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Starter motor intermittent failure, one more time please?

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by Caslon, Apr 6, 2020.

  1. Apr 6, 2020 at 9:55 PM
    #1
    Caslon

    Caslon [OP] 2003 Basic Cab

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    2003 Toyota 5 speed manual base cab, 2.4L. 96K miles. I posted awhile back about this. Not being able to afford a new starter motor at this time I posted the symptoms to keep the fix a cheap one. I replaced the battery (not likely the cause) and recently the clutch safety switch (only $35). I thought I had it licked. Last night it happened again! Turn the key, nothing (no clicking noise). Again, I pumped the clutch pedal a few times and the starter motor turned over. My final question is...why does pumping the clutch pedal a few times make it work? I already replaced the clutch safety switch!!! Weird if you ask me. Please leave out bad contact wires and the such because pumping the clutch wouldn't affect making it work. Bad fuse starter relay? Not likely since pumping the clutch to get to crank wouldn't affect a bad starter relay fuse. Pumping the clutch a few times (forgot if it was in gear or neutral). What is the correlation here? A newly bought bad $35 clutch safety switch? Possible. I took apart the old clutch safety switch and noticed it was gunked up a little with black grease. They DO make grease that is conductive. Maybe all clutch safety switches have a little conductive grease inside? Try another new clutch safety switch? Maybe this new one is faulty. Not outside the realm of possibilities. I appreciate any replies, but PLEASE respond keeping MY truck's specs in mind, not yours. I don't have DIY means either (removing the starter, etc).

    Signed: Mystified.

    PS. Since I wanna just get going outta the parking lot, I try and get it going right away. Next time I may just wait 5 minutes. See what happens. (Weather conditions are ideal and I wasn't driving a long while.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2020
  2. Apr 6, 2020 at 10:57 PM
    #2
    Chako

    Chako Well-Known Member

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    Is there a clutch start cancel button. Try that, it will tell you if the clutch switch is broken.
     
  3. Apr 6, 2020 at 11:26 PM
    #3
    Caslon

    Caslon [OP] 2003 Basic Cab

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    Like I said, lol...it's a no frills "base model 2003". A truck like mine wouldn't have such an option. 2003 Pre-runners and the like may have had that. Also, I can't help but think that not many new clutch safety switches are bad from the factory. It's a relatively simple device.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2020
  4. Apr 7, 2020 at 4:15 AM
    #4
    six5crèéd

    six5crèéd NO artificial flavors

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    Where did you get the new clutch safety switch from?
     
  5. Apr 7, 2020 at 4:40 AM
    #5
    POS VETT

    POS VETT Well-Known Member

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    The switch could be bypassed to test if it was bad
     
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  6. Apr 7, 2020 at 5:15 AM
    #6
    Wyoming09

    Wyoming09 Well-Known Member

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    Those switches are a big pain!!

    Is it installed and adjusted correct so when the pedal is pushed it closes the switch?

    Pushing the pedal in a few times you at last get the pedal to close the switch and it cranks

    With my big Feet I have a problem getting the switch closed so they get removed .

    Growing up with out any things like this to me it is no big deal
     
  7. Apr 7, 2020 at 8:04 AM
    #7
    skeezix

    skeezix Well-Known Member

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    Over the years there has been a few write-ups concerning this. Maybe you could search for them?

    I had the same problem. Turn the key, no cigar. No click, no nuttin'. Then it would "catch" and start up just fine for several weeks. Then the same thing.

    I replaced the contacts in the starter solenoid housing and that solved the problem. See this video by Timmy the Toolman. Shows you everything you need to know when replacing the contacts!
     
  8. Apr 7, 2020 at 8:10 AM
    #8
    BillsSR5

    BillsSR5 Looking out for #1

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  9. Apr 9, 2020 at 12:53 AM
    #9
    Caslon

    Caslon [OP] 2003 Basic Cab

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    Pumping the clutch gets this very intermittent symptom resolved every time. I wonder how many newly bought clutch safety switches are faulty. As I said, I've seen this exact part everywhere. Made by Import Direct.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Apr 9, 2020 at 3:34 AM
    #10
    six5crèéd

    six5crèéd NO artificial flavors

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    With cheap parts, it happens. I put a new brake switch on my wife’s old car. It was bad out of the box. I can’t see paying dealer prices though :D
     
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  11. Apr 9, 2020 at 8:47 AM
    #11
    MountainPassing

    MountainPassing Well-Known Member

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    could be the switch your determined to think of or it really could be starter contacts.
    pumping the clutch might be just enuff wiggle to activate those contacts on the starter.
    try tapping starter with hammer next time and not pumping clutch.then you can rule starter out.
     
