Starter Problem Causes


Date: Wed, 16 Apr 1997 08:14:54 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: clicking but not starting

Just a recap on starting related problems:

Three things are related to clicking without cranking:
i)- battery terminals/battery and its cables.
ii)- starter and its solenoid (connections and internal conditions of the
iii)- ignition switch and its connections.
iv)- Safety cancel/neutral safety switches.

These conditions tend to happen in that order that is (i) is more common than

Possible causes to (i);

battery is weak, its connections are corroded or the connections at the
starter are corroded. It is also possible that the cables inside have 
created that white stuff thus preventing the current from reaching the 
starter. If yout truck have fusible links you should check its connections 
also and touch the terminals/cables to see if they are hot.

Given that (i) is not causing the problem:

weak starters tend to just click particularly when they get hot. Most of the
time it is related to a weak solenoid. This is attached to the starter and 
makes the drive pinion engage to the flywheel so cranking can take place.
Remember also that weak connections at the started will make it appear as 
if you have a bad battery or a bad starter that's why you must make sure 
that things in (i) are not messing things up. The solution here is to 
replace the starter because the solenoid is expensive.

If after inspection neither (i) or (ii) are causing the problem, go to (i):

At the steering wheel the ignition switch has all the connections for starter
(white/black wire) ignition (yellow wire) , accesories (white wire). 
Sometimes the whole black assembly where the wires attach to gets loose so 
it could cause problems, in which case you could bypass the switch and 
manually touch the wires to see if the truck will start easily (DO NOT 
Also, check you fuses to make sure that the wires that power the circuits
for igntion and starter are ok.

As I said before, keep in mind that (i) and (ii) are the more common causes
of clicking but not starting.

I have had some weird cases where a starter will pass a bench test however
when is under load and in the vehicle will not crank it at all. This is due 
to the fact that electrical components will work fine until they get hot.

One more thing for those that have a safety cancel switch is this switch is
defective it may not allow the truck to start in which case you will need 
to bypass this switch too. If your truck has an auto tranny a deffective
neutral safety switch will also prevent the truck from starting.  So make 
sure that you can take a continuity test on these components. To identify
the wires feeding these switches follow your wiring diagram.

Hope this does not confuse you'll more.


Date: Mon, 13 Apr 1998 22:09:13 -0500
From: Mike Kitlinski 
Subject: RE: Starting problems

> Through trial and error I found that sometimes it would start if I just 
> let the clutch pedal up of the floor a bit.  I did this for that day, 
> but that doesn't seem to be the problem because it doesn't consistently
> work

Sounds Like the Starter solinoid contacts, toyota part # 28226-72080, this
contains an L shaped copper contact and the insulating pieces. (you need two
of em)

- -- 
Mark Kitlinski
'85 Xtra cab  tlca# 7174



Date: Wed, 2 Sep 1998 00:06:19 -0700
From: Scott Muir 
Subject: starting problems

Tim Stucky wrote:
>Hey all, lately I've been having some starting problems and I've ran out 
>of ideas as to what's causing it and here's the symptoms:  When I go the 
>start it in the morning, usually starts fine.  Then after it's been 
>sitting for a while it won't start.  It just clicks once like I've got 
>a dead battery but it's fine.  Starter is good (when it goes, it turns 
>over fine) and I don't think it's the soleniod because it's a pretty 
>new starter.   But after I try and start it if I go back in a while it 
>will start fine!?  So anyway, it's just one click and the batt isn't 
>dead.  Any ideas?  Thanx!

I did a snoop of Barney's sorted archives and it does not appear to contain 
stuff on solenoid contacts in it. (hint)

If you can hear a good solid click of the solenoid when you move the key to 
the start position, then there is a problem with the high current circuit 
to the starter.  Check that posts are clean, and the heavy gauge cables are 
still in good shape.  (ground too)  Pull back the cover on the +ve battery 
bogey (think that's the right word) and make sure the contacts in there are 
clean too.

Failing this, get a philips head screwdriver (or a flathead), a flashlight 
and a small mirror, disconnect the battery, and remove the end plate off of 
the solenoid. (3 screws)  The core of the solenoid will pop out when you 
take the cover off. Have a look from underneath or whatever angle you can 
get at using the flashlight and the mirror and have a look down into the 
solenoid.  You should see the contact on the battery side has a deep ridge 
worn into it.  If it is nearly gone or if one of the contacts looks like it 
is in much better condition than the other, you have a contact problem and 
it is time to replace them.  $5 for both from an parts store or $30 from 
the dealer (each! but this includes the seals, bolts, nuts, spacers)

Pull the starter (easier said than done), replace the contacts, put the 
starter back in and you're dancin'

Toyota 4x4 page:


From Barney:
My experiences with the solenoid contacts are similar to those described
above. Except that Toyota Parts, and some other parts houses don't like to
sell you just the contacts. They would rather do the 10 minute install
themselves, and charge you for a rebuilt starter. I have found them at auto
electrical specialty repair shops. Tell them you know they exist, and pay the
$10 for a pair of them. They will really help those intermittent starting

I can not imagine what a PITA it must be to take the starter apart under the
truck, but then with my 3" body lift, pulling the starter is a breeze.


Back to the top of this thread
Back to the top of the Tips - Techniques group
Back to the top of the Toy Thread Tree