Won't Turn Over, But Solenoid Clicks - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
8th Generation (1998-2002) Specific discussion of the 8th generation

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#1 Old 05-06-2011, 10:06 AM
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Won't Turn Over, But Solenoid Clicks

I turn the ignition, lights come on, solenoid clicks, but the engine won't turn over. I have checked the recently rebuilt starter, the grounds, the battery for enough juice, the ignition switch and I just bought new spark plugs. I had the car running about a month ago, and it ran well. Not sure what I should inspect next to figure out this problem. Does anyone have any suggestions?
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#2 Old 05-06-2011, 10:37 AM
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Rebuilt starters from the auto parts stores are notorious for being bad. I once took back 3 starters until I got a good one.
How old is your battery? More than 5 years? You need a multi meter to check out your electrical system.

Last edited by sam333; 05-06-2011 at 10:42 AM.
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#3 Old 05-06-2011, 12:16 PM
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I had the same issue with my starter and repaired mine 2 weeks ago. Basically, in these Denso starters, the solenoid copper contacts get eaten away after 5-10 years and won't make a connection anymore. Mine starts like brand new now.

You can buy repair contacts off of Amazon, Dorman #02349 for about $20. You just need to replace the clean the debris out of the solenoid, replace the copper contacts. The hard part is just removing and reinstalling the starter, as Toyota buried it, requiring removal of the radiator hose, battery, and air box.

If you want to do it yourself, here's a video I found useful:

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#4 Old 05-06-2011, 02:39 PM
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Good video , thanks.
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#5 Old 05-09-2011, 01:38 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I had the starter rebuilt one year ago by a local shop specifically for starters. They have a good name. I took the starter out and had them check it, but they said everything was fine with it, and had it starting on the workbench. I put it back in the car and cleaned the ground and connections and tried using jumper cables to start it directly from the battery to the starter, but it didn't work. The battery is a month old, but the reading is 12.4v.
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#6 Old 05-09-2011, 01:43 PM
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It was actually a buddy that used to work for toyota who came and used the jumpers to try and get the starter going. Anyways, since then, Ive tried new spark plugs and a new ignition switch. Not sure what else. It still just clicks and lights come on.
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#7 Old 05-09-2011, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdq View Post
The hard part is just removing and reinstalling the starter, as Toyota buried it, requiring removal of the radiator hose, battery, and air box.
You sure you're talking about an 8th gen? I know the 7th gen's required removal of some parts but for the 8th gen (well, mine anyway) I just need to pull off the splash guard. It's a tight fit but I don't need to take off the radiator hoses.

The battery is hardly in the way of the starter though --it definitely does not need to get pulled to take out the starter. Not unless you're trying to remove from the top.

Anyway, that clicking is usually a dead battery. It may be reading a normal voltage but the second you put it under load it's got nothing. Take it to a local auto parts store and have them test it. At the very least you'll know if the battery is good or not. To me that clicking is the tell-tale sign of a bad battery. Changing spark plugs won't do anything if the engine isn't turning over.

- Leeor


Last edited by leeor_net; 05-09-2011 at 07:18 PM.
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#8 Old 05-09-2011, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
You sure you're talking about an 8th gen? I know the 7th gen's required removal of some parts but for the 8th gen (well, mine anyway) I just need to pull off the splash guard. It's a tight fit but I don't need to take off the radiator hoses.

Also, our cars don't have battery boxes unless you consider the tray to also be a box (not unheard of). It's hardly in the way of the starter though -- the battery definitely does not need to get pulled to take out the starter. Not unless you're trying to remove from the top.
Yeah, I removed mine (99) from the top. Maybe it's easier from the bottom, but locating the starter bolts was virtually impossible without removing the battery, and it was much easier to wiggle out with the radiator hose and fan out of the way. Also, if you look above, I mentioned "air box", not battery box.
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#9 Old 05-09-2011, 07:24 PM
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Yep... I noticed after I submitted and changed it accordingly.

Yeah, I never tried removing the starter from the top on mine -- the intake manifold is in the way as is everything else. It's a lot easier to lift the car on jack stands and take it out from the bottom. Disconnect the electrical connector, pull out two bolts and it just drops out. No need to remove the battery, the air box or the hoses.

- Leeor

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#10 Old 05-09-2011, 07:28 PM
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If that works, I agree that's 10x easier.

Although it was a good time for me to flush the radiator fluid anyway, as it hadn't been changed in 100k miles ;-)
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#11 Old 05-10-2011, 01:02 AM
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I've unbolted the starter from the top, and replaced the contacts in the stater without removing it completely from it's hiding place, and bolted it back in. Sneaky huh? I woudn't recommend it for first timer's though, but not really hard to do.
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#12 Old 05-10-2011, 10:20 AM
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Yes, my car is a 1998, 8th generation.
The only thing I removed to take my starter out was the oil filter (I had to change it anyways). I sneaked around the battery from the top and unbolted and dropped the starter from the bottom. Anyways, starter is good. I might take the battery in to get checked, but if the volt meter reads good, what else will the shop do to check battery (1 month old)?. The car doesn't even start with a boost.
I'm looking at my manual. Could the problem be another electrical wire that has gone, or maybe the ignition module or distributor? I don't know much about these systems.
Thanks again.
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#13 Old 05-10-2011, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luminous View Post
The car doesn't even start with a boost.
I'm looking at my manual. Could the problem be another electrical wire that has gone, or maybe the ignition module or distributor? I don't know much about these systems.
Thanks again.
In the first post you said that the solenoind clicks ,but it wont turn over.

When you turn the key and hold it ,does it click repeatedly( click -click- click) until you release the key? If it does you probably have a bad battery or connection.

Or does it click once, and no starter turning as you hold the key in the start position? Probably bad contacts ( the video)and no power getting to the starter motor.

Or your battery , starter, connections are fine and there is something mechanicaly wrong with the engine( engine is frozen or has to high a resistance to turning).



Try turning the engine over by hand ( turn crank bolt ) to make sure its not an engine mechanical problem.

In your last post you say the car wont even start with a boost . Do you mean start( engine running), or wont turn over( starter not turning engine)?

The terms " cranking " and "turning over" say that the starter is working and the engine is turning , but not starting, "Starting and runninng mean the engine is actually running.

Not trying to be a smart ass ,but the distinction has to be made to tell whats really happening.

If you have, or can borrow a multimeter that has a clamp on ampmeter that will help figure out the problem. Just clamp it on the cable from battery to the starter and have someone watch it while you turn the key. If you have a high current draw and the starter will not turn ,then the starter is bad/ binding or your engine is frozen. You can also feel the cable with your hand after trying to start it , if its hot then its passing alot of current.

Last edited by sam333; 05-10-2011 at 04:08 PM.
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#14 Old 05-10-2011, 05:17 PM
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I turn the key and hold and it clicks once then hums and does a faint bark (seriously thats what it sounds like).
I will have to check the contacts on the starter again, but I recently cleaned them when I took it out (I cleaned battery terminals, and other contacts).
I am going to try to turn over the engine manually.

When I try to boost the car, it just clicks like it always does. No start, no turn over.
I have a multimeter, so I will try to check the amps going to the starter.

Thanks again.
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#15 Old 05-10-2011, 05:23 PM
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A single click followed by no crank sound is almost surely contact-related.

Note that you can't just clean the contacts. When they wear down, the copper physically gets vaporized from the contact, and they need to be replaced.
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