'89 Corolla strange starting problem (?ignition ?starter) - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
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#1 Old 03-23-2005, 07:43 PM
jyang1@caregroup.harvard.edu
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'89 Corolla strange starting problem (?ignition ?starter)

Hi,
I have a carbureted '89 Corolla 4A-F with 138k miles. The car's in
great condition, runs great, and is meticulously maintained.

During this winter, maybe 20% of the time on some cold days (below
40F), when I turn the key to start the car, nothing happens (e.g,. as
if the battery were dead). Sometimes I hear the beginning of a crank
and then nothing happens. The next time I turn the key, the car always
starts strong and starts immediately. Humidity has no effect. This
never happens if the engine is warm.

The battery is strong-- the car's lights are always bright-- I've
tested the voltage multiple times and it's always good-- I replaced the
battery with a new one last month anyways. No difference, as I
expected. The battery connections also look good.

Spark plugs are 20k miles old; distributor cap/spark plug wires were
replaced 40k miles ago (OEM parts); starter is original.

I guess that something in the ignition system needs to be replaced, but
how do I diagnose the problem so that I know what to replace?

Thanks,
John

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#2 Old 03-23-2005, 08:40 PM
Gordo
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Re: '89 Corolla strange starting problem (?ignition ?starter)


<jyang1@caregroup.harvard.edu> wrote in message
news:1111625007.500918.264020@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...[color=blue]
> Hi,
> I have a carbureted '89 Corolla 4A-F with 138k miles. The car's in
> great condition, runs great, and is meticulously maintained.
>
> During this winter, maybe 20% of the time on some cold days (below
> 40F), when I turn the key to start the car, nothing happens (e.g,. as
> if the battery were dead). Sometimes I hear the beginning of a crank
> and then nothing happens. The next time I turn the key, the car always
> starts strong and starts immediately. Humidity has no effect. This
> never happens if the engine is warm.
>
> The battery is strong-- the car's lights are always bright-- I've
> tested the voltage multiple times and it's always good-- I replaced the
> battery with a new one last month anyways. No difference, as I
> expected. The battery connections also look good.
>
> Spark plugs are 20k miles old; distributor cap/spark plug wires were
> replaced 40k miles ago (OEM parts); starter is original.
>
> I guess that something in the ignition system needs to be replaced, but
> how do I diagnose the problem so that I know what to replace?
>
> Thanks,
> John
>[/color]

I will be watching this thread with interest. My '78 has the same symptoms.
I replaced the starter, battery and both neg and pos cables. I cleaned out
the neutral safety switch on the tranny. I suspect the ignition switch as
well, but will watch for advice from posters. John, next time it does this,
try boosting it and post results. For some reason mine fires up, but it
could be that I get the switch just right, or the moons are aligned right or
some other wierd reason. I do hear the selenoid click on mine, but it
doesn't turn over.

Gordo


#3 Old 03-23-2005, 09:08 PM
tomcas
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Re: '89 Corolla strange starting problem (?ignition ?starter)

[email]jyang1@caregroup.harvard.edu[/email] wrote:[color=blue]
> Hi,
> I have a carbureted '89 Corolla 4A-F with 138k miles. The car's in
> great condition, runs great, and is meticulously maintained.
>
> During this winter, maybe 20% of the time on some cold days (below
> 40F), when I turn the key to start the car, nothing happens (e.g,. as
> if the battery were dead). Sometimes I hear the beginning of a crank
> and then nothing happens. The next time I turn the key, the car always
> starts strong and starts immediately. Humidity has no effect. This
> never happens if the engine is warm.
>
> The battery is strong-- the car's lights are always bright-- I've
> tested the voltage multiple times and it's always good-- I replaced the
> battery with a new one last month anyways. No difference, as I
> expected. The battery connections also look good.
>
> Spark plugs are 20k miles old; distributor cap/spark plug wires were
> replaced 40k miles ago (OEM parts); starter is original.
>
> I guess that something in the ignition system needs to be replaced, but
> how do I diagnose the problem so that I know what to replace?
>
> Thanks,
> John
>[/color]
Next time this happens have someone turn the key while you whack the
starter with a hammer. It seems like the starter contacts are worn.
#4 Old 03-23-2005, 09:31 PM
Ray O
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Re: '89 Corolla strange starting problem (?ignition ?starter)

