Starting issue

88_AHB

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Hey all,
So, I have this random rare issue that occurs in my 88 and am not sure how to correct it.
My car will not start (Crank) sometimes when I turn the key. I've replaced the neutral safety switch, no signs of excessive slop in the trans linkage. I have had this happen on flat or inclined ground. Sometimes rocking the car will get it to start, other times I come back and it"ll randomly start without doing anything else.
What else is there left to try? Would something in the column or ignition switch cause this issue? Thanks
 

Aspen500

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Random thought, have you tried it in neutral? My Aspen did that where it would randomly not crank in park, but always would in neutral. Turned out the new aftermarket p/n switch was the cause. Found a used original to put in and it's been fine since. Just an idea anyway.
 

88_AHB

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Random thought, have you tried it in neutral? My Aspen did that where it would randomly not crank in park, but always would in neutral. Turned out the new aftermarket p/n switch was the cause. Found a used original to put in and it's been fine since. Just an idea anyway.
Yes, I've tried neutral when this happens and no success. Could it be the key ignition or something in the column causing this issue? It does have a tilt column and there is no excessive slop or anything abnormal in my opinion.
 

Camtron

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I recently went through something like this and, a plethora of no start and electrical issues that had me going through my ignition harness. In the end, I had bad grounds all around the engine/chassis. Cleaned up contact points and replaced a few ground cables and everything went back to normal and the car went back to starting without issue.
 

88_AHB

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I recently went through something like this and, a plethora of no start and electrical issues that had me going through my ignition harness. In the end, I had bad grounds all around the engine/chassis. Cleaned up contact points and replaced a few ground cables and everything went back to normal and the car went back to starting without issue.
So, I thought this might be probably the cause as well. It's very rare and random when it decides to do this. Being an AHB car it has several grounds throughout. Isn't there a rod that goes through the column from the key cylinder down to the ignition switch near the base?
 

Aspen500

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Yes there is a rod. The ignition switch is adjustable. Possible the bolts loosened enough over the years that the switch moved slightly.
 

Mikes5thAve

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Do you get the click from the stsrter relay or other noises or nothing? Both a starter relay failing and bad starter itself will cause problems. As will a bad adjusted shift linkage.
 

88_AHB

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Do you get the click from the stsrter relay or other noises or nothing? Both a starter relay failing and bad starter itself will cause problems. As will a bad adjusted shift linkage.
No click at all when this happens. The starter is fairly new still and a Powermaster. For adjusting the shift linkage, how should it be set?
 

Sub03

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You should also check the starter relay on the firewall. Had a corroded connection that caused me similar problems.
 

Mikes5thAve

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No click at all when this happens. The starter is fairly new still and a Powermaster. For adjusting the shift linkage, how should it be set?

With the selector in park loosen the adjuster block on the linkage and make sure the lever at the transmission is all the way to the rear/park position. Obviously make sure someone is on the brakes or the wheels are off the ground or blocked when you do that.

The way of checking adjustment is to make sure it starts in park and neutral... altho I think neutral doesn't really have an indent on the shifter, that click happens at the transmission so it should still start in neutral if it's not adjusted right?

It's been a while but I think if the neutral safety switch and parts in the transmission are working right the middle pin on the neutral safety switch is supposed to be grounded If it's in park or neutral. If its not grounded there's something wrong. If it is grounded you know its something else. You can also test it by leaving it unplugged and ground the middle pin of the plug as that takes the neutral safety switch right out of the picture.
 

GregG48213

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starter relay
I'll third the notion that there's a bad connection at the starter relay. I had the same issue on my '88 Diplomat back in the day. I could usually cure it by manipulating the terminal block at the relay.
 

88_AHB

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You should also check the starter relay on the firewall. Had a corroded connection that caused me similar problems.
Would you happen to have a picture of the starter relay on the firewall? I didn't realize that my car had one.
 

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Had the same issues with my 77 R/T cleaned all the contacts on the starter relay and had no issues after that.On the firewall next to the master cylinder on the driver’s side you’ll see wires going to a small metal part,that’ll be your starter relay,not a real expensive part if you need to replace it
 

DCAspen

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Pictures

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88_AHB

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Had the same issues with my 77 R/T cleaned all the contacts on the starter relay and had no issues after that.On the firewall next to the master cylinder on the driver’s side you’ll see wires going to a small metal part,that’ll be your starter relay,not a real expensive part if you need to replace it
Were these used on M bodies as well?
 

Mikes5thAve

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Yes on firewall beside brake booster. If it's an airbag car it might be a bit different but should still have a starter relay somewhere.
 

DCAspen

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M and F have pretty much the same engine compartments
 

Sub03

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Would you happen to have a picture of the starter relay on the firewall? I didn't realize that my car had one.

Sorry, my car is at winter storage so I cannot provide any pictures, but thanks to DCAspen for posted some nice ones.

IIRC the wire with the yellow stripe (bottom right on starter relay) is grounded through the neutral safety switch when in neutral/park.
You should be able to check the switch by measuring connectivity between chassis ground and this wire with trans in neutral/park.

The red wire is battery+ and I think the dark wire directly below the red one goes to the starter, should have 12V when ign switch is in start position.

It's possible the wire colours is different on your car, being an '88, but I hope this will help you with your troubleshooting.
 
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UNKIE

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Hey all,
So, I have this random rare issue that occurs in my 88 and am not sure how to correct it.
My car will not start (Crank) sometimes when I turn the key. I've replaced the neutral safety switch, no signs of excessive slop in the trans linkage. I have had this happen on flat or inclined ground. Sometimes rocking the car will get it to start, other times I come back and it"ll randomly start without doing anything else.
What else is there left to try? Would something in the column or ignition switch cause this issue? Thanks
I have seen in the past that if you have a lot of keys and things on your key ring it can cause ignition switch problems.
 

Aspen500

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Heavy key rings only affect the ignition lock, not the switch.

On the face of the starter relay, the terminals are identified to some extent. BAT, SOL, etc.

Long shot but, I've run into battery cables and terminals that look fine, but the wire was loose in the terminal crimp causing a poor connection at times. Almost always it was a parts store replacement, not an original OEM.
 
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