verify that the stud is indeed tightened securely into the block. If the whole stud turns, you can use a 7/32″ six point socket or wrench to hold it so the nut can be removed. Worst case, cut the wires and remove the stud and nut. Install new terminal eyelets on the wires when going back together.  Scrape any and all paint from the stud’s mounting surface where the wires will attach. Surfaces must be clean, shiny and free of any oil, grease, or paint.
  • Inspect the wire terminals. Check to see that none of the terminals are crimped over wire insulation instead of bare wire. Be sure the crimps are tight. It wouldn’t hurt to re-crimp them just as a matter of course. Sand and polish the wire terminals until clean and shiny on both sides. Apply a liberal coating of OxGard, which is available at Lowe’s and other stores. Reinstall all the wires to the stud and tighten thdipstick stude nut down securely.

While you’re in that general area, locate the battery negative cable which is fastened to the engine block just forward of the dipstick stud. Remove the bolt, scrape the block to bare metal, clean and polish the cable terminal, apply OxGard, and reattach securely.

Another area where the grounding system on Renix era Jeeps was lacking is the engine to chassis ground. There is a braided cable from the back of the cylinder head that also attaches to the driver’s side of the firewall. This cable is undersized for its intended use and subject to corrosion and poor connections at each end.

  • Remove the cable end from the firewall using a 15mm wrench or socket. Scrape the paint off down to bare metal and clean the wire terminal. Apply OxGard. Reattach securely.
  • Remove the other end of the cable from the rear of the head using a 3’4″ socket. Clean all the oil, paint and crud from the stud. Clean the wire terminal of the cable and reattach securely with a liberal coating of OxGard.

2 STRONG suggestions regarding the ground system:

I prefer to add a #4 gauge cable from the firewall to a bolt on the rear of the intake manifold, either to a heat shield bolt or fuel rail bolt. A cable about 18″ long with a 3/8″ lug on each end works great and you can get one at any parts store already made up. NAPA has them as part number 781116.

A further improvement to the grounding system can be made using a #4 cable, about 10″ long with 3/8″ terminals at each end. Attach one end of this cable to the negative battery bolt and the other end under the closest 10mm headed bolt on the radiator support just forward of the battery. NAPA part number 781115.

For those of us with Comanches, it’s very important to remove the driver’s side tail lamp assembly to access the ground for the fuel pump. Remove the screw holding the black ground wire. Scrape the paint from the body and corrosion from the wire terminal.  Add a 10 gauge wire, with an eyelet on each end, from that grounding point to a bolt on the frame. Better yet, on both Cherokees and Comanches, complete Tip 29 for the best fuel pump grounding. Be sure to scrape all mounting points to bare metal and apply OxGard also.Fuel Pump Ground Comanche

If you want to UPGRADE YOUR GROUND AND BATTERY CABLES with custom made parts, contact Paul at 

Neal's cables

Revised 02/04/2017