Electrical [1990] Baffling Ignition Issue (Need help ASAP!)

Tango_Yankee

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Nov 4, 2018
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Fredericksburg Virginia
I am absolutely confused and infuriated with this problem. I have not seen any other threads that describe an issue anything similar to this, so here goes.

For the past few days, my car has been starting perfectly fine every time. It has no hesitation starting, and it seemed to run quite well.

However, this morning while doing other work on it, I started the car, which went perfectly, stopped the car, then tried to start it back up. Instead of starting, I got a click from the engine bay and every electrical component in the car died. I turned the key off and tried to start it again, but it's almost as if the battery has been totally disconnected. The interior lights went out, as did every light on the dash, the radio, etc. I figured that a fuse towards the beginning of the harness had blown, so I checked them all. They were all fine. I tried to disconnect the battery and leave it for a while to see if that did anything. Nothing.

After messing around for a while, I tried the ignition switch. I discovered that if I disconnect the battery, disconnect the ignition switch plug, reconnect the battery, then reconnect the plug. I could get the interior lights to come back on. When I turned the key to the on position, I could also get the dash lights to come on and my windshield wipers, despite them being turned off. If I don't do it in that exact order, it does not work. However, when trying to turn on the car, I get that same exact click and everything goes dead again. In which case, I have to do everything over again if I want to get another shot at it.

I figured that was pretty straightforward in that I needed to replace the ignition switch. I put a new one on and I'm getting literally the exact same issue. Nothing has changed. All of the plugs are snug in the connector. I've posted a video that shows what's going on.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zX-55BYaxQE&ab_channel=TylerEm


I'm confused and rediculously annoyed right now. This car has been nothing but a pain and I'm ready to take a sledge to it. Does anybody have the slightest idea of what this could be? Thanks in advance.
-T
 
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Dan02gt

10 Year Member
Mar 2, 2003
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Greenville, NC
Sounds like a bad connection somewhere. Check that the connections on the starter silonoid are clean and tight as all the power for everything connects there. Also check out the ground connection where it bolts to the block and the ground strap that goes from the back of the head it the body on the driver's side. Of course make sure your battery connections are tight and clean (that one has bitten me before when they looked fine)
 
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90sickfox

Wasn't a pretty sight...and I've got big hands
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Sounds like a bad connection at the starter relay on the inner fender.

The windshield wipers... that's a mystery for now. The ignition switches aren't the best in these cars.
 
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Tango_Yankee

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Nov 4, 2018
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Fredericksburg Virginia
Thanks for the input guys. I started checking around with the voltmeter and actually found that I was getting a fraction of the voltage in the main wire just before it went into the car. After stripping away the jacket, I found that the wires were pretty much split without so much as a cut on the jacket itself. How it did that, I'm not sure, as I'm careful not to tug on the wires, but after I soldered everything together, it started perfectly. Now, I still have to figure out my wipers and blinkers. Thanks!
 

Tango_Yankee

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Nov 4, 2018
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Fredericksburg Virginia
So, here's another issue that's been getting me. I've checked most of my connections and they seem to be tight, but lord knows how that worked out for me last time.

So, my hazards are working properly. When I turn the switch on, they blink at the correct speed and they do what they're supposed to. However, when I turn them off, both of the turn signals blink quite fast and no matter which way I turn the signal stalk, only the left blinker comes on.

I literally just replaced my multifunction switch, which fixed the wiper issue that I talked about in my previous post, but I'm still confused about this new issue. All of the other threads I've read through say simply to check your bulbs, flasher, then multifunction. All of which I now know are working.

Any input is greatly appreciated and I can make a video if I wan't clear in my description. Thanks!
 

Tango_Yankee

Member
Nov 4, 2018
29
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Fredericksburg Virginia
So, here's another issue that's been getting me. I've checked most of my connections and they seem to be tight, but lord knows how that worked out for me last time.

So, my hazards are working properly. When I turn the switch on, they blink at the correct speed and they do what they're supposed to. However, when I turn them off, both of the turn signals blink quite fast and no matter which way I turn the signal stalk, only the left blinker comes on.

I literally just replaced my multifunction switch, which fixed the wiper issue that I talked about in my previous post, but I'm still confused about this new issue. All of the other threads I've read through say simply to check your bulbs, flasher, then multifunction. All of which I now know are working.

Any input is greatly appreciated and I can make a video if I wan't clear in my description. Thanks!

I guess I shouldn't be so quick to post here. After messing about with the car for a few more minutes, I learned that the Hazard switch is blown. I took the plug out and jumped the Orange/Yellow wire to the Light Blue wire and boom, the blinkers work. Looks like I need a new one of those now too.
 
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90sickfox

Wasn't a pretty sight...and I've got big hands
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You diaged that pretty quick. It's amazing sometimes how electrically jacked up these cars can be. The switches and stuff just don't work too well after 30 years. They never expected these cars to last beyond 99k or 10 years.
 

Tango_Yankee

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Nov 4, 2018
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Fredericksburg Virginia
You diaged that pretty quick. It's amazing sometimes how electrically jacked up these cars can be. The switches and stuff just don't work too well after 30 years. They never expected these cars to last beyond 99k or 10 years.

I suppose so. All of these issues came on all of a sudden, which is why I had assumed they were all the same thing. Turns out all my switches just gave up at the same time. I don't know if something caused that, like an overvolting, which I'm pretty dang sure hasn't happened, because that seems like too much of a coincidence for all those blow at once, but who knows.

And yeah, it didn't take long for me to figure out that disconnecting the hazard switch was a step in the right direction. Most of my dash is already pulled for something else I was working on, so I just traced the wires back and jumped the ones I thought were the blinkers and it turned out my guess was right.

Thank you so much for your earlier input though!
 
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