Landcruiser starter motors.Clicking and won't start?
You’ve jumped into the vehicle, got to be somewhere important and then you get the dreaded click when trying to start, you give it a couple of goes on the key and it finally starts.
If this has just happened to you then you’ve got, at best, another 3 or 4 starts left in the starter motor before it won’t start the engine again.
Okay, time to buy another starter. But there’s a good chance you’ll end up having the same problems again further down the line.
So what’s going on?
All starters have a finite lifespan but there are a couple of things you can check that can extend the life of your starter.
Inside the starter are heavy duty copper contacts and a plunger which closes when you turn the key and draw that high current from the battery in a short burst to allow the starter motor to turn the engine.
One reason for starter failures are that the copper contacts have been arcing and either pitted very badly as a result or worn thin also from arcing.
How good are your batteries?
How often do you really check the condition of your batteries? Do you ever? When batteries are getting old and tired they start to lose their charge holding ability and when called upon to start a car will deliver less current to the starter than a healthy battery.
This is precisely the situation that will cause more arcing within the starter motor and lead to premature failure. Another thing to check during the year is the connections to your batteries and the earth connections to the body and engine block.
These connections may feel nice and tight but may not be performing well electrically, which may cause less current to reach the starter and again contribute to arcing. This is because you can get a build up of oxidation between the metal parts of the physical connection, so whip those connectors off, give them a clean and a quick rub with emery paper before reconnecting.
Do I need a new starter motor?
Actually no, the contacts and plunger can be bought as a maintenance kit, if you are good with DIY then once you have the starter off the vehicle it’s only a 15 minute or so job to replace those parts, all at a fraction of the cost of a new or replacement starter motor.