1996 Acura RL - electrical issues


The car has been acting up for a couple of months. Sometimes it won’t start. Lights on dash are on and it makes a continuous quick clicking noise. Ignition replaced. Battery replaced. Sitting dead again. This time when you turn the key NOTHING happens. Everything is dark, no sounds. Takes a jump right away. Turn off car and it is dead again. Last week had to be towed to a second mechanic - it wouldn’t start, all lights on dash on, clicking noise. After turning off the ignition and REMOVING the key all the lights remained on. If you then opened and closed the driver door the lights would go out. Mechanic thinks it needs a module of some sort to the tune of $800 - $1000 which pretty much scares me as this car has been worked on twice already and no one seems to know what is wrong. I am avoiding dealerships for the obvious reason which is money. The car seems possessed. During this episode last week both rear window regulators broke. I don’t think this is a coincidence, I believe it is tied to the electrical problem. The fix on both windows is just under $900. Help!


I’m probably going to be zero help on this without a wiring schematic.
To make a wild stab in the dark a few answers might help. Maybe. :slight_smile:

Just to clarify things. When you said everything was dead and dark do you mean the dash warning lights, (alternator, oil, etc.) were not working?
After removing the key the lights remained on. Do you mean those same dash warning indicator lights?

Turn the headlights on and attempt to start it. Do the lights dim at all, dim slightly, or dim a lot?

If the rear window regulators are actually broken the only way I could see this having an affect on your electrical problem would be if they caused a high current draw (entirely possible) and this high current draw (meaning more heat) has burnt a fusible link end or wire connector.
Fusible links are essentially heavy duty fuses that all of the electrical power for the car goes through so a burnt connector end can affect everything.

A bit of clarification and maybe I can come up with something anyway.
(Just a note here. The majority of auto electrical problems are not as complicated as they appear on the surface. It’s often a case of not seeing the forest for the trees and things like dirty or corroded battery cable ends, fusible link connectors, etc. should not be overlooked.)