FJ60 won't turnover or start - (solved)

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Jan 17, 2009
Verde Valley, AZ
85 FJ60 6cyl. (manual only?)

Happened at end of August, then again today. Went to start in a.m., it turned over once and died. No choke, it was only 45 last nite....

Tried the first trick, pushing it, and jamming into gear.

No love, and now in a dip.

Tapping solenoid and starter. Now radio goin dim, and no engine lights. No click, no hum, but maybe a sigh..

Had ordered starter contacts after the Aug heartbreak, got em out now (a HELP kit!). I knew the top bolt was a stud on starter, so came off easy enough. Stacked two 4x8x16 cement blocks, and they worked great for a stand to put starter into. Apart easy enough, except those short locknuts, ended up using 14mm wrench and bammer.

Used the visuals from the post here Starter Motor Contacts for 80 series TLC

Looked ok inside, little bit of grease contam, Less than a 1/4 mm wear on one contact, but not enough to be causing problems.

So changed out anyway, and back in truck in hour and a half. Turn key gives no lights still. Check and charge batt (it was at 12.5 already), fusible link, and cables and grounds. Still nothing.
No bench test on starter, but figured i could do it on truck, so loosend up those 17mm mount bolts, turned the key, and we have ignition Houston !

So it was the bound up ring gear, and if you can't push it, or pull it, loosen it !
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That's some good fixin. But the starter is still ancient and can't be relied upon any longer. Unless you like playing Russian Roulette, I'd still replace the starter with a Toyota remanufacured unit. They're pretty cheap ($112) and it will last for the remaining life of your cruiser. Yours won't and you're going to have to replace it eventually, so why wait until it fails again at the worst possible time? There's no upside to waiting until it croaks again except if you can't scrape up $112 for a new one right now.
Nah, replaced it in 2001 ?

This is a known issue in the FJ's, if the starter winds down and disengages after engine fires, but not enough to start up, it can bind the ring gear in the transmission some times. Not sure what in there is actually locking up in the manual tranny. You will see many of the owners will recommend a push start instead of a jump attempt just for that reason.

I actually put a plumbers wrench on the mainshaft pulley in the front (had to drop the skid plate), to try and manually move the tranny link while still in gear, but it wasn't enough to unbind the tranny. You might be able to take off the bottom of the bell housing cover, and lever on the ring gear, but loosening the 2 bolts on the starter was easier.
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It sounds like what's happening with your starter is the pinion is sticking. It's not retracting. The 2F FSM has detailed instructions on how to test it.
When you turn the key to START, the starter pinion jumps out (or should jump out) and the starter pinion gear engages the teeth on the flywheel and spins it. The moment you let off the key, the starter pinion should instantly jump out of the way and retract. But yours was binding - not retracting.

Then when it got stuck, still engaged in the flywheel teeth like it did, there's no way you're going to be able to rotate the engine crankshaft because the flywheel is bolted to the crank and it's enmeshed with the stuck starter. The transmission isn't part of the equation.

When you loosened the two mounting bolts on the starter, that released the sticking of the pinion on the flywheel teeth so it could retract, but it didn't fix the underlying problem- the pinion is binding intermittently and almost assuredly will do so again.
You also need to check the flywheel teeth, as they might be badly chewed. I've owed several vehicles where the starter would get jammed into the worn teeth, but usually I could break it free by rocking or push starting. Years ago when I purchased a '76 FJ40, the teeth were so badly chewed I ended up replacing the ring gear.

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