'86 won't start!! - Team Camaro Tech
Troubleshooting Diagnosing problems done here.

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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 28th, 03, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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Can anyone throw me a bone with this one!! My '86 El Camino died when the wife was driving it!! Lucky for me it was only a few blocks away...

Here's the deal, the batt is fully charged, lights, clock (part of radio), door buzzer and interior lights work. The key is dead (no click or anything) , the fan, radio, wipers and all of the guages don't work. All the fuses are good.

Doesn't seem to be heat soak (shouldn't stop the fan motor or wipers) so I'm thinking maybe something in the ign switch itself since all the things that are hot all the time work.

I only half hartedly trouble shot this in the bank parking lot before deciding to call AAA to tow it home. This whole ordeal has taken 3 hrs out of my day and is interupting putting a new carb on the White Wonder!! After posting this it's back to the Camaro and new carb.... Any input is appreciated.

...Dennis

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 28th, 03, 12:10 PM
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Greetings Dennis,

What you are describing does indeed sound like the ignition switch. Try turning the key to the on position and see if the radio plays. If it is like most cars, the radio will not play unless the key is turned to the "on" position or "accessory" position.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 28th, 03, 04:46 PM
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Dennis,

Same advise here...

Happened to me once too, there are a few things you can do to see if the battery is dead, or starter is good. but mostly, try turning on the emergency blinkers. they should be on an independant circuit separate from the lights.

if they work, or any "accesories" work, you may have some type of short in the ignition switch.

I hope you fine the prob!

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 28th, 03, 06:37 PM Thread Starter
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I appreciate the input, keep it coming! Nothing through the key works. Will have to break out the VOM meter and see if there is power to the ign switch. I don't have a wiring schemetic but would think there is one main feed to the ign, maybe with a fusable link in it that's blown...

...Dennis

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 29th, 03, 12:21 AM
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I've my old seen plymouths have a solder joint in a voltage regulators melt and luck for trouble shooting melt out the back of the metal cover with all the electronics sunk in plastic.
Honda seems to like the electronic ignition module to just say no more work from me out of the blue.
Oh yah your car
I'm thinking a relay or ground. My experience has been ignition switchs like to mess with you before going out unless you pop the colum apart and the switch falls apart. But before they do that it is normally one crimp goes and you have to mess with the switch to start then the crimp fails and the two halves of the switch seperate giving you the problem you have now. Not sure if that year required tourqes heads with the dimple to get the ignition switch out. Napa has them. Ask the wife if the car had been requiring more fiddling with the key than normal to start.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 30th, 03, 12:53 AM
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Neutral safety switch? Jiggle the gearshift lever?

There is a fusible link at the starter solenoid, since there is no 2nd wire on battery post, except for the power feed from alt.

There is an adjustment of the ign switch on the steering column. Switch could have moved just enough, the linkage is not moving the switch. You know the key portion of the switch only moves a rod from the ign lock down the column to the ign switch, a sliding contact switch.
Check to make sure the wire harness connectors are not loose. If kicked with feet, might become undone. Due to years of starting, the switch actuation, whether be the rod or the switch itself, may be worn.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 30th, 03, 12:54 AM
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DaRn CPU, sorry for the double post.........

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 30th, 03, 01:10 AM
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Sounds to me like the fusible link near the starter.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 30th, 03, 06:53 AM
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Sorry, but don’t have a late model schematic with me. You are right, the items that are operating are the courtesy or always hot items. The items that are out run off the Ignition and the Accessory terminals of the ignition switch. Good guesses above that there’s nothing coming out of the switch.
I’m not sure of one thing. I don’t remember if that car has a separate feed line from under the hood to the ignition switch. Thought it only had one, The same one that feeds the courtesy fuses. I’d look at a schematic before I’d get dirty.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 30th, 03, 12:11 PM
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You've gotta be right with the switch itself, or power to the switch. Nothing else would seem to explain the all the non-switched items are working, while all the access., and ign. position items are completely dead. If you've got power up to the switch...it has to be the switch itself. Right??!