<jyang1@caregroup.harvard.edu> wrote in message
news:1111625007.500918.264020@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...[color=blue]
> Hi,
> I have a carbureted '89 Corolla 4A-F with 138k miles. The car's in
> great condition, runs great, and is meticulously maintained.
>
> During this winter, maybe 20% of the time on some cold days (below
> 40F), when I turn the key to start the car, nothing happens (e.g,. as
> if the battery were dead). Sometimes I hear the beginning of a crank
> and then nothing happens. The next time I turn the key, the car always
> starts strong and starts immediately. Humidity has no effect. This
> never happens if the engine is warm.
>
> The battery is strong-- the car's lights are always bright-- I've
> tested the voltage multiple times and it's always good-- I replaced the
> battery with a new one last month anyways. No difference, as I
> expected. The battery connections also look good.
>
> Spark plugs are 20k miles old; distributor cap/spark plug wires were
> replaced 40k miles ago (OEM parts); starter is original.
>
> I guess that something in the ignition system needs to be replaced, but
> how do I diagnose the problem so that I know what to replace?
>
> Thanks,
> John[/color]

Check for worn starter contacts. If you shop around, you may be able to
find a kit.
--
Ray O
correct the return address punctuation to reply


#5 Old 03-23-2005, 10:23 PM
Gordo
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Re: '89 Corolla strange starting problem (?ignition ?starter)

> >snip>> John[color=blue]
>
> Check for worn starter contacts. If you shop around, you may be able to
> find a kit.
> --
> Ray O
> correct the return address punctuation to reply
>
>[/color]

Would the extra juice from an extra battery overcome bad contacts? A local
shop was supposed to replace the contacts, but I am second guessing the work
now. My click-click-click from the starter does sound like bad contacts,
doesn't it?


#6 Old 03-23-2005, 10:25 PM
Scott in Florida
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Re: '89 Corolla strange starting problem (?ignition ?starter)

On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 03:23:13 GMT, "Gordo" <woodbug1@hotmail.com>
wrote:
[color=blue][color=green][color=darkred]
>> >snip>> John[/color]
>>
>> Check for worn starter contacts. If you shop around, you may be able to
>> find a kit.
>> --
>> Ray O
>> correct the return address punctuation to reply
>>
>>[/color]
>
>Would the extra juice from an extra battery overcome bad contacts? A local
>shop was supposed to replace the contacts, but I am second guessing the work
>now. My click-click-click from the starter does sound like bad contacts,
>doesn't it?
>[/color]

That sure was the problem on my '92 Corolla...


--
Scott in Florida
#7 Old 03-23-2005, 11:17 PM
Ray O
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Re: '89 Corolla strange starting problem (?ignition ?starter)

"Gordo" <woodbug1@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:Boq0e.763276$Xk.412112@pd7tw3no...[color=blue][color=green][color=darkred]
>> >snip>> John[/color]
>>
>> Check for worn starter contacts. If you shop around, you may be able to
>> find a kit.
>> --
>> Ray O
>> correct the return address punctuation to reply
>>
>>[/color]
>
> Would the extra juice from an extra battery overcome bad contacts? A
> local
> shop was supposed to replace the contacts, but I am second guessing the
> work
> now. My click-click-click from the starter does sound like bad contacts,
> doesn't it?
>[/color]
Yes, extra juice from a jump can overcome marginal contacts. Other things
can cause the clicking noise so the contacts should be checked before just
going ahead and changing them out.
--
Ray O
correct the return address punctuation to reply


#8 Old 03-24-2005, 06:39 AM
tomcas
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Re: '89 Corolla strange starting problem (?ignition ?starter)

Gordo wrote:[color=blue][color=green][color=darkred]
>>>snip>> John[/color]
>>
>>Check for worn starter contacts. If you shop around, you may be able to
>>find a kit.
>>--
>>Ray O
>>correct the return address punctuation to reply
>>
>>[/color]
>
>
> Would the extra juice from an extra battery overcome bad contacts?[/color]
No.
A local[color=blue]
> shop was supposed to replace the contacts, but I am second guessing the work
> now. My click-click-click from the starter does sound like bad contacts,
> doesn't it?
>
>[/color]
#9 Old 03-24-2005, 03:42 PM
jyang1@caregroup.harvard.edu
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Re: '89 Corolla strange starting problem (?ignition ?starter)

Hey Gordo,
I have a portable jump starter, but the car always starts immediately
on 2nd turn of the key, and the battery's voltage is good, so I suspect
it's not a voltage issue. If it were to not start on the 2nd try, then
I'd boost it, though suspect it wouldn't help, since the lights/etc are
bright and the voltage is good.

