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Discussion Starter #1
When my car has been sitting for a while (engine is cold) and I turn the key to start it, dash lights come on, etc. but nothing happens. I stop, turn the key again, and the car starts as if nothing was wrong.

I dunno if this is because of the cold or something. It started happening yesterday and has happened 3 times since then, but the weather's been cold here for a while. What's going on here?
 

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My guess is the starter solenoid which is built into the starter. It is a plunger that actuates against 2 replaceable brass contacts . When the contacts wear down you get the intermittent no start condition. Check with your local Toy dealer. They should be able to get you the new brass contacts you need and a description of the steps needed to replace them.
 

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Also, keeping your gas tank above half at all times is a good idea w. cold weather.:thumbup:

also, i kno uve swapped out your front speakers. what size are the stock ones?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, for the help. Last few times it's started normally, but if what I'll check that solenoid.

Stock fronts are 4".
 

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starters tend to do that on the way out ive had like 4 Canadian tire starters that do that.

Hint: if you ever get into a situation where the SOB wont crank give it a tap with a lug wrench or something hard usually that will make it start
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
^^^So you think its the actual starter motor?

CCA on my battery is 550 so it should be fine.

It happens on and off now, I can never predict when it will happen. Even after standing 6 hours in the cold it starts normally sometimes, but other times I have to turn the key twice.

At this point I'm thinking its most likely the contacts on the solenoid, the solenoid itself, or the battery. I have to check the voltage on the battery and also listen if I can hear the solenoid click next time it doesnt work. I'll check this out and see what I find... I'm a total n00b at engine electrics.

Could it be a messed up starter relay, or would it not work at all then?
 

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90 GP said:
My guess is the starter solenoid which is built into the starter. It is a plunger that actuates against 2 replaceable brass contacts . When the contacts wear down you get the intermittent no start condition. Check with your local Toy dealer. They should be able to get you the new brass contacts you need and a description of the steps needed to replace them.
^^ I agree with him and rolla guy.

Starter going out. Although I don't believe dealers carry re-build kits.

If they don't. Just get a reman with lifetime warranty.

Just for giggles check if your Battery cables are tight.
 

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When I had the intermittent no start on my old 87 Nova (Corolla) I checked at the parts dept of my Toy dealer. They are the ones that told me about replacing the solenoid contacts. If I remember they told me I could buy them at a Honda parts dept. Japanese starters are apparently similar in design among brands. The only thing I had to do was file the new contacts slightly to match shape of the originals. After replacing contacts never had the problem reappear. And the price of those contacts was a small fraction of the price of a replacement starter.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ok, it's happened a few more times. I think it happens only when I try to start the car with the door open. :confused:

I checked my battery and it was fine, checked it with the door open and dome light on and everything and it was fine. I took out the EFI fuse and checked the voltage while cranking the motor... it was also fine, well above 10 V (while cranking). It's definitely not the battery. Also, I can hear the solenoid plunger actuate when the car doesn't start.

I've had the starter replaced about 5 years ago. I'm gonna try replacing those contacts, but first I wanna know what I'm doing. My Haynes manual says the starter is on the firewall on the transaxle bell housing (wtf is that?) above the driveaxle. I looked from the top of the engine bay and I couldn't see it anywhere. Is it easier to see from the bottom of the car?

Could someone please tell me where to find, how to remove, and how to take apart the starter to replace the contacts?
 

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Just a thought but the same thing happened on my friends grand prix, wouldn't start on the first few tries and you could hear the solenoid clicking..He found out it was a loose small wire connecting to the starter, red I think, the connection on the starter was ok but the wire end leading in was just laying in the connection loose and making sporadic contact....Radd Guy
 

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Still sounds like the battery to me. Dome lights and dash lights take very very little juice. Your battery must be almost all the way dead for them to dim or not light up. I don't see how 10v sounds normal to you because it doesn't sound right at all to me. How many volts does it deliver when you're not cranking and the car isn't on?
 

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It's not the battery. When battery died on me, what happened was that after turning the key you could here repeated clicks (about 2 clicks per second) coming from the plunger actuating. When plunger shortened the contacts to engage the starter, the voltage dropped so much that the plunger disengaged. When plunger disengaged the voltage went back up and engaged the plunger again, which killed the voltage. And so on.

Second time I had the starting problem it was exactly like yours. Turn the key, click and nothing. Eventually it would start after a couple of tries. When I replaced the contacts, the problem disappeared. It's pretty easy to do it, provided that you can get the replacement contacts. I got them at a Toyota dealership. There is a great thread with some comments describing how to do it and link to pictures.
http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/t19221.html

Also check out this one, practically step by step info what to do when get your starter out of the car. I used that one when I replaced my contacts.
http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/t27312.html
 

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i'd probably pay the $150(or however much they are) for a new starter, so in the back of your mind you can relax knowing its a brand new starter and wont give you anymore problems:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Tercel GTS said:
Look in the hardcore tech stickies for the repair your own starter thread with pictures.
Okay! That is good shit, thanks a lot! I'm gonna try to get some new contacts and then replace em.

90 GP said:
This thread gives details on where to find and remove starter on a 99 Corolla. Assume your 97 is the same. It doesn't give details on how to replace contacts however. You might want to check with the dealer in advance to see if replacement solenoid contacts can be purchased. If not you can use info to replace entire starter.
Nah 93-97 are different generation than 98-02, and the starter is in a totally different place.


AVANT said:
Still sounds like the battery to me. Dome lights and dash lights take very very little juice. Your battery must be almost all the way dead for them to dim or not light up. I don't see how 10v sounds normal to you because it doesn't sound right at all to me. How many volts does it deliver when you're not cranking and the car isn't on?
Nah my battery is like 12.6 V with the car off, even with the dome light on, etc.

When I said above 10 V, I mean WHILE the car is cranking (ie. Take out the EFI fuse and get a reading while cranking the engine). I think above 9 V is normal during cranking. It's definitely not the battery, probably those solenoid contacts.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
ganda1f said:
Second time I had the starting problem it was exactly like yours. Turn the key, click and nothing. Eventually it would start after a couple of tries. When I replaced the contacts, the problem disappeared. It's pretty easy to do it, provided that you can get the replacement contacts. I got them at a Toyota dealership. There is a great thread with some comments describing how to do it and link to pictures.
http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/t19221.html
This is also nice. Thanks!!
 
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