SOLVED - Calling all electrical experts... I broke something, starter won't engage

milwaukeesk

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Issue - When turning the key, everything works when turned into ACC position but when attempting to start nothing happens. If I listen closely I can faintly hear a relay it sounds like from behind me so I don't think it's an issue with ignition switch. Notably, car was starting just fine until I undertook the 'troubleshooting' I describe below.

Was working on my '74 manual trans, that I just took receipt of and was trying to troubleshoot an odd problem where the blower motor, AC, and sunroof were all non functional. This was unusual as everything seems to be very sorted on this car. When I first took receipt, none of the windows were working either and I swapped a few of the relays under the dash by the hood release and the windows all started working (slowly that is). Fast forward, I switched around a few more relays (their are 5 in all not including the wiper or flasher relays) under the dash by the hood release. A block of 3, the wiper relay, then 2 more. Note that I didn't replace, just moved around and sanded the connectors as I didn't have spares. Low and behold after that the blower motor, AC, and sunroof all started working again. Just when I was about to claim victory I went to turn the key to start it and up and nothing. This is where I stopped and trying to put the relays back where I thought they were originally, but I can't go back to get the blowers and sunroof to stop and the car to start. Again, car started great before I set out to fix the issues with the blowers and sunroof.

Do any of these relays tie back to engaging the starter in any way? Did I knock some other wire loose that I need to go find while under the dash? doubtful it's a battery problem as it's new, fully charged and everything else seems to be working. When I turn the key the starter does absolutely nothing. No clicking or anything, other than hearing a relay behind me click or may unclick when moving off of acc, suggesting the starter is not getting the signal at all (but I guess I should confirm that?).

Thoughts. doing some digging with the search function, it seems their are some varying opinions on the relays, and that they vary from year to year. For example, I dug up a @HBchris post on relays and didn't see a mention to having 5 relays where I see them but rather only 3 unless I missed that.

Any help on the troubleshooting would be appreciated.
 
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HB Chris

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The 74 has a low beam relay under the dash that earlier cars don’t have. And they don’t have the blower changeover relay attached to fuse block as the A/C fan switch changed and it isn’t needed.
 

Markos

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It's a long shot that you had the same issue, but I accidentally unplugged my ignition wire from the fuse box when stripping out a bunch of extra wiring.

So it turns out that when I stripped out the 20 yards of stereo wiring I accidentally unplugged the red ignition switch wire from the fuse block. Although I harassed Don and he text me fuse location “5”, I confirmed with old blue. Sure enough..

Example wire from my spare ignition switch. Pretty much the only solid red on the top terminals of the fuse block.


Blue book. The fuse block is upside down in the second pic.
 

milwaukeesk

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It's a long shot that you had the same issue, but I accidentally unplugged my ignition wire from the fuse box when stripping out a bunch of extra wiring.
I'll try anything. Thanks Markos. I'll add this to the list of things to try tonight.
 

milwaukeesk

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I came across a thread last night about jumping one of the relays in a 74 because it was tied to a seat sensor? Any truth to that. Also found some non confirmatory comments about things behaving different when the door is open or closed. Didn't know if that's another place to start. What's odd is how it now seems everything else is finally working... except for engagement of starter which was never the issue before. Something I did to 'fix' the other stuff seems to have thrown off the start function... If course I could have just inadvertently unplugged a wire.
 

HB Chris

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Your car allows windows to open when door is opened, you should hear a click when pressing button on A pillar. Your seat buzzer/key buzzer was probably removed years ago. With key on, you can jump a wire from battery directly to the starter solenoid to see if it works. If it does work it is the ignition switch.
 

milwaukeesk

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Your car allows windows to open when door is opened, you should hear a click when pressing button on A pillar. Your seat buzzer/key buzzer was probably removed years ago. With key on, you can jump a wire from battery directly to the starter solenoid to see if it works. If it does work it is the ignition switch.
Yes, I hear the click when pressing... and believe it or not buzzer is still hooked up, so I hear that go off as well. That button works.

I'll try the direct wire to the battery: Starter. Thanks for the recommendation Chris.
 

sfdon

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Probe the solder of the black wire at back of ignition switch while turning key to crank position.
Got 12 volts?
Follow that same black wire to clear rectangular protector for spade connectors.
Turn key again to crank position, probe both in and out of connector.
Got 12 volts?
Pull spade connector on starter at 6:00 position.
Probe for 12 volts.

Waiting for your answers
 

Markos

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Probe the solder of the black wire at back of ignition switch while turning key to crank position.
Got 12 volts?
Follow that same black wire to clear rectangular protector for spade connectors.
Turn key again to crank position, probe both in and out of connector.
Got 12 volts?
Pull spade connector on starter at 6:00 position.
Probe for 12 volts.

Waiting for your answers
I go through this exact same process every year when I put up my Christmas lights. :D
 

milwaukeesk

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Probe the solder of the black wire at back of ignition switch while turning key to crank position.
Got 12 volts?
Follow that same black wire to clear rectangular protector for spade connectors.
Turn key again to crank position, probe both in and out of connector.
Got 12 volts?
Pull spade connector on starter at 6:00 position.
Probe for 12 volts.

Waiting for your answers

I have 12v on black on the solder at the switch
I have 12v on both the in and out of the connector
I do NOT have 12v on the black wire at 6:00 on the starter.


Standing by Don
 

milwaukeesk

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Some more info. I followed the black wire at 6 up to another connector under the hood and don’t have 12v at either side of that connector. Not sure where it does after that?

In the car I followed the black out of the ignition switch through the connector and to another connector where it breaks into 2 black wires and then off into the fat bunch and into abyss. I had 12v at that second connector. Switch seems to be working in that regard.

Seems I am loosing the signal as it breaks from that second connector.
 

milwaukeesk

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Breaking news, I found a Peter post a few years ago jumping one of the relays. I jumped as he suggested and it worked...

Now... should I leave that or figure out what’s actually going on.
upload_2018-9-24_21-48-36.jpeg
 

sfdon

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Your switch is good...
Likely your starter is good...
You are down to a couple of feet of wiring
 

GRKOALA

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I had a similar problem when turning my ignition switch. The accessories lights go on but when I went to crank all I could hear was a bad connection or a relay buzzing.
In my situation it was the ignition lock switch. After trying different options I found that If I pushed (towards the steering column) and turned the key, my car would crank and start. It was a bad connection in the ignition lock. Hopefully this helps
 
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