Turn the key and . . . nothing

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Jul 27, 2005
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For about a week or so, my 1989 FJ62 has been having some trouble turning over when I turn the ignition. Sometimes it would start normally, but more often it would give me that tired, slow first turn and then start up. Confirming my fears, this afternoon, I went to start it, and . . . nothing when I turned the key, no sound at all. Tried to jump it but still zero response. Then noticed radio worked and power windows functional so battery not the problem. Any suggestions, similar episodes, tips on diagnosis or parts?
 
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Radio and windows don't need much for working, while a starter does! Dead giveaway of dead bateries, "slow turning " jumper start a car with dead batteries is possible, but you have to remove the batery, so you don't try to fill it up. Change your battery, and it'll work.
 

zcruiser

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Get your alternator checked while you're at it. Most likely you're not maintaining a charge on your battery, and once it's used up, you can't turn over the engine with the starter any more.
 

Skniper

 
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Possibly the starter contacts in the starter...cheap, easy fix....and sounds like your problem. The positive side contact gets toasted after awhile and won't make contact.
Do not replace the entire starter until you have tried this first, don'y ask how I know.
 

Ming89FJ62

I smell bacon
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Make sure that you're battery cables have good contact w/ the battery terminals - a little oxydation can make starting a real PITA.

Harry
 

lovetoski

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I think you need to do some simple diagnosis before spending any money.
Check the battery voltage when the engine is off. A good battery should be in the 12.3 - 12.7 volt range.
Check the battery voltage when the engine is running. With a good alt, the voltage should be in the 14 - 14. 6 range. (No accessories.)
Clean the battery contacts - the starter draws huge amps, and very clean contacts are required to provide the amps required.

If the engine off volts are low, either the battery is poor, or the alt is not up to spec.
If the engine on volts are low, then the alt is the problem.
If both are fine, then it's the starter.

Most auto parts shops will test an alt for no charge.
 
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Checked the battery charge and it seems good: 12.5 V or thereabouts. From there, I checked my records and saw that I had the alternator replaced in November of 2002, and also the main ignition relay in September of 2004, for what it is worth. What is the life expectancy of an alternator? So, all signs seem to point to the starter, which I am disassembling and removing, hoping to check out the solenoid contacts and go from there. How much would a new starter for a fj62 cost? What exactly could I replace while I am at it? Where would the best place be to find these parts, in the L.A. area, or nationally? The ground wire looked pretty grim, by the way. Not so experienced here so any tips much appreciated.
 

zcruiser

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cruzwell said:
The ground wire looked pretty grim, by the way. Not so experienced here so any tips much appreciated.
Auto parts stores have a good variety of battery cables / lengths / terminators so you should be able to carry in the old wire and come out with same length and terminals. Suggest you get 4 or 6 AWG as replacement to keep impedence down.
 
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cruzwell said:
The ground wire looked pretty grim, by the way. Not so experienced here so any tips much appreciated.
The ground wire needs to be perfect at BOTH ends.
They often corrode at the block rather than the battey end.
Replace these and make sure any major component$ are tested before they are replaced.


Too many home mechanics replace starters and alternators only to find its a simple case of bad wiring,dont ask me why:D
 
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roscoFJ73 said:
The ground wire needs to be perfect at BOTH ends.
They often corrode at the block rather than the battey end.
Replace these and make sure any major component$ are tested before they are replaced.


Too many home mechanics replace starters and alternators only to find its a simple case of bad wiring,dont ask me why:D

some people have more time than money, and some have more money than time... so if you want to chase your ass around for $1 go for it. just replace the old worn out crap and be done with it.
 

lovetoski

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cruzwell said:
Checked the battery charge and it seems good: 12.5 V or thereabouts. From there, I checked my records and saw that I had the alternator replaced in November of 2002, and also the main ignition relay in September of 2004, for what it is worth. What is the life expectancy of an alternator? So, all signs seem to point to the starter, which I am disassembling and removing, hoping to check out the solenoid contacts and go from there. How much would a new starter for a fj62 cost? What exactly could I replace while I am at it? Where would the best place be to find these parts, in the L.A. area, or nationally? The ground wire looked pretty grim, by the way. Not so experienced here so any tips much appreciated.
You've made a good start on finding the problem. Suggest the following:

Clean battery contacts.
Replace ground wire. (make sure both ends have clean connections)
Measure Voltage when engine running. (this is a simple test of alt function)
Have alt checked at auto parts store. (alts can last a long time or a short time - remans are notorious for variable lifespan)

All of the above are free. Post back w/results, and we can suggest next steps.

Good luck!
 
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Went thru this for the last couple of months...intermittent slow/weird/no start. My truck has 123k miles...your starter is hosed. I had mine rebuilt for 25.00 (0nly needed contacts)
 
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