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Car Wouldn't Start - No Click, No Turn Over - Bump Started - Now Starts Every Time


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So my '95 Nissan Pathfinder WD21 wouldn't start in a parking lot today. The dash lights turned on, the headlights/high beam turn on, etc. I turn the key, wiggle the key, wiggle the stick (looking for a faulty neutral position sensor), nothing. No clicks, no turning over. What the heck, I'm thinking starter motor died on me.
 
Anyways, I bump start the car and get her going, drive her home, turn the car off. Let the engine totally die and then turn the key. It starts. Do it again. It starts...
 
What on earth could that have been? I imagine if the starter motor had binded up, I would have at least heard some struggling?
 
Any advice beyond "check all your electrical connections"?
Edited by swedecore
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I was having intermittent no click no turnover on my 95 when the ignition switch went bad. Exactly like you said, it was usually after a drive and it had been parked for a little bit but would always start from cold. It was really easy to replace and I haven't had the issue since. 

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@willaayinteresting... you were able to start it totally cold though? Any way to bypass the ignition switch so I could test this out next time it happens?

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Yep always started cold 100% of the time. 

 

This is for a Maxima but the process is similar. Undo all the screws under the steering wheel, then the screws attaching the plastic to the dash. About 3:30 into this video this guy starts his car with a screwdriver, you can do the same. I don't think it really bypasses the switch, because I think it is, but it was more reliable than starting it with my key the few times I tested it. Replacing the switch has fixed it.  

 

 

Edited by willaay
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The switch itself is pretty easy to get to. The only tricky part is not breaking the steering column clamshell. They tend to be brittle, especially the screw posts.

 

You can start it with a screwdriver with the switch removed, but the steering lock will still be engaged (part of the lock cylinder). Also, the back of the switch has big exposed solder blobs on it, from which you can easily jumper from + to Start without even removing the switch. The start wire is black with a yellow stripe. I don't remember which wire is +, but that's an easy check with a test light.

 

I went a few rounds with the starting system in mine and replaced a whole bunch of stuff (including the switch). The problem kept coming back. Finally I removed what was left of the alarm harness, and the damn thing hasn't acted up since.

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