Hello all,
After months of trouble free driving my 89 928, I made a 10 minute stop on my way home yesterday and when I came out the car did not turn over at all. Up until then I didn't have any trouble starting or driving. When I turned the key, the only thing that happened is the chime didn't turn off, like I had the door open with the key in the ignition, only the doors were closed. I could hear the relays click in the fuse panel and the light dimmed a little when I turned the key later with the door open, but nothing else happened, like the starter was frozen or the the car was in drive. Battery power is fine, all windows and everything worked, the dash lights didn't indicated anything, and the computer never displayed anything, it just wouldn't turn over. Does anyone have any ideas on what it could be or anything I should try? The factory alarm is disconnected, so it shouldn't be doing anything to disable the ignition. It is an 89 automatic, approaching 95k miles.

Thanks in advance for any advice, nothing like having to flatbed the car home unexpectedly to brighten one's day.


Good post - you gave the model year, transmission, and enough descriptive facts to make an educated guess at the problem.

Possible problems:
1) Bad ignition switch or connection.
2) Bad starter relay (XIV) or connection.
3) Bad starter solenoid or connection.
4) Bad starter or connection.
5) Bad battery or connection.

You can isolate the problem with some simple troubleshooting. You can start from either end of the chain.

Starting at the starter, under the car:
On the starter solenoid, jump from the large battery connection to the small terminal with the yellow wire.
If the starter does not operate, the problem is either the battery, its connections, or the starter solenoid or starter. One prime suspect is the ground cable from the engine to the chassis on the bottom right of the engine.
If the starter operates, the problem is the starter relay, the ignition switch (not likely, based upon your description of the lights dimming), the neutral safety switch (ditto) or the wiring among them.

Starting at the central power panel:
Remove relay XIV.
Test terminal 86 in the socket for 12 vdc when the ignition switch is turned to the start position. No power means a bad ignition switch. The electrical portion can be replaced separately.
Test terminal 85 in the socket for ground. No ground indicates a bad or misadjusted neutral safety switch, or the wire to it.

If both of the tests are good, jump from terminal 30 (power) to terminal 87 (load). If the starter operates, the problem is probably a bad relay. If the starter does not operate, the problem is in the yellow wire, the starter solenoid, the starter, or the battery cables, including the grounds.

Wally Plumley
928 Specialists