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Jared D
Jared D, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 1334
Experience:  Shop Supervisor at County Fleet
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My 2003 echo won't crank or start. I have 12 + volts on

Customer Question

My 2003 echo won't crank or start. I have 12 + volts on battery. The cables are good because lights come on just fine. I thought it was the safety switch for the clutch but I checked that and its fine. I thouht maybe the battery just didn't have the cranking amps to start. So I had someone jump start it but it won't. This has happen a couple of times. I usually push the gear stick over to the right and it would start. I have a manual transmission. But it won't start this time? Is there a neutral switch? Is that why I could start it before and it just won't start now?
JA: Has the clutch been slipping? Are you having any trouble shifting?
Customer: No trouble shifting
JA: Are you fixing your Echo yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: Well I'm out of town in a hotel room. So I have been trying to fix it my self. I have my meter and some tools with me
JA: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?
Customer: I think that's it
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Toyota
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  Jared D replied 2 months ago.

Good morning,

First, there isn't a neutral switch on a manual transmission Echo- just the clutch switch and if that tests ok then the next place to look is the starter.

The starter will have two wires, one thick (usually red) wire that has 12 volts all the time and then a smaller wire that has 12 volts with the key in the crank position. You need to check to see if the thick wire shows 12 volts and then you will need to see if the thin wire gets 12 volts when turning the key (you might need a helper to turn the key for you while you watch the meter).

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
What I don't get then is if before when it didn't start I pushed the stick over to the far right and it would start. I would hold the key to the starting position and once I pushed the gear stick to as far right as I could it then would just start. But if I just held the key in the stat position it wouldn't do anything? I'll check the starter but it doesn't make any sense unless there is a switch for the neutral gear?
Expert:  Jared D replied 2 months ago.

That's odd. It could be a loose wire to the starter and maybe pushing on the shifter wiggles it just enough to connect better?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I'm getting 12v to both wires. I didn't have someone to start the car so I just used my max peak on my meter. It will tell me what the highest voltage was when I tried starting it. So it has to be my starter? When I checked the wire that always has volts on it I was getting around 11 but the bolt is pretty dirty. I'm assuming that 11v on a dirty bolt should work still?
Expert:  Jared D replied 2 months ago.

Yep, it looks like the starter is bad. If you have 12 volts on the thick wire and get 12v (or as little as 9 volts should be enough) on the trigger wire and it doesn't crank then the starter is bad.

You might try tapping on the starter body with a hammer or ratchet to see if it will give you one more good start. We see occasionally that you can tap or bang on the starter and it will loosen up the burned brushes in the motor and let it crank one, maybe two more times before it dies completely. If it does start it will at least get you to the parts store.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** I can get it started so I can. I tried hitting it but it won't. How hard should I hit it? I tapped it a little.
Expert:  Jared D replied 2 months ago.

If it doesn't start with a good hard tap or two then it's not going to work. It's dead.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I changed the starter, and nothing! It won't start. Do you think the battery just doesn't have enough to start it? My meter says 12.5 volts for the battery.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
It does make kind of a humming noise when trying to start
Expert:  Jared D replied 2 months ago.

? That's weird.

It could just have really low amps. Like a bad cell in the battery.

Expert:  Jared D replied 2 months ago.

Please let me know if you still need help with this.

Please don't forget to rate.

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