Toyota Starter Issues

Toyota Starter TestIf you've owned a Toyota long enough, you've probably run into, or heard about, the Toyota starter contact issues.

Here's what happens: Each time you turn the key to start your Toyota, there is a spark that occurs when the copper contacts in the starter move out to make contact. After lots of sparks, these contacts wear down and corrode (for lack of a better word). This can get so bad that current won't even flow through the contacts thus creating a Toyota Truck or 4-runner that won't start.

 Easiest fix: When I ran into this issue it was in the middle of the rainy season, and I didn't have a garage or undercover area to do any work in. I carried an old brrom handle in the back of my 1990 4-runner, and when the problem would occur, I'd get my passenger to tap on the starter with the broom stick while I held my key in the start position.

Eventually I got around to removing the starter, pulling out the copper contacts and cleaning them. I read somewhere that you can simply flip the contacts over and they're good as new.

Here's some info on how to test your starter:

I recently came across this post on Pirate 4x4. It talks about the same problem: A Toyota that won't start. However, after cleaning the starter contacts, and even replacing the starter, his problem still wasn't fixed. That's when he pulled out his Toyota Factory Service Manual and realized that the starter relay (to trigger the starter solenoid) was powered off of the ignition circuit, rather than a high current power source.

Here's the writeup on what he did to remedy this, and how it fixed his Toyota starter issues: