Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Van will not start -HELP!

  1. #1
    Van Fan
    My Van(s):
    1987 4wd 1986 LE
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    27
    Rep Power
    1

    Van will not start -HELP!

    Drove my 1985 to work yesterday and it ran fine as always. Got in it to leave work and would not start! I first put my jumper wire in to make sure fuel pump was working and I could hear it running, It has 1/2 tank of gas. Pulled a plug wire and stuck a spare plug on - fire is jumping off the plug. I tried a spray of starting fluid in the air intake. Still nothing. I have fire and I have fuel, what else could be wrong? Any ideas on what to check next?

  2. #2
    Van Fan
    My Van(s):
    1985 2wd Manual LE
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    63
    Rep Power
    1

    Re: Van will not start -HELP!

    Is it trying to turn over?
    or do you just hear a click?
    or do you hear nothing when turning the key?

  3. #3
    Van Fan
    My Van(s):
    1987 4wd 1986 LE
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    27
    Rep Power
    1

    Re: Van will not start -HELP!

    Yes it is turning over just will not start.

  4. #4
    Van Enthusiast mahleek87's Avatar
    My Van(s):
    1986 Toyota Van 2WD 394K (Re-ringed Engine at 300K, Replaced HG, Still has original timing chain and oil pump) 1989 Toyota Van 2WD Purchased @ 171K now 220K
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Rockville, MD
    Posts
    225
    Rep Power
    1

    Re: Van will not start -HELP!

    I bet it is the igniter. They usually randomly fail.

    When the igniter goes bad, it will turn but wont start. You can try replacing that.

  5. #5
    Van Fan
    My Van(s):
    1987 4x4 LE- Manual 5 spd
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Posts
    31
    Rep Power
    1

    Re: Van will not start -HELP!

    They say fuel, air, and spark, right? Well, I ran into something recently a bit off that beaten path after a recent tune up that gave me the same problem as yourself. It turned out to be a slightly loose water temp sensor connection. The engine would juuuuuust click over, and you think it's gonna start, but then mine would always die right after letting off the key. My starter would grind too if the key was left on for a hair too long, so that told me that it was doing its job.

    The only reason I sought out the temp sensor was because I had disconnected it during the tune up. When I had it apart, mine seemed to be more corroded than most electrical connections I've seen around my engine. For all I know it's the original components still going. But that aside, the connection was just barely loose and once I properly connected the harness it started first time no problem and every time after.

    Try checking your sensor connection for corrosion. It's easy enough to visually inspect and remediate anything that looks suspect. I think it may be a connection more prone to corrosion due to the proximity to the coolant system.

    Otherwise, I've also had your problem with arcing in the distributor as diagnosed by my mechanic. They replaced the cap a rotor and that got me going again.

    I was having slight troubles starting it for a bit before it totally quit though... were you noticing problems before with starting?
    Last edited by kinger; 11-29-2017 at 09:16 PM. Reason: typo correction

  6. #6
    Van Fan
    My Van(s):
    1985 2wd Manual LE
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    63
    Rep Power
    1

    Re: Van will not start -HELP!

    Check for vacuum leaks, specifically at the main intake hose.

    I second the igniter, but check all your wires, cap, rotor too...even if you had spark at one cylinder.

  7. #7
    Van Obsessed
    My Van(s):
    88 4WD DLX 5spd
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    514
    Rep Power
    1

    Re: Van will not start -HELP!

    It seems to me there are 2 possible courses of action.
    1) structured, rigorous, methodical diagnosis
    2) randomly throw parts at it till you find the problem.
    Neither is fun but the later is usually more expensive.

    So. Maybe start with checking codes?
    At this point all you have confirmed is that the fuel pump runs and the wire you tested had spark.
    More info would be required otherwise we are all just making WAG's

  8. #8
    Van Fan
    My Van(s):
    1987 4wd 1986 LE
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    27
    Rep Power
    1

    Re: Van will not start -HELP!

    I will check the coolant sensor and cap/button.
    If the ignitor is bad would I still have fire on the plug?

  9. #9
    Van Obsessed
    My Van(s):
    88 4WD DLX 5spd
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    514
    Rep Power
    1

    Re: Van will not start -HELP!

    The problem with ignitors is they can be intermittent but when they do fail, there is no spark.
    I wouldn't jump to the ignitor until I had investigated further.

    How long since the last tune-up, were factory parts used or something else.
    I have seen aftermarket ignition rotors cause all sorts of crazy issues including no spark, so knowing what you have and its condition is important.

    Verifying you have spark on all 4 wires is an easy start.
    Then pull the plugs and inspect them.
    -If they are wet, you know you have fuel, if they're dry, move to the fuel system
    -If they're fouled or uneven wear, replace them (nippon or ngk)
    - Inspect all ignition components (wires, cap, rotor) paying close attention to see tracer lines (looks like a pencil mark)

    Did I mention to check codes?

    It is true that spark, fuel and air are all thats required, however all those things must happen at just the right time and in the proper sequence.

    It is also good to inspect all electrical connections, certainly the usual culprits but also anything thats readily accessible, the more you know the less things there are to consider.

  10. #10
    Van Enthusiast AD2101's Avatar
    My Van(s):
    1988 Toyota Van 4x4 (Automatic)
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    161
    Rep Power
    1

    Re: Van will not start -HELP!

    All LE model vans have tachometers, right? I thought that was part of it being classified as an LE. Anyways, this tip helped me diagnose my failing igniter.

    Quote Originally Posted by JPERL View Post
    If you have a tachometer meaning an LE model knowing if the igniter is bad is an easy test. If the igniter is good the tachometer needle will slightly bounce while cranking the engine. If the tachometer needle does not move at all while cranking you have a bad igniter

    This test is only applicable to 80's era Toyotas
    With that said, hopefully it's something else that failed as the igniters are NLA I believe and used ones can run you a first-born on eBay.

  11. #11
    Van Fan
    My Van(s):
    1987 4wd 1986 LE
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    27
    Rep Power
    1

    Re: Van will not start -HELP!

    My van is running again! After work yesterday I tried to start it....it spit, it sputtered, it burped and it belched....then smoothed out and is running fine again. So I must have some sort of intermittent problem. I am gonna start with a tune up such as fuel filter, plugs, wires, cap and button. I have a code reader for ODBII which I am sure will not work on theses vans. Can anyone tell me what kind of reader will work on the vans?
    Thanks sooooooo much for all of the replies and great advice.

  12. #12
    Van Enthusiast AD2101's Avatar
    My Van(s):
    1988 Toyota Van 4x4 (Automatic)
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    161
    Rep Power
    1

    Re: Van will not start -HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by lamont View Post
    Can anyone tell me what kind of reader will work on the vans?
    Basically a paper clip and a copy of the FSM. All the information you'll need is here. OBD-II wasn't even a thing until well after these vans went out of production.

  13. #13
    Van Fan
    My Van(s):
    1985 Toyota van
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Mt. Pleasant Pa.
    Posts
    26
    Rep Power
    1

    Re: Van will not start -HELP!

    I second the idea of a bad distributor cap. Just had to replace mine. I had fuel. And I had fire at the plug but evidently a messed up kind of fire. Changed the cap and rotor and it fired right up. Might be a good thing to check it for wear - easy enough. Jim Z

  14. #14
    Van Fan
    My Van(s):
    1987 4wd 1986 LE
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    27
    Rep Power
    1

    Re: Van will not start -HELP!

    Great info on the diagnostics! I did not even know that had this kinda of stuff in 1985.
    Thanks everyone and keep loving those vans and keep them running!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •