83 El Camino Starter Relay

lolthisisnuts

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Thread starter
Feb 2, 2021
8
3
Hey Everyone,
I feel like I may have confused myself a bit. Where is the starter relay located on a G body? Is it this (see below) which is located on the steering column?

Screen Shot 2021-02-18 at 2.51.47 PM.png
 

lolthisisnuts

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Thread starter
Feb 2, 2021
8
3
I'd call that a switch rather than a relay. What is the problem that prompted the question? Starter solenoid?
So I have a no crank no start situation. The lights, dash, fuel pump all work so there is definitely electricity. The batter is brand new. I thought it was the starter. I removed the starter and bench tested it. The starter works perfectly fine. While I was at it I just installed a new starter because I had one and the old starter looked like it had seen better days anyway. So, it must be electrical. I'm thinking it's the ignition switch or a starter relay. Except I cant seem to find the starter relay (except for the picture I attached). I have an LM7 5.3 in the el camino so the wiring is a combination of the 5.3 and some of the original el camino wiring. The car does not have the fuse box from the 5.3.
 

Drkuhar

Master Mechanic
Sep 27, 2018
312
63
There is no starter solenoid orher than on the starter. The switch you pictured is adjustable and could have slide in the mounting slots and not letting the start position engage. I would hook that back up and put a test light on the purple wire under the hood and see if you get it to light up when turning the key. If it doesnt light that ignition switch could be bad.. check block grounds also
 
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81Regal

Royal Smart Person
Apr 5, 2009
1,541
83
Terril Iowa
Sound like a fusable link at the starter, these cars dont have a relay. Check to see if you have 12v at the pink wire on the ignition switch that is pictured above.
 
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g0thiac

Apprentice
Sep 6, 2020
80
8
Correct me if i'm wrong, but it should be able to work through jump starting with a screwdriver.
 

Max Headroom

Master Mechanic
Sep 8, 2011
364
63
Sound like a fusable link at the starter, these cars dont have a relay. Check to see if you have 12v at the pink wire on the ignition switch that is pictured above.
I just went through this problem. It isn't the fusible links as they are on the output side of the solenoid and don't have any effect on starting the car.
 

Max Headroom

Master Mechanic
Sep 8, 2011
364
63
There is no starter solenoid orher than on the starter. The switch you pictured is adjustable and could have slide in the mounting slots and not letting the start position engage. I would hook that back up and put a test light on the purple wire under the hood and see if you get it to light up when turning the key. If it doesnt light that ignition switch could be bad.. check block grounds also
Drkuhar is right. The ignition cylinder turns in the column. When you turn the key to the start (Crank) position, it pushes a rod on top of the steering column in a downward direction. The bottom of the rod has a right angle that sticks in a hole in a section of the ignition switch that moves up and down inside the switch, which is hard bolted to the column (as in the outside of the switch can't move but the inside can.) When the inside of the switch moves down (on the ignition key turning) contacts inside the switch energize the starter wire, sending voltage to the solenoid.

Thing to do:
  • Drop the steering column at the dash. It makes the whole process soooooo much easier.
  • On many G-bodies, there are actually two rods near the top of the steering column and both feel and look like they go to the switch. The rod closest to the top of the column does actually control the ignition switch but the other (if it is there, is for the bright light switch. It is connected to the turn signal lever.) On my 78 Malibu, the bright switch was bolted to the steering column using the same bolts as the ignition switch.
  • Check that the hook in the ignition rod is still in the ignition switch.
  • Check that the rod moves in the DOWN direction when you turn the key to start the car. (You can put your hand on top of the steering column and feel the rod as you turn the key. If it is working correctly, you will feel the rod move down when you turn the key and back up when you let go.)
  • Make sure that the switch housing (outside of the switch) is tight on the column. (If it moves when you turn the key, the inside contacts don't get energized and starter won't engage)
  • If all of this checks out, then remove the bolts that hold the ignition switch to the column. If the bright light switch is there you will have to remove it too. They should both be held in place by the same two bolts. There may be a third bolt to remove but I didn't have one.
  • Remember that the ignition switch has a right angle at the end of the rod that is inserted into the body of the switch.
  • The signal blinker rod fits in a "dent" at the top of the bright switch. It comes right out with no issues.
  • DO NOT move the rods any more than you have to. If you remove the ignition switch and move the rods downward they come out of the top of the column and you have to fight to get them back in place. I used a piece of electrical tape to hold them in place while I had the switches out.
  • I bought three brand new switches from three different places before I got the one that works. (about $33 each) Take the old switch to NAPA to get a replacement. I bought one from AutoZone, one from Advanced Auto and one from NAPA. They look exactly alike but only the NAPA seems to be connected internally the right way.
  • I had a lot of trouble trying to bolt the switches back in. I'm big and don't do well in confined spaces. I couldn't get the little bolts started in the holes with both switches together. I solved the problem by getting 3/4" set screws, threading them into the holes and using nuts to tighten the switches down to the column. If I remember correctly, the set screws were 1/4 x 20.
 

81Regal

Royal Smart Person
Apr 5, 2009
1,541
83
Terril Iowa
I just went through this problem. It isn't the fusible links as they are on the output side of the solenoid and don't have any effect on starting the car.
You might want to double check that.
IgnitionSwitch-703x1024.jpg
 

Max Headroom

Master Mechanic
Sep 8, 2011
364
63
You might want to double check that.
View attachment 169287
What am I missing? One fusible link pulls hot from the solenoid and runs to the generator, a/c and fuse parts of the fuse panel. The second fusible link goes to the headlights. The start position on the switch is a separate wire that runs from the start position on the switch to the input side of the solenoid. Blown fusible links would kill the lights and some accessories, keep the a/c from running and probably the alternator would not charge the battery. Electrical is not my strong suite. What am I not understanding? (Not being a smart *ss. Really don't see an issue.)
 
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