Update: This is a weird one. New battery. It was sold as charged, but the trickle charger shows it has been charging for a day or so and counting.
Ignition switch shows + on a test light on the black and yellow wire with a ignition screwdriver twist (black and yellow wire lights up in 3rd position.)
Headlights do not work, taillights do not work. (the headlights did work before, but not now, all bulbs are fine.) I think when I started it previously, I pushed on the brakes--if that matters.
I checked power to the battery with jumping it off, and it does spark at the starter. Grounded the engine to the negative on the shock tower, and tried to start it.
I have checked all fuses, and wondering about relays. I have never heard a straight answer on if an e38 has a starter relay or not. Mine has three lime green boxes in the ebox that I assume are relays. All fuses appear fine.
I previously did get this car to start, it smoked at first, but seemed to run fine. I let it run for over an hour with no problems, had it towed home, and now i just cannot get it to start.
I will check the wire to the starter with a turn of ignition switch and see if the car is telling the starter to start, but I suspect it is not due to security issue. Any other diagnostic ideas? I will do it.