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  12. Apr 9, 2020 at 10:34 AM
    #12
    Wyoming09

    Wyoming09 Well-Known Member

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    If you can produce enough movement just pushing the clutch to jar the the solenoid contacts .

    Hydraulic clutch

    Never hit the brake pedal hard or kick the cat.
     
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  13. Apr 9, 2020 at 11:20 AM
    #13
    MountainPassing

    MountainPassing Well-Known Member

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    unrelated theory to intermittent starter operation because we are talking about a non-functional starter tapped to starting not a functional one tapped to failure, and there is a difference..obviously.

    i do suspect his switch but tapping a failing starter is a known fix.
    you dont need to bash it either ,a slight tap works to activate the mechanism free. I can totally see someone doing this by "pumping" the clutch with force.
    I weigh 230 pounds and when i get in the tacoma it it feels like the tin can that it is compared to my land cruiser..actually it is a little shocking how unsubstantial it is, tho im sure the thinness of the metal is designed well.

    Anyhoo just an idea i would look into personally tho i guess i did notice the op has no means to diy.
    I hope its the switch then.
     
  14. Apr 9, 2020 at 12:20 PM
    #14
    Caslon

    Caslon [OP] 2003 Basic Cab

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    First off, thanks for replies about the correlation between pumping the clutch and getting it going. I needed that answered as I'm trying to do the easiest things first (replacing clutch switch, new battery).

    I will try tapping around the starter and solenoid, with a broomstick I suppose. The problem happens at inopportune times, like in a parking lot at night, rainy, cold, just wanna get going. Therefore using a hammer is out.

    Here's the thing tho. DIY is out. Whatever work is needed will require a significant cost to get at and remove the starter for any repair.
    With the cost for that on a starter with 96K miles on it, and a new starter motor costing as much or less than the repair labor, it might be more cost effective to just buy a new starter.

    P.S. Anyone take apart their replaced clutch switch? I did. While it had some dark grease on the plunger, that may have been electrically conductive grease that turned darker over the years. Otherwise, without it, the two small contact arms scraping against the cylinder would gouge into the metal on the plunger cylinder over time. On top of that, the clutch switch is inside the cab protected from any kind of gunky buildup. I bet it was 846 Carbon Conductive Grease I saw.
     
  15. Apr 9, 2020 at 12:27 PM
    #15
    jbaker1976

    jbaker1976 It's always Taco Tuesday

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    I had a 1988 Nissan truck that drove me bonkers. I bought a remanufactured starter with a limited lifetime warranty. I could replace the starter in 8 minutes i had swapped it out so much. Then finally I determined the safety switch was the culprit. I replaced the switch at the bottom of the pedal and all was good for a while. Then it wouldn't start again and I found another switch at the top of the pedal. When I replaced the other switch I never had another problem. Is there more than one safety switch on the Toyota clutch pedals?

    You could buy a remote starter switch and use it next time it won't start. If the remote starter switch works then your starter is good and you don't have to pull the stater off to test it. Its worth 15 bucks not to have to pull a starter off.
    https://m.autozone.com/alarm-and-se...MI_u6Sk4vc6AIVlh6tBh2EKg81EAQYASABEgLKe_D_BwE
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
  16. Apr 9, 2020 at 12:36 PM
    #16
    Caslon

    Caslon [OP] 2003 Basic Cab

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    Not on this basic model 2003 Tacoma that I can see.
     
  17. Apr 9, 2020 at 12:38 PM
    #17
    jbaker1976

    jbaker1976 It's always Taco Tuesday

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    my Nissan was a basic model too. I edited my commit above to give you another idea.
     
  18. Apr 9, 2020 at 1:05 PM
    #18
    Caslon

    Caslon [OP] 2003 Basic Cab

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    Not sure I could reach the connector on the starter from above without raising the vehicle or crawling underneath it.
     
  19. Apr 9, 2020 at 1:25 PM
    #19
    jbaker1976

    jbaker1976 It's always Taco Tuesday

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    Remote starters have different length cords. The one I posted has a 6ft cord.
     
  20. Apr 9, 2020 at 4:09 PM
    #20
    Caslon

    Caslon [OP] 2003 Basic Cab

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    Now all I need are 6 foot arms to be able to reach down to connect it.
     

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