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1999 Lexus RX300 Question: Car will not start after turning the ignition. Is the starter the culprit?

 

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Rolands Lexus, 3.0L V6, Tracy, CA, January 03, 2011, 11:10
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My car will not start after turning the ignition key. I hear a "clickin" sound. However, after several times turning the ignition key the car will start up. First, I suspected the battery, but my dashboard lights are on. Second, I thought it could be the Alternator, but as previously noted the dashboard lights are lit after turning the ignition key. So I concluded I have a faulty starter. With the symptons I just described do you concur, as well?

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  • Answer #1

    Hal... (see my shops), January 03, 2011, 11:15
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    Could be the starter or battery.

    Can you see the starter? If you could lightly tap on the starter with a long screwdriver and hammer it might free it up. Sometimes the brushes wear out and lose contact. You'll still need to replace it but could at least drive to your destination.

    Check your battery connections anyway. If you have multimeter check the battery voltage when turning the key. It may be shorting out. Good luck and let me know if I can help.

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    Rolands Lexus, January 03, 2011, 13:11
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    I'm not an electrical guy. However, if I can get a hold of a multimeter what should I set it to and what should the display read?

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    Hal..., January 03, 2011, 13:42
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    I would try to tap the starter first. Check the battery terminal connects, they should tight and clean. With the multimeter set the unit to volts, you place the red lead on the positive post of the battery and the black lead on the negative post. Have someone try to start the vehicle and watch the multimeter's screen. If it falls below 10.5 volts then your battery may be bad.

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  • Answer #2

    scoomer2000 January 13, 2011, 18:10
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    Mine is doing the same thing, I think that the sensor that is depressed when the shifter is put in park may be the cause I do not think it is making good contact. This sensor tells the car it is Park. It seems that it I put my foot on the brake and move the shifter from drive to park, it will start. Might yours be doing the same thing? It never sounds weak when it does crank does it. I am going to take mine apart and check the switch/sensor, I bet it just needs cleaned with some electrical contact cleaner. Let me know if this makes sense to you.

    glugar@comcast.net

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    Hal..., January 13, 2011, 18:12
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    Try to start the vehicle in neutral. Keeping your foot on the brake of course.

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    scoomer2000, January 13, 2011, 20:51
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    The more I research it, the more it sounds like the solenoid contacts worn down on the starter. It is said to be a 2 hour job for a home mechanic and about $35 worth of parts. This link shows a clean left and dirty right contact. There is a plunger that looks much like a valve that is pulled down onto the contacts by the electrification of the solenoid, that is the single click you hear. http://www.4x4wire.com/toyota/maintenance/starter/starter...

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    Rolands Lexus, January 14, 2011, 05:29
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    Yea, sounds like you have the same symptoms I have. When I jiggle I change my gear shifter and back to park the car would start eventually. However, the car would NOT turn pver if I just keep on turning the ignition switch. When the car does start up it sounds strong, line yours.

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    scoomer2000, January 14, 2011, 07:56
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    Just came back from the advance auto parts, they want to sell you the entire starter and not just the contacts that you really need but one of the guys suggested an old school auto electrical shop that was on my way home and they sold me a set of the copper contacts for $6.00. I admit that was a very lucky find. I am going to install them later today and will let you know how it goes if you are interested. The guy at the shop did tell me that the brushes on starter motors almost never wear out but the contacts do. I believe the whole thing about the position of the shifter was just an initial wrong guess, what ours is doing is classic symptoms for worn contacts.

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    Hal..., January 14, 2011, 08:02
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    The shops can't get these parts either. I can get the contact set that connects the solenoid to the starter or the entire remanufactured starter. You've been working on with project for several day now. I suggest replacing the starter and be done with it.

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    Rolands Lexus, January 14, 2011, 08:35
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    Is it difficult to remove the starter? There are so much hardware under the hood it is next to impossible to do any do-it-yourself car maintenence. Does anyone have a link they could provide for a step by step removal, Preferrably a video (youtube, perhaps)?

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    Hal..., January 14, 2011, 08:40
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    You'll probably remove it from underneath on an RX. First thing is to save radio codes then disconnect negative terminal from battery. Disconnect the lead and remove the bolts, box up the old one for the core charge. DO NOT overtighten the starter bolts when you put the new one back on.

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    Rolands Lexus, January 14, 2011, 08:49
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    Is there a torque spec for the starter bolts?

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    Hal..., January 14, 2011, 09:09
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    Do you have a torque wrench? 27ft lbs. If not then using a normal 3/8" ratchet snug will suffice.

    UPDATE: Remove the battery box and the starter is in the engine compartment and couldn't be any easier.

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    Visitor, January 14, 2011, 12:43

    Just finished putting in the new contacts and it works like a charm, starts every time, the old ones were very worn but the plunger was fine. Here is a link that describes how to do it in detail, it took me about 2 hours to do. If you can not get the contacts locally , you can get a rebuild kit off of ebay for $35 shipped to you.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/starter-repair-kit-Lexus-R...

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_do_you_change_1999_lexus_rx...

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    Rolands Lexus, January 14, 2011, 12:54
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    The link provided is to remove the starter. Do you have step(s) on how to replace contacts? Have you inquiried if auto stores carry the contacts?

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    Visitor, January 14, 2011, 16:15

    If you look at the other photo link in this thread, it is self explanatory, if it is not you should take to Lexus and just pay the $400 to get a new starter put in.

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