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HOW TO: Remove/Install a starter/fix a clicking starter (2.7 liter 3RZ-FE engine)

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by trdracing5, Sep 17, 2011.

  1. Sep 17, 2011 at 6:56 PM
    #1
    trdracing5

    trdracing5 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Ok I could not find a good write up on how to replace or repair the starter for the 2.7 engine so I decided to make my own.

    First, if your vehicle is having a hard time starting or if you are hearing a clicking noise before your vehicle finally starts, it might be time to repair (notice I said REPAIR not REPLACE) your starter.
    In order to repair your starter you will replace the worn out solenoid contacts and plunger.

    The parts cost me $35 shipped from www.nationsstarteralternator.com

    [FONT=&quot][​IMG][/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]I had previously repaired the starter on my 4Runner with the 3.4 engine and it was pretty tough. The 2.7 in the Tacoma was a breeze.:)

    [/FONT] It was so easy I would tell anyone with a high mileage 2.7 engine to go ahead and repair the starter because it is just a matter of time before the contacts wear down enough to the point that it will be hard to start or get to the point that it will not start.

    These are the steps I took to take the starter out:


    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    STEP ONE: Disconnect the battery
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    STEP TWO: [FONT=&quot]Jack
    the vehicle up and remove the driver’s side wheel. [/FONT]
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    It is possible to access and remove the starter without removing the wheel by going up under the bottom but I did not try this method.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    STEP THREE: Remove the rubber piece
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    This will give you direct access to the starter. Look through the wheel well and you will see it.

    [​IMG]

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    STEP FOUR: Disconnect the connectors
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Take a screwdriver and pop the plastic cover back so that you can access the nut.
    Take a ratchet and remove the nut.
    Take a pair of pliers or a screwdriver and disconnect the black connector.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    STEP FIVE: Remove the 2 bolts holding the starter in
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    The top bolt is a little tricky. I used a deep socket but a shallow socket would have worked better.
    Make sure you support the starter with your hand (so it will not fall) as you are loosening the bolts. The top bolt has a wire connected to it make sure you reconnect this wire when you are reinstalling the starter.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    STEP SIX: Remove the starter
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Maneuver the starter until you can get it out. I spun it around and went out the wheel well.
    It is probably possible to get it out underneath but I decided that taking it out the wheel well was easiest for me.

    [​IMG]

    Now would be a good time to change your fuel filter (if you are so inclined). It is directly behind the starter. Unfortunately I found the fuel filter to be a beast that I could not tame so I left it in there. It seems to be remarkably difficult to remove the starter on the 2.7 engine.

    At this point you can either replace the starter with a remanufactured starter (if you like to waste money)

    OR
    Follow the steps below to replace the internal parts that usually go bad.

    I purchased my internal parts for $35 from www.nationsstarteralternator.com and it starts like a champ!


    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    STEP SEVEN: Remove the three screws on the cover
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


    [​IMG]

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    STEP EIGHT: Remove the cover
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


    [​IMG]

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    STEP NINE: Remove the plunger (don’t lose the spring)
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


    [​IMG]

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    STEP TEN: remove and replace the contacts
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Take a socket and remove the nut on the outside of the starter holding the contact in. Install a new contact. Make sure you take note of the way they come out so you can put them back in the correct order.

    [​IMG]

    Take the rubber cover off and take a socket and remove the nut on the outside of the starter holding the second contact in. Install a new contact and tighten the nut up and put the rubber cover back on.

    [​IMG]


    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    STEP ELEVEN: replace the plunger and spring
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    STEP TWELVE: replace the cover and three screws
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    STEP THIRTEEN: reinstall the starter
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


    I decided to reinstall the starter by going underneath and sliding it to the left instead of through the wheel well. After a bunch of maneuvering I finally got it in place. There isn’t a whole lot of room to move it around so be patient. Just keep turning it around until you finally get it in place. Once back in place, reinstall the two bolts (don’t forget to attach the wire on the top one).


    [​IMG]

    Don’t forget to reconnect the battery (and put your wheel back on) before trying to start the vehicle.

