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Weird starting issue, hopefully someone can help!

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Old 08-01-2011, 11:57 AM   #1
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Exclamation Weird starting issue, hopefully someone can help!

Hi Everyone,

i posted in the 4cyl forums but it doesnt seem like anyone has seen the symptoms i've had so maybe someone on here has some insight for me.

i just did an overhaul on my 4cyl 2.4L Manual taco. redid the timing chain, all the belts, ignition and stuff. after completing the project, i test drove the truck and it went ok, started good, no noises. drove it for about 3-5 miles while letting it idle, turning it on and off and it passed ok besides stalling once. After the test drive i found out i had an oil leak so i pulled my oil pan and redid the gasket , all is well.

Fast forward today, as im driving to work, the car stalls out as im coming to a stop, i turn the key and nothing. uh oh. i push the car past all the early morning commuters on one of the main arteries of my town and into the gas station. at that point i let it cool, turn the key, still nothing. i have electricity, full tank of gas but the starter wont go, just silence. a buddy comes by and helps me push start it and the truck fires up after a few tries but now the idle is horrible, at around 500ish and pretty choppy. i book it home and it stalls out 2 more times in less than 3 miles but the starter works now so i fire up and go.

i'm not sure what the issue is here. i suspect timing, but the timing was correct when i had installed it, and most people are saying that timing chains can't jump teeth. the tensioner , chain, guides are brand new. new cap, rotor, plugs and wires. any ideas? i'm stumped with this truck. it has 295k on the clock. If anyone can help please let me know, no clue what the issue could be. everything was fine and dandy before the stall this morning so i'm not sure whats going on, i'm also getting the started tested later so we'll see how it goes, but it shouldn't cause a bad idle. anyone have any suggestions? Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:04 PM   #2
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Well, the shitty idle is a mystery to me, but the starter working, then not working, then working again makes me think it is a ground wire popping or about to go out.

Given that you said you know the timing is correct, could it be possible that your have a big vacuum leak under the hood, given the low rpms and shitty idle? Are you popping any codes? I'd assume a rough idle like that has to be throwing a code or two.
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:31 PM   #3
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no codes so far upon further inspection i found out that my crank pulley bolt backed out a bit and came loose and that might be it. i tightened it back in and it sat flush so luckily i didnt ruin the keyway.

timing is on per the cam gears and timing chain sprocket so thank goodness, i just hope i didnt mess anything up in the motor. i think the loose crank pulley explains the crappy idle and stuff. i'm just not sure if this would solve the problem or not, from what i've read, the symptoms would result in loss of the accessories but i still had battery life and power steering. i checked for leaks as well and couldnt find anything, thanks for the input! keep it coming!
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:00 PM   #4
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finally got a code popped but i didnt get it pulled yet. realigned the timing but the truck drives weird now, it'll fluctuate rpms at idle but not much, maybe from 800-950 slowly. the weird thing is my crank pulley has 2 timing marks, one mark pointing towards the rear of the truck and the other outwards towards the front, the first time i aligned the pulley to the frontward facing mark ( since i can see it with the belts on) , this second time i aligned the timing to the mark that was on the rearward face ( since the FSM stated the keyway should be facing upwards during tdc) , not sure whats wrong but im sure ill find out when the code is pulled, anyone run into this?
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:41 AM   #5
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Check the crank position sensor. It controls spark timing.
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:11 AM   #6
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i was suspecting that as well, when i removed it for the install i didn't replace the o-ring but i havent developed any leaks. what are the symptoms? would fluctuating idle be one? also the truck doesnt stall out (yet) or have a hard time starting, it starts good now, just the weird idle
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Old 08-02-2011, 01:20 PM   #7
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so i got the code pulled and it turned out to be the crank position sensor, now the car wont even crank at all ( no starter) , is this normal? i've seen instances where the car will crank over but just not start.
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Old 08-02-2011, 01:34 PM   #8
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Crank sensor sounds like your rough idle prob. The starter not turning should not be affected by the faulty crank sensor. I'd check to see if a ground is loose or if its burnt through anywhere. If not that, then I'd check to make sure the solenoid is okay.

