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1997 Cavalier 2.2 Automatic No start & No dash lights

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Cavalier Starting in the 1980s. the Cavalier made a name for itself by offering an affordable 2 and 4 door compact.
Platform: J-body

1997 Cavalier 2.2 Automatic No start & No dash lights

Old July 31st, 2011, 9:35 PM
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Default 1997 Cavalier 2.2 Automatic No start & No dash lights

I just replaced my fan motor last night. It started and ran fine. I went out today and as soon as it started to crank everything went dead. The interior lights and horn etc work and when I put the key in it dings like normal but nothing happens when I turn the switch. No clock on the radio and no lights on the cluster. I checked all fuses in the panel and under the hood. Any thoughts?
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Old August 1st, 2011, 12:31 PM
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ignition switch replaced with no luck....
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Old August 1st, 2011, 6:16 PM
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Can you check for codes? Isn't that the year they started with the anti-theft cut-out? Someone with mis-plugged spark plug wires reported that the car wouldn't even try to start... Let us know if you get to the bottom of it - good luck.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 8:41 PM
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Still no luck. I can't even check for codes. There is no power to anything that runs off the ignition switch. I have tried everything but the right thing. I've been tinkering and searching for over 12 hours.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 9:25 PM
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Welcome to the forum. I know you said you checked the fuses but you may want to verify the battery voltage on both sides of the 50A IGN fuse in the underhood fuse block.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 9:46 PM
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Thank you. That was one of the first things I did. There is no power coming from the ignition to the starter relay. I have tested every fuse, relay, and fusible link. Even the ones that have nothing to do with the problem. The fan motor is the only recent work I've done on the car. I tested everything in that area including testing the starter. My multi meter picks up power going to the ignition switch but still nothing. The PCM is getting power also. I can't even scan for codes. When I put the key in the ignition I get the usual dings but when I turn absolutely nothing happens. There is no voltage drop on the battery when the ignition is turned to start either.

There is some additional information I feel I should share. 3 weeks ago the theft system light came on but when I turned the car off and back on it went away. It never happened again. The theft light would come on when turning the ignition on sometimes but once I started the car it immediately went off just like the check engine and ABS lights do. It never did this before that and I don't recall ever seeing it but maybe I just never paid it any attention before. I can also confirm that the fan relay does not recieve a signal from the PCM to start the fan when it's hot. I have had to leave the AC on and it would stay on like it should with the AC. The temperature sending unit was replaced twice before tracking down the wire from the PCM to confirm no signal was being sent despite the sending unit working properly. This problem has existed since February. The car has a salvage title and was involved in a front end collision several years ago. I have opened all the main wiring harness sections especially along the front of the car but find no damaged wiring. Other than the fan issue the car ran great and just hit 150,000 miles.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 10:11 PM
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The next is to check the voltage at the red wires that plugs into the ignition switch itself (should be always hot) and out the yellow wire with the key in start. Also, a lot of times the battery terminal may be loose or damaged internally (especially on the one with the silly side terminals). BTW, how are various grounding points? Check for resistance between the engine block and the battery negative terminal?
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Old August 1st, 2011, 10:34 PM
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Everything checks out. There is power to both the red wires going to the ignition switch. There is power on yellow when the key is in the start position. Everything checks out good.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 10:55 PM
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I take that back. There is power at the thick yellow wire when I turn it like I'm going to crank the car but it's only 0.14 volts. I checked it on two different multi-meters set at DC Volts 20. Thats odd.

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Old August 2nd, 2011, 11:35 AM
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The low voltage is due to the starter solenoid windings pulling it down (of course, it could also be a short forward). The yellow wire goes to the transaxle range switch a.k.a. PNP switch which opens/closes the circuit over a purple wire to the starter solenoid. If you disconnect the purple wire at the starter, I suspect you'll see a healthy voltage on the yellow wire with key in start. Then, maybe the culprit is the starter itself or lousy current supply from the battery. Keep in mind, even with a healthy battery, both positive and negative battery connections must be able to carry enough current for things to work. A strand of wire will carry the full battery voltage but hardly enough current.
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