Intermittent starting problem

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Thread: Intermittent starting problem

  1. #1
    Junior Member natemoore's Avatar
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    Default Intermittent starting problem

    Once every week or two, when I attempt to start my truck, I'll turn the key to the start position, but the engine will not turn over. All the dash lights illuminate, but nothing but silence under the hood. I'll return the key to the off position, then try it again. Nothing, not even the click of the starter solenoid. Then, usually, on the third try, it will fire off strongly as if nothing were amiss.

    I suspected the battery (last one failed after about a year), so I took the truck back to Wal-Mart, and they performed a complete system check, the one where they have you turn on your high beams and blower motor. No problems were noted.

    I've read the manual and know there are a list of possible causes including the starter relay, starter solenoid, starter motor, lock-out switch, ignition switch, corroded terminals, etc, but you know how hard intermittent problems to troubleshoot. I could go through the troubleshooting procedures and everything could be fine on that particular day.

    Yesterday morning, I had to do the start-off-start-off-start thing before it fired up, but this morning, first try.

    Any ideas on the most likely culprit?

    My Tundra is a 2000 SR5 Access Cab V-8.

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    Junior Member silverdouble's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intermittent starting problem

    I suspect a starter solenoid do the lights go dim when you are trying to start it. The placement of the starter makes it very hard to trouble shoot.
    1986 Toyota Dlx Pickup 4x4 7" Lift 35x15 5:29 Gears Posi (First Yoda) Sold
    1989 Toyota Dlx Pickup 4x4 3" Lift 33x12 Sold
    2000 Tundra Access Cab 4x4 Sold
    2004 Tundra Double Cab 4x4 Sold
    2012 Tundra CrewMax 4x4 Current Ride

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    Junior Member natemoore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intermittent starting problem

    Quote Originally Posted by silverdouble View Post
    I suspect a starter solenoid do the lights go dim when you are trying to start it. The placement of the starter makes it very hard to trouble shoot.
    Do you mean headlights, or instrument lights? If instrument lights, I haven't notice a dimming.
    2000 Tundra Access Cab 4.7L
    160,000 miles

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    Junior Member silverdouble's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intermittent starting problem

    Have some one watch the headlights when you are having problem if the lights don't dim then the problem is on the solenoid side of the circuit or the solenoid itself.
    Last edited by silverdouble; 02-14-2013 at 06:00 PM.
    1986 Toyota Dlx Pickup 4x4 7" Lift 35x15 5:29 Gears Posi (First Yoda) Sold
    1989 Toyota Dlx Pickup 4x4 3" Lift 33x12 Sold
    2000 Tundra Access Cab 4x4 Sold
    2004 Tundra Double Cab 4x4 Sold
    2012 Tundra CrewMax 4x4 Current Ride

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    Junior Member natemoore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intermittent starting problem

    Quote Originally Posted by silverdouble View Post
    Have some one watch the headlights when you are having problem if the lights don't dim then the problem is on the solenoid side of the circuit or the solenoid itself.
    The problem occurs very infrequently, and I'm usually the last to leave the house during the week, so I'm not sure I'll get that lucky for it to happen randomly on a random Saturday, but I'll try it a few times. Thanks.
    2000 Tundra Access Cab 4.7L
    160,000 miles

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    Supercharged Member tundra3400's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intermittent starting problem

    check and make sure that the wing nut on the battery is clean and tight. make sure the ground is secure and clean. my truck did this and it ended up being the starter contacts. replace the starter with a BRAND NEW one NOT a reman. i put a reman on and it was doing the same thing after 2 weeks. yours is a V8 so did it once and do it right.
    Jonesy likes this.
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    Default Re: Intermittent starting problem

    Could be yer Park/Neutral safety start switch. Is yer transmission indicator lighting up correctly?

    Have you tried starting yer engine in Neutral?

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    Default Re: Intermittent starting problem

    Next time it doesn't start, tap on the starter relay then try again. Could be as simple as a sticking relay.

