Possible ignition switch issue?

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate
links, including eBay, Amazon, Skimlinks, and others.


Feb 28, 2004
Divide, Colorado
1977 FJ40, all stock wiring.

My old OEM starter would sometimes “delay” to engage the starter for about half a second after turning the key. I’ve been itching to install a gear reduction starter anyway, so I bought a Toyota factory one and just put it in, thinking I had a solenoid or contacts going bad in the old one. But, it still has the same issue. Occasionally, it will just click.

I’ve checked and cleaned the ground and battery cables. Battery is 3.5 years old and is strong.

This seems to point towards ignition switch going out. Does that sound accurate for this scenario? Did some searching and couldn’t quite confirm.
This sounds like a common ignition harness issue, which I have experienced with my 79. You can easily take apart the steering column clamshell and remove the ignition switch harness. You might see some burnt contacts or other evidence of damage at the wiring connections on the cylindrical body. In my case, because of how the solder was smeared, the "start" and "run" contacts were joined, so the starter would engage prematurely, when the key was in the run position. I replaced it with a new harness. Immediately fixed and has been running great for 10 years.
I installed 3 after market and 3 Toyota switches before one Toyota one was "ok" All looked the same and had the same markings leading me to believe they were made by the same people. The aftermarket was 1/2 the cost of Toyota. The one Toyota that worked came from a warehouse in CA and I live in VA. I think they have had a bad batch of switch's in my opinion. These were all for a 73-78 version.
Here was my experience. My original Ignition switch and harness shorted out in roughly 2008 per my PO (so it lasted for about 29 years). I replaced it with an aftermarket harness purchased from CCOT in 2010. Country of origin is Taiwan. I did a side-by-side comparison with the OEM harness, and they were absolutely identical in all ways that I could tell by visual inspection. The aftermarket switch has worked flawlessly for the last 10 years. BTW, my aftermarket switch seems to look identical to the one currently offered by City Racer. I would have bought from City Racer back in 2010 but he wasn't in business yet.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom