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Old 06-27-2010, 10:20 PM
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Small Block 400 won't start.

Any help will be GREATLY appreciated!

I have a 1980 El Camino with small block Chevy 400. I bought the car 3 months ago. The car has run amazingly since I got it but the other day I was working on the a/c with the car idling and it just died. No sputtering, nothing. It just died. I got it cranked again and it ran for about 30 seconds and died again. Has not cranked since.

I have replaced the ignition, the neutral safety switch and the starter (had the old one tested at Autozone and it was bad). After installing the new starter had the same problem. Got the new starter tested and it's good.

I have tried jump starting, bypassing the neutral safety switch, checked the fuse panel and verified that the key mechanism is working. (the bar is moving when I turn the key)

I hear no "click" when I turn the key. There is no power to the interior except for the dome light, the radio doesn't work and the guage lights don't work.

Anyone that may have an idea of what I'm overlooking please reply.

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Old 06-28-2010, 12:44 AM
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Hey this sounds just like the guy with the '29 ford...
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Old 06-28-2010, 02:20 PM
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400 won't start...

The battery posts are clean, the positive terminal has been replaced and both big wires are hot past the fusible link from the starter. I am replacing ignition switch again today to verify it's a good part.

The car does have gas.
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Old 06-28-2010, 06:23 PM
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When you say it wont start, does it crank but not fire or does it not crank.
If it cranks but wont start you need check for spark and fuel while cranking to see what is missing. If it wont crank at all most likely you have a bad connection from the battery to the starter on the + side or the battery to the block on the - side.
You really need to give as much info as you can on the vehicle, it will help expedite the troubleshooting.

In any case the first item I always look for on any engine swap is the body to head ground. It is amazing how many people dont install it and it is real important. Where you have other electrical items not working this would be a good first item to look at
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Old 06-28-2010, 08:34 PM
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so u were working on the ac. look around to see if u may have disturbed something. A bad wire maybe. wiggle some wires. there could be an open wire under the insulation.
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Old 06-28-2010, 08:42 PM
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When I turn the key I get nothing, no click, no fire, nothing. No electricity whatsoever.

I checked the big wires from the starter, both have fusible links and both are hot (I checked both sides of the links, so they aren't blown). I double checked the neutral safety switch, got a second replacement ignition switch and installed today, still nothing.

What is strange to me is that the car was running when this problem came up and it died, no gas right? I've checked the fuel filter but not the fuel pump yet. The car has gas and filter is clear.

I'm baffled. I will check for the head to body ground tomorrow. Is that something could kill the motor while running?

The dome light and courtesy lamps under the dash work when the doors are open. The dome light works from the switch when the doors are closed and head lights work, no turn signals or reverse lights (i've heard this an indication of a bad neutral safety switch, but I am convinced that's not it. I even tried to bypass that altogether, same problem.)

This is my son's first car and I have to figure this out. I appreciate all the help I get!
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Old 06-28-2010, 09:19 PM
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I like the way you think. I will check around the a/c vent tomorrow to see if I might have moved something.
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