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Questions and Answers

Toyota Tacoma Starting Problems

Q. Hello again and thanks for all the help you have given me in the past. I drive a 1997 Toyota Tacoma 4x4, V-6, manual transmission and 140,000 miles. I have some problems starting my truck as of late. I live near San Francisco if the climate plays a role in my problem. The problem is usually in the morning, but has happened later in the day as well.

Toyota Tacoma Starting Problems

When I turn the key the engine does not turn over. The engine doesn't even try to crank. I heard a soft humming noise this morning when it happened. I had to turn the key about 5 times this morning before it would start. I have had the battery tested a few weeks ago and they said it was fine.

They cleaned the connections on the battery when they tested it and I cleaned them again recently. The cables were a little oxidized and cleaning seemed to help temporarily.

I have also had a strange noise coming from under the hood at times during the time that I have had the starting problems. The noise kind of sounds like a strange grinding noise, like there is dirt or something in something, and stops when I either rev the engine or stop and restart it.

The starter is the original starter and I think I'm on my second set of spark plugs. I have recently done something with success when it won't start. I turn the key to the point just before trying to start the truck and then back to the off position a few times and then it starts up. Any ideas?


A. It sounds to me a lot like a bad ignition switch. Check for power at the black/white wire at the starter connector and see if there is power there with the key in the START position.

Toyota Tacoma Starting Problems

If not, check for power at the white wire at the ignition switch in the START position. If there is no power there, then you have a bad ignition switch. If you do have power there and not at the starter, then I would check the Starter Relay and the Clutch Start Switch.

If you do have power at the starter connector with the key in the START position, then the starter itself is no good.

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