New to Toyota need help!

94 Toyota 4runner 5speed manual 3.0 V6. Starter drags to start everytime. Randomly, though more frequent than not starts with a very low idle and bounces in RPM’s as it try to continue running but clears up if I feather the gas as I shift and it will go back to normal RPM after about 5 minutes. Then most times it fires right up and sits at either 1000 to 800 RPM and runs great like nothing has gone wrong.

The starter drag is one problem, and the idle is another problem.

Could be a bad starter?

The idle problem might be with the idle air control valve.

The same engine is in your 4Runner.

Welcome to Toyota!


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  1. What do you mean exactly by “starter drags”? Do you mean it cranks the engine with the key in “start” ok, but not as robustly as it should?

  2. Have you compared the idle quality with the engine cold vs warm? Any difference noted? The reason I ask is b/c on cold starts the engine computer is supposed to enrich the mixture quite a bit to insure a good quality idle. If the problem only occurs with the engine cold, could be something associated with that.

Dragging in the sense of over exceeding it’s starting capacity thus when key is turned it engages and attempts to start the engine hot/cold but you have to hold the key for 5-10 seconds before it fires. Also it does this either hot or cold. And while I am agreeing and assuming the starter truly may be failing. Though I am still stuck on the mystery idle

Clean the throttle body and idle air control valve for the idle issue.
What you call starter drag I call hard starting.
At 25 y.o. and presumably high mileage I’d begin with a compression test; new spark plugs and wires, distributor cap and rotor.

Try this: Turn the key to on, hold it there for a couple of seconds, then turn it off. Do that 5 times. Now start it. Does it start right up? Check your fuel system. Clogged fuel filter is a good spot to start, though it could be a drainback valve or a weak fuel pump. It could be that it’s taking a long time to start because it’s taking that long for gas to make it into the cylinders.

Much appreciated for the assistance I’ll attempt these possible scenarios and reach out with results

If you mean the starter isn’t turning the engine fast enough , that could be either the starter or the battery. The way to make the decision which it is, measure the voltage at the two starter terminals with the key in “start”. If both measure at least 10.5 volts and the starter turns the engine too slowly, replace the starter. If either is below 10.5 volts, trace the circuitry from the starter toward the battery to find out why. Measure starter voltages by probing between the terminal on the starter and the starter case.