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won't start: battery okay, one loud click

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by lindsey, Nov 21, 2010.

  1. Nov 21, 2010 at 6:04 PM
    #1
    lindsey

    lindsey [OP] Member

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    My 97 tacoma won't start. When I turn the key all that happens is one loud click, not lots of fast clicking, but the engine doesn't turn over. I put a meter on the battery yesterday and it seems to be fine, the alternator is charging alright. The truck seems to start just fine in the morning, and if it's been driven for a long period of time it will start up just fine once turned off, but if you drive for five-ten minutes then wait a half-hour it won't start. Sometimes if you wait a minute it will start and then when it does, the starter motor seems to crank at an acceptable speed, which leads me to believe that the problem isn't the battery. Sometimes using the "clutch-start cancel" button will make it work but not always, and sometimes it won't start in neutral even with my foot on the clutch, but when you shift to first it fires up, but not every time, sometimes your just SOL. I'm wondering if it is a problem with the starter motor, or if the switch that prevents you from starting it without your foot on the clutch. Any ideas? I'm gonna take it to a shop in the morning, but I was just wondering if anyone has seen something like this before? Thanks for your help,
    Lindsey
     
  2. Nov 21, 2010 at 6:09 PM
    #2
    Siebler

    Siebler Duck Killing Machine

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    Its your starter. If it clicks on you and you smack it a few times it will usually work again. But personally id just avoid the hassle and wither rebuild it or get a new one. Install is super easy.
     
  3. Nov 21, 2010 at 6:11 PM
    #3
    lindsey

    lindsey [OP] Member

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    how do you know it's the starter? I'm just wondering how to diagnose this kind of thing.
     
  4. Nov 21, 2010 at 6:11 PM
    #4
    NelsonTacoma

    NelsonTacoma This is my derpawayinator!!!!!

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    x2

    My dad's 95 Tacoma had this problem until he replaced the starter with an OEM unit.
     
  5. Nov 21, 2010 at 6:11 PM
    #5
    Yoytoda

    Yoytoda The Little Truck That Could

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    starter solenoid more likely...

    its engaging but not connecting the contactors...
     
  6. Nov 21, 2010 at 6:12 PM
    #6
    NelsonTacoma

    NelsonTacoma This is my derpawayinator!!!!!

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    When the problem occurs, hit the starter soleniod with a hammer while someone holds the key in the start position and see if it goes.

    Good old American tap test diagnostic. Works 60% of the time everytime.
     
  7. Nov 21, 2010 at 6:12 PM
    #7
    jivewalker

    jivewalker me gusta pechos firmes

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    Make sure neg battery cable is tight.
     
  8. Nov 21, 2010 at 6:14 PM
    #8
    Yoytoda

    Yoytoda The Little Truck That Could

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxjPpytfnv0

    heres a good vid of how a starter works and how you can fix them yourself...it is really rare the starter motor goes bad... more likely solenoid or possibly brushes
     
  9. Nov 21, 2010 at 6:16 PM
    #9
    lindsey

    lindsey [OP] Member

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    will replacing the starter take care of the solenoid, or is that a separate unit, same question for banging it, do I bang the starter, or the solenoid if they are separate, and if they are separate, where are they located?
     
  10. Nov 21, 2010 at 6:16 PM
    #10
    Siebler

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    Experience tells me what I told you. Just like I said and the other guys said. Tap it and see if it works. If so then that is the problem. If it was something with the clutch im pretty sure that the starter would get no juice and there would be no "Click".

    Starters on the 4 bangers are on the Drivers side and visible through the wheel well (or at least mine was but I dont have all the fender stuff stock trucks have). Everything is one piece, just smack what you can touch (sometimes its kinda tight to get in there).

    Replacing the starter will take care of it. Its a simple job, just a few bolts and a plug. I just replaced it with a rebuilt one from Autozone as they come with a lifetime warranty. I just find that having this warranty and doing a quick swap is easier than rebuilding the starter when it goes out.
     
  11. Nov 21, 2010 at 6:19 PM
    #11
    joes06tacoma

    joes06tacoma Well-Known Member

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    It's very common for the starter's solenoid contacts to wear out in Toyotas. Often, you can replace the contacts only and have a functioning starter again.