    I could see someone get excited to see how well the vehicle starts and then get po'd because it didn’t start only to realize they forgot to reconnect the battery.:D
     
  2. Sep 17, 2011 at 6:57 PM
    #2
    trdracing5

    trdracing5 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I had so much fun with this project that I decided to go ahead and install my Bilsteins and OME coils while I had the wheel off. Later I cleaned my throttle body. Man it was a good day!
     
  3. Sep 17, 2011 at 11:38 PM
    #3
    UndefinedTaco

    UndefinedTaco I'll eat all your food.

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    It's an 89 Toyota Pickup. I got some stuff done to it.. FJ axles going under it soon.
    Good writeup..never seen one really. Ive known about this for 2 years now but alot of people dont know about this..i was actually talking about it to some people at a TW mod day today. Ive rebuilt like 5 of them on various trucks. I find the contacts and plunger at a local parts house for 18 bucks.


    :)
     
  4. Sep 18, 2011 at 5:41 AM
    #4
    trdracing5

    trdracing5 [OP] Well-Known Member

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  5. Sep 19, 2011 at 6:27 PM
    #5
    wolfgang123

    wolfgang123 Well-Known Member

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    this needs to be stickyed
     
  6. Sep 20, 2011 at 4:26 AM
    #6
    trdracing5

    trdracing5 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I thought so myself but was waiting for someone else to make the recommendation!:D
     
  7. Oct 15, 2011 at 3:00 PM
    #7
    wolfgang123

    wolfgang123 Well-Known Member

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    I cant seem to find just the plunger online does anyone know where to look?
     
  8. Oct 15, 2011 at 4:43 PM
    #8
    trdracing5

    trdracing5 [OP] Well-Known Member

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  9. Nov 2, 2011 at 7:26 AM
    #9
    homer96

    homer96 Well-Known Member

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    Hella 500s, AFE pro dry, Pioneer head unit and Polk audio 650 speakers,
    Can I get these parts from an autoparts store? I need to do this asap because my truck wont start at all and I don't want to roll start it until the parts come in. lol
     
  10. Nov 2, 2011 at 9:27 AM
    #10
    wolfgang123

    wolfgang123 Well-Known Member

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    yes autozone, pepboys etc...
     
  11. Nov 2, 2011 at 9:59 AM
    #11
    trdracing5

    trdracing5 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I could never find them at the local auto parts stores that is why I ordered them.
     
  12. Nov 2, 2011 at 2:46 PM
    #12
    newertoy

    newertoy Well-Known Member

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    2" lift AAL and Bilstiens-front-rear,front diff drop. main drive drop
    Any "starter & alternator" repair shop will have parts--In the phone book--save the shipping charges--sometimes shpping is as much as the part!!!!
    Got mine for less than $10.
     
  13. Dec 12, 2011 at 1:42 AM
    #13
    Furchizedek

    Furchizedek New Member

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    Thanks VERY MUCH for posting this "walkthrough" for getting the starter out. I'm not exactly a buff...

    buff
    n. Informal
    One who is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about a subject: a Civil War buff.

    ...and this is going to be a huge help for me to get this done. I have a 2000 Toyota Tacoma 4x4, 2.7, manual, extracab that I bought new at Bitterroot Motors in Missoula, Montana in November of 1999. It's got 70k on it. It's been a flawless vehicle, up until a few weeks ago when it started "clicking." The battery was 5 and a half years old so I thought that was it right away. Got a new one and it seemed to solve the problem for a week or two until the weather got colder when it started clicking again. Then I cleaned and wire brushed the battery cables and posts and it worked better for a few days, but I think I just got lucky. Now it will hardly start at all, it mostly clicks. So I'm sure it's the solenoid. I wouldn't have had a clue how to get the starter off without this information. Thanks again. Now I'll get the parts and see if I can get the job done.
     
  14. Mar 4, 2012 at 5:58 PM
    #14
    99prerunnertrd

    99prerunnertrd New Member

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    Great write up... without it I probably would have taken it to the shop. I order the parts online and was able to remove, rebuilt and reinstall the starter in about 4 hours on my 1999 Tacoma Prerunner V6 2WD. I was able to drop and install the starter out through the bottom pretty easily. The hardest thing was removing the two 14mm bolts holding the starter. It was stuck on and needed penetrating oil to loosen the bolts. I used a deep 14mm socket, swivel and a long extension and wrench. I taped to the socket and swivel to prevent it from swiveling too much.

