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I have been doing some repairs/upgrades to the car (Tefba filter, new steering wheel, and new dipstick). When I put everything back together It won't turn over. I get one (and only one) click and the entire electrical system goes dead. I figured at first it was the battery - it had been sitting quite a while, but when I put the charger on it showed basically a full charge already. After sitting for a while the lights would work so I try the key again and get the same one click, and the whole system goes dead again.

I've checked all the electrical connections I can easily get to, and they are tight. No excessive corrossion on the terminals or wires anywhere I can find (the positive terminal has turned black, but that is about it).

Is a problem like this likely to be the iginition switch or the solinoid? How do you check it? Is there a way to bypass the solinoid by physically jumping/connecting any of the outside bolts?

What do you all suggest?

Thanks in advance.

John Harvey
 

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John,

My experience is that you can't tell if the battery terminals are clean by looking at them. Did you take the cables off and clean the inside of the connections and the posts? What you are describing is classic battery terminal corrosion.

I hope that's all it is! Good Luck..... And, keep us posted.
 

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Your battery may still be bad. Even with a charger on it it may not turn over. Try jumping it off another car and see if it turns over. If it does take your battery and have it check. Could have a shorted cell. I just went through that on one I had that sat for awhile.
 

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My vote is corrosion on the battery terminals.
A very dull ashy gray is bad -- shiny is good.
I like the cutter-type of terminal cleaner (not the wire brush).
Clean the battery and the cable.
 

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Everyone is right in indicating that the battery could be bad. If you have the time in the morning, take the battery from the car, and run down to the nearest AutoZone, and have the battery checked out. There are plenty of those parts houses in the Salt Lake area! As far as jumping the solenoid, it is possible. It depends a lot on the style of solenoid that you are using. Oftentimes, after ensuring that the car is in Park or Neutral, and that the e-brake is set, you can short the terminal that the battery is hooked to, directly to the nearest post (four-post solenoid; the three post will only have the wire from the battery, the wire to the starter, and the wire from the ignition switch.) That post should have a small, slip-on wire connected to it. It the engine turns over, the problem still isn't necessarily the solenoid. You need to enusre that you are getting the trigger voltage when the key-switch is in the "Start" position. You will definitely need an assistant to do that, though.
--Jason
 

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I would agree that your battery is kaput. Putting a volt meter on a battery doesnt mean much. Amperage is what is needed to turn the starter over, a load test will let you know if its still good or not. If so, go with a multimeter and start pluggin away at those wires to make sure nothing is connected wrong or shorted out. Corrosion would be my last suspect.
 

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Corrosion should always be your first suspect. Why? Because eliminating it as a suspect is free, you don't have to make a trip to Autozone to get anything checked, you don't even have to own a voltmeter, and it takes a total of about 5 minutes of your time (if you're real slow like me). If that doesn't fix it, you can check it off your list and go on to the next thing. I've had freshly cleaned battery connections get a film on them in less than a year, and act exactly like John is experiencing. To prevent (or at least minimize) the problem, I put grease on the terminal prior to slipping the cable end over it. After you wipe it off, you can't even tell it's on there, but it sure helps stop the corrosion buildup.

Of course, if you buy a new battery and clean the cable end, it will probably work too! :)
 
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