Battery is good. Starter is good. When key is turned no lights, nothing, no sound. This car used to have a stick went to an automatic. Could there be a problem in the steering column? Is this where the ignition switch is?
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Re: 71 nova will not start
Take a look at the wires on the top of your starter,
there should be a big main battery cable there, a small start wire, and a couple of fusible links.
the fusible links provide power to the rest of the vehicle, they are designed to fail if there is a short in the system, you can purchase fusible link at your local parts house it comes in a small roll, do not use regular wire for the repair you need the fire protection offered by the special link.
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If it cranks with a jumper battery, its probably not the starter. You need to know if the battery in the car has a full 12 volt charge, and if the small wire from the battery is powering the fuse box and key switch. Then you need to know if the power is getting from the key switch thru the neutral safety switch and to the starter. When you say the car is dead, do you not have headlights when the engine is not running ?
Start by cleaning battery terminals try to start if headlights are bright and nothing check the starter relay by the fuses stick the same type from another circuit or a spare one where it says spare. Try to start if the lights are bright hit the starter with a hammer a few times while someone has the key turned if it starts you need a new starter. If lights go out recharge battery or replace battery
Now you must check the starter. The large cable going to the starter supplies 12+ volts. The small wire supplies 12 volts when the key is turned to the start position. Using a volt meter or 12V test light check for voltage at the small wire when the key is turned to start. If 12 volts are now present and your engine grounds are good then the starter is bad. You can try to bamg on the starter with a broom stick while someone turns the key to start. sometimes this will get the starter moving again. but not for long. starter replacement will be required.
If 12 volts is not present at the small wire when turning the key then you may suspect a blown fuse, fusible link, bad starter relay, neutral or clutch safety switch, or faulty ignition switch.
if you turn headlights on and turn key to start do you hear clicking? if so starter is possibly bad,lets trouble shoot your problem.suggest you check the fuses under hood in black box,make sure those are good. when you turn the key, you should hear at least a click or else the starter is not drawing current.try turning the headlights on and at same time turn the key and try to start, if lights go dim the starter is drawing current, does it click? if so then bad starter. if no noise at all,,still could be a bad starter.suggest that you remove the starter and have it checked out.also make sure the car is in park for sure before you do any of this. hope this helps!!
Is this a manual or automatic tranny? I would be looking at the gearshift selector, did you try starting it in neutral, as opposed to park, if it's an auto, and how about a switch on the clutch pedal to prevent starting in gear, if it's a manual? How about wiring to the neutral safety start switch? Any fuses, circuit breakers been checked? What year truck? I'm just throwing things out there, just to check before you spend any more money that you don't have to. I could use a battery, right now- got an extra one? :-)
Good luck and keep us posted. Vetteman_72@yahoo.com