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Steve Foss

Nothing but a click . . .

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. . . and sometimes not even that.

On our '89 Toyota 4Runner (V6, not that that matters), the battery shows a full charge but we have no lights, no other electrical accessories and nothing but a click and often not even a click when we turn the key.

I boosted it with a different vehicle and it would turn over very slowly and the lights and other things would go on, but weakly. With no boost, back to the nothingness.

My battery charger is functioning properly. No probs there, and it shows the battery fully charged.

Tomorrow I'm going to be pulling the battery and examining the battery cables for breaks/defects. Connections too. Given the symptoms I'm not thinking in terms of a malfunctioning ignition switch or ignition system wiring, but more like a battery cable/connection problem. There is no corrosion/flaky buildup at the battery post connections.

Should I be looking for anything else? The battery is only a year old, and bought locally, so I'll be running that into Napa to have them test it. A key symptom, IMO, is that that the headlights won't even go on without help from another vehicle's battery. To me, that sounds like an issue with battery posts/primary cables/connections, not ignition or other secondary wiring systems.

Thoughts?

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The lights are on a cicuit that is hot at all times. If there are no lights than there is a connection issue somewhere. It would be unlikely that an ignition switch is causing the lights, especially headlights/interior lights, not to work.

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Try a ground wire like a body to chasis frame to negative post on battery. I cant explain why you only get a click for the starter but with a bad body to chasis ground your lights wont work or be dim and flicker.

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The lights are on a cicuit that is hot at all times. If there are no lights than there is a connection issue somewhere. It would be unlikely that an ignition switch is causing the lights, especially headlights/interior lights, not to work.

Thanks jer and croix. Jer, I was thinking the same way you were, except I wasn't sure if there might be something special about the Toyotas or if there were other considerations I hadn't, uh, considered.

If it was my ole '69 C10 or '85 Silverado it'd be a walk in the park. Well, at least there's a lot of room to work in those engine compartments. I never look forward to wrassling around in the tight spaces of either of our 4Runners. Toyotas don't need work very often, but when they do you gotta practically be a midget to maneuver in there. frownfrown

I want the old days back.

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I would bet that you will find one of the battery cables has become all corroded inside and has developed a high resistance. Ot could be either one, but is probably the positive.

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If you have access to a multimeter, put the leads on the battery(red to +, black to -). While watching the meter, try starting the vehicle, or turning the lights on. If the voltage drops off major, your battery is weak/defective. If the voltage stays close to the same(12.6v fully charged), there is a bad connection somewhere. This could be the cable ends at the battery, bad cables themselves, or a bad ground on the engine.

I doubt the connection on the starter main terminal is the cause, because a lot of new vehicle now run a seperate + cable to a junction block for powering many, if not all, of the accesories in the vehicle.

Good luck.

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Toyotas don't need work very often, but when they do you gotta practically be a midget to maneuver in there.

Get a Sequoia. smile My engine compartment is cavernous!

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I have same truck. The starter is a bugger to get at aint it? LOL I hope I never have to pull it again. As a matter of fact the whole darn thing is a nightmare to work on! Good thing it is a good runner!

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Turns out it's the starter. I was able to grab up a remanufactured starter at the jobber rate (cheaper than factory reman from a dealer), but it's still going to cost nearly $300 to get the job done. There go a few fishing trips. frown

We've always loved the durability and reliability of our Toyotas, but when it comes time to fix them, the parts ARE more pricy, and there's very little room for big hands and arms in there. Give me my '85 Silverado to work on any day. gringrin

I'm getting old. In my day (insert snicker here from the young punks), you could buy pretty much any American made reman starter for $29.95 exchange and mount it in half an hour, and parts for the common imports were reasonably priced as well.

Why does everything get more expensive as time goes on? I ask you? winkwink

Anyway, thanks for the help, guys. smile

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Funny that you say the parts are more expensive on Toyota's as the starter for my 97 Tacoma was only $99.00. I've hardly done much for parts on my Toyota's, but when I have I thought the parts were fairly inexpensive.

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I'm just whining, JT. If we didn't need the vehicle ready for business by the end of today, we could have waited until after the weekend and gotten a reman Bosch starter online for $76 from a store where get most of our parts.

The real killer on some of the 'yodas and like vehicles can be in the labor. Many (not all, of course) are engineered in such a way that you've gotta go through a lot of rigamarole to even get to the part you need to change out. While I've done a lot of work on my vehicles over the years, setups like this tend to get us taking it to the auto shop rather than doing it ourselves.

We ran a '90 Isuzu Rodeo for several years, and it was only when the fuel pump went bad that we found out it lived on top of the gas tank, so they had to drop the gas tank to replace the pump. The pump was expensive, and because it was too involved a job for me to tackle, in it went to the shop, where the labor bill was quite high. Had it been the old '85 Silverado I still drive for some things, it would have been a $30 part and a half hour under the hood.

So my last post, the one you responded to, was mostly just me venting about spending money that I had pigeonholed for other things. smilesmile

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Yeah, working on a lot of things are a real pain sometimes! My starter only had 1 hr for the book time for a mechanic. It took longer than that and seemed to be a pain in the the ankle to take out and replace! Must of been an easier way of getting to it then the way we ended up doing it?

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