I have a 1985 Cutlass Ciera Brougham with a 2.5L four. Got in it one day and when I turned the key nothing happened except the dash lights came on. No clicking or buzzing, no engine turning over, nothing… Pulled the starter and had it tested, it passed. Then again it is only about a year old. I then jumped the poles on the starter and the engine came to life. Replaced the ignition switch ( the electrical part ) still have the same problem. Turn the key and nothing happens except the dash lights. Any ideas?
Sounds like a bad solenoid somewhere in the line.
you should have 12 v on the starter’s fat leaf all the time. Then move the test light on the starter’s thinner lead and see what happens when you start the car.it could be that tour transmission interlock switch is acting up. It is often in series with your ignition switch.
During cranking you should have at least 9.6 volts – more common would be about 10.5 volts or more – on both electrical lines going to the starter. If you do and it doesn’t crank, then it’s probably something wrong w/the starter. If you don’t, then it’s an electrical problem somewhere. Measuring those two voltages during attempted cranking, that’s the place most mechanics would start.
Would a blown fusible link cause this sort of problem? That is just about the only thing I have not checked. The battery charge is good. As I mentioned before, when I jumped the poles at the starter with the key on the engine cranked and started. It ran good until I shut it off. Then would not restart unless the poles were jumped again. That is what led me to think that it was the ignition switch.
It really could be anything, including a fusible link.
Get a multimeter or test light and trace the thin wire back to the ignition switch. I bet there’s an interlock that has opened.
Not sure how a cutlass was switched but the ignition switch could also go through a relay. If that thing is bad, you’d have the same issue.
You need to trace that thin starter wire back into the dash and see where it goes.
Here’s a schematic. There is a fusible link in this one. I don’t see an interlock.
I’d trace the wires from your ignition switch.
Should that not be the schematic to your car, try this.
This site has a lot of service information regarding a fair number of modern cars, including a bunch of Cutlasses of that vintage.
To get in, enter barcode 02378001078755
Have you tried shifting into “neutral” to see if the engine will start? If it does you have a bad neutral safety switch.