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Q: Sometimes won't start when key is turned. There is no sound when I turn the key. on 1998 Toyota 4Runner

Happens randomly. Can't trust it to start. I do get the "dinging" alert sound when the key is in the ignition. It starts after several attempts turning the key in the ignition, but there is never a grinding sound or any sound like the starter or battery is struggling. New starter in 2005. New alternator in 2011.
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When it will not crank, does it make a 'click' sound each time the key is turned to start? You stated no sound but listen carefully for a single click each time the key is turned to start. Post results either way.
I don't recall any clicks at all. No sound. The problem is that I now can't get it to NOT start. I hesitate to drive it very far from home, expecting that it will randomly not start once again. Thanks.
These starters are famous for the contacts failing! Might crank for a month or longer then out of the blue not crank until the key is cycled several times. Then the same thing over again. Suggest starter motor replacement,,,again! My Corolla is doing the same thing, i will get around to it one of these days. (Same type starter) They usually will always, eventually start!
Thank you so much. Very helpful. My mechanic wanted me to drive my 4Runner until it won't start somewhere and then call him. I can't live that way. To his credit, he suspected the starter, but didn't provide the details you did. Your description is exactly what I've experienced. Thanks again. I'm no mechanic. I have really liked my '98 4Runner (with nearly 300,000 miles now) and want to keep it as long as possible.
Had one just like it in the shop last week with 596,000 (open road) miles on it with minimal service and NO repair!!! Hard to believe but it's true! That said, it is your best bet to go ahead and purchase the best starter motor you can get. NAPA has a reman. called the Power Supreme that actually has better/upgraded componets than most new units. Now it aint cheap but at the same time it is less expensive than 2 lesser brands + labor! Just a suggestion. Oh, your mechanic was just trying to be SURE the starter is the problem, like all of us do! I am pretty sure it is.
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