1985 Cutlass Ciera 2.5L that will not start with the key.


Asked by Jan 10, 2013 at 09:49 PM about the 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 1985 Cutlass Ciera Brougham with a 2.5L four. Got in it one day and when I turned the key nothing happened except the dash lights came on. No clicking or buzzing, no engine turning over, nothing... Pulled the starter and had it tested, it passed. Then again it is only about a year old.  I then jumped the poles on the starter and the engine came to life. Replaced the ignition switch ( the electrical part ) still have the same problem. Turn the key and nothing happens except the dash lights. Any ideas?

16 Answers


At this point, I would install a push button switch instead of chasing the problem. Run the wires from a source that's hot with the key on. Turn the key to "On" and push the button to start the car. The problem could be a loose connection in the steering column or a relay that's not firing.

2 people found this helpful.

Yep.... taking apart the steering column chasing a loose wire is opening a can of worms that you may regret

1 people found this helpful.

Could just be your safty nuteral switch went bad You can just by pas that but it will start even when gear. You just loop the wires together

1 people found this helpful.

nuteral safty switch sorry


could also be the starter solinoid is just bad


If the solenoid was bad then it wouldn't jump start nor would it have tested good. Neutral safety switch is a good possibility though.


When you jump a solenoid all you are doing is by passing it. You are not running the power through it.That is why I said that


when they test a starter all they are doing is hot wireing it and by passing the solenoid


When you jump a starter you are eliminating the ignition switch the solenoid is still being used. If you jump the two large terminals not only is that unsafe but by bypassing the solenoid you will potentially weld whatever piece of metal you are using to the solenoid lugs. Jumping the large B+ lug to the small S lug is the exact same way all the parts store machines test the starter because that's the only way to tell if the starter is good. If the solenoid is bad then the test will come back as failed because the solenoid and starter motor are sold as one. Although you can sometimes purchase the solenoid separate you can't get a starter without the solenoid in the case of this vehicle.

3 people found this helpful.

How would you go abouts testing the solenoid? I have had starter tetsed before and came back as good put back in car and still nothing so replaced the solenoid any ways and then the starter worked fine. Not saying this is true in evry case though.


If you jump the B+ to the S and it cranks then everything is good.


Thats what I did on the one I had a problem with after getting it tested and the car would start. Shut the car off and nothing. Replaced the solenoid and every thing worked fine.


I have a similar problem with my 87 Ciera, It will crank and crank until the battery is dead but it wont fire, im replacing the starter today, hoping it works *Fingers crossed*


If your engine is cranking normally then is not the starter.

1 people found this helpful.

I have similar problem sometimes will start then sometimes no spark and no start.

I have a 1986 cutlass it has a switch and a push button to start when I flip the switch on the fan in the car comes on but when I push the button to start it it won't crank it'll just make a clicking noise.. what could that be?

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