Dead electric

83 dodge ram van slant six

When i turn the ignition key, there is a click, and then all electrical power in the van goes dead…no interior lights or anything.

After a few minutes, I get power back, but I have the same starting problem.

I used to be able to jump start it, but not anymore.

What could be the problem?

If it would start right away with a jump it means the battery is bad. Probably a cracked connecting bar inside.

Several things come to mind. Corrosion on the battery cables, a weak battery, or possibly a bad starter. Start with the battery and cables. Is there any green junk on the cable clamps and battery posts? If so, then you need to clean them. Go to an autoparts store and get a post cleaner. Use that the clean the terminals. Can you move or lift the clamps off the battery? Tighten them up. If neither of these things work, have your battery tested. You can also check the cables for proper connections at the end away from the battery. Clean the connecting points and make sure they are tight.

How old is the battery? I would have the battery and charging system checked, many places will do it for free. Expect to need a new battery, be overjoyed if it is just cables that need to be cleaned. Be happy with either of those, because it starts to get expensive after that.