Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

1986 Toyota pickup starter issues

I have a 1986 Toyota Pickup 22r standard shift. The starter will not turn over. I turn the key and it goes clunk, and then thats it. The warning lights dim, as if it were being started but nothing else happens. I THINK the battery is charged, but I could be mistaken. Any thoughts from anybody would be greatly appreciated.

Check all battery and ground connections and look under coating of red battery wire for crud.

How old is that battery? When was the last time it was driven a fair difference.

If you hear a clunk, and the lights dim, it means the starter is trying to turn the engine over but can’t.

Try turning the engine over by hand using a breaker bar and a socket on the crankshaft bolt. If you can’t turn the engine over using this method the engine is locked up for some reason. Next, remove the spark plugs and try turning the engine over by hand again to see if coolant comes out of any of the cylinders. If not, and the engine still won’t turn by hand the engine is siezed.


Deep in my mind I was afraid that might be the case. I did change the oil, oil filter, and the spark plugs. But I will try your methods all the same. Thank you.

The battery is at least 4 years old. And the truck sat for about 3 years un-driven.

When you try testers method, be sure to put a little oil into each cylinder first and give it a minute to spread around the top ring. Use a very light oil.

“The battery is at least 4 years old. And the truck sat for about 3 years un-driven.”

Is the battery fully charged? Has it been load tested? The engine may be locked-up or the battery could be very weak.

I charged it over night. But I assume that means nothing if it is very old. I did some reading around forums, and got the idea to jump start it maybe?

Since it has a transmission (not a slugomatic) you could also put it in gear & rock it back & forth. Any signs of life at the front of the engine?

First off, I would like to say thank you for all your help, car talk community, it really helped me a lot. And now I would also like to ask you again for advice. So good news bad news. I got it to run. I replaced the battery and smacked the starter around a bit. It goes just fine. For a while. Now bad news time, the clutch is stuck down. Is it worth fixing? If yes, suggestions?

Check the clutch fluid. It is the same as DOT3 brake fluid. If it is empty or there is air in the lines, the pedal will go to the floor and need to be pulled up. If the fluid doesn’t stay in, you have a leak that needs to be fixed. Not hard, since you have the master cylinder, hard line, a flex line, and the slave cylinder. The whole system can be replaced for less than $100.