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New Ignition Starter Switch - Always on!

fuentesfranko

Jr. Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2018
Messages
112
I purchased a new starter switch. Lights won't turn off now. (1976 Bronco Ranger Automatic 302)
New starter switch had less cables coming out of it than what the previous starter switch:
  • New Starter Switch : Red/Green, Red/Blue, Yellow. (plus purple that goes on the tab, and black on stud)
  • Old Starter Switch : Green/Red, Red/Green (thick), 2 Red/Blue, and yellow. (plus purple that goes on the tab, and black on stud)

I found a thread here that suggested to splice together the Red/Green and Green/Red, which I did.
I wasn't sure what to do with the 2 red and blues coming from the harness, so I spliced them together.

I installed the cylinder, connected battery, turned the key and all my lights turn on! It was exciting to see that after 3 years of the Bronco being parked.

However, the lights would not turn off at any position of the key, I had to remove the battery cables.

Does my wiring make sense? Any reason why the lights wouldn't turn off even at the OFF position on the key?

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fuentesfranko

Jr. Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2018
Messages
112
My dumbass realized the headlight switch was on, and unlike my newer car, when I remove the key, the headlights will remain on until I turn the switch off. Does this sound correct?
Would love any opinions on my wiring, if there's anything there that looks absolutely wrong I'd love to hear about it.
 

DirtDonk

Contributor
Bronco Guru
Joined
Nov 3, 2003
Messages
43,767
I’ll get more opinions for you once I’ve had a chance to look at the wiring a little closer. But no, these are “dumb” vehicles so there is nothing controlling the headlights other than the headlight switch.
So when the switch is on, the lights are on no matter what position the key is in.
No timers, no computers, very few sensors, only one or two relays (depending upon the year model), and an entire five fuses total.
Nothing like new vehicles!
 

DirtDonk

Contributor
Bronco Guru
Joined
Nov 3, 2003
Messages
43,767
So you got a new ignition switch, and also got a new connector with short wires?
That you then had to cut out the old one and splice in the new ones to?

Does everything else work now? Does the engine start and stuff like that? Heater and turn signals work?

One reason for the extra red with blue wire could possibly be that one went to the ignition control module for the factory ignition.
Whereas some might have done it right at the switch, others may have had that wire spliced into it somewhere inside the harness.
And the red with green stripe and green with red stripe wires would’ve originally been spliced together inside the connector on the back of the ignition switch and come out as separate wires. But they do have the same function so splicing them together is perfectly acceptable.
One goes to the ignition coil and the other to the voltage regulator under the hood.
 

DirtDonk

Contributor
Bronco Guru
Joined
Nov 3, 2003
Messages
43,767
Can you post another picture of your starter relay and voltage regulator? They look like they’re too close together.
Never seen a 76 with the regular mounted that way. But it could be normal and I just haven’t noticed it.

Thanks
 
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fuentesfranko

Jr. Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2018
Messages
112
Hey @DirtDonk , I got a new ignition switch and new connector with wires.
I did have to cut out the old one and splice in the new ones.
All lights turn on (headlights, taillights, side markers, turn signals, speedo), I tried started the engine but nothing happened, not a peep.
Turn signals are ON solid, but they don't flash. I'm pretty sure I got a new flasher relay in there.
I'm attaching photos of the voltage regulator and starter relay.




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DirtDonk

Contributor
Bronco Guru
Joined
Nov 3, 2003
Messages
43,767
Are the tail lights on constantly as well?
If so your headlight switch might still not be turned off all the way.
The first notch illuminates the running lights front and rear, while the second notch turns on the headlights. If something is wrong with yours, or it’s not clicking in all the way, they would not turn off.
You’re probably correct that it’s the turn signals, because in your picture they do look kind of bright. So probably not the running lights.

But as far as I know it’s not possible for the ignition switch to have caused this. So there’s a problem elsewhere…
 
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fuentesfranko

Jr. Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2018
Messages
112
Ok, so it's all working, I thought I needed to have the key in ACC or ON to be able to use the lights, but didn't realize lights can be on with the key in OFF.
Now my problem is that if I try to start the Bronco, nothing happens. Not a single sound. If I take a screwdriver to the starter solenoid then it starts, but they key doesn't do the trick :rolleyes:
 

DirtDonk

Contributor
Bronco Guru
Joined
Nov 3, 2003
Messages
43,767
It’s always something, ain’t it? Rolling eyes.

