No Power to dash or ignition

Tiny
97 FIREBIRD
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 PONTIAC FIREBIRD
  • 3.8L
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 200,000 MILES
The problem I am having with my car is that I am getting no power to start it. When I turn the key to the on position, the dash cluster does not light up. The radio, headlights, windows, horn, cigarette lighter, and inside lamps all work, but when I turn the key to the on position right before I turn the key to engage the starter, there is no power. I can hear the fuel pump engage, but there is no power to the ignition. I had the headlights turned on while I tried to start the car and the lights did not dim at all. That is telling that there is no power being pulled from the battery to engage the starter. The battery is good. I tested the starter and it is good. I replaced the alternator because it was bad. It will be helpful to know that I had my car running and tried to jump off my riding lawn mower. The symbols for the posts were worn on the mower battery and I ended up putting the cables leading from the car on the wrong posts of the lawn mower, but it was only for a split second. The car continued to run and I did not think anything of it. Once the lawn mower was cranked, I turned the car off and mowed my lawn. When I went to start my car the next day is when I noticed the problem I now have. I bought an ignition relay switch, but I cannot find out where to install it. I have checked the fuses by the driver's side door and under the hood and they are all good. Has anyone experienced this problem also and solved it? If so please help me out here. I really need my car back up and running. Thank you in advance.
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Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 AT 1:40 PM

15 Replies

Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
Check the fusible links at the starter. Pull on each one to see if any stretch. If so replace that section using fuse wire only, not regular wire.
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Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 AT 2:24 PM
Tiny
97 FIREBIRD
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the advice. I did that and yet the problem still persists. I bought a new ignition switch. I will put that on today to see if that works. Hopefully it will. If it does not I am still going to need your help and that of anyone else who has any ideas of what the solution to the issue with my car might be.
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Thursday, March 16th, 2017 AT 8:43 AM
Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
That is not how we find these problems. We follow a wiring diagram using a test light to positively determine where the circuit is interrupted. We do not guess and throw parts at it.

Looking at the diagram it looks like it has a junction block after the battery where the fusible links are on this one, not at the starter.
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Thursday, March 16th, 2017 AT 10:01 AM
Tiny
97 FIREBIRD
  • MEMBER
Yup. I tested every single fusible link with the test light. They were located by the battery. They were all good. Also I got the ignition switch because the AutoZone tech said that was the problem. After I found out that it wasn't, I returned the switch. So don't assume I just throw parts at a problem. So after the fusible link junction, the pink ignition wire has no power at the fuse box under the hood. Do you know if there is somewhere else that wire goes before reaching that fuse box?
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Saturday, March 18th, 2017 AT 10:23 PM
Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
The Autozone tech? Nothing could be further from the truth. The salesman at Autozone are not techs. They are not mechanics. They have no training whatsoever. They are simply part time sales clerks.

The power feed for the ignition switch comes directly from the fusible link on the red wire, From there the ignition switch feeds all the "keyed" fuses.

http://i1198.photobucket.com/albums/aa448/Wrenchtech/62461479.gif

https://www.2carpros.com/images/external/62461480.gif

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Sunday, March 19th, 2017 AT 5:26 AM
Tiny
97 FIREBIRD
  • MEMBER
I understand that you have your opinion of AutoZone employees, just like I do. You nor I have any idea of what their background is unless you ask. These guys have helped me in the past which is why I took his advice. And, yes, he was wrong, but they have also been right before. I am accustomed to solving issues on my own and I do not ask for assistance likely, but in this case I need all the help I can get. Just like I am taking your advice and I have never met you. Anyway this morning I ran a wire straight from the fusible link from the junction box to the under the hood fuse box to the ignition fuse. The car started (as I suspected it would) but it wouldn't turn off. That is a problem. Like I said, all the fusible links from the junction box are good and hot, but the pink wire at the ignition switch is not hot. Between the fusible link at the junction box and the ignition switch there has to be a fuse, relay, or something, because there is no pink ignition wire coming from the fusible links. What does the P100 symbol mean on the diagram you posted? The diagram is accurate, but that P100 could be exactly where my problem lies. Thank you so much for your help so far. I am confident you can help me pin point exactly where the open circuit is in my ignition system.
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Sunday, March 19th, 2017 AT 10:24 AM
Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
P100 is the bulkhead connector at the firewall.
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Sunday, March 19th, 2017 AT 10:33 AM
Tiny
97 FIREBIRD
  • MEMBER
Thanks Wrenchtech. Can you tell me exactly where this connector is? I am getting really frustrated here. Nothing has ever had me stumped like this. When I am standing at the front of my car looking under the hood, I see my battery on the left. The wires feed into the black insulator and then disappear under the front fender where the hideaway lights are and then come back up on the right side at the under the hood fuse box. This is the first time I see the pink ignition wire and it is not hot. This is when I have the key in the start position where it should be hot. Exactly where is this bulkhead connector and what does it look like? According to the diagram you provided for me, this is the place where the circuit is open.
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Sunday, March 19th, 2017 AT 11:47 AM
Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
It should be very obvious. Just follow the harness and where it meets the firewall is the component you are looking for.

https://www.2carpros.com/images/external/62461835.gif
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Sunday, March 19th, 2017 AT 12:05 PM
Tiny
97 FIREBIRD
  • MEMBER
Thanks. Although my engine is a V6, finding the bulkhead connector isn't as obvious as you would think considering it is very compact in the engine compartment and the wiring harness seems to disappear into the abyss after leaving the underhood electrical center. So, Wrenchtech, with the flow of power does the power go to the ignition switch from the underhood electrical center or does the ignition switch feed the power to the electrical center? Again thanks a lot for all the help and diagrams Wrenchtech.
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Sunday, March 19th, 2017 AT 2:42 PM
Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
As I explained before, the main supply goes into the ignition switch and then the ignition switch feeds the inside fuse box.

Access that connector from under the dash. It is probably bolted together with a single bolt through the center, accessed from under the dash.
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Sunday, March 19th, 2017 AT 2:52 PM
Tiny
97 FIREBIRD
  • MEMBER
Like I said before there isn't any power making to the ignition switch at all. So that has to be the problem. Once I locate the connector under the dash I will test it and most likely replace it. I will get to it tomorrow and let you know if you were able to help me locate the source of my issue.
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Sunday, March 19th, 2017 AT 3:26 PM
Tiny
97 FIREBIRD
  • MEMBER
There are two pink wires coing in from the connector. The one heading to the ignition switch is not hot. The other goes to this control module under the dash. There is a red wire that goes to the ignition switch that is hot all the time. How many wires connected to the ignition switch are supposed to be hot all the time?
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Monday, March 20th, 2017 AT 11:27 AM
Tiny
97 FIREBIRD
  • MEMBER
Thanks for all the help, but I fixed it my way by installing a toggle switch to control the power to the ignition system. It has been running perfectly since I modified the ignition system. Thanks again for trying WrenchTech.
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Tuesday, March 21st, 2017 AT 10:44 AM
Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
That toggle switch is not rated to carry that kind of load and that is a very Mickey Mouse way to resolve the issue. That switch can burn up and cause a fire.
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Tuesday, March 21st, 2017 AT 1:59 PM

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