RockAuto has your sensor for $38.00. If you need a new starter, they've got that for about $120.00. Good luck man and let us know what it takes to fix it.
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Old 08-02-2011, 01:49 PM   #9
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thanks ! yeah the starter not going sucks, i have no clue what it is. i had the starter tested and autozone said that it was in great condition and still had lots of torque, the starter solenoid is attached to the starter correct? i'm sure if that was the issue autozone would've caught it. no clue why the starter wont go though, usually if i push start it , it'll drive fine, but when i turn it off nothing happens.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:03 PM   #10
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I would think to test the starter, they have to hook power to the solenoid and go from there. If your solenoid was bad, they'd have to have noticed it. I'd say its a ground wire or the positive cable coming from the battery to it. Just because they look okay doesn't mean they are. Also, check your starter relay. Hook it to a multimeter.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:09 PM   #11
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It's a 1996 right. Original starter? The sensor, wether it be a crank or cam sensor, and I don't really know which one you have, can and will cause running problems, if even it starts that is. Most of the time when those go out, on other cars and trucks I have seen, it will not start at all because the computer needs that info to properly send fuel and spark at the right time to the right cylinder. Like others have said, make sure grounds are good/clean. The solenoid could be the problem in starting due to the contact points being worn out and the resistance is too high, causing the solenoid not to kick in and turn the starter. Do you get the "CLICK"? when you turn the key? Knowing battery is good and all sensors are good then I would look into the 2 copper terminals inside the starter solenoid as being bad. I had to replace those on my 1999 when I had all kinds of starter issues. (Ckick sometimes,sometimes nothing, sometimes the starter wouldn't let go even after I took the Key out, it would crank and crank till the battery died. ) Went down to a starter alternator shop localy and bought the two copper "LUGS" that go inside solenoid and have been trouble free for some time now. It was under 10 bucks for those two parts but you have to go to a shop that repairs them and do it yourself. Hell it worked for me so give it a try. Good luck.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:20 PM   #12
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I would say the crank sensor, if it was the cam sensor it would be a bitch to start rite off the bat. I made the mistake when redoing my 2.7 by not hooking back up cam sensor. The crank sensor sounds like it would be a good place to start.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:23 PM   #13
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thanks for the info, i'm not sure if its the original starter or not, i recently re-acquired this truck and its been a bit of a headache. i don't get a click or anything, just a little dim from the clock thats it, it's either a full on crank or nothing. would the starter still go if timing was off? i recently did the timing chain and that might be the culprit, but i checked yesterday and timing was good.

i was a it skeptical about the starter so i ended up asking him to test the starter again, he tested it 5 times for me and said it was good and that it wasn't even getting fazed.

at this point i'm not too worried about the crank sensor, i'll have that replaced tonight but i dont know about the starter issue. so the crank sensor going out would for sure not be the cause of the starter not going?
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boostfed View Post
thanks for the info, i'm not sure if its the original starter or not, i recently re-acquired this truck and its been a bit of a headache. i don't get a click or anything, just a little dim from the clock thats it, it's either a full on crank or nothing. would the starter still go if timing was off? i recently did the timing chain and that might be the culprit, but i checked yesterday and timing was good.

i was a it skeptical about the starter so i ended up asking him to test the starter again, he tested it 5 times for me and said it was good and that it wasn't even getting fazed.

at this point i'm not too worried about the crank sensor, i'll have that replaced tonight but i dont know about the starter issue. so the crank sensor going out would for sure not be the cause of the starter not going?
As for the starter it could be on its last leg i just ran into that problem with another project truck with the 22re once I re-did that timing chain water pump ect. I was trying to set the timing and the starter took a shit plus that truck has 332000 miles on it but a new starter and battery she was brought back from the dead. You could always pull apart the starter and clean up the internals as best as possible and see if that will put a band aid on it for now.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:41 PM   #15
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if mine is still original it would have 294k on it right now, but wouldn't the starter test reveal it going out? man this sucks, i cant wait to get this fixed and over with, haha.

even if the timing was off, the car would still crank over right?
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Old 08-02-2011, 03:22 PM   #16
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It's time to replace your starter. The solenoid is working, but either the lever that engauges the gear to the flex-plate, or the solenoid itself is sticking.
There are two windings in the solenoid. One moves the linkage, the other holds it in place. The lights dimming is the first winding working, but with no movement of the solenoid, there will be no completed circuit to the starter motor.
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Old 08-02-2011, 04:04 PM   #17
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oh man. so the autozone test wouldn't catch that at all?

when it crapped out today at the shop they tried the tap-the-starter trick and that didnt really work either. heh.
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Old 08-02-2011, 04:24 PM   #18
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You may want to also check your charging system/electrical harness, I only suggest this because unbeknownst to me, I had a exposed sleeve inside of the wiring harness that did the same thing to me, and the odd thing was that I never experienced a dead or drained battery.
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Old 08-02-2011, 05:37 PM   #19
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i'll check that out too thanks, so far everything looks ok.

i'm not sure if i want to waste more money getting a new starter when mine tested fine, unless the test i did was inferior, which i'm not sure why it would make sense to have it test good but be bad? could it be the starter relay in the fuse box?
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:49 PM   #20
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my starter relay in the fuse box doesn't "click" when i turn the key, are all relays supposed to click?

edit: replaced the starter, got a new crank sensor and still nothing. i'm guessing its the starter relay now so hopefully thats it, if its not then i'm SOL
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