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I think the pop sounds that you are reffing to is the ABS modulators doing their purge tests. If you are not getting those "chubbing" sounds, then I would check the key switch first since you did mention the need to mess with the key. It has pins for power in, ignition on, accessory, and start. They are marked with the fist letter for the task. Turn the key on and see if you get the normal stuff like the gauges cycling, the check engine light coming on, etc. If you are not getting that, then the key switch is probably acting up.
If you are getting all that, then remove the center cover on the dash and check the fuse for ignition and the relay. One of them may be acting up on you causing the issue as well. Let me know the result and we can go from here as needed.
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