Possible ignition switch short

Tiny
NEIL LEPPAN
  • MEMBER
  • 1991 CHEVROLET SUBURBAN
  • 5.7L
  • V8
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 150,000 MILES
Hey there. Today I pulled away from a parking spot and as I turned a corner the engine shut off. It would not restart. When I turn the key I did not get any lights on the dash. When I turn it to crank I get nothing, I cannot even hear the solenoid. Also the power windows wont go up. It is as if the key is doing absolutely nothing when I turn it. When it happened I was winding down three windows at the same time and had the air conditioner on, did I blow a fuse? Or is there something wrong with the ignition?
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Wednesday, July 20th, 2016 AT 5:11 PM

4 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Running down three windows at once can be considered normal, so the circuit is designed to handle that. Even if a fuse did blow, it should not cause everything to be dead. A better suspect is to follow the smaller positive battery wire to the under-hood fuse box and be sure that connection is clean and tight. Most vehicles had an under-hood fuse box by 1991 so I am guessing yours does too. If not, I will have to dig up a wiring diagram.

Given the age of the vehicle, also follow the smaller negative battery wire to the body and be sure that one is tight and not rusty.

By the way, since power windows are considered a safety system, they are protected by an auto-resetting thermal circuit breaker. Once they cool down for up to a minute, they will reset, but if they have tripped numerous times they can develop arced contacts and prevent proper circuit operation. The windows are the only system that would be affected.
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Wednesday, July 20th, 2016 AT 5:26 PM
Tiny
NEIL LEPPAN
  • MEMBER
Thanks caradiodoc. I followed the positive lead to alternator and then from there it lead me to a bigger loom that seemed like it was plugged into the firewall. When I removed the cover on the little black box mounted on the firewall (close to steering column) there appeared to be a tar like substance under the plug. Is this melted plastic from an electrical short? Or is it some kind of sealant? There also does not appear to be a fuse box under the hood.
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Thursday, July 21st, 2016 AT 8:39 AM
Tiny
RIVERMIKERAT
  • MEMBER
Could you take a picture of that "tar-like substance" and upload it to us please? It could be a sealant and it could also be a sign of something melted. Does anything smell melted? Do any wires or the plastic look melted?

The fuse box my colleague mentioned is usually close to the battery.
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Thursday, July 21st, 2016 AT 10:50 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Are you saying everything is dead electrically? You might still have only a fuse box inside. Regardless, poke around on all of the fuses with a test light to see if there's 12 volts there. If there is, tell me exactly what works and what doesn't. In particular, does the "Battery" light on the dash turn on when you turn the ignition switch to "run".
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Thursday, July 21st, 2016 AT 4:24 PM

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