‘97 vanden plas won’t start after battery replacement

My car had been sitting and the battery was dead. I jumped it off and drove to the gas station to fill up and drove it for a half hour. Went home, cut it off and tried to restart. Wouldn’t even turn dash lights on. Purchased new battery and installed. When I turn the key the dash lights come on but no chime. Noticed the interior door light wasn’t illuminated when I opened the door to get in. Also map lights will come on but not center light. Car will not turn over. I noticed a white thin wire coming from one of the trunk harnesses along the trunk wall adjacent to the battery. It has a plastic end with two connectors similar to a fuse connector. Had not noticed the wire before and wondering if it plugs to something. If so, I can’t figure out where. Just added a photo I found online. The white wire looks like it goes to the fuse protection box but I didn’t see anywhere to plug it in. Thank you!

First issue is that the battery is WAY TOO SMALL.
You should have H8, Group 49, MB88 or similar.

The little wire has NO purpose at this time. It was used to operate the battery isolation device for the car’s trip across the ocean on a ship to ensure that the car was electrically ‘DEAD’.

I would check for good earth connections and check the power cable for connections along the path to the engine compartment.

Thanks for the reply. The photo isn’t my car. Just to show the wire since I’d really not noticed if it was to be connected. I have the correct battery in it. Strange it tried to start the day before each time I hit it when I was jumping it off to see if the battery would recharge after driving it. Bought the new battery and put it in and was suspicious something wasn’t right when the red lens at the bottom of the drivers door was not illuminated. Seems as though there’s no power to fuel pump or starter. Wondering if a fuse was blown when I connected the battery.

Must have had something to do with the gear selector. I remembered applying the parking brake when I returned the other day. I then let it off as it didn’t set. I realized this morning the gear selector would not come out of park. I moved the parking brake lever up and down, applied the foot brake several times along with jiggling the shift knob, and it came out of park. Put it back in park, turned the ignition switch to first position and heard the chimes for the first time since the problem began. Started right up and I was on my way.

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You might have a faulty brake peddle switch and/or park/neutral switch?


Are you sure the “new” battery is good? Have you tested it with a Volt meter? New does not always mean good.

Thank you, Bob. I’m thankful to be on the right track. Cranked back up after I got home with it this afternoon. I’m leaving the parking brake alone. It’s always parked on a level surface.


Thanks, Phillip. I don’t have a meter to test. It was a warranty replacement for one I had purchased about a year ago.