For starters (possibly no pun intended) pull the red with blue wire off of the starter relay/solenoid under the hood. Have someone turn the key to start while you check for voltage at that wire.
We know the starter motor, starter cables and starter relay are good because you can jump the relay and have it start.
So far so good.

I forget, is this a manual transmission or an automatic? If an auto is the shift lever in park or neutral when you are trying to start?
Is everything else working when you try it, such as radio heater and horn?
 

Brush Hog

Contributor
New Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2022
Messages
13
Start simple and check your grounds especially if you recently messed with your battery cables. I’ve had this problem and every other electrical problem and 99% of the time it was a ground issue. Even if they look fine I still do some sanding and reattach any that are in the same loop as my problem. You would think by now I would have learned to buy some ground straps and add extra/better grounds to my rig. Guess I like to be frustrated a few times a year when she dies!!
 
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fuentesfranko

Jr. Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2018
Messages
112
@DirtDonk I pulled the red/blue wire off the starter relay and there was no voltage going to that wire. It's an Automatic transmission by the way. Shifter was in Park position. I don't currently have a radio or steering wheel (horn) installed, but the heater works, the lights work, wiper (bottle) motor works, map light doesn't work (new bulb)
I am thinking that like @Brush Hog is saying, it could be a bad ground?
Also, today I noticed something a bit scary. With the key ignition switched to ON, I felt the Green/Red and Red/Green wire coming off the switch and they were VERY warm. I then went around the engine bay touching things and the voltage regulator, the could and the ignition module were very hot, especially the coil (couldn't touch it for more than 1 sec).
The guy that's helping me with this grabbed the positive terminal wire on the battery and moved it around, and there was a cracking sound that I traced to the coil connector, which was also hot. So scared this will lead to a fire!

I've been working on this Bronco for almost 3 years and I thought I could see the light at the end, but this made me feel like like I won't be driving it for a good while. :confused:

Any recommendations on what to do or try would be highly appreciated.
 

DirtDonk

Contributor
Bronco Guru
Joined
Nov 3, 2003
Messages
43,767
First of all, you never, ever leave the key in the on position for more than a few moments.
This is gospel with old vehicles because there’s no computer to turn off things that overheat or keep an ignition system or charging system from being energized. This is why those wires that you felt do not get power in the ACC position. So you can listen to the radio for hours and not overheat something, melt a coil or burn wires.
Yes they got hot. That’s what they do when they are turned on and the engine is not running.
So remember that when you’re testing and hopefully nothing bad happened to any of the components.

Next, this is not a bad ground issue. This is a lack of connection issue.
Your next course of action is to either measure for voltage on the red with blue wire at the back of the ignition switch, or better yet to kill two birds with one stone, check the neutral safety switch connector behind the engine.

Up near the firewall behind the engine you will find a square four wire plug with two red with blue wires and two black with red wires (or maybe red with black wires I never remember). You need to separate the two halves of this connector and look for 12 V on one of the red with blue wires when someone turns the key to start.

If you do this and one of the branches has 12V, then you will need to start testing the neutral safety switch.
If you do this and do not find 12V at either of the red with blue wires, then you have a problem with your ignition switch or the wire between the ignition switch and the connector.
Again, this is not a ground issue if you can’t find 12 V to start with.
The ignition switch simply passes voltage through it when you turn the key to start.
 

helo-mech

Contributor
Sr. Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
619
Any particular reason you made the change to the alternate ignition switch? I was recently fighting issues with the motor not turning off, continuous starter cranking followed later with plenty of turning over but no firing. Found my ignition switch tumbler to pretty worn. The first two I got from local parts stores indicated in their system that they would work, but each had the different connections that you are showing. I was able to find an exact replacement at the third stop (AutoZone). I replaced the switch and the cylinder/key.

Still couldn't get it to fire until I took the 9 month old battery in to have it checked and found that it had a bad cell. Thankfully that Red Top warranty took care of that issue.

I plan to swap it all out with a matching key switch and door lock set from a Bronco vendor down the road, but this got me back running while I debate how far to dive into the work list this winter.

Diagram for ignition switch and lighting (courtesy of items pilfered from Steve83 https://www.supermotors.net/users/Steve83 ) and a screen shot of the part numbers below.
 

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