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Thread: Help locating the starter relay

  1. #1
    Forum Newbie Turf n Surf's Avatar
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    Help locating the starter relay

    My 2nd Previa bought but haven't picked it up yet has starting issues. The current owner said "Van doesn't start, may need just battery, fuse, relay or starter." Found the location the fuse but not the relay. Toyota stealership parts department manager(young buck) said the relay p/n 28300 is $165+ tax! I asked him where it is located and no one in the department knows:-(. I will try to diagnose and fix it myself when I pick it up.
    Last edited by Turf n Surf; 10-11-2017 at 07:42 PM.
    If I can't take it with me, then I am not interested.

  2. #2
    Van Enthusiast tbkilb01's Avatar
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    Re: Help locating the starter relay

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    Re: Help locating the starter relay

    Found this on google. Red annotations by me:

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    For some reason I can't find this picture in the factory repair manual.

    I guess you can access that from below the steering wheel, similarly to the door lock control relay. (Which, for some reason, isn't shown in that picture.)

    EDIT: Here's the starting system wiring diagram:

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    Last edited by celeron55; 10-24-2017 at 04:24 AM.

  4. #4
    Van Enthusiast tbkilb01's Avatar
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    Re: Help locating the starter relay

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  5. #5
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    Re: Help locating the starter relay

    Sorry for bringing back this old thread, but I am having intermittent starting issues and was searching for the starter relay. I see that there's a consistent location across models/markets (manual vs. automatic, USA/Canada). That location is to the right of the instrument panel, tucked away to the right.

    I located two relays in that location. Only two identical model number relays, took both out and the starter still engaged! I was baffled, there is no other place I could imagine it would be. Why would the Previa Factory Electrical Repair Manual not be correct in the location of the relay? This is precisely why I purchased the Factory Electrical Repair Manual, accurate information.

    Please let me know if you have any idea where else I should look for the starter relay.

  6. #6
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    Re: Help locating the starter relay

    From a Noel DeSouza post in an archived Yahoo Previa Group files: "For the benefit of the next person trying to track it down, attached is a picture of the 3 relays under the right-side of the instrument cluster. The green cube is the Starter relay, the silver round relay below it (on the left) - is the EFI relay, and the one on the right is the rear-defogger relay."

    From the top (instrument cluster removed)

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    From me: you can also get to it by going UP from the gas pedal - remove the cruise control actuator (black part 162000-1774) at which point you have to get past the two round relays to get the square starter relay off. Never did that so don't know how hard it is to do.

    From the bottom (you can see a hint of green relay beyond the two round ones) - looking up from the brake pedal

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    "If you find yourself holding a sledgehammer or a crowbar, it's time for a break."

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    Re: Help locating the starter relay

    Thanks for the replay man_btc, the photos definitely help explain my situation. I pulled my instrument cluster out and found two of the relays, but the green one that is for the starter is simply missing. There's nothing there. It's just the two relays that are there, as shown in your photo. It's so bizarre... where could it be?

  8. #8
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    Re: Help locating the starter relay

    It looks like you have some tracing to do. When you say the relay is not there, does that mean its socket is not there either? It might have been relocated off its bracket and placed nearby under the dash to be more easily reachable? If the socket is there but no relay, I would assume (a) another relay has been wired in elsewhere for some "accessibility" reason. I suppose it's also possible that (b) the power from the ignition switch (Blue, to pin 1 of the relay, which normally goes through the relay coil to pin 3) could have been wired/shorted to pin 4 also, so instead of just energizing the coil in the relay, the ignition switch "start" power flows through from pin 1 to 4 and then into the starter. That assumption would depend on the wiring to that coil being able to take more current than it's designed for.

    So, if the relay socket is there, is pin 1 shorted to pin 4?
    "If you find yourself holding a sledgehammer or a crowbar, it's time for a break."

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    Re: Help locating the starter relay

    The socket is missing, so it is not any empty socket. Simply not in that location. So unbelievably odd because the Factory Service Manual states that it is there. I have a 1992 Toyota Factory Repair Manual for my specific year model, 1992. For the life of me I cannot understand how it would be different on my particular vehicle.

  10. #10
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    Re: Help locating the starter relay

    ...and no wires-to-nowhere there, no bracket where it might have been? I've got a '92 (built 12/15/91) and the relay's there. The only thing I can think of it that someone modified the wiring harness afterwards because they didn't like it being wedged into that inconvenient spot. I've certainly been tempted by some of the almost-inaccessable components in my Camry (I'm looking at you (well, trying to), EGR VSV).
    "If you find yourself holding a sledgehammer or a crowbar, it's time for a break."

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    Re: Help locating the starter relay

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    I was at the local Pull-A-Part and there was a 1992 Toyota Previa. That is the location to the right, behind the instrument cluster.

    This is precisely what my 1992 Previa looks like in the same place. Just two relays, as shown.

  12. #12
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    Re: Help locating the starter relay

    Now my guess is you've got no starter relay in your van to find.

