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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok so I've got a problem with an 87 El Camino, 8cyl, 5L, carbureted, automatic transmission. So recently, I replaced the steering gear box and the intermediate shaft. Both of which were a hot mess. Seems completely unrelated, but those were the most recent repairs and it was starting up and running just fine before that. Went to test drive it, and nothing. No crank, no power at all. Tested the battery and it was junk, so I went and got a new one. However, still wouldn't start, only with the new battery, the lights and radio were working again, but still nothing. Did a visual inspection that led to me changing the ignition coil, as well as cleaning up all the ground connection (side note: all the spark plugs and wires were changed just a few months before this mess. All work fine). Still, no crank, no start. SO, I moved on to the starter. Yanked that sucker out and it was in pretty rough shape, so decided it would be best to just replace it. At the same time I replaced the fusible link wires that go to it, to be on the safe side. STILL NOTHING. battery tests fine. Starter tests fine. No crank, no start. So a couple days ago I did the last thing I could think of and installed a new neutral safety switch. NOPE. DIDNT WORK. I of coarse, tested the fuses (the ones I could find, at least) and they were all fine. I am at my wits end. This car has been the absolute bane of my existence for so long now. Please somebody, anybody, help me out before I lose my mind. I have the repair manual, and I have read every damn section, repeatedly. I have done every. single. thing . What am I missing ? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks so much to anyone who takes the time to read this pathetic tale of woe.

o_O
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ignition switch on the lower column checked? View attachment 144096
Ah! I checked it, but now that I'm seeing this picture. I doubt i checked it well enough. Yuck, gotta take the column apart to get to it, right ? That totally seems like it could be the issue, because it's losing power somewhere between the ignition and the starter. Ugh, guess I know what I'm doing tomorrow ! Thanks so much for the reply. Sometimes I'm just too close to a project to see the whole picture clearly and i miss something obvious. I'll post tomorrow with pictures after I pull it out. Thanks again !
 

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Its possible that you won't need to disassemble the entire column to get to the ignition switch. But it is guaranteed that your skills as a contortionist will be tested here laying on your back, head down looking up into the dashboard with your feet touching the headliner.

Rick

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
 

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Are you using a test light or volt meter to check for power being applied to where it is needed? Violet and violet/white stripe at neutral safety switch. Turn the key to crank position while seeing if you are getting power to either or both of those violet wires. If so the ignition switch is getting power and working. If only getting power on 1 of the violet wires while in crank position the NSS is not adjusted properly. Let us know what you find there and if they are working we can walk you through going out the rest of the way to the starter.
 

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Ok so I've got a problem with an 87 El Camino, 8cyl, 5L, carbureted, automatic transmission. So recently, I replaced the steering gear box and the intermediate shaft. Both of which were a hot mess. Seems completely unrelated, but those were the most recent repairs and it was starting up and running just fine before that. Went to test drive it, and nothing. No crank, no power at all. Tested the battery and it was junk, so I went and got a new one. However, still wouldn't start, only with the new battery, the lights and radio were working again, but still nothing. Did a visual inspection that led to me changing the ignition coil, as well as cleaning up all the ground connection (side note: all the spark plugs and wires were changed just a few months before this mess. All work fine). Still, no crank, no start. SO, I moved on to the starter. Yanked that sucker out and it was in pretty rough shape, so decided it would be best to just replace it. At the same time I replaced the fusible link wires that go to it, to be on the safe side. STILL NOTHING. battery tests fine. Starter tests fine. No crank, no start. So a couple days ago I did the last thing I could think of and installed a new neutral safety switch. NOPE. DIDNT WORK. I of coarse, tested the fuses (the ones I could find, at least) and they were all fine. I am at my wits end. This car has been the absolute bane of my existence for so long now. Please somebody, anybody, help me out before I lose my mind. I have the repair manual, and I have read every damn section, repeatedly. I have done every. single. thing . What am I missing ? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks so much to anyone who takes the time to read this pathetic tale of woe.

o_O
I had a similar problem with my 1976 El Camino. Finally found the problem, which was connectors had come loose from a terminal block on the lower drivers side ( under the dash and hard to see). It's a pain to connect because it is so hard to see, and real tricky to get it connected tight. BUT, it was the problem. Look for any wires loose in that area. Hope this is it and you get running again!
 

