2004 Toyota Sienna - Won't turn on - but then does

With key inserted in ignition in the on position, the interior lights, dashboard lights, radio etc do not come on. Van will not start, No starting sounds whatsoever. With the key in the ignition in the on position, I run the shifter through all the gears and back to park and all electrical components turn on and the van starts. Any thoughts on what is wrong?

Ignition switch and neutral safety switch where to start. Codes read first. Also verify battery measures 12.6v before first start of the day and 13.5-15.5v after starting.

Between the key’s tumbler mechanism and the electrical switch is the steering column lock. That is binding just enough to prevent the electrical switch from moving far enough. Moving the gearshift lever is rattling that steering column lock mechanism into position so it is no longer restricting the action of the electrical switch.

One solution is to replace the steering column lock. I faced this on my 1999 Honda a few weeks ago. I unscrewed the electrical switch from the steering column lock and was able to get some triflow and spray lithium grease into the lock and after working it with the key it was working freely. Even better the next morning. This might work for you. Good luck!

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Corroded battery terminals can cause an intermittent connection. While the ignition is “on” the bad connections can heat up and connection is temporally restored.

Do the dome lights and radio rely on the neutral safety switch? No.

My vote is for cleaning the battery cable connections.

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