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OldSchool Yota Enthusiast
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Discussion Starter #1
So, I got an 88 Camry LE - 3SFE - Auto. New to the forum, just finished doing the headgasket, timing belt, and everything that comes along with that :rolleyes: . Its running great, but i'm having an issue with the starter or more likly, the ring gear. Its making a high pitched grind when trying to start the engine (similar to when you turn the key when the engine is already running). It does this almost every start. I picked up a starter from the wreckers, but its doing the same thing.

So...I've done a bunch of reading through the threads and noticed that this was a common issue on these gen2's. What I know so far is that there was some sort of design flaw with the starter which causes the ring gear to wear prematurly.

Great...now how do I go about changing the ring gear. Haynes mentions nothing about a ring gear in the index of the book and i've never had to change one before. Does the tranny need to come out or can I get at it through the hole for the starter? Any other tips from people who have done this repair?

Thank you.
 

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VeeZed
1988 Toyota Camry V6
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2,298 Posts
On these cars, there refered to as flexplates.

What you need to do is remove the tranny from the car, and then unbolt the flexplate from the crank. Replace it, put new bolts in and then put everything else back in.
 

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OldSchool Yota Enthusiast
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Discussion Starter #4
Hey thanks, so the ring gear is the same as the flexplate? Flywheel in other words right? Now, I'm having a bit of trouble with the terminology, so bear with me. I'm used to my Gen1 Celica...much older, rear wheel drive, standard...much different.

Anyways, I was hoping it wouldn't come to removing the tranny, but I guess if it has to be done... I was under the impression that the ring gear was somthing that the starter engaged with to then crank the flywheel...is that totally off?


Ya, I did see that thread, thats where I first found out about the earlier starters. The problem in that thread sounds very similar, except everyone is pointing to the starter itself and I already replaced mine. I guess it could be a bad one since it was from a wrecking yard, but it was on the shelf, tested and garaunteed.

What do you guys think?
 

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VeeZed
1988 Toyota Camry V6
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2,298 Posts
A flywheel and a flexplate are two different things, but do the same "job". Flywheels are found on manual transmission cars and contain provisions for mounting a pressure plate and clutch. A flexplate is found in automatic transmisson cars and has holes in it that mount to the torque converter.

Both of which, have teeth around the edge of them that the starter engages to. And both have the same mounting to the crank.

Remember that in order to remove the transmission, you must unbolt the torque converter from the flexplate by removing the small inspection cover under the car (actually bolted to the tranny) and turning the crank a bit at a time to remove the 6 or so bolts that hold the flex to the TC. If you don't do this, the tranny WONT come out hahaha.
 

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87 Camry Wgn 232k
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475 Posts
I already replaced mine (starter)

ROBS said:
Ya, I did see that thread, thats where I first found out about the earlier starters. The problem in that thread sounds very similar, except everyone is pointing to the starter itself and I already replaced mine. I guess it could be a bad one since it was from a wrecking yard, but it was on the shelf, tested and garaunteed.

What do you guys think?
You might want to doublecheck with the moderator "Tercel GTS" before going to the trouble of removing the AT to change the flexplate:

Tercel GTS said:
http://www.wai-wetherill.com/product..._num=2-1055-ND

I can show you this and it has many part numbers listed. If you are buying from a parts store it doesn't matter what part number you use though as they are mass-rebuilt at a factory and assigned numbers as needed. You just have to open the boxes and see which gear is on it. I rebuild starters and modify the gears for older cars to prevent the problem you are describing.
Tercel GTS
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Savannah GA
Posts: 2,424
Trader Rating: (1)



 

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OldSchool Yota Enthusiast
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170 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Alright, so I think what I'll do is first remove the inspection cover and inspect the flexplate teeth while having somone crank the engine by hand. If none are visibly chipped, i'll remove the starter and look at the gear to see if it is the old style gear.

Now, from this sentence Tercel GTS posted "I rebuild starters and modify the gears for older cars to prevent the problem you are describing" it sounds as if its actually the starter's design that does not allow it to engage to the flexplate properly (remember this is just another stock starter I got from the wreckers so it could be the same issue...i'll have to check the gear)...i'll contact him and see what he thinks, but I have to get ready for work now...I'll do it later at work.
 

