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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello,

Our family workhorse is a 1995 Previa with only 85k on the clock. Recently it has intermittently failed to start. When it fails we hear a loud solenoid "click"; but the starter motor doesn't turn - eventually after many tries it does start (can be 15 or 20 minutes of turning the key repeatedly) and needs foot on the gas for 10 seconds to stop it from stalling.

Other times it starts first time as if no problem existed! The problem seems to occur more often when trying to start from cold (i.e after overnight), but I've had it happen to me after leaving the car for only 10 or 15 minutes too).

Our local mechanic says it needs a new starter motor at a cost of £1500 (about $2200) + labour. Yikes! We could probably buy another previa for that.

We've also had some "rough idle" problems (it has stalled on me a couple of times at junctions) with the car which I think could be cleared by cleaning the idle air control valve (IACV) as described elsewhere on the forum. Could this be linked at all to the starting problem? I've never done anything to a car beyond checking oil and changing tyres - is cleaning the IACV something a novice should attempt?

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your time reading this.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
OK, replying to my own post...

Some extra research has revealed that this could be a known fault with the starter contacts getting worn.

From reports here and here.

Apparently there is a repair kit available from toyota dealers. I think I've also found the
same thing on ebay.

There are also sellers offering third party starters (like this one) on ebay, does anyone have an opinion on whether it would be better to go with one of those?
 

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Yes, the contact points could be the culprit. So could be the solenoid, lose connections, and broken motor windings, etc.

Aftermarket or "third party" starters should work fine, especially with a warranty. You should also be able to purchase a rebuilt starter from a parts store for much less than the extortion price at a dealership. If you are a DIY-er, the starter seems to be easy to reach, but first you must raise the front of the van and then crawl under it.

Your idling problems are probably not related to the starter issue. Most likely it is a fuel system problem, as you have mentioned, including a dirty throttle body, and so on.

Cheerio!
 
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