Turn the key and all electric power dies

In my 83 Dodge 6 cylinder van, the turn of the key kills all electric power in the van for a few minutes, and the van won’t start.

What could this be??


I think that the ignition switch may be at fault. When you turn the key over to start, power should only go to the ignition and starter motor. When you release the key to the run position, everything powered through the ignition switch should then be on. It sounds as though the switch has bad contacts and should be replaced.

It sounds like a self-resetting circuit breaker is tripping and then cooling down. Are you sure everything goes off, including the exterior lights?

Possibly a weak battery. Does the engine starter solenoid seem as though it becomes energized; but, the starter doesn’t crank the engine? That could, also, be a weak battery, or the starter has an internal short which would drain the battery, quickly. To check for this type of short, disconnect the large power cable from the starter. Then, turn the ignition key to START. If everything, still, goes dead, it’s not the starter. Then, it would, likely be, a faulty ignition switch (the electric part, not the key lock part).

yes, the exterior lights go dead too. the power comes back after about a minute.
What is the self resetting circuit breaker??

If the exterior lights go off, then I’ll change my opinion about the contacts in the ignition switch. The exterior lights don’t go through this circuit. The other posts are probably giving you a better analysis.