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Land Cruiser: I have a 2000 Toyota Land Cruiser with about

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I have a 2000 Toyota...
I have a 2000 Toyota Land Cruiser with about 175k on it. Recently we have been having what appear to be starter problems but I want to make sure it is not something else before I go to what looks like a miserable starter replacement project.
This has been going on for over a month, occasionally when you turn the key, all you get is a click. If you turn it multiple times it eventually starts, I mean like turn the key 10 or 20 times. Then it will start normally for a few weeks then randomly it will just click.
I have replaces the battery, cleaned the contacts, wiggles the steering wheel, tried starting in neutral, tried different keys and I cant seem to find any kind of pattern, just turning it multiple times and eventually it has always started.
I can't see any weather patterns but today it is raining and very difficult to start.
If the starter is warm I have not seen it be a problem.
My daugher has used one of the heavy wallet style key rings on there for almost 2 years, but wiggling the key does not seem to do anything different.
I presume it is the starter but hate to go to all the work only for it to be in the ignition or something else, are there any recommended tests.
I have the official Toyota Service Manuals vol 1 and 2 but find them somewhat difficult to navigate through.
Any thoughts or tests Toyota or you recommend.
Submitted: 2 years ago.Category: Toyota
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5/25/2015
Toyota Mechanic: Toyota Service, Toyota Expert replied 2 years ago
Toyota Service
Toyota Service, Toyota Expert
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 5,080
Experience: 30+ Yrs of auto experience, Award Winning Svc. Manager; Just Answer Customer's Choice Award Winner
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Hello. Welcome to Just Answer. Please allow me to assist you. Your initial thoughts about the issue being the starter motor are correct.
Anytime you hear a single click, and it does not crank, the problem lies with either excess clearance at the starter solenoid contacts, or, the contacts are burnt from arcing. Additionally, repeated start attempts which does cause the starter to crank also reinforces the starter as the cause, as when you turn the jet, the disc section of the contacts spins. The 19 tries with no crank are "bad/arced" spots on the cintact disc. The 20th attempt and it cranks means the contacts hit a spot on the cintact disc tag is not arced so badly.
The recommendation here on this request is remove the starter and then visually examine the starter solenoid contacts; replace if they are burnt/worn, etc.
You might want to consider replacement of the starter also.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reply
If you do not have any questions, a positive rating would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for choosing Just Answer.
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Customer reply replied 2 years ago

As I kind of expected, unfortunately. And of all places to put a starter. Can I safely assume the solenoid is on the starter correct, it looks like that from the service drawings. Do you have any access to detailed removal and replacement of the starter?

Toyota Mechanic: Toyota Service, Toyota Expert replied 2 years ago
If you have the V8 engine, you need to pull the entire top of the engine off. Intake manifold/plenum, fuel rails, throttle body, etc. This is a 5 -6 hour job for a tech who does this all the time ...you will also need all new gaskets for anything you removed that is gasketed (Intake/throttle body, etc). If you have never done a repair of this magnitude, perhaps this would be best left to the professionals. If you have high mechanical skills, go for it, but be advised that this is a very, very labour intensive job, and you may be needing to crouch inside the engine bay to pull the starter.
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Customer reply replied 2 years ago

Yes, I see that not only from the manuals but also from watching youtube videos. I have the mechanical knowledge and ability but not looking forward to the work. The videos are somewhat sparse as well as the service manuals. Do you have access to any type of instructions or processes to follow?

Toyota Mechanic: Toyota Service, Toyota Expert replied 2 years ago
I can provide you detailed assistance as soon as I can get to my computer. I am on the road right now using my iPad. Can you wait until around 6:30 east coast time? Thanks.
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Customer reply replied 2 years ago

Starting now, but appreciate anything you ca n provide

Toyota Mechanic: Toyota Service, Toyota Expert replied 2 years ago
Don't drain the cooling system. Just unbolt the throttle body and let hang off to the side. Pull the manifold and fuel rails as an assembly. Put paper towels on the intake holes as soon as you pull the intake to keep dirt and other stuff from falling in. Most important: disconnect the battery. If you short the starter wire to ground you will blow a 140 amp fuse that is bolted into the fuse panel. This is another tiresome job that can be easily avoided.
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Customer reply replied 2 years ago

Ok, got it out in a little under 3 hours,couple of frustrating hoses and such but all out. Thought I would get it rebuilt but calling around now to see what is in stock. Probably take me 6 hours to put it together!

Toyota Mechanic: Toyota Service, Toyota Expert replied 2 years ago
If you can get the contacts replacement parts you can rebuild it yourself. 3 hours is not bad. Well done!! Thanks for choosing Just Answer. A positive rating would be greatly appreciated.
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