Intermittent Ignition Failure Diagnosis

I have had a problem compounding for about 6 months. The car will not even try to turn over. One day she works perfect, the next day the starter won’t even try to turn over. Recently it has been getting worse, I continued to roll start when it wouldn’t start and kept driving… but now it will not even try to start at all.

I thought perhaps it was the starter solenoid failing, but when I took it to advance auto parts they tested it and it was functioning just as it should. I then figured it could be the relay, but I can hear it clicking on. What else could it be?

I know that the spark plug wires and distributor are all good because I have personally replaced them in the last 6 months.

I found some things on the internet referring to a clutch pedal ignition lock switch. Has anyone had experience with these failing? Do you know of a good way to test it?

^^^This would appear to be the switch that I have heard of. Can it cause a complete breach of power from the ignition switch to the starter when failing? I will check to make sure that power is not making it to the starter tomorrow… I’m just not that familiar with the circuit.

If other things are also not showing signs of power then it sounds like you have a power connection either before the ignition switch, with the switch itself, or after it. First thing I suggest you do is clean the battery connections, even if they look okay. If that doesn’t fix the issue then you need to verify power is getting to the power distribution box under the hood. Live power ties to a number of things from there. One of them is the ignition switch and that connects power to most of the dash panel fuses. If things like the interior and brake lights work when the trouble is happening then the trouble is most likely after the panel under the hood.

If just the starter doesn’t work then the safety switch on the clutch pedal should be checked for power.

So… I managed to find the clutch interlock switch. There was a small divot in the plastic pad that depresses the switch. When I depressed the switch with my finger, the car started right up. Since the switch was near-impossible to remove, I epoxied a penny (read in a thread on another forum) to the plastic surface that had a little dimple.

Problem solved. The car starts every time… and it only cost a penny.

Good work. Thanks for the update.