Since the original problem is resolved, I’d like to end this thread with the solution that worked for me.
The original issue:
Absolutely nothing worked on the car. Not even when I turned the key.
Nothing means: nothing (no interior, or exterior lights, no dash lights, no engine cranking, or sounds at all.)
In an effort to troubleshoot with limited resources: I activated the alarm, & opened the door -to the sound of the alarm horn honking every second, or so (just like it normally sounds when I’ve accidentally set it off in the past.) Just the alarm horn though, no flashing lights, or anything else, & the rest of the car was just as dead as before.
I’ve heard about ‘pendulums’ in alarms that are a last line of defense for the alarm system to keep your car from being stolen, but didn’t know if that was the root of this particular problem. It seems that it was, so….
If you get absolutely nothing when you turn the key (especially after a tow, or accident,) & have an alarm, try this:
1- Activate the alarm with your remote/key.
2- Open any door.
3- If the alarm horn doesn’t sound; it is very likely a dead battery.
At least; check for corrosion on the battery posts. Be sure connectors are clean, & fastened tightly enough that proper contact is being made. If you’re intimidated, or inexperienced; it might be best to seek help, but batteries are only dangerous if you mishandle them, & there are plenty of videos/tutorials available online for quick, easy lessons. I suggest youtube university for video, but there’s also plenty of good advice posted on other pages/threads of this very website.
(There’s also some very solid advice in this very thread about batteries, & fuses, so be sure to scroll back through.)
4- If the alarm horn does sound, but you still get nothing when you turn the key:
Try disconnecting the battery (negative ( - ) side first. Be sure to tuck aside -away from any metal.) Check/clean terminal posts, & connectors of any corrosion. Be sure bolts are tight (enough that you can’t wiggle the connector (on the post) with your hand.) Clean any/all corrosion, but if it is already clean; you don’t necessarily have to disconnect the positive ( + ) side, just be sure it is properly connected before reconnecting the negative side again, & never let metal touch both sides at once.)
Leave it disconnected for at least 30 minutes, then reconnect.
5- If that
doesn’t fix it; you might need to reset your alarm by disconnecting, then reconnecting it.
I needed a philips head drill/screwdriver, & 4 cable ties to do the job. You may also need a torx (likely a T20,) maybe wire cutters/crimpers, & new connectors (I suggest quick connect over butt connectors (see below) - in case you have to do it again.)
Note: I went to the dealer, & was talked through it, but the techs were (slightly) off about a few details. I still suggest contacting “the alarm guys” at your local Jeep dealership for tips/instructions.
If your alarm isn’t stock; it may need replaced, or serviced by a tech. I suggest the nearest car stereo shop/installer, or where it was purchased/installed, perhaps even your local Jeep dealership?
6- I have a stock (Chapman) alarm with keychain remote (not a smart (fob) key,) & this is what I did:
(Alarm is behind 2 panels under the steering column. 6 screws total (if I remember correctly) to remove both panels.)
A- The first panel matches the interior, & is the flat-ish piece directly under the steering column. Once you remove that, the (2nd) one under it should be black, & a bit smaller (sorta looks like the side of a milk crate.) I think it was 2 screws for the first panel, 4 screws for the black panel. My screws were all phillips head, but you may encounter a torx, or 2 (likely a T20.) The phillips heads were super easy to remove with a drill. Hopefully this video I found will load for you
(I would ignore what he does after the 45 second mark, it wasn’t necessary to access the alarm in my car.)
B- The alarm was tucked up above the black panel -on the outside of the steering column.
C- The techs at the dealership suggested certain color wires (but those colors weren’t used in the install,) so, I found the 3 largest diameter wires coming out of the alarm, traced them to their connections, & disconnected them for about 10 minutes.
(Installers use several types of connectors, so be prepared to cut wire, & replace connectors. My connectors were spliced ’quick disconnect’ similar to these -
butt you may have ‘butt connectors’ -
Heat Shrink Butt Connectors | Cold Crimp Butt Connectors | Weather Pack Terminals and Seals
which will need to be cut out/replaced.)
Note: I had to cut the cable ties that bundled a bazillion wires together -to trace the 3 largest diameter wires up near the corner of the interior/firewall -where they were connected to other wires via the spliced quick connect. If you have to cut your ‘bundling’ cable ties to trace down your 3 larger wires; be careful not to cut any wires while cutting those cable ties.
Note #2: if you have to (carefully) cut the ‘bundling’ cable ties; be gentle tracing the wires, & it will be much easier to bundle the spaghetti back together neatly/reliably when you’re done.
7- If that
doesn’t work, try disconnecting the battery for (at least) 30 minutes, then repeat.
Finally, if that
doesn’t work; you may have already seen the solution in this thread, or you may need to keep searching, but this is what solved the original problem/reason for this post. I (obviously) have many more issues to deal with, but if your car was towed, or worse; it could happen to you, & this could solve it.