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Discussion Starter #1
Like the title states, I'm an idiot. I'm installing new seats in my 96 Impala and this required tack welding the new brackets while mocked up inside the car. Well, I forgot to disconnect the battery before welding and now when I try to start the car, I get zero crank. All other electrical appears to be functioning (interior lights, gauges, headlights, horn etc...), I've checked all fuses in the cabin and underhood.

My first two guesses are either the starter or battery are buggered. Does anyone else have any other suggestions on where to start diagnosing?
 

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Check your grounds. Fender. Block. Etc.

Got a multimeter? Check battery. Should be just under 13 volts.

Check fuses. Mite have just blown somethin. Pain to pull em sometimes but u probly have spares and ten min lookin at em could save some trouble later.

Feel like pullin starter? Take it and get it tested. If u fried it then its already out and ur halfway done.

Simple stuff here but give ya some stuff to check before buyin stuff u may not need.

I mentioned it somewhere else. I put in a z28 cluster and afterwards car wouldnt start. The ground on the passenger fender had broke sometime before that and it wouldnt crank just cuz of that. Took me a day of lookin cuz it was hid by battery and did exactly like yours. Everything came alive but starter.
 

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Start at the starter

Get a test light or a meter and check the yellow wire at the starter. It should show voltage when you turn to "start". The battery cable should show power too. If both are good it might be your starter. If you know what to do a screwdriver will "hotwire" the starter for a crank test.

If the yellow start wire is not working at the starter check it at the column switch. If it does not work there when you turn the key to start check the body fuse again then check for a issue with the park/neutral switch.

If the yellow wire works at the column switch you may have a VATS problem.

Test your battery in another car or swap with another one
 

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I'd put a multimeter on the battery first. See what voltage you have.

Then I'd try putting a charger on it or jumping it.

If you get nothing jumping it, I'd try a battery cable (from a different good battery if available) straight to the starter.

If the starter turns when jumped directly to a battery, then remove and test your battery.

If your battery's good, then you need to start looking at relays, passkey...

Just my best guess, hope it helps, and good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Update:

Starter and battery checked out ok. I even swapped out my spare stock PCM and it made no difference.

I decided to 'jump' the starter solenoid, and the car started right up. It does not start back up after being shut off. One interesting/important thing to note- the "Pass Key Fault" was flashing on the dash while running. (Was not prior to my idiocy.)

I'm not terribly familiar with the pass key electronics on these cars, I'm not really sure where to look now. Any further suggestions are greatly appreciated! (When I had my PCM tuned, I had asked that VATS be tuned out, I'm not sure if that makes any difference.)
 

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Since you where in the area - I believe there is a lock out switch on the floor shifter, so you can't crank it while in gear.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Update (solved, well 'solution' anyway).

In researching the Pass Key Fault, I found several instructionals on how to perform a proper (resistor) bypass. I figured for the cost of a resistor, it was worth a shot. Well, with the VATS column connector disconnected, and the correct resistor (680Ω in my case) in place, the car starts right up and the warning light is gone.

While it's now working, and I'm content with the 'fix', I didn't actually diagnose what went wrong... I tried my spare key (to see if the VATS resistor on the key was the problem), and the spare key yielded the same results as the primary key...

Anyway, thank you all for your help! For anyone following along, don't be like me. Always disconnect your battery!
 

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the key slot resistor connections could of gotten dirty. use some electronic contact cleaner . I did a couple of times as it does need cleaning some times.
 
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