99Toy 4Runner will not start, clicking sound

I have a 99 toyota 4 runner and instead of starting it makes a clicking sound. The battery is fine. I believe it may be either the starter motor or the solenoid. Egad. Do I have it towed to the dealer? How much would a solenoid replacement cost? How much for a starter motor? Might I need both? Could it be something else? Help please. Thanks, Ch

How do you know it’s not the battery? A weak battery is most often the culprit when this happens. Even if the headlights work, etc, the battery can be too weak to start the engine.

Try jumping the battery from another vehicle before you assume the starter is the problem.

It is not the battery because all the lights work. The radio works. I have been down this road before. That clicking sound is the starter or solenoid, or something in that area. Is anybody else out there?

Lights and radio only draw about 20 amps TOPS…A starter motor can easily draw 500 amps. Just because the lights and radio work does NOT mean it’s the battery and/or alternator. Start with the battery…once you eliminate the battery as being the problem then I’d check the starter or solenoid. But the MOST LIKELY cause is the battery.

The first thing I recommend you do is clean the battery connections using a battery post cleaning brush and then see what happens. Poor connections there will cause exactly the things you talk about; lights work but starter doesn’t. Another thing to check for is a internally corroded wire going to the starter at the battery end. Sometimes acid leaches in there and causes damage to the wire connection.

If you are getting at least 9.5 volts on the main wire at the starter when you have the key to the START position then the trouble is at the starter end. I think the solenoid is built into the starter and if so it would be wise to just get a remanufactured unit in that case. The age of the car is getting to where the solonoid contacts could be wearing out and causing this problem.

McP, Mike and Cougar are right. While the starter solenoid contacts that complete the starter circuit on these do have a tendency to fry themselves over time (mine did), start by checking the battery. That will give you the symptoms you describe also.

I had this problem on my Toyo V6, and it was the contacts in the starter solenoid. It’s an easy fix if you have basic tools - pull the starter, take off the solenoid, replace the 3 contacts (2 are on the sides, the other is the large disc with the rod attached). They’re a dealer item, but should only cost about $30-$40. If you don’t feel competant to do this, any shop (doesn’t need to be a dealer) can do this, or replace the starter if you prefer. Of course, double check that it’s not the battery or battery connections first.

That’s not good enough. The lights and radio will work until the battery is completely dead, which is way past the point where the starter quits working. The only way to know the battery’s true condition is to have it tested. A load test is the preferred test.

Working lights and radio don’t mean your battery is strong enough to start the engine.