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Ok so I've got a problem with an 87 El Camino, 8cyl, 5L, carbureted, automatic transmission. So recently, I replaced the steering gear box and the intermediate shaft. Both of which were a hot mess. Seems completely unrelated, but those were the most recent repairs and it was starting up and running just fine before that. Went to test drive it, and nothing. No crank, no power at all. Tested the battery and it was junk, so I went and got a new one. However, still wouldn't start, only with the new battery, the lights and radio were working again, but still nothing. Did a visual inspection that led to me changing the ignition coil, as well as cleaning up all the ground connection (side note: all the spark plugs and wires were changed just a few months before this mess. All work fine). Still, no crank, no start. SO, I moved on to the starter. Yanked that sucker out and it was in pretty rough shape, so decided it would be best to just replace it. At the same time I replaced the fusible link wires that go to it, to be on the safe side. STILL NOTHING. battery tests fine. Starter tests fine. No crank, no start. So a couple days ago I did the last thing I could think of and installed a new neutral safety switch. NOPE. DIDNT WORK. I of coarse, tested the fuses (the ones I could find, at least) and they were all fine. I am at my wits end. This car has been the absolute bane of my existence for so long now. Please somebody, anybody, help me out before I lose my mind. I have the repair manual, and I have read every damn section, repeatedly. I have done every. single. thing . What am I missing ? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks so much to anyone who takes the time to read this pathetic tale of woe.

o_O
I forgot to mention that the terminal block I referred to in my first reply is NOT the neutral switch!
 

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Are you using a test light or volt meter to check for power being applied to where it is needed? Violet and violet/white stripe at neutral safety switch. Turn the key to crank position while seeing if you are getting power to either or both of those violet wires. If so the ignition switch is getting power and working. If only getting power on 1 of the violet wires while in crank position the NSS is not adjusted properly. Let us know what you find there and if they are working we can walk you through going out the rest of the way to the starter.
X2 and ensure that you are getting 12 volts to the starter solinoid or it won't operate.l have sometimes had to wire in a starter relay to as l have only had less than 6 volts on quite a few occasions.
 

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No crank means that the solenoid post on the starter is not getting 12 volts when the key is turned to "start", all of the systems before that are just there to limit when the starter can be activated.

So the usual first step in troubleshooting a no crank is to see if positive battery cable to the starter is clean and tight & that solenoid terminal is getting 12v when the key is turned to "start", if it is you know your starter is bad and if it doesn't you know that the starter cannot yet be blamed for the no crank.

You have thrown a bunch of parts at it but you still need to do that first step, your new starter may have been needed or maybe not but until you verify the voltage and connections you can't start narrowing down the trouble spot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Sorry it took so long to get back here for an update, but I had to work all week. So after doing all the checks you guys suggested, turns out it was the new stater I had put it. Took it out after it failed the voltage test, then bench tested it and, yep, the solenoid was bunk. Retuned it, and got a new one, I installed it yesterday. Also went around and checked for any bad wires (they are abundant in this car) and fixed any terminals and wires that looked to be in really rough shape. FINALLY I was able to get it fired up! Thanks so much to everyone who responded ! I am so grateful for every suggestion and idea! I was so at the end of my patience with this car, and the fresh takes really helped me get a better perspective on the whole thing. So really, thank you guys so so much ! :D
 

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1987 GMC Caballero, 350, Holley Sniper EFI, 200-4R
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Long distance troubleshooting from the comfort of this chair...
I'm happy it worked out for you. The awesome aspect of this forum, helping one another get past the logic block and figure it out. Since you got it started, go drive it!
 
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