Question about Chevrolet El Camino

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My car won't start. First I put in a new key switch, then I put in a new neutral switch. Everything else works, but the motor does nothing, not even a click. Please help! Thank you

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  • 273 Answers

Try a new IGNITION SWITCH.

Posted on May 18, 2011

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So it's a no crank condition? Do dash lights, gauges, and everything else work when the car won't crank over? If so, buy a cheap $5.00 testlight, and when the car won't crank, pull the small black wire off the starter solenoid. While someone holds the key in start (cranking) position and clutch pedal depressed, see if the black wire has power as it should. (Ground the testlight and just touch the wire's end terminal. If powered, the testlight will light up.) If power there, then the starter solenoid is failing. Toyota starters are very good units, but the solenoid's internal contacts get old and pitted.
If no power at the black wire, then the start circuit from ignition switch to clutch safety switch (on the clutch pedal) to starter relay to starter solenoid will have to be diagnosed. To double-check: take a single battery jumper cable and put it on the positive battery post connection. Put the other end of the jumper cable on the solenoid terminal where black wire was removed. Key can be off. Make sure car is in neutral, brake set. If starter now operates, solenoid is O.K., and it is a problem in the start circuit, -ignition switch, neutral start switch, or in the wiring.
Now find a grounding place for testlight under the dash. When car won't crank, check for power coming out of ignition switch on the black wire with white stripe. This is the start wire for the starter solenoid. Key must be in crank position. Wire shoud be powered-ignition switch is working. If no power, switch is failing. You can do the same for the clutch start switch-it's a simple switch, that when clutch is depressed switch is closed and passes power on from ignition switch to the starter relay (thus allowing power to the starter solenoid). Black wire, red stripe-this is wire from clutch switch to starter relay. When key is in crank, clutch depressed, this wire should be hot.
With me so far? Still haven't found a problem, or any loose connections? Next and last is the starter relay. It is located under dash, close to gas pedal, but under the center console, just forward and left of gear shifter. It can be tested and the wiring diagnosed there, but relays are cheap, so just swap in another and see if that helps.
If you have tried everything, and still no help, you could try a new wire from the relay to the starter solenoid. This is that black wire we started with. Older toyotas sometimes have a problem with degraded wiring not passing enough current to operate the starter

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1 Answer

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The ignition start circuit is the path from the ignition key in cranking mode to the solenoid on the starter. The path travels through a starter relay and a neutral safety switch before it reaches the starter.
This must be the circuit not working on your car.Make sure battery and starter connections are tight.Check for power at the starter solenoid terminal with a testlight when someone turns key to crank. If you have power there, they sold you a defective starter. If you have no power there then it could be the relay or the neutral safety switch.

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