1999 Toyota Corolla Inconsistent Cranking while Starting

Tiny
PISTEUO
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 TOYOTA COROLLA
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • MANUAL
  • 120,000 MILES
While starting my car the engine cranked until the point when it usually starts. At that point the engine stopped cranking but the starter motor continued to spin.

On the 2nd and 3rd tries the starter spun and the engine did not crank.

The starter tested positive at NAPA.

After reinstalling the starter and reading 12.7 volts at the battery, I tried to start again.

This time the engine cranked the two times I tried.

I then tried to jump the battery but the jumper cables melted. I'm pretty convinced the cables were not crossed.

Thanks for the help.
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Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 AT 8:41 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Worn solenoid contacts in the starter solenoid. This is a very common problem with the little silver Nippensenso starter. The contacts can be replaced for 20 bucks, but most people just replace the entire starter. It will almost always test good off the car because there is no load on it.

When it spins after cranking the engine, the plunger contact is getting stuck in the worn spots in the solenoid contacts. That doesn't happen often. Tapping on the starter might release it, otherwise you'll have to disconnect a battery cable, then remove the solenoid cover and pry the plunger loose.

Caradiodoc
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Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 AT 8:48 PM
Tiny
PISTEUO
  • MEMBER
I replaced the starter. The car is still not starting. (NAPA was kind enough to make the trade despite the old starter working)

1) The car is cranking, but not starting.

2) I pulled two spark plugs. The plugs were dry.

3)The two plugs sparked nicely and seemed to have fine patterns. I smelled fuel from the open chambers.

4)During the test the car actually started for the first time. And only on two cylinders.

5)I then tried to start with all 4 spark plugs. The engine started for about a second after considerably pressing the accelerator.

6)Re-pulled plugs. They were wet this time.

7)Battery is testing positive and all connections have been cleaned.

My next step is to buy a fuel pressure gauge, but would like to hear advice you might have.

Thanks again.
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Saturday, March 13th, 2010 AT 11:09 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Sounds like the symptoms are different now and it's not starter-related. That was my area of expertise. If the spark plugs were wet, fuel supply should not be the problem. Since spark is there too, that would suggest the camshaft position sensor and / or crankshaft position sensor is working. You might suspect a timing belt that has jumped a tooth or two, especially based on the mileage and if it has never been replaced before.

If the fresh air intake tube is removed or disconnected, the incoming air will not be measured by the Mass Air Flow sensor, and the Engine Computer will not command the injectors to spray the corresponding amount of fuel. A leak in the tube will also result in not enough fuel. There could be diagnostic fault codes memorized in the Engine Computer too. Have them read by a mechanic. They will indicate the circuit or system with the problem, not necessarily the defective part. Most auto parts stores can read codes for you too, but their equipment doesn't access sensor data or perform actuator tests.

Caradiodoc
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Saturday, March 13th, 2010 AT 12:33 PM

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