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Starter not turning on 86 - Power goes out after “click” in START position


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#1 Matt888

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Posted 22 July 2018 - 09:12 AM

Flooded the car attempting to use a pair of suspect 86 injectors (one was NOS and another bought used off here)...  during a few cranking cycles, I went to go into START position of ignition switch and no go.  Additionally, all power to inside of vehicle went out.  I can remove the positive battery connection and then get power by cycling ignition switch to the ON position, but as soon as I turn one more position into START, I lose all power again (and of course no starter movement at all).

Some additional troubleshooting notes:

- 86 5-spd vehicle.
- When I turn to START position, sometimes I get a “click” at starter, sometimes not, but ALWAYS have to remove battery pos connection to get power back to vehicle.
- I had an incident a week or two back where the radio intermittently turned on and off over and over again until I pulled the radio fuse (maybe related with ignition switch).

I’m off to re-inspect connections, ign fuse link, grounds.  There has to be a hint to the issue with me needing to cycle battery power in order to get power back in car in the ON position.

Is the ignition switch easy to swap out?  I don’t know if I have a spare other than in my 89, but if it’s a quick swap, may be worth checking.






#2 BuGG

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Posted 22 July 2018 - 09:44 AM

What is your battery voltage?
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#3 Matt888

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Posted 22 July 2018 - 10:13 AM

12.74.   Its not the battery because I ran jumper cables from my other vehicle and had the same results.

I was going to swap over a known good ignition switch, but cant figure out how to get to the top screw on the ignition switch mounted to the tumbler.  The steering column blocks the top small screw to the ignition switch.

Edited by Matt888, 22 July 2018 - 10:13 AM.


#4 BuGG

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Posted 22 July 2018 - 10:26 AM

Yeah the ignition switch was going to be my second suggestion.
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#5 Matt888

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Posted 22 July 2018 - 10:43 AM

Got to the switch.  Not too bad once you remove the wheel and the turn signal assembly and can see better.  Will try to swap a good one in shortly.

Edited by Matt888, 22 July 2018 - 10:44 AM.


#6 rcm

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Posted 22 July 2018 - 11:41 AM

If you have a bad cell in battery jumper cables won't change the voltage.Your 12.7 until you place it under a load them it drops usually in half.Taking post loose just let's that bad cell to regain small power until you try to start again.

#7 Matt888

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Posted 22 July 2018 - 02:23 PM

Appreciate the feedback, but its not the battery.  I did run the jumper cables directly to the car cables with the questionable battery out of the loop.  But regardless, the jumper cables connect the batteries in parallel and a good battery should still turn it over.  I have an ignition switch to try tomorrow.  

Will report back with updates.

Edited by Matt888, 22 July 2018 - 02:24 PM.


#8 scott87star

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Posted 22 July 2018 - 04:00 PM

You can still get a new ignition switch, at least I did a year or so ago.
Now selling true plug and play megasquirt!  Absolutely the best value in stand alone ECU's out there.

I can upgrade your Fuel Injection Pro firmware

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Now a graduate of EFI University!  www.efi101.com

ECU Vendor link:  http://www.starquest...howtopic=137426

#9 Matt888

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Posted 22 July 2018 - 07:27 PM

View Postscott87star, on 22 July 2018 - 04:00 PM, said:

You can still get a new ignition switch, at least I did a year or so ago.

Thanks Scott, as you can see working out a few issues before sending you the goods for a plug n play.  Once I get this sorted out, Ill install my new AEM wideband and ship out to you.  Probably a week or two more.

#10 Matt888

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Posted 23 July 2018 - 08:09 PM

Update:   Ignition switch replaced and was not the issue.  Also pulled the starter out and had it tested... passed with flying colors.

I then, with the starter out of the car and the starter leads hanging safely away from each other and the chassis, went to the START position with the key and as always, lost all power inside the vehicle.

There’s a distinct click coming from the ECU area.  I will need to review the FSM further, but is there a relay somewhere above the ECU?

In the daylight tomorrow, Ill inspect the ignition fuse link further.  Maybe it’s compromised even though it appears to be in good shape visually.  Ill do a continuity check and maybe swap in a piece of wire in it’s place to do a one-time test.


Thoughts?  Anyone else ever have something like this happen?  Alarm system relay?  Could someone possibly test what their car does if you try to start it with it activated?  (Do you lose all power to vehicle for example)

Edited by Matt888, 23 July 2018 - 08:31 PM.


#11 croquest87

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Posted 23 July 2018 - 09:03 PM

There is fuel pump relay above the ecu little gold box. Something is shorted or bad connection. Check ground number 11 l believe under the battery? That is known to cause all kinds of issues.

Edited by croquest87, 23 July 2018 - 09:09 PM.


#12 Matt888

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Posted 24 July 2018 - 07:50 PM

May have found the problem this evening.  I had previously tried jumping the car with jumper cables and the issue persisted, but tonight I removed the battery and after looking over the fuse links, used jumper cables from the battery on the ground directly to the Starion’s leads.  When I attached the jumper cable inadvertently on the car’s leads AND bypassed the actual leads’ connecting terminals (in other words, clipped on clean conductor wire) - the issue went away.  This could also explain why when I previously attempted to use another vehicle to “jump” the Starion I was unsuccessful - I had just clipped the jumper cable to the ends of my now suspect Starion terminals.  

I was able to replicate the initial problem and fix it by moving the jumper cables around, so planning on replacing the battery terminals before claiming victory...

#13 importwarrior

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Posted 25 July 2018 - 08:01 AM

Good find. clean the ground to chassis under battery and the block ground also.

while your at it clean every terminal end you can find.

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#14 Matt888

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Posted 27 July 2018 - 07:53 PM

Issue solved as described.  The Ground terminal on the Negative cable was bad, yet the cable itself is in good shape.  The cable is now too short, so will need to be replaced.

Now to move on to the next fix... the nut on top of the steering gear box is leaking.




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