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Good ol toyota wont start

Hello everyone, glad to be here.
I have a Toyota 87 pickup that have been working great for the longest time. Now there is a problem and I need to fix it.
It is a problem with the ignition switch I think but I am not sure. When I put the key in and turn ity to 1st position I can hear the electrical system turn on, as in the little humms and noises that the electrical system does on a car this age. The next position where the starter motor would engage is however silent and non working. If I where to have a bad battery this is where the relay would go tic-tic-tic but there is no sound what so ever. So Im thinking maybe bad switch, or bad relay? How do I test this the easiest.
Toyota got a r22 in it. thank you all for your collective brainpower.

Test backwards from the starter with a multimeter. Have someone turn the key while you check the power to the starter motor. If it’s getting power, then your starter is probably bad (try whacking it with a hammer if so - you might get it started and save yourself a tow). If it’s not, go back to the relay and see if power is coming in to the relay. If it is, replace the relay. If it’s not, go back to the ignition switch.

It could be a weak battery. There is a relay in the starter circuit that might be bad. Sometimes the starter itself just fails. First check the battery, with a load test. Next, check the relay, then the starter, and eventually the ignition switch. Usually other items in the starting circuit fail before the ignition switch itself.

Thank you both so much! I will do all of the above and leave a report when possible. Thanks fellas.

This is a common problem. It is likely one or more of the following: The starter motor, the starter selenoid (part of the starter motor ass’y usually on Toyotas), the neutral safety switch (if auto xmission), the clutch start switch (if manual), the starter relay (usually found on an passenger compartment relay panel somewhere, this is different from the starter selenoid, often only used with manuals), the ignition switch, the battery, or the battery connections. As said above, the way most mechanics would approach this is to start testing with a volt meter at the starter motor. There are two electrical connections to the starter motor. A thick wire, and a thin wire. When you turn the key to “start” a 12 volt signal is sent to the thin wire. Some voltage is lost in the wiring by the time it makes it to the starter motor. When cranking, the thin wire should be above 9.6 volts at the starter motor, I think that is the spec.

Of all the above, if you had to put a bet on it, you’d bet on the starter selenoid as the problem. This can be repaired at your local auto-electric shop without having to replace the starter motor if you find that is the cause.

I have a early 90’s Toyota and have this problem from time to time. One time I had multiple faults. Upon testing, the battery, the ignition switch, the clutch start switch, and the starter selenoid all needed repair or replacement. I think if one thing starts to go bad, it can cause problems along the chain and damage those parts as well. That’s my theory anyway.

Best of luck. One good thing, this is usually fairly simple to diagnose and reasonably inexpensive to fix.

Hello again. After getting my hands dirty (there was something black on the cable) I noticed that there was 12V on the little cable going into the back of the starter whenever I turned the key. So Im guessing starter or solenoid. So now onto…removing the starter? Whackhammer? Call a towtruck?

If you have a local business specializing in rebuilding starters and alternators, this might might be a great time to do a little preventative maintenance. Starters do wear out, and as you see, they can leave you stranded. For the price of a questionable “rebuilt” starter from a parts store, you can have yours carefully rebuilt with all the wear parts replaced. Even if this is not the immediate problem you are trying to solve, it may get your good old Toyota farther down the road than you might have expected. If you have never replaced the starter, or if it’s been a long time, this would be a good time to do it. And hey, it might solve your current problem as a bonus.

One thing first, the small wire. It should have a connector that goes to a spade terminal on the starter. Sometimes the socket inside this connector will “push back” into the connector housing and not really go on the spade, only the insulation goes over the spade. Check the connector to make sure the socket inside is not being pushed back.

If its OK, then just get a reman starter with a lifetime warranty. They may not last as long as a new one, but it won’t cost you to get replacements on occasion.

My experience with a 1979 Toyota truck and 2 Chrysler minivans is that the 2 L-shaped copper contacts inside the starter solenoid wear to the point that the disc on the end of the plunger can’t quite bridge them when you turn the key to Start. So the motor does not turn. You - or a local auto electric shop - can clean up and file and bend, or even better replace, the contacts or the one that has worn the most.

Keith’s idea about the small wire is also worth checking into. That, too, happened to me when I failed to solidly hook it up when installing a rebuilt starter.

Before removing the starter motor for a look-see, be sure to unhook the negative battery cable.

Hello again! So after a few more attempts of messing around with it I got it going by tapping it with a broomhandle and a mallet. So now I always carry a broomhandle and mallet with me wherever I go. At one point I guess I have to take the thing off and take it apart.I think the plunger was just stuck.
Happy as a otter now.
Thank you all!