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87 Camry Wgn 232k
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Sounds like a good plan!

Hi ROBS,

Let us know what you find.
 

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OldSchool Yota Enthusiast
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Discussion Starter #9
I havn't had a chance to check the flexplate yet, but tomarrow i should be able to. I'll let you guys know whats up.

This morning I tried to start it up, but I got the grinding sound again. Now usually what I would do is turn the key all the way OFF, then turn it to ON again and it would do the same grindingthing about 3 times or more before it would finally start. Today, what I did differently was instead of turning it off after the 1st try, I just left it in the ON position, then tapped the starter with a wrench. It cranked just fine the second try after tapping it. This is a bit reassuring since I would think that would point to an issue with the starter itself. Maybe, i'll just try a new one from the wreckers. It is garaunteed for 4 months.
 

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VeeZed
1988 Toyota Camry V6
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2,298 Posts
Would take all of 2 minutes to rip it off and try!..so id say go for that option first.
Getting under the car, removing the inspec. cover and turning the motor to check for damage to the flexplate WILL take longer :)
 

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Hi Robs,

I have a 1990 that did/does that. I too got a junker and guess what? It did it too. The odd thing was that the original starter's gear was undamaged when I removed it. Anyhow, the replacement doesn't do it as often so I am living with it. I did determine one thing though. If I wait about 15 -20 seconds before I try it again it almost always starts on the second try. I was just about to inspect the gears on the flexplate until I figured this out.

One other analysis of the problem mentioned that the Toyota starters are made very similar to a transmission with bands and that sometimes the band slips. I don't know.

If you do a visual inspection please let us know what you learn.

Kep
 

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OldSchool Yota Enthusiast
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Discussion Starter #13
Alright, I got a second starter form the wreckers and it still does it. I really hope its not the flexplate, but I dont want to dish out the cash for another replacement when it might even do the same thing. I still havn't had a chance to check the flexplate, but I'm thinking thats the only way to find out for sure. I even had the car in the air to tighten the PS belt, but I didnt have time for the flexplate since I live in an apartment and am not supposed to be doing any repairs here so I wanted to get the car down quick, I have to go to my friends place to do anything more than that. It might have to wait until next Mon. when I have a day off.

Hey Kep, how often does this happen to you roughly? It happens to me about 1 in 5 starts...roughly...somtimes more, somtimes less. I seemed to have found little things that help, but none garauntee a good start. The tapping with a wrench thing didn't work the one time the second "new" starter did it today. Definatly waiting between tries helps. I found clicking the key all the way off then back to on and leave it there for a few seconds before trying sometimes helps. Or leave it in on for a few seconds to begin with before cranking.

chasman, thanks for the link. Its good to have the model numbers.

I'll keep you guys up to date with what I find. Keep any info that could help coming. Anyone had this happen before? What was the outcome, new starter or flexplate/flywheel? How often was it happening?
 

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OldSchool Yota Enthusiast
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170 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
1. STARTER MOTOR

Problem:

The stock Bosch starter motor as equipped with the 3S-FE may grind when attemping to turn over the engine. The cause has been traced to a faulty starter pinion gear. In extreme cases, these fa
ulty starters can cause flywheel damage. Since then, Bosch has redsigned the SR230X and SR231X model starters with improved gear bevels, and issued a service notice (#B-37). Toyota has also manufactered an improved flywheel for the 3S-FE. This problem also applies to 3S-FEs equipped in the Toyota Celica. 3S-FEs in the RAV4s have the "fixed" starters.

Solution:

Replace the starter motor with a redsigned SR230X or 231X unit. Other starters that work are available from Nipon Denso. 3S-FE compatible starters are available in 1kW and 1.4kW power ratings. The 1kW model is usually sufficient unless you need improved cold starting power. Check your flywheel for damage, and replace if necessary.

So I called the parts store and they want $173 for the new starter at Lordco. They had 2 Bosch starters to choose from...I'm assuming one is the old one, but why would they even still stock them?

The junkyard wants $125 for a flexplate and I have to pull it.

So either way I have to get a new starter, even if the flexplate is damaged since it is the stock starters that cause the damage. You would think I could just get a RAV4 starter form the junkyard and use that instead of getting a new one, but I want to be sure.

