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Electrical problem with Toyota 4runner

Electrical/electronic problem

1990 Toyota 4Runner 6 cyl Four Wheel Drive Automatic 325000 miles

This problem has multiple symptoms, but they all add up to a 1990 toyota 4runner that does not run reliably and could possibly get someone killed.

Current symptoms.

1. Your driving along and pow…all of the panel lights come on.

2.The car jerks, and all dash lights goes out but engine still runs.

3. If you give car gas, the engine revs but does not go anywhere.

4. If you then coast to the side of the road, put the car in park and then back into drive, the engine will cut out as you try to drive away.

5. The car will not restart after this, unless you hot wire the starter.

6. The car then runs normally, until this behavior is repeated at seemingly random increments. (at a stop sign, driving down the highway, etc…)

7.The final symptom is that the clock has been reset at least twice as if the battery had been disconnected…although it has not been.


Ps. I have had this to my hometown mechanic but nothing obvious was found.

Can we combine a driveability,a electrical instrumentation,a engine cranking,and a automatic transmission concern all in the same vehicle,let a mechanic take his time,inspect the vehicle,and then accept the mechanics report that "nothing is obviously wrong?

Are these seperate issues or are they connected?

I say ignition switch for everything but the transmission, which is a seperate unrelated concern.

First step is a through visual inspection of everything electrical (ignition switch,battery,charging system,grounds,and both power and ground buss points)

Your going to have to disconnect modules and look at both sides(the cable end and the module input) look for major connection failures but don’t forget to look for smaller issues like pins on cables being push back,look for proper tension on connectors(is the pin held tightly by the receptacle).

Use the wiggle test technique and see if you can induce a failure by tapping on connectors or pulling on harnesses.

You need a tech that can attack this job with a sound stratagey.

If I was dispatched this job it would be by the hour as long as it takes, if I get 10 hours into the job and you pull the plug,you still owe me for 10 hrs.

I set a $2000.00 value on this vehicle and labor is $100.00 a hour.

I recommend you clean the battery connections even if they look ok. The problem may be with the ignition switch as Oldschool suggested. The one thing that makes me think that the trouble may be before the switch is your statement about the clock resetting. The memory power for it should be constant, unless there is a problem in the main power buss somewhere. I like the suggestion of tapping on suspected areas of trouble to see if something shows up. I like to use a screwdriver handle to tap one things. That trick has really worked for me in the past to help find hidden trouble.