    As for how to diagnose it:

    have a buddy hold the key in the start position while you use a voltmeter or test light to check for power at the starter. The big battery cable should be hot all the time, the small wire is from the key (or possibly a relay), that wire should be hot when the key is held to start with the clutch pressed in. If all this checks out and the engine block is grounded securely to the battery, the engine should rotate and then start. If not, suspect those contacts inside the starter.

    If you don't have power going to the small wire, you might be hearing a relay clicking somewhere. That would indicate a wiring issue or a relay that's worn out. But the majority of these trucks with this symptom need a starter or new starter solenoid contacts.
     
  12. Nov 21, 2010 at 6:19 PM
    #12
    NelsonTacoma

    NelsonTacoma This is my derpawayinator!!!!!

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    The solenoid is part of the starter. The starter is on the side of the engine near where the engine and transmission mount together. It has 2 cylinders, 1 is large (motor) 1 is small (solenoid).

    Also, the tap test is not 100% accurate. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't.
     
  13. Nov 21, 2010 at 6:23 PM
    #13
    TacoBow

    TacoBow Intentionally cosmetically incorrect.

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    ^^ x 2
     
  14. Nov 21, 2010 at 6:25 PM
    #14
    Yoytoda

    Yoytoda The Little Truck That Could

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    maybe... because a solenoid when actuated crosses two contacts... so tapping on the starter/solenoid and it works can be one of two things.

    1. create a contact between the "points" and the motor will work- bad solenoid

    2. tapping can cause the starter to work again because the "brushes" are worn and need replacing- bad brushes

    starters are easily rebuildable... many times replacing the starter assembly fixes the issue because when replacing a starter assembly the solenoid (which is the problem 75-80% of the time) gets replaced as well...
     
  15. Nov 21, 2010 at 6:41 PM
    #15
    lindsey

    lindsey [OP] Member

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    thanks for all your help. just went out and turned the key, loud click, no turn. then i whacked the starter with a hammer turned the key and it fired right up. i'll replace it in the morning. thanks for all your very prompt help. i also work on my 83 tercel 4wd and the forum for that car is nowhere near as helpful as this one. and hey, one more question, if I should post this elsewhere let me know, but I thought you could help while since I seem to have everyone's attention. I am looking on craigslist for a used cap/canopy and I'm wondering if one that fits a 90s toyota truck fits a tacoma alright? I know the cab angle is wrong, but i'm having a hard time finding a tacoma specific one and I'm wondering if a 90s tuck canopy or any other models would seal alright even if it looks a little funny? thanks again for all the great help
     
  16. Nov 21, 2010 at 6:54 PM
    #16
    NelsonTacoma

    NelsonTacoma This is my derpawayinator!!!!!

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    That is a good question. I don't think the beds are the same dimensions so it probably wouldn't work. Don't know for sure though. But if you want more answers, I would start a new thread. I'm sure someone on here knows.
     
  17. Nov 21, 2010 at 7:07 PM
    #17
    toyotatacomaTRD

    toyotatacomaTRD Senior Member

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    I replaced the starter in my 1st gen... I put a generic starter in. Something that drove me absolutely crazy is the fact that it didn't "sound" like a Toyota when I started it. I never did price out the Toyota starter, but if that is something that may bother you I suggest you look into it. The generic starter never failed, but my truck sounded like a tank when it started up..
     
  18. Nov 21, 2010 at 8:25 PM
    #18
    skytower

    skytower Well-Known Member

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    Hitch and wiring, aux back-up light, rear strobe lights, radio and underseat sub.
    Make sure your battery cables are not corroded. That will cause it too.
    Since the hammer worked... it's most likely the starter. I just like to cover all the bases.
     
  19. Nov 21, 2010 at 8:29 PM
    #19
    mountainprimat2

    mountainprimat2 Well-Known Member

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    Starter, my old 95 4Runner did the same thing
     
  20. Dec 13, 2010 at 7:55 PM
    #20
    TRDNinetyNiner

    TRDNinetyNiner Active Member

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    I'm having similar problem with my '99 PreRunner.

    The starter clicks but would not crank the engine. Battery is okay. I turn the key to start several times until the starter engages. But this morning, the starter did not stop cranking the engine even after the motor is running. I turn off the engine and took the key out and the starter still going. I had to disconnect one battery cable to stop the starter.

    It sounded a solenoid and starter problem. I can tell because My Dad's '83 Corolla had similar problem. I'm saving up to have the starter replaced and might as well replace the timing belt too. There goes my christmas shopping money..
     
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