Hello everyone, long time no post...
I have a problem with my '87 Buick LeSabre 3.8 that has me completely flummoxed.
My mother had been driving the car (204k on the Intrigue, intake manifold gaskets finally let go) and she got stuck at a friend'* house, was just about ready to call a wrecker, and one final attempt she got the car started and she drove it home. As is typical for her, she could not tell me anything that happened leading up do/during the time time it would not start.
First thing I did was check the obvious - battery voltage acceptable. I turn the key, and there is literally NO sound from the starter, nor from the solenoid.
Talked with the previous owner (next-door neighbor whose elderly mother owned the car before him), and to our knowledge, the starter was original. I figured to just go the obvious route and swap out the starter/solenoid - it'* 28 years old and has 143k on it.
Much to my dismay, spring thaw happened, and the old girl sunk down somewhat in the muddy driveway (the Buick, not my mom
) and it took some finagling with a jack and some blocks of wood to get underneath enough to swap it. (GM engineers thought it would be great to bury the starter underneath the front exhaust manifold...)
New starter, and what the heck, threw in a new battery too. Turn the key... NOTHING. No click, no noise, nada. Still no crank from the starter.
So I go through the "fun" of replacing the starter switch. Just pieced the car back together today, and still no crank. The replacement switch is Carquest brand, made by BWD (Borg Warner), which I know is typically crap, so I can't be positive that the new switch isn't bad. However...
I also thought, maybe the PNP switch (Park-Neutral Position, but I've also seen it called Neutral Safety Switch and other names). My Haynes manual, as usual, has information on everything except what I need to know. In this manual, the wiring harness diagrams are a JOKE.
They only include diagrams of front and rear lighting across multiple Buicks and Oldsmobiles, one diagram of the IC3 ignition system, and one diagram of the ESC system. Not exactly helpful in any way for diagnosing anything, unless somehow I take leave of my senses and don't know how the tail lights work. LOL
The only info I've been able to find on the PNP switch is that connecting the yellow and purple wires together will bypass it "temporarily" for testing if the switch is bad. I have tried this and still cannot get the starter to crank, but being the internets and such, I have no idea if these are the right wires to check, or even if the bypass has to be tried while the switch is plugged into the harness. (No "brain" in the transmission, so I assume it only does the Park-Neutral safety thing and the reverse lights.)
Before anyone offers suggestions, please allow me to eliminate some of the possibilities:
Yes, I have tried starting the car in Neutral, and even held the key in the "Start" position and moved the shifter through its entire range (my inept way of testing the PNP switch originally), with no attempt from the starter.
There is *NO* antitheft device on this car, factory or aftermarket, and there never has been. No remote starters, no pellet-in-the-key or recalibrating keys to the ignition lock needed. The car is pretty much a barebones 80'* car.
I'm not sure if there is a starter disable relay, because the pages of my happy Haynes manual is basically only good for wiping my greasy fingers on. Obviously, it is quite literally a pain to rip the exhaust manifold off again to access the starter & solenoid to test for voltage at the solenoid, so is there anything else I can check before I get into that?
Thanks in advance for your suggestions!