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Old 12-05-2015, 08:45 PM   #1
JBushman
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Default Why isn't anything happening when I turn the key?

Just got done with a rebuild on my 1994 SL SOHC vin 9.

Put the key in to crank it to bring up oil pressure and absolutely NOTHING happened. No interior lights, no chime, no clicking from solenoids, no cranking. Nothing whatsoever. Tested the battery and am getting about 12v. Tested positive terminal to ground on engine block and am getting 12v. Tested the ring from the positive terminal that screws in near the under hood fuse box and the negative lead on the engine block and got 12v. So I know the battery is good.

Weird thing was that while I was putting it back together, I first had the battery in and had connected both terminals and solenoids started clicking. I disconnected the negative terminal to stop all that while I finished reassembling, left the positive terminal attached for a few days while I was waiting to get time to finish.

I also pulled out the heater core and replaced it and I am thinking I *might* have disturbed something under the dash. Not sure what to look for.

I'm a relative newby to all of this, but ambitious enough to try a rebuild (with machine shop help).

What should I be checking/looking for??
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Old 12-05-2015, 08:55 PM   #2
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Default Re: Why isn't anything happening when I turn the key?

Try a jump start to see if the battery is faulty. Be sure all connections to battery, starter and grounds (chassis and engine block) are clean and free of corrosion. If another battery boost results in the same no start issue, try banging the starter with a piece of 2x4 lumber a few times and see if the starter runs. If its the original starter, replace it.

Did you disconnect the starter wires during engine rebuild?
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Old 12-05-2015, 09:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: Why isn't anything happening when I turn the key?

I'll have to try a jump when my wife gets home with the other car. Usually, if the battery is bad, you'll get dim lights. I'm getting absolutely NOTHING.

I did disconnect the starter during rebuild, but reconnected it and I am about 90% sure it's connected correctly.

A month ago, before I started, there was no problem with the battery.

What does whacking the starter do? I mean, there are no lights, even before I turn the key to the point at which the starter kicks in. So, I am guessing there is some sort of ignition problem.
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Old 12-05-2015, 09:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Why isn't anything happening when I turn the key?

One other tidbit. The horn won't even work. Normally, it'll sound when I hit the button even with the key not in the ignition. It won't sound now.
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Old 12-05-2015, 09:52 PM   #5
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Default Re: Why isn't anything happening when I turn the key?

The ignition switch has nothing to do with POWER. All the ignition switch does is allow power to the electronics and starting system, nothing more. If the battery is dead or not connected thru clean battery cables, nothing will power up.

You're describing a main power issue; battery, battery cables, their connections. Your '94 has the simplest starting system, void of any security system disabling the starting circuit or injectors. No lights usually means POWER so either the battery is dead and you have no idea of how old it is, the battery cables are loose, corroded and not making good electrical connections or the starter is worn out. A list of things to check are given starting with the battery and ending with a (possibly) worn out starter.

If you are sure the battery and cables are clean and good condition, connected securely without any corrosion anywhere to impede electrical flow, battery voltage means nothing if lights don't turn on. The suggestion of banging the starter is last, after ensuring battery is fully charged and battery cables are clean and free of corrosion.
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Old 12-05-2015, 10:17 PM   #6
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Default Re: Why isn't anything happening when I turn the key?

Fdryer - thanks for the suggestions. The negative terminal does seem a bit loose. When I tighten it down, it seems to sort of strip out and then tighten up. I'll have to get a new battery or a jump and see what happens. Will let you know after trying those simple things.

Would a bad fusible link cause the symptoms I'm describing? Am thinking that's next if I get all the battery and cables checked out ok.
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Old 12-05-2015, 10:23 PM   #7
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Default Re: Why isn't anything happening when I turn the key?

It's quite terrifying being nearly 3hrs from home and having the key do nothing...quite a relief to find out one of the awesome, not stupid at all, side posts backed off the battery...
...
The proper way to fix a S-Series automatic is to replace it with a 5spd O:)
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:11 PM   #8
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Default Re: Why isn't anything happening when I turn the key?

^ I agree. Go with what you know and leave guessing on things not understood out as all it does is distract from what can be done, troubleshooting everything obvious in front of you. All the discussions on message boards means nothing if a wrench isn't turned or things aren't examined. Armchair quarterbacks are everywhere, guessing from the side and never in the actual paid position to make decisions. You're the only one with a problem with many here willing to give you suggestions on what to check in logical steps. Its your choice to follow up on suggestions, do your own thing or continue asking questions without performing anything. Its your car and your time.

A fusible link has nothing to do with starting and loss of power. All it does is allow fused power to the alternator. Blow a fusible link and the alternator doesn't output.

Last edited by fdryer; 12-05-2015 at 11:17 PM.
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Old 12-07-2015, 10:42 AM   #9
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Default Re: Why isn't anything happening when I turn the key?

Hey all - it was a loose bolt connecting my negative terminal. Got new bolt this am and it worked.

Thanks for the help!!
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Old 12-07-2015, 11:56 AM   #10
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Default Re: Why isn't anything happening when I turn the key?

Side post batteries are well known for defective and/or leaking connections and just wrenching on them will not improve the connection either. The Great Big Clue to your problem was the HORN. There is always power to the horn and it is an incredibly simple basic circuit. 99%+ of all electrical problems are traced to the power supply, in this case it is the battery.

Now that the engine is running enjoy all the new found power and performance, just follow those oil change and type recommendations and you will forget how to check oil between changes.
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Old 12-07-2015, 02:03 PM   #11
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Default Re: Why isn't anything happening when I turn the key?

Might want to post a link to this part of the story back in your other thread to help out the people who do not have all the story.
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