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CarJunky AutoAdvice

1994 Lexus ES300 starting issues

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Question From hombre on 1994 Lexus ES300 starting issues

1994 Lexus ES300, 3.0L engine, 187k miles

The last 3 mornings, my Lexus has been very slow to start. Turn the ignition, nothing happens- no clicking noises, just silence. Dash lights work. This will happen for first 3 or 4 attempts. Then car will start up normally.

I live in Los Angeles, so it hasn't been particularly cold in the mornings.

Throughout the rest of the day, the car will start quickly and normally.

Took it to a Pep Boys this AM, they ran a check on the battery and said the battery is fine, fully charged. Also terminals look clean, no buildup, still have plenty of protective grease. They said cables/connections look ok, but did only a cursory inspection from what I could tell. Rep told me he "thinks" it's the starter, but couldn't be sure. I asked him if it's the starter, why I only have the problem first thing in the AM, and the rest of the day it cranks/starts fine. He didn't really have an answer.

He quoted me $285 to install a new starter. The thing is, I dont' want to throw down $300ish if he can't tell me that it's really the issue... is there a better way to isolate the problem? Thanks in advance for your help.

Response From Hammer Time Top Rated Answer

Sure, you can isolate the problem but it's going to require troubleshooting the circuit while the problem is present.
It could be a starter, could be the ignition switch, could be the neutral switch, could be a relay or any wiring connections in between.

Response From hombre

Thanks for the reply.

Any idea why it would only be occuring first thing in the AM? The car is parked outside but as I said I'm in LA and it's still 60+ degrees at night, so I can't imagine that would be a factor. But would the fact that the car has been inactive for 12+ hrs when I start it up in the AM have anything to do with it? I usually need to start it 4-5 times throughout the day, it has been starting right up with no problems.

Response From Hammer Time

It's just a contact issue somewhere that weathers from sitting. It really doesn't matter when. It doesn't change how it is approached.

Response From hombre

But if I can only check the circuit "while the problem is present," then basically you're saying I have to wait around until the car won't start at all, then get it towed to a garage and checked out? I don't like thinking that everytime I drive the car I could get stranded someplace.

Response From Hammer Time

You may not like the situation but those are the cards you were dealt. You can just start throwing parts at it but that will get very expensive, very fast.

starting issues

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Question From jmccabe on starting issues

Hey all,
I have a 95 Lexus ES300 (my fiances parents old car) that had quit on them and would not start as they tell me or it would continue to run even with the key out. It has sat for many years. I made an attempt to troubleshoot the problem so they can clear out their garage. They had pulled the battery out so i go to put it in and when I started to connect the battery terminals as soon as it was connected the car tried to turn over, with the key in my pocket. Im assuming obviously there is an electrical issue but i dont know where to begin ignition, comes to mind 1st, that or the starter any help would be greatly appreciated!!

Staying in the future in-laws good graces would be a + !

Thanks
Jesse

Response From speed

possibly a bad ignition switch, would make sense why the starter is stayin engaged.

Response From jmccabe Top Rated Answer

I have changed the ignition switch and still the same problem is apparent. With or with out the key in the vehicle trys to start. Checked the battery for voltage and it was dead i hooked up some jumper cables and they got real damn hot real quick. My next thought in this dillema the starter itself which i ruled out because it trys to turn over as soon as the battery terminals are connected but speaking with a friend he thinks the coil on the starter is shorted any thoughts all?

Response From Tom Greenleaf

Does the starter just keep cranking with a battery hooked up? If so the solenoid is on top of it and you won't like where it's all located if like another I just observed it's a 12 rated job whole top of engine needs come off as the motor is hidden inside! Not sure every model did that and forget now which one it was.

Any other history, remote starter or any hacked wiring?

Response From jmccabe

Yes, with the battery hooked up the vehicle just keeps cranking.
I did get a visual on the starter just by googling what the spare part looks
like and where it is available. I have not found a visual diagram as of yet or a haynes manual on it.
No remote start or hacked wiring that i have observed.
Its a 95 Lexus ES300
Dang..... I appreciate your insight Tom any further would be appreciated
I will do my best.

Response From Tom Greenleaf

This solenoid on top of starter motor is triggered by a small wire to energize solenoid for a much larger gauge wire to run the starter which is enabled by the smaller gauge wire and when meshed with (I'll just call it flywheel gear/ring gear) would in turn crank the engine.

Solenoid is just an electromagnet plunger and could be stuck after the years but is spring loaded to be off and small starter gear should back off is the typical style. I don't have wire colors for you to check to see if it's staying "triggered" and if a hidden starter which it might be awful job to check right at it. Generally this is not a problem set up but sitting for a very long time open the book of maybe problems. I'm pretty sure if gear from starter is staying engaged with the larger right gear the power will stay on to keep it running. Wish this was easier to get at as just a tap on solenoid might snap it to retract and right now bet it's stuck engaged. This type starter and solenoid on top the solenoid makes the connection to empower full battery power to starter itself AND throws the gear out to engage it.

Basic Haynes manual I doubt is going to be comprehensive on wiring.

The time and conditions while sitting make this a challenge.

IDK for the moment but how long did it sit without being run? What were the conditions of the garage it was in?

More - do you want this car for yourself to use or just get it out of there?

T