Epic starter issues

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simon84
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Location: Banff, Alberta, Canada

Epic starter issues

Post by simon84 » Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:14 pm

I've been dealing with starter issues on my 87 Tercedes for a while now...
I will preface the whole story with the fact that my car is always a little tricky to start. I've found it took 3 pumps of the gas and then the choke will come on and sometimes it will stall and you have to pump gas again and then try again. It's got a 4AC and webber carb and it's got the early 80's transmission ratio.
The issue started with turning the key and only hearing a click. So I would depress the clutch again and go again and click. Repeat until it starts (sometimes a dozen tries and then it would start). Sometimes I would boost it and it would start so I went and got a new battery since I figured it's about time and winter is coming. No difference.
So then I go on the hunt for a new starter on Rockauto. I order one for a 87corrola since it's a 4A. Wrong starter!
So I order one for 87 Tercel. Wrong starter!
So then I order one for an 83 Terecl. It fits!!!
So the first take home lesson is that you need a starter to match your drive train, not your engine.

I did pull the old starter out and bench test it and it seemed fine. So I went through some testing for voltage drop for the battery cables to the starter and no problems there.
I put in the new starter, which is a direct drive starter instead of gear reduction like the old one. It seems to work much better and the car often starts better with only one pump of the gas pedal prior to starting.
But now what's happening a lot is that when I turn the key, I just get a whirring sound of the starter and the engine is not turning over. I try a few times and it starts.
So I'm suspecting that I got a crappy starter or it's something else in the wiring that I missed.
I'd really like it to start reliably like my old 84 tercel did.
Any tips to diagnose this???

And I'm considering disabling the clutch switch like my old 84 tercel which seemed fine without one. Heck you could just start it in first gear and go! Which I know has it's own safety issues if you are not paying attention to anything.
I may just bypass the clutch switch as a test to see if that's causing some kind of voltage drop or something.
Driver: 87 Tercel SR5, white, 4ac, weber carb (aka the Tercedes)
Road Tripper:95 Mitsubishi Delica L400 2.8L Turbo Diesel
Motorbike: 94 Kawasaki Ninja ZX6
Project Car:Red 68 Plymouth Sport Fury III
Previous Tercel:Orange 84 Tercel 4wd (aka the pumpkin)

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xirdneh
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My tercel:: 87 tercel 4x4 wagon w/reringed engine, 83 tercel 4x4 wagon w/salvaged engine and 4.1 Diff's
Location: seabeck, washington, USA

Re: Epic starter issues

Post by xirdneh » Sun Oct 07, 2018 1:44 pm

First thing i would check is the teeth on flywheel.
Love those Tercell 4x4 wagons but they sure suffer from road noise.

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splatterdog
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Re: Epic starter issues

Post by splatterdog » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:04 pm

A free spinning starter can also be a failed one way clutch on the starter drive gear.

The click and nothing is usually solenoid contacts in the starter, provided everything else is in order. Those usually get a Toyota starter working again.

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simon84
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Re: Epic starter issues

Post by simon84 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:18 pm

I've ordered a new starter.
Driver: 87 Tercel SR5, white, 4ac, weber carb (aka the Tercedes)
Road Tripper:95 Mitsubishi Delica L400 2.8L Turbo Diesel
Motorbike: 94 Kawasaki Ninja ZX6
Project Car:Red 68 Plymouth Sport Fury III
Previous Tercel:Orange 84 Tercel 4wd (aka the pumpkin)

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Petros
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My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: Epic starter issues

Post by Petros » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:05 am

sounds like the bendix drive on the new starter is bad (was it a rebuilt starter?). that is the clutch on the starter gear that allows the engine to start and spin up without spining up the stater motor.

that being said, it may be something else making the car hard to start. I would check the coil, distributor cap and spark plug wires. A marginal or cracked coil will be hard to start when there is moisture in the air, but once started the coil will heat up and drive out the moisture so it runs fine. Same issue with bad wires or cap.
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)

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simon84
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 2:18 pm
Location: Banff, Alberta, Canada

Re: Epic starter issues

Post by simon84 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:44 pm

I got the replacement starter from Rockauto and installed it and the starter works great now. 4th time was the charm!
The last starter looked a bit different. I assumed it was a direct drive starter instead of gear reduction but not certain about that. The new one looks just like the one I took out a couple of months ago.

here's the new one (left) with the one I took out and am returning (right). They are the same part #16612.

Image

It is still pretty stubborn to start though. Nedds a pump or two on the gas and often takes a couple of tries. At least it's turning over no problem now.
I will look over the distributor, wires and plugs.
If anyone has any other hard to start tips please throw em at me.

Thanks
Driver: 87 Tercel SR5, white, 4ac, weber carb (aka the Tercedes)
Road Tripper:95 Mitsubishi Delica L400 2.8L Turbo Diesel
Motorbike: 94 Kawasaki Ninja ZX6
Project Car:Red 68 Plymouth Sport Fury III
Previous Tercel:Orange 84 Tercel 4wd (aka the pumpkin)

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Petros
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Posts: 10363
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:31 pm
My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: Epic starter issues

Post by Petros » Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:51 pm

with the carburated engines it is normal starting procedure to give it 2 or 3 hard pumps to the floor. It reset the choke and squirts fuel down the intake to give it something to start ignision. EFI does this too, but it is automatic and transparent to the operator, so normal starting process for EFI is different than the old carb engines like ours.

Usually marginal spark plug wires will give you trouble when it is cold and damp start. If not that than look into new distributor cap, and possibly a marginal coil. Also, if you have anything other than NGK spark plugs, you should switch them to use NGK. They are inexpensive and reliable, they should last a long time, like 30k miles. No other brand I would say that about. if you have Champion spark plugs, change them right away, no matter how old they are, they will not last long and will give you trouble.

good luck.
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)

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