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patrickt 11-02-2008 11:42 AM

Bob P. -- Ignition Switch Woes
Bob, I've been having an intermittent "no crank" situation that began after I thought I imagined that I was having to turn my ignition key just a little farther before the starter began cranking. It would "come and go" and when it came there was either no cranking or a "delayed cranking" of a second or two after turning the key. Like all intermittent electrical problems, it would vanish by the time I'd get a VOM or circuit tester on it. Initially, I put a half-a$$ amount of effort in to figuring it out -- I load tested the battery, checked the connections and ground, and tried to listen for the starter solenoid (aka "starter relay") to click on the firewall. On the last "no crank" situation there was absolute dead silence; no click of the solenoid. Well that's it, I thought -- and of all the items in the ignition circuit that's the easiest one to change. Then, of course, the car started right up. Alright, time to get serious -- so each time before I would start the car I put a blue 12v light on the starter motor side of the solenoid and a red 12v light on the red lead to the solenoid. The idea was to see if there was a "lag time" between when the lights came on. Well that paid off -- neither light came on at all when the intermittent problem reared its ugly head. I then put a remote starter switch across the solenoid, pulled the trigger, and it cranked normally. Turning the ignition key resulted in silence. Turning it again, and it cranked. OK, we're getting closer. I pulled the red lead off the solenoid and taped it. Then I put the 12v light on the center terminal of the ignition switch (pic below), and turned the key to the start position. Light came on. Did it again, light came on. Third time and held it in the "start" position for about 10 seconds -- slight flicker? Fourth time, held it in the "start" position and JIGGLED the key -- the light blinked on and off. Once again, the "jiggle test" comes through. If I jiggled just right I could have the key in the "start" position with the light completely off. So, will you send me a new ignition switch along with a bill or do I need to call someone? And if so, who?

rads42 06-10-2019 02:17 PM

OK, I'm going to resurrect this 11 y.o. thread. This exact thing has happened to me over the last couple weeks. the first few times it was just once and I assumed I hadn't turned the key far enough but yesterday it took like 7 tries, sometimes nothing would happen, sometimes I'd hear the solenoid click and then finally it fired right up perfectly. So Patrick was a new ignition switch the fix?

patrickt 06-10-2019 03:21 PM

Yes, that's exactly what it was. What I did to find it was to put little 12v trouble lights, fastened by alligator clips, along the ignition switch to solenoid to starter line and watch them each time I started the car. Sure enough, one time I tried to start the car and the trouble lights showed no current whatsoever on the starter pole of the switch, much less at the solenoid or anywhere else downstream. By carefully jiggling the switch, I was able to get the lights to come on and the car to start. Bob P. sent me a new switch, gratis, that had been re-threaded to use the fancy bezel. No problems since.

rodneym 06-10-2019 03:53 PM

I just had an ignition switch go bad. I took apart the old one to have a look-see. Mine had some play between the metal housing and black plastic back. IMO this can result in intermittent connections. Try to clocking the switch back and forth (from the housing) and see if you can mimic the problem. Of course be careful what your touching.

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