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Discussion Starter #1
From time to time, I will turn the key and get nothing. Usually, it will crank after a few tries so it didnt bother me much from a reliability stance. Recently, it took 50+ tries over several hours so the issue has now elevated to the semi-serious, as in semi-seriously pissed off.

BTW, when it decides to not crank, it also doesnt appear to be drawing any power according to the voltmeter.

Any thoughts, even crazy ones, would be appreciated.
 

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The ignition switch (the electrical contacts in the switch) fail after many years - usually in just the way you describe. Often, adding a relay so that the electrical contacts only have to carry a tiny amount of electricity will allow the switch to function fine for many more years. I'd fear yours is further gone - hopefully not too far gone.
 

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Make sure your battery contacts are clean and that your cable leads are also clean and protected with a light film of vaseline. I was having some contact issues on my 164, and ground issues are guaranteed issues in that car. Turned out to be the ground cable.
 

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When it "does not crank", are the instrument lights coming on? Do you hear the tell-tale "click" of the starter solenoid?

Based on what you have described so far, I have to concur with Eric's and brewtech's analysis. They have offered the most likely scenarios. Have you also checked your battery's cranking amperage? Has it got plenty of "juice"?

In the series 3 Spiders, the battery is situated inside the right rear fender, and accessed from the trunk. The ground cable from the battery bolts directly to the chassis right next to the battery tray. If that connection works loose, or becomes wet, or too corroded, it can hinder/prevent the required current flow.

The pictures below show how the battery area and ground connection in my car looked 'before' and 'after' a thorough cleanup.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys for the quick response.

One other quirk I forgot to mention which may be relevant. Also, from time-to-time, when the engine is running, when I turn key to the off position, it keeps running...until I pull the emergency brake lever, then it quits. :wacko:
 

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Also, from time-to-time, when the engine is running, when I turn key to the off position, it keeps running...until I pull the emergency brake lever, then it quits. :wacko:
If the motor does not stop when the ignition switch is turned off, but does when the emergency brake is set, you might want to try a quick test to confirm the theory that the ignition switch (or the wiring around the steering column) is indeed the culprit:

The next time the engine continues to idle after the ignition switch is turned off, instead of setting the parking brake, smack the sides of the steering column cover (black plastic housing) a couple of times with the palm of your hand. If that causes the motor to shut down, it's time to unscrew and remove the steering column cover (2 piece clamshell design held together with 4 phillips screws on bottom) and investigate. The problem may be as simple as loose or frayed wires....
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the suggestions guys. I'll let y'all know how it turns out.
 
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