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1997 Camry 4 cyl - won't start, clicks

4362 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Malth

So I go to start my car this afternoon (it was working fine this morning), and instead of turning over I just get a click.

All electronics turned on, etc

I checked the battery, noticed there was a bit of corrosion on the positive terminal, so I cleaned that all off and hooked it back up

I still only get a click

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If your are only hearing 1 click, you most likely have the common worn starter solenoid contacts problem. You can easily varify this (and get your car started at the same time). Have someone hold the key in the start position while you go under the hood and tap the starter's solenoid with a wrench or a small hammer. Give it agood tap but don't try to break it. If the car now cranks and starts, you have varified the starter has worn solenoid contacts. Then do a search on this forum for "starter contacts" and read up on the problem and it's cures. It has been covered here numerous times.

Thanks for the quick reply

Is the starter easy to locate and get to?

I don't have anyone here at the moment to help me out, so I haven't been able to try and figure out where it is yet
The click u hear is probably the relay but yeah I had the same problem when I try to crank my car over there was one click turns out it was the solenoid contacts. I just replaced the whole starter and the problem never came back. I forget where the starter is located on the 5S engine but on the 1MZ it's located right under the cruise control box. Follow your positive terminal from your battery and it should be connected to the starter.
The starter is pretty easy to get to on the 4 cyl. Its right to the left of the airbox a little below, to the right of the exhaust at about oil dipstick level.

My camry had the same thing, sometimes it would start fine a buncha times and sometimes it would click 20 times in a row. I kept a hammer in the car and smacked the starter if it wouldn't start for a while.

I replaced my starter with a remand one and everything good now.
If it's the solenoid contacts, then if you keep turning the key on and off, it'll eventually start -- those contacts don't just die suddenly, at first it takes a couple-three tries, and gradually gets worse until you get tired enough of the problem to fix it.

While you're checking the rig, check the battery voltage, especially right after you've tried to start. Usually those 4-cylinder motors will start even with a bad cell in the battery (but they'll crank pretty slowly), but it's worth checking.
I would just jump start it, because its either your starter or a low batt. and that would be alot easier for You to try first, also the batt. clamps really suck on toyota for some reason, and since you said you had corrosion a bad connection on the batt. could also be possible--- sometimes its more simple than you think.
The starter's solenoid contacts are wear items. These are two little copper tabs that conduct current when the plunger disc makes contact. Depending on the number of starts wear out around 100-120K miles.

There is a good DIY in an Integra group (same Denso starter) on how to do this. You can also Google "starter rebuild".
thanks for all the replies

I smacked the starter with a hammer and got it started

I think I may go the DIY route from the link above
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