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Official TN Member
1985 Supra P-type
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759 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok. 1988 Camry 4 cylinder, 230,000 kms. I'm having a problem with what I've concluded to be the starter or something related. This is an intermittent problem, it happens time to time, like 1 out of 5 starts. When I go to turn the car over nothing happens, the dash lights come on but I dont hear the solenoid tick. Ive been through 3 starters, the first (original) the bendix assembly jammed and the second and third have this problem. The only way I can get it to start is if I have someone hold the ignition while I "tap" the motor with a hammer. Its almost as if the solenoid "sticks" and needs more voltage to turn it over. I first though it was the starter motor itself, but Ive ruled that out, I connected the two terminals together and the motor spins free, If I dont tap the starter beforehand I cant get the car to start, but the starter motor spins freely. Its only once I have tapped the starter with a hammer that the solenoid will enguage.

To date I have: tried 2 different starters, the latest one I bought is "refurbished"

- cleaned ALL the grounds, motor, fender, and the battery tray ground. All of them were cleaned with steel wool and degrased. It helped, the car didnt do it for 2 days then it started again. I dont know if its a voltage problem, but it wouldnt make sense seeing as I can only get it to start by tapping the starter so I didnt bother to check the voltages.

Is there something I'm missing? its a stupid problem, does anyone know what it could be? Or any suggestions on how to fix it?
 

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2001 Camry
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159 Posts
I have a gen2 Camry with 250,000 miles on the odometer and I had the same problems a couple of years ago. I had to use a hammer or wrench to tap the starter so it could spin and start up the car. I finally got sick of it and took it to a mechanic to install a remanufactured starter. My car haven't had a problem since. Since you've already been through 3 starter, i'm not sure what else to suggest. Maybe invest in a stronger battery with a high cold cranking amp rating so it can power the starter more. Or perhaps try to buy an OEM starter from toyota if they still make them. It'll probably be expensive, but it might be your last resort.
 

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3s-gte in a Camry?!?
'89 Camry Alltrac
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9,091 Posts
This is a normal problem on the gen2 Camry. You can add an extra relay in the circuit to increase the voltage to the starter solenoid. You can use a relay kit meant for aftermarket fog lights and hack it up to work. I did this on my Alltrac and now it starts all the time with no trouble at all. :)

-Charlie
 

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37 Posts
Mine got so bad the hammer I was using to hit the starter broke!!! I finally went to the parts store and got a push button switch, ran a wire from the positive battery terminal to the switch and ran another wire from the front of the starter to the switch, mounted the switch in am empty accessory spot inside the car and now it starts everytime. Easy to do and much better than looking like a fool beating on your starter!!
 

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Official TN Member
1985 Supra P-type
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759 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
charlie: What kind or relay would you use and how would you connect it

sillysspeed: If I did hook up a switch how does it work, the +12 of the battery runs to the + on the swtich, then the - of the switch runs to the + terminal of the starter, closest to the front of the car?
 

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3s-gte in a Camry?!?
'89 Camry Alltrac
Joined
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9,091 Posts
charlie: What kind or relay would you use and how would you connect it
Start with a universal fog light relay kit (I used one made by Pilot). In that, you will get a relay, wiring a switch and a fuse holder. You will only need the relay, wiring and fuse.

The smaller of the two connectors on the starter uses a standard spade connector. Connect one of the smaller wires from the relay to this wire from the harness and the other small wire to chassis ground (transmission, engine block or chassis). Connect the larger wire with fuse to the battery + terminal and the other large wire from the relay to the starter. It would be best to shorten the wires as necessary and solder and heat shrink all connections. The kit should have enough spade connectors that you can make all these connections without messing with any stock wiring.

Cliffs notes:
(Relay side : Car side)
one small wire : starter signal wire
other small wire : ground
one large wire : battery
other large wire : starter

I can't get pictures at the moment since my girlfriend has my Alltrac... but hopefully what I wrote was clear enough. This should solve most of the "my starter doesn't work" problems...

-Charlie
 

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Bullitprooph
1986 MR-2 N/A, 1991 Celica GT-S, 2005 Matrix XR, 2009 Matrix XRS, 2009 Matrix Base
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1,504 Posts
Mine got so bad the hammer I was using to hit the starter broke!!! I finally went to the parts store and got a push button switch, ran a wire from the positive battery terminal to the switch and ran another wire from the front of the starter to the switch, mounted the switch in am empty accessory spot inside the car and now it starts everytime. Easy to do and much better than looking like a fool beating on your starter!!
I've done this a dozen times at work...when we get older F150 trucks in that we want to use as a yard truck for awhile, they almost always have faulty starters and/or solenoids. A simple rocker switch from the battery and to the solenoid usually works. Not quite the Astin Martin push-button ignition, but it does the trick :lol:
 

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Official TN Member
1985 Supra P-type
Joined
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759 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
hmmm, It has been working but I have my doubts about it since yesterday. Its been 3 days and it has only done it once, in maybe 10 starts. Ill post up how I wired the relay later on when I get home to see if I hooked it up right. I hooked up the starter trigger wire (the second small one) to the "switch" part on the relay, I dont remember what numer it is, 87 or 30 or something Ill check later. Then I hooked up the battery to the relay in what the foglight instructions told me was the "+12 source", then the output +12 of the relay that is supposed to go to the "foglights" I connected to the starter. The last wire I grounded.
 

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3s-gte in a Camry?!?
'89 Camry Alltrac
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9,091 Posts
hmmm, It has been working but I have my doubts about it since yesterday. Its been 3 days and it has only done it once, in maybe 10 starts. Ill post up how I wired the relay later on when I get home to see if I hooked it up right. I hooked up the starter trigger wire (the second small one) to the "switch" part on the relay, I dont remember what numer it is, 87 or 30 or something Ill check later. Then I hooked up the battery to the relay in what the foglight instructions told me was the "+12 source", then the output +12 of the relay that is supposed to go to the "foglights" I connected to the starter. The last wire I grounded.
From that description, you hooked it up right. There is still a chance that you have a weak battery or cold weather is keeping it from starting easily. The problem has at least improved, right? :)

You are effectively replacing the big starter solenoid with the smaller solenoid in the relay and the relay switch powers the big starter solenoid - which should get you more power for the starter solenoid.

-Charlie
 

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Official TN Member
1985 Supra P-type
Joined
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759 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
yes is definetly has improved, it has only done it once in 3 days, before it would do it every few starts. The battery could be weak, it is relitively old, but I never have any problems with starting other than one with the starter itslef. If the solenoid enguages the car starts no problem, it cranks strong, I tested all the cells too, they are all ok. For now I wont rule it out, Ill continue to see if the extra relay will get the solenoid to enguage. The most important thing is that the car starts and I dont have to curse, get out of the car, hit the starter with the hammer, look like an idiot, get back in the car try it again, get back out hit it again. Its quite annoying you can imagine, especially if your in a hurry, or like me in the college parking lot with people staring. lol :lol: Someone asked me once what made me think about hitting it with a hammer, I wasnt able to answer him, I heard of it happening in conversation with other people and stuff and I tired it..... and what do you know, it worked.:disappoin The guy I bought my supra off of couldnt handle it, he thought it was the funniest thing he had ever seen.
 
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