    I've examined the exposed wiring harness of my donor automatic-transmission 1991 and can't find any connector that would be for a starter relay, nor is any green starter relay in my stash of salvaged parts. In addition, I did just find a post (date is encoded in Yahoo database format so I don't know from when, but the embedded Yahoo! promos mean it's old) in the archived Yahoo Previa Group saying that automatic Previas don't have a starter relay (!). That leads me to believe that prior to a certain manufacture date in 1991 there was probably no starter relay on automatics - even though the official designation of the van might've been a 1992 model. As I mentioned earlier, mine's an auto 1992 AT - with a starter relay - and a production date of 12/15/91, but that must have been after a wiring revision?

    As it is, all the wire- and component- location documents I have mis-identify one of the round relays as the starter relay and label the squared one as the EFI relay (which is one of the round ones) so this looks like an area where things got a little inexact for the otherwise fastidious Toyota.

    Well, as they say,
    猿も木から落ちる

    (ďEven monkeys fall from trees sometimes.Ē)
    "If you find yourself holding a sledgehammer or a crowbar, it's time for a break."

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    Re: Help locating the starter relay

    Very interesting, so the ignition switch goes directly to the solenoid on the starter?

  14. #14
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    Re: Help locating the starter relay

    I assume that, although I can't say for certain, as my donor's dash was deconstructed on a whim down to the firewall in much the same manner as most children unwrap their presents - to embrace latent destructive tendencies and in a giddy haste to see the innards. Not sure anymore where all the dangling connectors from the suspended wiring harness used to go. Keep in mind the real power for the starter motor comes from a beefy cable running directly from the battery; the "Start" switch only has to send enough current to magnetize the coil in the starter's solenoid, pulling it forward to engage it's gear to the flywheel and shorting an internal contact from that battery cable to another contact wired to the starter motor.
    "If you find yourself holding a sledgehammer or a crowbar, it's time for a break."

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    Re: Help locating the starter relay

    Thanks for the insightful pieces of obscure information regarding the 1992 Previa's lack of a starter relay.

    My issue has been an intermittent starting issue. I sometimes will, more often recently, get nothing when turning the ignition switch to "Start." No click whatsoever. Battery tested around 12.7-12.8 volts. After a few tries the starter engages and starts the engine. Sometimes after a failed start the starter is somewhat reluctant to turn the engine over and sometimes it's perfectly fine.

    I ordered a Denso Starter and I'm hoping this will solve the issue. I would not be surprised if it is the solenoid and not the starter motor itself. It is a Denso unit that was replaced about 12 years ago. So it's not exactly new.

    A side note that makes me wonder... I recall previously that in the last 6-9 months the starter was extremely quick to engage start the engine. Almost as if there was an overcurrent occurring. Maybe I'm just being paranoid?

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    Re: Help locating the starter relay

    My understanding is that starter motor fails almost always involve the plunger not working properly rather than the motor part.

    Typically for a bad starter plunger you'll hear a "click" as it jumps forward and it's conductive ring smacks into two starter-motor contacts, BUT the electrical connection doesn't get made because of corrosion & wear.

    I replaced the plunger and contacts myself back in '13 and I see my eBay source "crank-n-charge" is still there, but the link to my item is a 404, so you'd have to figure out which listing is appropriate (you'd want the kit = the plunger plus the contacts it hits in order to connect +12v to the starter motor windings)

    If it doesn't "click" it might be because the starter solenoid coil that magnitizes to shove the plunger forward is broken, but the intermittent nature argues against that because it'd be a permanent failure. More likely is the contacts in the ignition switch when it's turned to the "start" position are flakey. It might explain your sense of a quicker start sometimes as an intermittent connection in that section of the switch might not always occur at the same key position. For all you know, you've acclimated to having to turn the key farther than normal to get it to connect.

    Knowing the pinouts for the ignition switch, you could pull the connector and check the continuity between the +12v and starter pins on the ignition switch in the "start" position to verify whether the switch is good or bad.

    I'd add that if you DO decide to try some starter surgery, research the nearest starter rebuild place. First, they may be a cheaper alternative to replacing the whole thing if that's required, and second, they can source any other parts like old, brittle insulators that might break into pieces, not that I've got any experience with that...
    "If you find yourself holding a sledgehammer or a crowbar, it's time for a break."

  17. #17
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    Re: Help locating the starter relay

    Very well may be the ignition switch. I ordered a Standard Motor Products ignition switch, but it got sent to the wrong address! So I just grabbed one off a 1993 Previa at the salvage yard. Needless to say, the same issue persisted. Same intermittent starting issue. I am hoping that I didnít replace a worn out ignition switch for another worn out ignition switch, lol. But itís very possible.

    Either way, I ordered a starter already. It should arrive Friday. I hate replacing parts to try to fix an issue, but truth is that this vehicle is almost 30 years old. Everything is old! Seriously, considering a 2000+ Lexus RX300 next year.

  18. #18
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    Re: Help locating the starter relay

    The Denso Starter came in yesterday and was installed. The problem has non-start issue has yet to return, but it's been less than a day. I will say that the sound of the starter is noticeably different to me. It is a slower sounding processing than before. As I mentioned previously the old starter sounded like it was getting too much current pull. I'll try to open up my old one tomorrow to see what it looks like inside.

    I'll update with results after a week or so of using the reman. starter.

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