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95 Toyota hard starting, Starter or Alternator/battery problem?


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Glenstr
New User

Aug 13, 2018, 1:18 PM

Post #1 of 7 (283 views)
95 Toyota hard starting, Starter or Alternator/battery problem? Sign In

Car: 1995 Toyota Corolla, 1.6, approx 400,000 km's on odometer.

I used to do a lot of driveway repairs "back in the day", but not so much lately. Anyway, on my daughters 95 Toyota she said it was starting hard, ie turning over pretty slow.

I went and tried it while it was still warm from driving, and it turned over like it had a low battery, but started after it cranked a couple of times. I checked the battery (& all connections for corrosion) just before this and it was at about 12.5-ish volts, so I put my MM on while it was running and it was reading about 13.7 to 13.9 volts, dropping down to about 13.5 with lights, ac, blower fan etc. all turned on. Now, if my memory serves, I believe an alternator should be charging about 14 - 14.5 volts, so I checked on my Jeep liberty and it was at 14.4 volts.

I shut the car off and put a charger on it anyway, and it charged to full in a couple of minutes. I also did some voltage drop tests from neg term to alternator and it was about .5, from pos battery term to alternator cable was about .1 - .2 volts.

I also notice when I took voltage reading (while running) from alternator output terminal to batt neg terminal the voltage was slightly higher than just across the + and - batt terminals, about 13.9 while across battery terminals was about 13.7 to 13.8

Anyway, left it over night, checked battery voltage this morning and it was still at 12.5, so got daughter to start it and it clicked a couple of times, then made that "dead battery" ratching sound for a second. I was just going to tell her to stop when it caught, turned over slow a couple of times and fired up.

I am thinking starter, but am not 100% confident in my diagnosis, with the alternator charging at a reduced voltage and being unsure of the battery age. We got the car used about 4 years ago and I'm sure the battery was a couple of years old at the time, so maybe the battery is due for replacement too..

Part of me is hoping it's battery / alternator as it's a lot easier to change, but I'm not ready to go buy replacements just yet until I'm sure what it is.

Hoping someone more experienced in this can give me some pointers, or help me make a more accurate diagnosis.

Thanks in advance..


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Aug 13, 2018, 1:54 PM

Post #2 of 7 (280 views)
Re: 95 Toyota hard starting, Starter or Alternator/battery problem? Sign In

Chill out a bit on voltages while running both vehicles seem fine depends on what being used and how long it's been running after a normal start.
Clicking while trying to starpt and a battery over 4 years old isn't worth discussing more than it's toast - that's what to expect even if you've had one last lot's longer and still work it's losing it even day from when it was first made a little at a time.
Good bet just replace it.
With just multi-meter just watch voltage when it does crank how much off of the just sitting there voltage it drops. Never below about 9.5 without some reason or it will do the solenoid flutter for you.


OMG - 400KM X .62 = ~250K miles! That owes you nothing - flipping seat springs don't last that long well if at all.


This strongly points to just used up battery that has less than 1/2 of it's original listed CA - or Cranking Amps available now seen as voltage dropping too low while starter is cranking is enough most of the time to blame the battery never mind it's already too old to trust fully anymore IMO,


T



Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Aug 13, 2018, 1:58 PM

Post #3 of 7 (278 views)
Re: 95 Toyota hard starting, Starter or Alternator/battery problem? Sign In

Tom is right. See what that voltage is while you are trying to crank it.

I agree that battery is likely junk. You never actually tested it.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Glenstr
New User

Aug 13, 2018, 2:09 PM

Post #4 of 7 (273 views)
Re: 95 Toyota hard starting, Starter or Alternator/battery problem? Sign In

Thanks for the replies - yes I agree replacing battery is a good idea regardless, given its age. But I'll do the cranking test on it just to see what it reads.

I was going to swap it with the jeep battery last night as it is new to see what it did, but the sizes aren't close enough that I could do it.

I'll see if the local parts store here has one that fits, and let you know what happens.

ps - yes that's a lot of km's / miles but the car has been and is sound. My mom owned it and gave it to my girls to drive, afaik it's had a couple of timing belts & other stuff you'd expect with high mileage like that. My '99 F250 Diesel has 700,000 km's on it and I only recently replaced the first injector on it, and is still on the same u-joints it had when I bought it at 160,000 kms - which is bar none the longest I've seen any u-joint last in all the trucks I have owned..


(This post was edited by Glenstr on Aug 13, 2018, 2:26 PM)


Glenstr
New User

Aug 14, 2018, 6:25 AM

Post #5 of 7 (228 views)
Re: 95 Toyota hard starting, Starter or Alternator/battery problem? Sign In

Update - put new battery in and all is good now. I was being too cautious not just buying a battery right away, especially given its age, as was pointed out here.

In the past I have run into the issue of a bad starter problem that acted like a battery problem, so that was probably on my mind. With my diesel I replaced both batteries every 3-4 years or so, with the harsh winter temps where I live it was just peace of mind to know batteries were good.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Aug 14, 2018, 8:44 AM

Post #6 of 7 (221 views)
Re: 95 Toyota hard starting, Starter or Alternator/battery problem? Sign In

Actually testing the battery should always be the first step. You can't test anything else until you have a KNOWN GOOD battery.

Merely reading the voltage tells you nothing about the health of the battery.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Aug 14, 2018, 10:27 AM

Post #7 of 7 (214 views)
Re: 95 Toyota hard starting, Starter or Alternator/battery problem? Sign In

Glenstr: With that car maybo not so critical but newer anything it's not just inconvenient it can make a real project more than any can then too. Mark them clearly how old and just roll the dice IMO @ 3-4 years depending on what the failure rate on a graph drops right off around there yet you hear of some make the 7-10 year mark just fine if you don't care.


Low power (think amps as volume of power not pressure of power) will burn out electric motors and assorted stuff all thru a vehicle as that oddly overheats stuff trying which is why starter do the 'FLUTTER' dance for you just BTW the other stuff isn't so well protected,


T







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