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no-start 1985 Brat


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6 replies to this topic

#1 North Ursalia

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Posted 10 October 2003 - 07:57 PM

My Brat still will not start. I don't quite have the old ignition switch out, but I got the dash apart enough to pull the connectors off the old switch and plug the new one in- still no go. For exposition, it ran fine and I got it home from CT about 2 months ago. I did a tuneup on it (plugs, wires, cap, rotor, fuel filters, drive belts) and it ran/started. Changed out the radiator, fan thermoswitch, tstat, hoses and gasket, and it was hard to start then (I wanted to run it and make sure the fans kicked on) but it did start and ran fine. Next day, I headed to my friend's house for a garage day, and it died 1/2 way there. The gas gauge is dead, and I thought I ran out. Put a gallon in it to get to a station, and I got maybe 1/2 mile further and it died and stayed dead. Since then, I have given it a new battery, new battery terminals/cables, new grounds, new coil, and a new alternator (yeah, I've been good to it) just because I had them and it wouldn't run. The one time I got it to start (we hotwired it basically) it started and ran okay, and I went to shut it off when the key came out instead (the ignition lock was very broken). When I put the key back in, it IMMEDIATELY died, which led me to believe it was the electrical portion of the igniton lock. That gets us to today and the still not running Brat with a brand new ignition lock. The coil is getting power, but there is no spark from it (crude paperclip test of the coil). There is an assortment of very small wires (I want to say two or three) running back to the distributor and to the + and - sides of the coil that I know essentially nothing about I must admit. Am I up Shiz's Creek without a paddle, and there is some form of igntion control module in the distributor? I can't for the life of me think why this damn thing isn't sparking up. I know it's getting fuel BTW- I can hear the pump start (and stop) and I can smell the gas in the bowl. Any help would be MOST appreciated!

#2 TomRhere

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Posted 10 October 2003 - 08:48 PM

Pull the trim panel under the steering column. Should be a whiteish(I think) colored connector there that has wires going up into the steering column (could be a pink one). Look for a burn mark, however slight on this connector. It's the main feed to the key switch. Could be that connection is kaput. Lot of guys just splice the wires around the connector.
Have you tried doing a battery + hot-wire to the + side of the coil to see if she'll run, since the first hot wire try? This will rule out bad disty/coil and related wiring.
Use a voltmeter or test light to check for power at the coil connections, again. Should have battery voltage on the + side of coil with key on.
There is a fuse for the ignition system. You may have shorted something out when you re-inserted the key.
Thinking one of the fusable links are for the ignition system also. They're in the little black box by the battery. Also want to check the connections underneath these. Remove the bolts that hold it in place, and look under it. Lost the headlights on my '86, due to a corroded terminal. Looked good to look at it, but it wasn't.
Just some ideas...........

#3 North Ursalia

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Posted 10 October 2003 - 09:01 PM

I *knew* I'd get good leads and a quick reply here- thank you! If anyone has any other ideas, feel free to post them... I'm not afraid to rip into thing to get this thing running. I took the dash apart tonight to clean the mouse nest out of the HVAC system after all Posted Image!

#4 bbbs53

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Posted 10 October 2003 - 09:31 PM

I had a short burn one of the fuseable links. I was tracing down the heater fan at the time. There is a glass fuse in the system under the dash. I would use my meter to check all 3 F. links. If you did have an ignition short, it is a possibility. Also I will check da book, Bradd

#5 MilesFox

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Posted 11 October 2003 - 09:42 AM

on my gl-10 wagon, with turbo mpfi harness and coil, spfi motor, and coil from an 86 carbbed, i jumped a wire from the positive battery terminal to the positive coil terminal, and the whole car came on as if the key was in the run position. and then i started it by jumping the solenoid.

what i'm saying is you can start the car from under the hood with no key!

#6 North Ursalia

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Posted 11 October 2003 - 09:50 AM

MilesFox, that's how I got it running the one time it started since it was towed. That's when I pulled the key out/put it back in and it died. That hasn't worked since, though I only tried one more time that day.

#7 MilesFox

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Posted 11 October 2003 - 09:59 AM

suppose the distributor itself is bad.
there are stories of a wire coming loose in the disty, working intermittently until it finally lets go




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