Anyone know any other cheap alternatives up here in Canada? Like online parts stores that ship from Canada so I dont have to deal with customs?
 

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OldSchool Yota Enthusiast
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Discussion Starter #15
So I got the brand new starter for 2 reasons. I looked under the car and seen that a lot of crap would have had to come off to get to the inspection cover and decieded I could find out if the flexplate is at fault this way. And I figure I will need the new starter with the redesigned gear anyways, even if I have to replace the flexpate. I put the new starter in and it went fine for a day until it grinded just once, so I took it out right away and put the junk yard one back in.

Now I'm just living with the grind until it wont start at all, then its going to the shop for the flexplate. I'm just not up to that job.

You dont think that 1 grind would mess up the new starter do you? There was some shredded metal on the gear when I took it out, but nothing major.
 

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V8'sRGone
95 Cam
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1,956 Posts
Last Resort

OK - here are a couple of ideas.

Often times a weak solenoid or bad cables will prevent bendix (starter gear) from engauging quick enough to fully engauge the teeth of the flywheel/flexplate, (lack of current from the battery to the starter).

Replace the cables, check the ground cable, try a different battery, clean all the connections. ALL OF THE CONNECTIONS, grounds to body, grounds to trans and engine block. Feel the cables at the joints, if they get hot for any reason there is resistance and current loss (this is bad).

As a last resort: Loosen the two large bolts securing the starter to the trans. This is important: Tighten them untill they are just snug. Turn teh key and see if it will engauge and crank.

Sometimes a slight mismatch in machined componets will not allwo the starters teeth to clear the flywheel and sometimes you can force the last little bit of clearance out of the starter by leaving it loose and hitting the key a few times. If it works, pry the stater away from the trans as you tighten it or file the bolt holes out just slightly so the only alignment which can occur is from the starter nose cone fitting into the opening and not the bolts moving the starter. Does this make sense?

WARNING: IF YOU LEAVE THE BOLT TOO LOOSE, YOU CAN SNAP THEM OR BREAK THE STARTER. DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK, BUT REMEMBER THE STARTER NEEDS TO BE ABLE TO MOVE JUST A TAD UNDER LOAD FOR IT TO WORK.


IF ALL OF THAT DOES NOT WORK; Turn the flywheel a few degrees with a socket and try it again. If it engauges after doing this - it points to the flywheel as a source for problem.

I would inspect the ring gear teeth from the starter hole when the starter is out of the way. The inspection cover may only allow you to see from the back of the gear which is not too helpful. Tip - unless it is actually missing an entire tooth, it will probably work.

/ra
 

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VeeZed
1988 Toyota Camry V6
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2,298 Posts
Shredded metal = Damage to the starter..so its not a good thing.
Easy access of the inspection cover is hindered by the NS crossmember, which, in order to remove, requires the EW crossmember to be removed haha. But, if you have small hands, you may be able to get the cover off..is only 4 or so 10mm bolts and 1 12mm.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
73sport said:
OK - here are a couple of ideas.

Often times a weak solenoid or bad cables will prevent bendix (starter gear) from engauging quick enough to fully engauge the teeth of the flywheel/flexplate, (lack of current from the battery to the starter).

Replace the cables, check the ground cable, try a different battery, clean all the connections. ALL OF THE CONNECTIONS, grounds to body, grounds to trans and engine block. Feel the cables at the joints, if they get hot for any reason there is resistance and current loss (this is bad).

As a last resort: Loosen the two large bolts securing the starter to the trans. This is important: Tighten them untill they are just snug. Turn teh key and see if it will engauge and crank.

Sometimes a slight mismatch in machined componets will not allwo the starters teeth to clear the flywheel and sometimes you can force the last little bit of clearance out of the starter by leaving it loose and hitting the key a few times. If it works, pry the stater away from the trans as you tighten it or file the bolt holes out just slightly so the only alignment which can occur is from the starter nose cone fitting into the opening and not the bolts moving the starter. Does this make sense?

WARNING: IF YOU LEAVE THE BOLT TOO LOOSE, YOU CAN SNAP THEM OR BREAK THE STARTER. DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK, BUT REMEMBER THE STARTER NEEDS TO BE ABLE TO MOVE JUST A TAD UNDER LOAD FOR IT TO WORK.


IF ALL OF THAT DOES NOT WORK; Turn the flywheel a few degrees with a socket and try it again. If it engauges after doing this - it points to the flywheel as a source for problem.

I would inspect the ring gear teeth from the starter hole when the starter is out of the way. The inspection cover may only allow you to see from the back of the gear which is not too helpful. Tip - unless it is actually missing an entire tooth, it will probably work.

/ra
Hmm...I will do this. I have replaced the battery terminals and the battery already. I guess I might as well run new wires. Now that I think of it, my heater fan blows stronger when i step on the gas...it could be tied into the same issue. Also, my lights dim a bit when using other electronics in the car. I have a short in my door as well, the power mirrors and passenger window dont work, but if the key is on, I get a shock (just a bit stronger than static) from the outside of the door if I touch it.

Now, I did look at the teeth breifly through the starter hole, but couldn't see very well. The side closer the starter seems to have gauges in them, but I cannot tell if its just the design, actual chipped teeth, or my eyes playing tricks on me since I couldn't see very well. Are both sides of the flexplate supposed to be completly flat with sharp edges? If it is then mine is screwed.


Shredded metal = Damage to the starter..so its not a good thing.
Easy access of the inspection cover is hindered by the NS crossmember, which, in order to remove, requires the EW crossmember to be removed haha. But, if you have small hands, you may be able to get the cover off..is only 4 or so 10mm bolts and 1 12mm.
It was just one crank so hopefully it doesn't matter with the new starter. And yes, I looked under and seen the x-member then something attached to the xmember, then tried to see where that went and just said screw it.
 

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So, I got an 88 Camry LE - 3SFE - Auto. New to the forum, just finished doing the headgasket, timing belt, and everything that comes along with that :rolleyes: . Its running great, but i'm having an issue with the starter or more likly, the ring gear. Its making a high pitched grind when trying to start the engine (similar to when you turn the key when the engine is already running). It does this almost every start. I picked up a starter from the wreckers, but its doing the same thing.

So...I've done a bunch of reading through the threads and noticed that this was a common issue on these gen2's. What I know so far is that there was some sort of design flaw with the starter which causes the ring gear to wear prematurly.

Great...now how do I go about changing the ring gear. Haynes mentions nothing about a ring gear in the index of the book and i've never had to change one before. Does the tranny need to come out or can I get at it through the hole for the starter? Any other tips from people who have done this repair?

Thank you.
I was setting at the computer & remembered the trouble I had with our 88 Toyota, Camry wagon and started looking for the subject and came across your thread. We bought it used from a local Ford dealership in 1994. It had the 4cyl. with automatic trans. After a month the starter was doing this high pitched grinding sound. The Ford dealer could not fix it and even the Toyota dealer was clueless or so they acted. After tolerating the son of a bitch for a year the transmission went out in the car. A buddy of mine said he could swap the trans. with a used one from Japan and his wife's Camry had done the same thing with the starter missing since she drove it off the lot brand new and it was a 89 4cyl. with automatic too. The fix seemed to be a rarely talked about kit that was available from Toyota that included a new starter that matched the new flexplate. So with that kit installed on the new/used trans. the car ran great. I can remember my wife & I would be walking across a parking lot some where and hear that grinding sound and say: "Yep, another Toyota." :-(
 

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08 Toyota Camry 2AZ-FE R9K Tuned
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I was setting at the computer & remembered the trouble I had with our 88 Toyota, Camry wagon and started looking for the subject and came across your thread. We bought it used from a local Ford dealership in 1994. It had the 4cyl. with automatic trans. After a month the starter was doing this high pitched grinding sound. The Ford dealer could not fix it and even the Toyota dealer was clueless or so they acted. After tolerating the son of a bitch for a year the transmission went out in the car. A buddy of mine said he could swap the trans. with a used one from Japan and his wife's Camry had done the same thing with the starter missing since she drove it off the lot brand new and it was a 89 4cyl. with automatic too. The fix seemed to be a rarely talked about kit that was available from Toyota that included a new starter that matched the new flexplate. So with that kit installed on the new/used trans. the car ran great. I can remember my wife & I would be walking across a parking lot some where and hear that grinding sound and say: "Yep, another Toyota." :-(
This thread is nearly 15 years old.
 
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