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Turn the key and nothin

93 Olds 88 -3.8

I turn the key, the dash, radio come on, but there is nothing else that happens when I turn the key. Changed battery and cleaned cables down to the starter. Never had any starting problems before. the shade tree mechanics are saying, probably starter or solenoid. I’m thinking somekind of ignition module. How can I tell for sure before are start buying things peice by peice?

Cranking and ignition systems are seperate,you are having a problem with the cranking system.

If the starter isn’t cranking the car then don’t worry about the ignition module. If it were bad you’d have the starter cranking the motor but not firing up to start.

Since you’ve already changed the battery and cleaned the cables I’d suspect the starter or solenoid. If you can find the solenoid perhaps you can jump the contacts and see if the starter turns over the motor. If that doesn’t work then the starter died on you. Since it is a '93 the starter could certainly be worn out.

I’m going to try the solenoid jump after work, but what if it does turn the motor over? How could I tell if it was just the solenoid and not the starter? i’m trying to save pennies here. this is the only car i can afford.

Put the transmission into neutral and then try starting the engine. If the engine starts, the problem is with the park/neutral safety switch.


Check out “tester’s” idea. If you jump the terminals on the solenoid and the starter cranks the motor then your solenoid is the problem. Usually the solenoid is cheap and easy to replace. If the jump doesn’t work then likely the starter is the problem.

Olay, I tried the neutral safety switch thing. nada. I put in a different starter and solenoid, it wasn’t a new one. And nothing. It did turnover using a screwdriver on the solenoid, but would not start. When I turn the key to on and then to start, the security light is blinking. It was suggested that it is the key chip that is not allowing it to start. The key IS worn down. could this be the problem? I only have the one. I heard that it costs about $80 to get a new one. I live in the middle of nowhere in south Dakota and the nearest semi real mechanics are 40 miles away and don’t make housecalls. One of the shade tree mechanics is going to bring his little hand held computers tomorrow and see if he can see anything. Do you think this can be get some new numbers to reprogram it or anything? or do you think A new key will solve it? I’m tired I’m going to bed.

Now something is ringing a bell. If this is a Passkey (not Passlock) system there are two very thin wires out of the ignition switch that like to break off. This is a pull the steering wheel and lock plate check out.

Before I started on a Passkey repair I would see if the key could be read (we had a mandantory tool required for all Dealers to have that you could put the key into and check its code)

What does the Passkey system prevent? Starter actuation? Ignition?
If only starter action, that can be wired around (bypassed).

Starter activation.

Say I have had this problem recently on my 2003 bug and changed my gasoline from 87 octane to 91 octane and no need to worry further

I use 89 octane,but gee, maybe if I ever get it started again, I’ll try to hunt down some 91!
Back to reality. Is there any other serious ideas on how to get this started. In order to try to get the key ead, I’ll have to plan a trip to town. Right now it is beginning to sound like there is no easy fix to this problem. I would really rather have a car from the 60’s or 70’s, something a regular person could work on.

After trying 2 different starters and coils last night and researching oldsmaobile pass key proplems, I am leaning towards the fact that I have a pass key problem. Any ideas on bybassing that without assemblying a bunch of resisters and and putting a stent in the steering column. Is it possible to get another key made? Maybe attaching a seperate ignition switch?

This is a case where it is better to fix the system as it is designed and not re-design it. Just bite the bullet and dont re-invent the wheel.

I am not sure what I did, but it started. I called a locksmith the i now from Nebraska, thanks charlie ward. He said forget asbout everything anybody said and put some scrathes on the metal parts of the chip on the key and jiggle it around. It started. but this was after i tried the leaving the key on for 10 minutes 3 times , changing the battery, starter and baking soda all the wires. I don’t know which one worked, but it started. thank you guys for your help. Jock

The locksmith said to put scratches on the key and wiggle around?

Yes, you can’t know which change you made did the trick, now.

I’m pretty sure it was a combination of the 10 minute trick and scoring the key. The security light is staying on, and that never did that before. charlie said he could still making me another key after he reads the chip, because he said with the present key it would probably happen again. A footnote, the solenoid WAS bad and the battery was pretty much shot. So maybe it was a little of everything.