Antenna button as push button start

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Mar 30, 2012
Davis, CA
I want to add a push button start button in parallel to my keyed start. I was thinking of using the "antenna down" button because it is hot with the key in the ON position, and I'm a little lazy and don't want to add a new button.

I have a couple of questions that my searches have not answered.

1. Can I directly wire 12 volts to the starter (low voltage line) or do i need a fuse and/or relay?
2. If this is feasible should I splice the "antenna down" wire and run it all the way to the starter or should I splice it into the wire running to the starter at the back of the ignition?
3. is the "antenna down" wire sufficient gauge for this purpose?

I cannot seem to find this info via search. Thanks a lot for your thoughts.
why do you want to do this?
You will be the 1st! but I kinda doubt it will create envy.
Most everyone will assume your wiring is really jacked, and I'm sure they will not want to find out what putting the window down does!
You'll still need the key in the ignition unless you alter the ignition cylinder to defeat the wheel lock, among other things.

A PO did this to a car of mine. The only advantage I see is that nobody will be able to figure out how to start it except you.

Also, I'm guessing you leave the antenna UP?
What happens when someone hits the antenna button when the truck is already running?
Just from seeing the gauge wire between the ignition column & the wires in the antenna socket, I'd expect you'll be upgrading the gauge of your trigger wire, and from there I'd wire into the starter relay just by removing the momentary hot from the column & pulling that wire back into the dash over to the antenna area.

If the wire comes up ~2' short as I'd expect, then that's where buying a short section of wire for the project would come into play.

Personally, I wouldn't expect the antenna switch to stand up to constant use like this, so you might be left stranded at some point in the not-too-distant future.

What is the motivation behind this idea, if you don't mind sharing?
I would expect you would need to add a 12V 30A relay as the antenna switch contacts probably aren't rated for the current the starter solenoid would draw, nor is the wiring.

Are you concerned that your ignition switch may leave you stranded some day? If that's the case, I'd suggest wiring a heavy pushbutton switch like from Napa that is designed for the starter solenoid load. It doesn't have to be somewhere convenient, just be there when you might need it.

I see you said "parallel" so that's why I'm thinking you're looking for a backup scenario.
Geez, this board did not used to garner so much snark.

Linus, thanks for the thoughts. I am doing this because i want a backup start option because my ignition is not 100% reliable. Battery is good, starter is new, so its most likely the ignition, or the Park/Neutral switch. Either way I want a way to bypass it if it does not start that does not require me to get out of the truck and apply 12V to the starter solenoid. The Key is still functional most of the times and would be used as such--that is why i refereed to it as being in parallel. I am not intending to disconnect the ignition, just wire a parallel bypass that also bypasses the Park/Neutral switch.

As far as someone hitting the button, its unlikely that anyone is going to hit the button randomly in my truck without asking me. If they do the starter will turn over. Whatever. My kids wont touch it if I tell them not to.

Fuse, relay necessary?
Thanks. I'll look into a 30amp relay.
I didn't spend enough time to see the parallel part.

Kinda a new can of worms, since now yes - I see a need for a relay & possibly a diode so you don't backfeed current from the hot tap back into the new proposed backup starter button/wires when keying ignition conventionally.

Not to be a naysayer, but this is a project that will need someone who has experience if you want this to hold up long term.

An alternative (not cheap, but would be a solid solution) - would be a remote starter that uses the alarm style remotes. Once started, you get in, put the key in ignition & twist to on position, tap the brakes & you're done.

Only caveat is the remote starters look to the trans "park" sensor as a permisive to crank, so if yours is faulty/intermittant it'll be same problem/different source.
Or maybe just fix the original problem.


Or maybe just fix the original problem.



Agree - simply b/c the time, effort & $$$ would far outweigh the $$$ of either a new ignition barrel & park sensor/interlock. (I'd be in the classifieds/parting & get a complete lock set from a another 80/450, if I had to have a keyed-alike solution)

The right diode if needed alone is big $$$ in even moderate amperage sizing.

But 10 different owners, 10 different solutions, right?

We all probably have some mod in our 80 someone else wouldn't see a need for - think how many cupholder threads there are! o_O
I would use a relay from the antenna switch but, also put one between the supply to the relay and have it 'break' when it sees voltage from he alternator, then you cannot get the starter to engage when the engine is running.


Thanks Linus/Dave for comments. Andrew what was the $60 part?
It would only be your ignition cylinder if it's sticking. An intermittent no-start (besides any other electrical parts in the circuit) would be the ignition switch, which is held in place by screws on the backside of the ignition housing/steering column bracket.

No need to find something keyed alike.

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