    I waited about 3 months before the first click of the starter, before finally repairing it.

    Starts everytime now.
     
  15. Mar 4, 2012 at 8:01 PM
    #15
    trdracing5

    trdracing5 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Glad the write up could help yet another member!:D
     
  16. Jul 26, 2012 at 11:56 AM
    #16
    thesherv

    thesherv Well-Known Member

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    I drowned my starter in mud so I have to hit my starter with a hammer for it to start the last couple days. I'll be doing this asap!
     
  17. Aug 19, 2012 at 2:36 PM
    #17
    Basil Fawlty

    Basil Fawlty Member

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    Many thanks for the very useful and empowering info here. Things went mostly as described on my rig, with these differences:

    1. Removal and re-installation through the wheel well required one minor additional step. Apparently my brake lines were mounted a little further forward, so I had to loosen a mounting bolt. The lines then had enough flex to bend out of the way.

    2. The second image (which is looking upward) shows that the wire held by one of the starter's two mounting bolt was, on my rig, held by the lower bolt (easy to deal with and almost impossible to forget). This image also shows the only wrench I could get onto the upper bolt, but all that dark space above made plenty of room for tightening it.

    3. I followed advice in the repair manual for ensuring the contacts remain flush with the contact plate while tightening the terminal nuts. First, I cut a block of maple 20x37x40 mm with the grain running lengthwise. Then I replaced both contacts but only finger tightened their nuts. Then I held both contacts flat to the plate with the 20x37 mm end of my block and clamped the assembly to a table saw wing. I reckon my clamp applied more than the specified force of 221 lbf, while I tightened the nuts.

    4. I broke two things: a) One of the clips that hold the rubber shield in the wheel well. Replaced that with a WEE PAK #99-2140 plastic screw nail, which worked fine. b) What I take to be a rubber extension nipple for a weep hole in the starter housing. The end of the nipple has a plastic fork inside that clips into the hole in the housing; one of the two tines of that fork broke, so it won't stay clipped. :( Anyone know where to get one of those?

    Thanks again!

    loosened.jpg
    wrench.jpg
     
  18. Aug 19, 2012 at 8:11 PM
    #18
    trdracing5

    trdracing5 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Glad my write up helped yet another member.
     
  19. Aug 20, 2012 at 4:30 PM
    #19
    Basil Fawlty

    Basil Fawlty Member

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    To answer my own question, you get one of those nipples (or covers, boots, etc) at your local starter and alternator rebuild shop. The one here charged me $0.00 for the new style, with no plastic fork to break, it just stuffs into the hole. Better design IMHO.

    new vs old style nipple.jpg
     
  20. Feb 2, 2013 at 5:43 PM
    #20
    dartmane

    dartmane New Member

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    February 2, 2013
    Ok so here’s what I found when doing the starter on 2000 Tacoma, with the 2.7 liter engine.
    Find the picture right below Step 6,
    I could NOT get the starter out, not at all.
    Yes loosened the brake line bracket, but NOPE, still no go on removal.
    BUT…..it came out just far enough to be able to replace the contacts while in place.
    I was able to move it just forward enough to be able to access both sides of the contacts and replace them.
    And I’ll say I found this much easier than trying to remove the starter.
    It was a no go on taking it out via the wheel well, and there was NO way it would go back into place from the bottom up.

    So as you see in step 6 you can pull the starter out just enough to be able to access all three of the small screws holding the cover and both contact bolts.
    Also there was NO WIRE on the top starter bolt or the bottom for that matter.

    I did have to go to my local Toyota dealer for my contacts as I had to do my starter, the Saturday before Super Bowl 47 and well as you can guess, the contacts were 300% more than anywhere else, so they nicked me for $37.95 (NO PLUNGER, JUST CONTACTS)
    But they did have them and none of my local parts stores did, here in the Seattle area.
    And all of these steps provided here, were of great help, great help. Just no removal on my end but it can be done through the wheel well.

    It starts GREAT now.

    AND YES, THE FUEL FILTER IS A MAJOR B!$*&. But it had to be done at 125000 on my rig and it was so clogged it wasn’t funny. Ah the purity of gas in our time.
    Anyway hope this helps those with the 2000 Tacoma, with the 2.7 liter engine.
    Good luck and keep the faith.
     
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