HELP!! 94’ 7.3 IDI TURBO, POWER FLICKERS/SHORTS? IN KEY ON, IS POSSESSED?.?

ToedMite

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94’ 7.3 IDI TURBO POWER RAPIDLY FLICKS IN KEY ON POSITION

Good Morning Oil Burners,
Had to leave my truck at work yesterday after driving it to work. Cold started (26F) and fired up great but now it’s having an electrical issue where sometimes the power will flicker on and off extremely fast in the key ON position. (Will try to attach a video of what it’s doing if I can), but in the auxiliary power mode (turning the key back toward you) nothing flickers and the power works fine. Will not start or crank. Almost seems like a dead battery (everything stops flickering when you try to crank) it but they’re not dead

Batteries tested at 12.5 and tested them both in the truck (still connected together is that right?), checked grounds, battery connections, fuses, and relays. New GPCM in over the summer too. I thought I had fixed it previously by pulling a fuse and plugging it back in the #2/3? position fuse(#3 is the empty space if I recall correct but it’s been a long morning) on the inside panel, ran great for a few weeks and did it again lastnight when I went to go home.

I think it may be the ignition as the ignition is a little loose, can wiggle the key holder a little bit (but not much), and I can take the key out with it in any position, can even start (if the wheel is already unlocked for me) and can shut off and lock the ignition without the key.

Has anybody had this problem previously? If so, what’s the typical root cause? Are there other things I can check or possibly recheck in a better manner before I start throwing parts in? I’m a decent wrenched when it comes to all the mechanical stuff but I know very very little about electrical besides it’s like water and always needs a place to go (ie ground it out)

Please help, any advice is very much appreciated.
 

Jesus Freak

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I'd say it's either the ignition switch itself mounted under the dash or the funny shaped bracket that the lock cylinder attaches to, but I can't think of the name of it. Dorman makes them, but yeah, it's either one of those two things.
 

DaveBen

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Where the key lock is, is NOT the ignition switch. As Jesus Freak said, the ignition switch is several inches toward the firewall. It is actuated by a rod, from the keyed cylinder to the ignition switch. Do a search for the ignition switch and you should see a very recent video of this. It was posted several days ago. Good Luck! And Welcome to the Oil Burners!
 

Jesus Freak

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And I just had a chance to look, the thingy is called the "key lock actuator", it's different on the 94 column as compared to the older trucks, so I can't really say that it's an issue on the 94 but maybe. But definitely have a look at the real ignition switch, NOT THE KEY LOCK CYLINDER.
 

ToedMite

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To everyone who replied to this, you guys are truly life savers. Living in Montana by myself right now at 19 is tough, you guys just saved me a big tow bill, will go look under the dash and report back after work. I work in MT right now so it’ll probably be around 5:30 my time I update. Thank you guys you’re awesome

Thank you Jesus Freak and DaveBen
 

ToedMite

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UPDATE ON SYMPTOMS AND ATTEMPTING TO DIAGNOSE

Peeked under the steering wheel, nothing is loose, every connection looks good, no abrasion in any wiring, (is it bad if a wire has a real hard angle in it, almost like a hard curve in a hose?) I assume yes and adjusted, no difference, everything in the column except for the actual key lock is secure (lock has a little wiggle as previously mentioned), (I took the cover off the bottom so I could see better and saw what you meant by the actual ignition being a few inches back), Everything looked decent.

Yesterday after work I had my friend come with me to try and bump start my truck, it’s a manual. We bump started the truck successfully and once it idled for a good 10-15 seconds it ran perfect (just a little chilly from her nap though), gauges were going a little crazy when it started. I let the truck warm up and idled it a little bit, was pretty warm out today so it wasn’t hard to warm it up from cold.

Drove great, ran the truck for almost 5 hours, driving, or keeping it at beginning of torque line (1100-1200ish) if I walked away, load tested the truck, turned on all lights, aftermarket pod lights too, chargers, radio, brights, A/C (don’t know if that matters), windows rolled down fine, windows roll up fine but battery light comes on. Ran truck at 1600 for ~10 minutes no lights before shutoff

Thoughts:
Bad alternator could be a part too? How do I test it for volts or do I need a new one? Do I need a bigger one? Should I buy a new ignition? Both?

Key still flickered (a little bit longer in duration) after I parked and shut off the truck, still short beeps but they’re now longer, (I got this result attempting with a different key), battery indicator needle between A/L in normal, buzz sound when attempting to crank engine like something is trying too hard, no crank, no start

Some thoughts I am having:
Wondering if it’s a perfect storm of a few different things playing into each other? Is that a possibility? A bad alternator effecting starting and battery health? Maybe loose key lock effecting ignition signal to the truck at the same time? Could the starter solenoid be damaged by poor battery/alternator health over a long period of time? Could the flickering of the power damage the solenoid?

Any further guidance or thoughts?
 

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