--John[color=blue][color=green]
> >
> > During this winter, maybe 20% of the time on some cold days (below
> > 40F), when I turn the key to start the car, nothing happens (e.g,.[/color][/color]
as[color=blue][color=green]
> > if the battery were dead). Sometimes I hear the beginning of a[/color][/color]
crank[color=blue][color=green]
> > and then nothing happens. The next time I turn the key, the car[/color][/color]
always[color=blue][color=green]
> > starts strong and starts immediately. Humidity has no effect.[/color][/color]
This[color=blue][color=green]
> > never happens if the engine is warm.
> >
> > The battery is strong-- the car's lights are always bright-- >[/color]
> I will be watching this thread with interest. My '78 has the same[/color]
symptoms.[color=blue]
> I replaced the starter, battery and both neg and pos cables. I[/color]
cleaned out[color=blue]
> the neutral safety switch on the tranny. I suspect the ignition[/color]
switch as[color=blue]
> well, but will watch for advice from posters. John, next time it[/color]
does this,[color=blue]
> try boosting it and post results. For some reason mine fires up, but[/color]
it[color=blue]
> could be that I get the switch just right, or the moons are aligned[/color]
right or[color=blue]
> some other wierd reason. I do hear the selenoid click on mine, but[/color]
it[color=blue]
> doesn't turn over.
>
> Gordo[/color]

#10 Old 03-24-2005, 04:25 PM
Gordo
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Re: '89 Corolla strange starting problem (?ignition ?starter)

Strange, eh? Mine won't start on the second try. Sometimes has to sit for
a bit, then it runs fine for another month, when it decides to not start
again. This is almost leading into a temperamental wife/husband story, but
that is best left alone ;)

Does your starter click? Mine does, so I think the switch is OK, unless
there is a second contact in the switch that is bad.

You could always move south?

Gordo
<jyang1@caregroup.harvard.edu> wrote in message
news:1111696965.094940.186850@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...[color=blue]
> Hey Gordo,
> I have a portable jump starter, but the car always starts immediately
> on 2nd turn of the key, and the battery's voltage is good, so I suspect
> it's not a voltage issue. If it were to not start on the 2nd try, then
> I'd boost it, though suspect it wouldn't help, since the lights/etc are
> bright and the voltage is good.
>
> --John[color=green][color=darkred]
> > >
> > > During this winter, maybe 20% of the time on some cold days (below
> > > 40F), when I turn the key to start the car, nothing happens (e.g,.[/color][/color]
> as[color=green][color=darkred]
> > > if the battery were dead). Sometimes I hear the beginning of a[/color][/color]
> crank[color=green][color=darkred]
> > > and then nothing happens. The next time I turn the key, the car[/color][/color]
> always[color=green][color=darkred]
> > > starts strong and starts immediately. Humidity has no effect.[/color][/color]
> This[color=green][color=darkred]
> > > never happens if the engine is warm.
> > >
> > > The battery is strong-- the car's lights are always bright-- >[/color]
> > I will be watching this thread with interest. My '78 has the same[/color]
> symptoms.[color=green]
> > I replaced the starter, battery and both neg and pos cables. I[/color]
> cleaned out[color=green]
> > the neutral safety switch on the tranny. I suspect the ignition[/color]
> switch as[color=green]
> > well, but will watch for advice from posters. John, next time it[/color]
> does this,[color=green]
> > try boosting it and post results. For some reason mine fires up, but[/color]
> it[color=green]
> > could be that I get the switch just right, or the moons are aligned[/color]
> right or[color=green]
> > some other wierd reason. I do hear the selenoid click on mine, but[/color]
> it[color=green]
> > doesn't turn over.
> >
> > Gordo[/color]
>[/color]


