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Thread: Hot start problem! Starter wont turn...

  1. #1
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    Hot start problem! Starter wont turn...

    Hey all!

    I've got a 1989 4wd, 220k miles, live in the PNW, had it about a year. Got it check out when i got it, shop said it runs like a top, great condition.

    A year ago, it was having starter problems, basically, it seemed, if the engine was hot the starter wouldn't turn. If you waited a minute, or 15, it'd kick and start right up. On a late summer trip to CA it got worse, and hitting the starter with a heavy object become the norm. On that trip I swapped the starter for a freshly rebuilt one and the problem went away.

    Over the past couple days, the starter's been doing the thing again. Yesterday it was pretty hot here, and i parked it in the sun after driving for a bit, and 2 hours later it wouldn't turn. Just a little click, and kinda a faint bubbly noise? Stater was pretty hot to the touch, so i put some ice on it, waited till it melted, and tried: started right up. Later last night, after parking again for a few hours, wouldn't start. Starter was warm, put water on it to cool it off, started right up. Battery seems fine, but haven't really pulled it out for a real test...

    Is this a thing other people deal with? Is this a normal quirk? Is there a fix? I have a lifetime warranty on the starter, so i guess I'll just swap it again, but is there a true solution? Is it even about the starter being hot or is this a false conclusion?

    Another problem, perhaps unrelated: The 'brake' dash light comes on intermittently while driving. Seems to happen more often on turns, and less so on straight road. Parking brake doesn't make that same light go on, so I'm guessing it's simply just a bad switch related to the parking brake indicator. Thoughts on that?

    Thanks folx! Just kinda scratching my head at this starter trouble...

  2. #2
    Van Enthusiast bikerjosh's Avatar
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    Re: Hot start problem! Starter wont turn...

    They sound like two unrelated items.
    On brake dash light that will often come on if brake fluid is low since it seems to come on in corners fluid is probably moving away from sensor.
    on the starter motor, if it is warm when the engine isn't warm sounds like you have an electrical issue or an open circuit? Not an auto electrician just a guess
    1987 4wd 5spd Cargo van (uncut)-modding in 3,2,1

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    Re: Hot start problem! Starter wont turn...

    sounds like the famous toyota van heat soak problem: do a search for "heat soak" and there's detailed info

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    Re: Hot start problem! Starter wont turn...

    Thanks for the replies!

    I read about the heat soak, thanks for the lead. While it definitely seems heat related, it doesn't seem like the gas is boiling and causing it to not start. Van doesn't even try to start- starter doesn't turn engine at all.

    More clues i remembered. Sometimes if theres good draw on the battery (while starting) from headlights, or my foots on the brake, or the wipers are going, then this happens. Kinda just clicks and doesn't turn. Turn off the headlights or whatever, starts fine (unless it doesn't).

    Talking to a friend with another 4wd van, has this draw problem, but not the heat problem. I'm guessing they are related? Is it a weird solenoid issue?

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    Re: Hot start problem! Starter wont turn...

    Im having this same problem, did you find out any information on this issue? did you ever get it fixed?

    -Spencer

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    Re: Hot start problem! Starter wont turn...

    SR - this is one of THE most common issues, a quick search would yield more answer than you have time to read, to shorten your search, try "starter contacts"
    or "click click click"

    When u say u have EXACTLY the same problem does that mean you have been icing your starter, you have christmas dash & you have lifetime warranty on starter????
    Sorry, but that phrase is deployed FAR too often.

    Remanned starters are notorious for being POS, same goes for alternators.
    A starter needs a certain amount of voltage and amperage to do its thing.
    Our vans are now turning 30 for the most part, some a little more, and time will take its toll on all systems.

    I have replaced about 1/3 of my vans harness due to corrosion at the factory splices,
    corrosion = increased resistance = voltage drop = no start

    Also things like bad grounds or bad battery leads or incorrectly wired repairs or a gazillion other things.
    That said, diagnosis isn't that hard once one has a good meter and know how to use it.
    Cheers

  7. 07-22-2018, 09:57 PM


  8. #7
    Van Enthusiast AD2101's Avatar
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    Re: Hot start problem! Starter wont turn...

    I'll throw in my 2 cents as starter hot start was the reason for my one code brown moment on my road trip, and it's only gotten worse in this southern AZ summer. I had replaced the contacts in my auto zone brand starter prior to the trip, no difference. I just ended up buying a denso rebuild and have not had any heat soak issues since, and I ran it up to Phoenix in 113 degree heat and did some errands up there, where it would have definitely acted up.

    It's rarely the simple solution for me but I'll take my wins where I can get them.

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    Re: Hot start problem! Starter wont turn...

    So to follow up for the world to see, what i ended up doing and what seems to have fixed it, after about a year of uncommon and semi-random frustrations:

    I just re-replaced the starter. I tried a few other things, but nothing really helped. Eventually i put in a different re-manufactured starter and I haven't had it happen at all in months, including a road trip to california, so it got some testing in some warmer weather.

    I guess u just gotta fix the same problem twice to fix it once?

    Thanks for the hot tips everyone. Now i can move on to the quality of life improvements like figuring out why the blower doesn't work and replacing broken door handles.

  10. #9
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    Re: Hot start problem! Starter wont turn...

    Oh and obviously my brake fluid was just low, and I was being a lazy dunce about it in my original post.

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