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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Today replaced the starter on one of my Camrys, 1998 2.2. Replaced the driver door window motor within the last 2 months Car has 197K miles-- but it is recognized that mileage alone does not necessarily equate to wear rates on these items. How much they are used in the driving habits is the real wear factor. I believe this to be the original starter on this car.
Another of my Camrys is a 1999 2.2 with 217K miles and the original starter is still working.
To speed the replacement process, I bought new starter on eBay ( Chinese) rather than planning to install new contacts in the solenoid (the real problem) as that would require too much time for one session for me.
The new starter was less than $35 including shipping! Looked good. When it arrived a few days ago, inspected the contacts in the solenoid and they appear to be identical to the original. The new solenoid armature is not finished so nicely as the original nor the one in the replacement Chinese contact sets sold for $8.00 or so.
It fits fine and starts the car absolutely as quickly as could possibly be expected. Some of the auto parts chains charge $100 or more for rebuilt units. The old starter will soon get new contacts and then be on the shelf for use if needed.
Bought Chinese starter for 6-volt 1952 Ford tractor about 5 years ago. It works fine but is very different inside from the original. Some of their stuff is getting better.
 

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2001 Camry LE
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502 Posts
I'm planning on "rebuilding" one of my starters sometime in the coming months. At 148K, it "groans" every so often and is hesitant to "catch". I think the contacts are worn. It's been doing this ever since I bought the car at 131K, but I think it's just a matter of time before it quits.

From what I've seen on videos, replacing the contacts/plunger isn't too difficult on the Camry? I hope so.
 

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If doing the starter contacts replacement route, it's not a bad idea to just buy a set beforehand and store in your garage for that time when the starter begins to go.
 

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2013 Subaru BRZ
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Any good set to recommend? Mine is 19 years and 138k miles, still on factory starter and alternator. Maybe I should get ready as well. Thanks.
 

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Toyotas.
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337 Posts
I've got spare electrics for my 2.2s. Starter, alternator and the odd sensor or three. I pick 'em up at the junkyard, Craigslist and such. Helps keep my cars on the road, and can save a lot of time. Once had a radiator go, less than two hours later, it was back on the road (hour to cool down, 15-20 to replace). Got that in a deal on CL - alt, starter and radiator, all for $30.
Gotta keep looking.
 

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Camry, Vibe, Venture
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512 Posts
I proactively replaced the starter contacts and alternator brushes around 240K miles. Both were still working fine at the time.

I didn't even take the alternator off of the car. Just removed the back cover to get to the brushes.

On the starter, I had the wrong side ear on the replacement contact so I just bent it 180 so now the ear was on the other (correct) side.
The other contact and plunger just needed to dress up the surfaces with some fine sandpaper and all is working well now two years later.

Don't forget to clean and re-grease the shaft of the plunger to make sure it's moving freely and look over the teeth on the end of the starter in case you need to dress them too. I got busy and then forgot to do both of these things.
 

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500,000 + Miles
2000 Solara
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434 Posts
Looks like I should order some starter rebuild parts. I guess it's because I usually drive highway and not city but still on the original starter at 513,000. Are the solenoid contacts the part to replace or will the starter brushes also be suspect? Aside from CL as was mentioned above, is there a favorite parts supply for starter parts? I wouldn't mind supporting Rock Auto since they help sponsor the site.
 

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When I did mine, I bought my starter repair kit off eBay. It came with 2 contacts and a plunger, but I forget if I even bothered replacing my plunger.

I think there might have been a repair kit recommendation in the DIY thread? Anyway, I found eBay helpful and the big thing is the contacts.

I quickly glanced at the starter repair kit on RockAuto. At least for a '96 Camry, there appeared to be a lot more extra in the kit compared to the one I had used. Hope that helps!
 

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Be careful about quality if you replace the plunger. I had a set fail after about 15k and when I pulled the starter back out I realized the spot welds that hold the plate on the end of the plunger had simply broken. Unlike worn contacts, this gave me zero warning - started perfectly fine in the morning and then nothing the next time I tried. So take a good look and if the welds look light compared to the OE part buy a better rebuild kit!
 

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2001 Camry LE
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Would it be recommended that I reuse the existing plunger if it's not exhibiting any issues, then?
 

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You probably don't want to reuse the old one, the copper part of it wears out just like the fixed contacts. Just make sure the end plate has better looking welds than this one. Compare to an OEM plunger and you'll see what I mean.

285295

285296
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yes, the plunger has a contact ring that burns away with use. Using the old plunger insures very short life before contact failure.
 

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'93 LE Wagon V6 '94 LE I4
'93 V6 wagon, '94 I4
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Yes, the plunger has a contact ring that burns away with use. Using the old plunger insures very short life before contact failure.
I can only say that the plunger on my '93, a short trip car with low mileage but many, many starts, only had a bit of corrosion on the contact surfaces. A bit of emery to clean it up and it looked pristine. I'd trust a cleaned up original plunger on a Denso starter before I'd trust an aftermarket replacement. That's just me. FWIW. YMMV.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Replaced the contacts in one today. The side contacts bolted in did have much more arcing damage than the ring on the solenoid armature. The ring did appear to have usable copper remaining compared to the new one. The damage to those parts is arcing rather than corrosion. One of the bolted contacts on my starter was almost burned away-- as expected.
 

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2001 Camry LE
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Is there a Denso starter rebuild kit, where I can get a quality plunger similar to the one already in the starter?

Originally I thought any brand would do since copper contacts are copper contacts no matter how you make them. Now I'm realizing the quality matters here too. What brand rebuild kits did you all use/recommend?
 

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The one that failed was the cheapest kit I could find on ebay, I think about $10...

The one I replaced it with, that looks substantially higher quality holding them side by side, was made by "Victory Lap" and was about $20

I have no idea if an OEM or Denso kit is available.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The no-name, cheap parts I bought seem to be the same gauge material as the originals. Dimensions were accurate. Mine were purchased on eBay and shipped from China. It is very possible that the original Toyota parts were of non-USA, non-Japan origin.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Must admit that I did not verify the material of the parts-- they look like bright copper. Within the next few days, I will file one of the parts to verify that the parts are solid copper-- or not.
 
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