#11 Old 03-24-2005, 05:16 PM
kgold
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Re: '89 Corolla strange starting problem (?ignition ?starter)

[email]jyang1@caregroup.harvard.edu[/email] writes:[color=blue]
> Hi,
> I have a carbureted '89 Corolla 4A-F with 138k miles. The car's in
> great condition, runs great, and is meticulously maintained.
>
> During this winter, maybe 20% of the time on some cold days (below
> 40F), when I turn the key to start the car, nothing happens (e.g,. as
> if the battery were dead). Sometimes I hear the beginning of a crank
> and then nothing happens. The next time I turn the key, the car always
> starts strong and starts immediately. Humidity has no effect. This
> never happens if the engine is warm.
>
> The battery is strong-- the car's lights are always bright-- I've
> tested the voltage multiple times and it's always good-- I replaced the
> battery with a new one last month anyways. No difference, as I
> expected. The battery connections also look good.
>
> Spark plugs are 20k miles old; distributor cap/spark plug wires were
> replaced 40k miles ago (OEM parts); starter is original.
>
> I guess that something in the ignition system needs to be replaced, but
> how do I diagnose the problem so that I know what to replace?[/color]

If nothing happens (no crank) I can't imagine it would be the ignition
system. This sounds like a failing (original) starter to me.

--
Ken Goldman [email]kgold@watson.ibm.com[/email] 914-784-7646
#12 Old 03-24-2005, 07:00 PM
radarguy1@earthlink.net
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Re: '89 Corolla strange starting problem (?ignition ?starter)

I agree with those that suggest the solenoid contacts. It is
basically a floating washer that shorts two contacts each 180 degrees
apart. The washer will tilt to a limit to account for wear since the
positive side erodes from ion movement. When the limit is approaching
you get intermittant starts and each time the solenoid is operated the
washer rotates to get relatively fresh contact points and wear the
washer evenly. When the tilt gets too much you have to do surgery.
I have had this happen on both my Hondas and Toyotas since I run them
into the 300 Kmiles. I was able to replace the soft copper contact
with a home made brass one that will outlast a replacement if you
could find it. The alternative is a new starter. The last time I
checked they were about $46 at Auto Zone with a lifetime warranty.
It was just quicker for me to make the contact than to drive to the
store.
Also remember to check all the connections and make sure they are
tight, both positive and grounds. Clean battery terminals. For those
less electrically knowledgable it is the current that starts the car
not the voltage. When you boost a car you are adding to the current
not the voltage. Voltage can travel through the weakest of contacts
but you have to have a lot of contact area to conduct the maximum
current. Larger wire means you can handle greater current.
Hope this helps.
Russ


On 23 Mar 2005 16:43:27 -0800, [email]jyang1@caregroup.harvard.edu[/email] wrote:
[color=blue]
>Hi,
>I have a carbureted '89 Corolla 4A-F with 138k miles. The car's in
>great condition, runs great, and is meticulously maintained.
>
>During this winter, maybe 20% of the time on some cold days (below
>40F), when I turn the key to start the car, nothing happens (e.g,. as
>if the battery were dead). Sometimes I hear the beginning of a crank
>and then nothing happens. The next time I turn the key, the car always
>starts strong and starts immediately. Humidity has no effect. This
>never happens if the engine is warm.
>
>The battery is strong-- the car's lights are always bright-- I've
>tested the voltage multiple times and it's always good-- I replaced the
>battery with a new one last month anyways. No difference, as I
>expected. The battery connections also look good.
>
>Spark plugs are 20k miles old; distributor cap/spark plug wires were
>replaced 40k miles ago (OEM parts); starter is original.
>
>I guess that something in the ignition system needs to be replaced, but
>how do I diagnose the problem so that I know what to replace?
>
>Thanks,
>John[/color]

#13 Old 03-24-2005, 07:03 PM
Gary L. Burnore
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Re: '89 Corolla strange starting problem (?ignition ?starter)

On Fri, 25 Mar 2005 00:00:02 GMT, [email]radarguy1@earthlink.net[/email] top posted
like a moron and wrote:
[color=blue]
>I agree with those that suggest the solenoid contacts.[/color]

What things do?
--
gburnore@databasix dot com
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