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old Jul 3rd, 03, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Ok this thing is getting the best of me!! [img]graemlins/sad.gif[/img] I can't see worth beans up close and my glasses won't be in for a week or more!! I have some cheap reading glasses but left them at the office. Things have to be at least an arms length away before there is clarity!! That's hard to do both under the dash and on my back under the vehicle!! Top it off the tow truck that brought it home left it setting in the wrong direction and when I got home there was a $25 ticket awaiting me for not only parked the wrong direction but for being more than 18" from the curb!! It's about 14" in the rear and just under 17" in front!! On any given day for the past 6 yrs there's 1-3 cars parked the wrong way in the neighborhood!!!

Back to the problem. The starter is almost not accessable, I have it unbolted but would have to remove the y pipe to replace it if I ever have to. the ckt I believe looks like the bottom example HERE!!

I disconnected the wires feeding the steering wheel and looked for Batt (+) on the plug and none present. I then disconnected the battery (both terminals) thinking lifting the ground would leave all the connections in the plug on the steering colume open, they all have ground on them even the 2 that normally would have batt!! I guess that could be normal if grd is feeding back from the accessories. So now it's time to attack the starter. Can't get my hands within 6 inches of the solenoid so out comes the starter!! I can get to the bolts ok and drop the flex plate cover and remove the starter bolts and that's when I find out the exhaust won't let the starter drop out! I was able to turn the starter so in the morning I should be able to lift the wires. All signs are pointing to the wire between the batt post on the starter and the ign. I hope things go quick tomorrow, I don't want to get repete tickets and the city doesn't allow working on cars on the curb!! If I say it doesn't run I will end up with another ticket for that!! Glad my weekend company won't be here until saturday!!!

...Dennis

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old Jul 4th, 03, 06:36 AM
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How about not pulling the starter and hook a test lamp up to the 'S' wire. Then have your lovely assistant turn the ignition switch while you see if the light comes on? As for ground on the plug with the battery disconnected, it's hard to say what that is all about. Are you using a volt meter? Sometimes 0.00v readings can be misleading. If you were reading 0.00 ohms resistance to ground, then you might be on to something. Breaking the circuits into pieces is a great way to trouble shoot. You can also disconnect the firewall connector behind the fuse block quite easily to even further narrow it down.

-dnult

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old Jul 4th, 03, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by dnult:
How about not pulling the starter and hook a test lamp up to the 'S' wire. Then have your lovely assistant turn the ignition switch while you see if the light comes on? As for ground on the plug with the battery disconnected, it's hard to say what that is all about. Are you using a volt meter? Sometimes 0.00v readings can be misleading. If you were reading 0.00 ohms resistance to ground, then you might be on to something. Breaking the circuits into pieces is a great way to trouble shoot. You can also disconnect the firewall connector behind the fuse block quite easily to even further narrow it down.

-dnult
Couldn't get to the solenoid without dropping the starter. Have spent most of the day cleaning up around the house for weekend guests, I may get to play some more this evening... The firewall connector is the next spot I was going for... Oh, all the ground I found, the meter ow on the 100 scale and pegged the needle...

...Dennis

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 03, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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Found the problem!!! [img]graemlins/hurray.gif[/img] The damn grounds on all the leads was the biggest clue!!! I'll have to finish bolting the starter back up and clean up and put the wiring under the dash back together... [img]graemlins/clonk.gif[/img] And then figure out where to get a replacement connecter for the melted one under the hood.

Right off the alt and buried in and below 2 wire looms is a melted connector. Some how it got grounded up against the heat riser bolted to the exhaust manifold that gets routed to the base of intake air horn... I hope nothing else got fried down stream...

...Dennis

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old Jul 6th, 03, 05:54 AM
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Congrats DJD! Hopefully the restification of your harness won't be too much of a problem. What connector are you needing to replace?

Those electrical problems can be weird - dash lights come on when brake is applied and all sorts of other freaky stuff. Especially when it comes to grounds, it's difficult to give helpful advice other than "check the grounds...trace the wires".

-dnult

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