    If not that, my next hunches, based on your symptoms, would be a bad ignition switch or starter solenoid.
    Jerome
    '06 Tundra AC Ltd 4x2 - Phantom Gray
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    Junior Member natemoore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intermittent starting problem

    Quote Originally Posted by tundra3400 View Post
    check and make sure that the wing nut on the battery is clean and tight. make sure the ground is secure and clean. my truck did this and it ended up being the starter contacts. replace the starter with a BRAND NEW one NOT a reman. i put a reman on and it was doing the same thing after 2 weeks. yours is a V8 so did it once and do it right.
    I cleaned the battery contacts the first time it happened. Haven't even found the starter yet. They've got it hidden pretty well.
    Jonesy likes this.
    2000 Tundra Access Cab 4.7L
    160,000 miles

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    Junior Member natemoore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intermittent starting problem

    Quote Originally Posted by BamZipPow View Post
    Could be yer Park/Neutral safety start switch. Is yer transmission indicator lighting up correctly?

    Have you tried starting yer engine in Neutral?
    The trans indicator lights work like they should, although the "D" bulb is burnt out...either that or it never had one. Can't recall. I did put it in neutral one time after the problem occurred, and it did start, but that doesn't really prove anything because it probably would have started on the second try in "park" anyway. If it weren't intermittent it'd be so much easier to troubleshoot.
    2000 Tundra Access Cab 4.7L
    160,000 miles

  12. #11
    Junior Member natemoore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intermittent starting problem

    Quote Originally Posted by p-car-tower View Post
    Next time it doesn't start, tap on the starter relay then try again. Could be as simple as a sticking relay.

    If not that, my next hunches, based on your symptoms, would be a bad ignition switch or starter solenoid.
    I hate throwing money at a problem by replacing parts willie-nillie, but I may go ahead and replace the starter relay just to eliminate that as the source. Probably an inexpensive part and it's really easy to get to, after I check the terminals on the starter, of course.

    I also understand that there is an adjustment for the park/neutral safety switch that might need adjustment. Come to think of it, if I were to try to start the truck in reverse or drive, I'd get the exact same result as when the problem occurs in park.
    2000 Tundra Access Cab 4.7L
    160,000 miles

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    Veteran Member BamZipPow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intermittent starting problem

    Quote Originally Posted by natemoore View Post
    The trans indicator lights work like they should, although the "D" bulb is burnt out...either that or it never had one. Can't recall. I did put it in neutral one time after the problem occurred, and it did start, but that doesn't really prove anything because it probably would have started on the second try in "park" anyway. If it weren't intermittent it'd be so much easier to troubleshoot.
    In case you want to pull the switch apart to clean it...the switch will be very similar although it will be different on how it's bolted to yer transmission compared to the front wheel drive Camry.
    DIY: Neutral Safety Switch Cleaning - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums

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    Junior Member natemoore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intermittent starting problem

    Although I've done nothing as far as troubleshooting, except for what I mentioned in my first post, it's been almost two weeks and nary a problem from my starting system. Know what that means? I'll back burner it until it starts happening again.
    tundra3400 likes this.
    2000 Tundra Access Cab 4.7L
    160,000 miles

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    Junior Member natemoore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intermittent starting problem

    Quote Originally Posted by natemoore View Post
    Although I've done nothing as far as troubleshooting, except for what I mentioned in my first post, it's been almost two weeks and nary a problem from my starting system. Know what that means? I'll back burner it until it starts happening again.
    Happened again a couple of times the day before yesterday. So that's almost three months of trouble-free starting. Didn't do it at all yesterday. I think it has to do with Mercury's orbit and the way I'm holding my mouth when I turn the key.
    2000 Tundra Access Cab 4.7L
    160,000 miles

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    Veteran Member Antipas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intermittent starting problem

    Sounds like the starter to me. Get ready to replace it. I've changed my starter twice: once at about 140,000 miles, and just recently at 290,000 miles.

    You'll need to buy new intake manifold gaskets (for about $65), and since you're taking off the intake manifold and consequently the eight fuel injectors, it's a fine idea to buy new fuel injector seals (they come in a kit) for about $25.

    Have fun changing that starter. Without ratcheting wrenches and swiveling ratchets, you'll be cussing and fighting it the entire way.
    Jonesy likes this.

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