I tried to start my car today and the accessory lights were very dim, auto locks wouldn't work and inside lights weren't working. I assumed it was just the battery. When we tried to jump it and I turned the ignition, the lights would flash on and off with a strange clicking sound accompanying it. Is this just a matter of trying to jump with bad or unclean cables, perhaps something else is loose connected to the battery, or anything else?
It's real hard to get enough current through jumper cables to start an engine with a bad battery in that car. Jumper cables work best when you have a good battery that is just run down. After charging it for a few minutes, the "dead" battery will carry most of the load to start the engine.
Start by measuring the battery voltage with no jumper cables attached. If it's near 12.6 volts, it's fully charged. Look for loose or dirty connections. If it's closer to 12.0 volts, it's okay but run down. Suspect a defective generator. GM wrote the book on how to design a very poor generator. Everything after the 1986 model year has them.
If you find around 11.0 volts or less, the battery has a shorted cell and must be replaced.