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93 Toyota Pickup wont start, even with a push. The Ignition System, Starter, or wiring?

When I turned the key to start my car, I got zero activity from it. No ticking, no lights, nothing. So I tried to do a push start, and the engine wouldn’t engage. I took the key out, and suddenly my dome light popped on (though it was dim). I put my key back in and turned it, and dash lights looked normal and at full power, but as soon as I pressed the clutch down and tried to turn the key, everything went dead. I took the key out, put it back in, and turned it, but got nothing.

I pushed my truck up to the top of an incline, and turned the key. All the lights looked normal, so I thought I may be able to push start it. Key was in proper position, clutch was engaged, and gear shift was sitting in first. I got a decent speed, released the clutch… and everything went dead.

I can’t decide if it’s my starter or my ignition system, though I suppose it could be the wiring, or even something else. Any ideas would be appreciated.

Can’t be the starter since your bypassing it by pushing it.

Could be the battery…or wiring…or ignition switch.

You may have a bad connection between your battery and the rest of the car or from the frame to the engine. It could be either positive or negative connection. Next to visual inspection of all connection, the easiest and safest thing to fist check is the negative lead from the battery:

Get a booster cable, use only the negative side only and tie it from the battery’s negative lead to a large beefy part on the engine. Don’t tie the positive booster lead to anything - just let it dangle. Try to start it. If it now wants to start, a ground is bad somewhere. There are several between the negative lead of the battery to the frame and from the frame to the engine. You can try to bridge each with the same technique, using the negative lead of the booster cable, first between the frame and the engine, then between the negative lead of the battery and the frame.

If it still does not want to start, it likely is in the positive path somewhere. Check the battery’s positive connection and trace the cables from it to their destination (starter, alternator and fuseboxes). You most likely have a bad connection going to the fuse box or battery. Just note that I’m not suggesting you bridge the positive path with a booster cable - that would be wickedly dangerous.

Wouldn’t a battery issue also get bypassed by push?

Wouldn’t a battery issue also get bypassed by push?

Nope…Still need power for the spark. All the pushing is doing is bypassing the starter and starter circuit. Still need electricity for ignition.

Since your dome light is on but dim, I would not immediately suspect the ignition switch since that light should just turn on whether you have a key in or not.
Wiring is your first suspect.

You have the classic signs of a weak battery or bad connection to it. I recommend you first remove the battery connections and clean them up using a battery post cleaning brush. If that doesn’t solve the trouble then charge the battery. If that doesn’t work then you need to check for a faulty wire connection from the battery to the power panel under the hood and/or the chassis ground connection. It may be a good idea to have a shop do a load test on the charging system to see if there any other issues with the battery and the charging system. It may save you from having a break down somewhere when you least expect it.

Battery is only a couple months old, and when stuff came on, it didn’t look like it was draining. I’m going to check the posts and connections there, and then try what RemcoW recommended. After that, if I get it running, I’ll do a load test just to be sure.

Thanks for all the help everyone. Man, I hope this doesn’t cost me an arm and a leg.

If it was out of gas could you roll it fast enough to start it? The battery seems to be out of voltage. If you had a very long hill and shifted to 3d gear the alternator might have brought things to life… Maybe not.

I had a similar problem in an early 90’s Corolla. It was the battery connections is all. And it happened all of a sudden. I had been driving the car for months w/no sign of a problem. One day it was raining, I popped into the gas station for a fill up. when I tried to start the car, I noticed the console lighting was dim. When i turned the key to “start” everything when dead. Even the alarm that you don’t have your seatbelt on. It went "beep beep … b p … ppp … silence " lol

Anyway, all I had to do to fix it was clean up the connections at the battery, then re-tighten the nuts, and it started up and ran normally.

Try that first. If it doesn’t work, as a second course of action, take your battery to Sears and have them do a load test on it. Sears does this for free I think and it only takes a few minutes provided the battery is fully charged.