Toyota 4Runner Start Stall Problems

trblsstrblss Member Posts: 7
I have a ’91 4Runner 4WD V6 with 190Kmiles (original owner) and have a starting problem. Once the truck warms up to operating temp (ambient temp above 80*F) then off for a few minutes (like driving to the gas station to fill up) it would not start. The solenoid will “pop” but no starter motor activity. I rebuilt the solenoid with Toyota parts…worked for 2 weeks…same problem…hmm...replaced starter motor with remanufactured one from Orielly Auto (house brand)…worked for 3 weeks…same problem. Rebuilt solenoid with Toyota parts…worked for about 2 weeks. Took it back for an exchange...same result week after week. Then I went to Pepboys and bought a reman’ed Bosch…This time the solenoid would not “Pop”…I tapped on the solenoid it worked…hmmm…took the starter back and got another…same results. I have rebuilt the ignition switch, added a new ground strap directly to the starter mounting bolts, added power wires to the starter solenoid and motor and replaced the battery. Nothing seems to work! I am getting 11.92V to the solenoid and 12.76V to the starter motor regardless of starting or not. I’m about to throw in the towel. Any ideas? I will consider anything at this point…Any direction would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!


  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Take a look around the "No Start" Problems discussion while waiting for responses in here.
  • trblsstrblss Member Posts: 7
    OK, I got it. I installed a 30A fog lamp relay (8$) between the ignition switch and the neutral start switch. Works better than new. I guess the ignition switch is wearing down, but 8$ sure beats $95 for a new ignition switch. I can only speculate there is a direct relationship between heat and resistance on the ignition switch.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Thanks for reporting back; good detective work!
  • herocouldsaveherocouldsave Member Posts: 2
    I have a 95 4runner that has been working fine the last couple of weeks then i went out to start it one day and i put the key in and turned it on, the dash lights came on. then when i went to start it turn the key and everything went dead. there was no click no try nothing. it had sat for a couple of days during 100+ degree weather so i wonder if that has anything to do with it. the battery is good and i am going to check the alternator and starter this week. any other ideas??
  • trblsstrblss Member Posts: 7
    If you’re having intermittent problems cranking that you can relate to temperature, my best guess is excessive electrical resistance is the problem. It can be corroded battery terminals, worn ignition switch, poorly designed/worn relay, etc. Before getting too involved with relays, switches, starters, etc, I would check the easy stuff first. Get a schematic and check each component in the circuit. Also, you might want to check the neutral start switch. Good Luck and please post any results.
  • 96runner96runner Member Posts: 2
    I had the same problem with my 96. I found out that it was just a loose battery connection. Like the other response said, just check those connections first.
  • ericfergusonericferguson Member Posts: 1
    Please help me, I have no clue what is wrong with my car....when im driving down the road my battery light comes on, along with my anit-lock brack light and sometimes even my parking break light. Everything gets brighter along with the headlights and dash lights. Also the radio will cut off but all this happends only when I accelerate. Whenever I get a new battery it works for about 3 days right...but then the problems the mornings it wont start....i can jump it off....but it wont start on its on...if i stop somewhere and cut the car off for about a maximum of 30 min. the battery goes dead....but if I stop and cut the car off and try to start it within 30 min. it will start back like the battery hasnt drained out yet....ive replaced the battery a few times so its not that...I Havent had the alternator tested at autozone or antyhing but ive put an electrical meter on it and its charging if anyone has any ideas of what this might be please let me know...
  • trblsstrblss Member Posts: 7
    Have the alternator verfied by a technician. It sounds like a failing voltage regulator. Please post any results.
  • mike805mike805 Member Posts: 33
    This sounds like a problem I had with my Explorer. There is a relay that is supposed to disconnect the power when the ignition is shut off that had failed in the on-condition. When this happens the battery is drained in a few hours. You can check it by making sure everything is shut off including the doors shut and bulb removed if there is a light under the hood. Then disconnect one battery terminal and connect a current meter between the disconnected battery terminal and the cable you just disconnected. If there is any current more than about 30ma-50ma there is a problem with the relay. Hope this helps.
  • benitoenrbenitoenr Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1990 Toyota 4Runner, it is a V6, 4wd, and an automatic. It died yesterday and it was jump started to get it home. I replaced the alternator because it was bad. I had the old alternator and battery tested, the alt. failed the test and the battery was charged and tested good. When I replaced the new alt. the vehicle starts then dies. I checked the voltage and the electrical system and its good, I checked the fuel pressure and it was good. It has spark and power to start, but will not stay running. Could it be an electrical problem such as the computer due to the vehicle being jumped or a vacuum/fuel problem?
  • trblsstrblss Member Posts: 7
    It sounds like the battery is not holding a charge. A weak battery may start the truck but it won't run. Try replacing the battery or check the batter voltage after it dies. A failing alternator can ruin a battery. Please post any results!
  • rustkrustk Member Posts: 1
    I have a problem with my 1990 4Runner that really has me stumped. I go to start the truck and it starts fine. I get to my destination, turn off truck, it won't start again. I turn the key and absolutely nothing happens except a click. The alternator was bad, so we replaced it, as well as the starter, the battery and a cable to the battery. It started up just fine. And then it didn't. We wondered if it could be the clutch actuator (?) switch, since that has to be pushed in to start, and tried the clutch bypass switch, which worked once, but then AGAIN it wouldn't start. sometimes it seems to start okay if you wait ten minutes and try again. After a while, this drains the battery, though. Any ideas on what it could be?
  • natandy48natandy48 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1990 4runner, after going to destination, if i try to start,it only gets the solonoid click. wait a few hours and it starts right up. starter replaced 2 times new battery. mechanic says all electrical checked ok when it wouldnt start for him so he says it must be the starter again. 2 starters in less than 4oo miles. help!
  • trblsstrblss Member Posts: 7
    Sounds like a bad ignition switch. This truck does not have a relay between the switch and solenoid and over time the switch wears. I had the same problem and installed a 30A fog lamp relay before the starter...worked everytime. As a test: run a wire from the downstream side of the solenoid and tuck it away (insulated) by the battery...if the truck won't start touch the wire to the battery to spin the starter. Good luck and please post ANY results.
  • leah72leah72 Member Posts: 1
    Please help!!! I have a 1992 4runner, what started off as a once in awhile starting problem in the morning(never when it is cold out, only when warmer weather) has turned into an every morning ordeal. The truck takes about 10-15 minutes to start,I turn the key and I must stomp on the gas the whole time and eventually it will start. Once it starts it is good for the day, it drives fine it starts great for that day. Just replaced fuel pump,filter,coolant temp. sensor, checked the cold start inject. timing switch, had it at three shops left it overnight for them to see and noone can come up with anything concrete. There are several more things they say I can try, but quite frankly I have spent enough money on things that have made no difference. Please help, single mother who knows nothing about cars!
  • 2bamboo2bamboo Member Posts: 1
    Wow, I am strangely happy to see that other people are having the same problem. We have a '91 4 Runner that periodically refuses to start, after getting us to the incredibly awkward place to be stranded. At first we thought it was an alarm system shut down of some sort that protects the awesome stereo that came with the car...but no manual included...but now we think it has something to do with the car thinking it's not in Park. Yesterday, after trying to push it away from the gas pump, where it refused to start up, and placing it in Neutral than Park again, it decided to cooperate and started. We have also replaced the starter, but that wasn't it. Maybe battery connection, but no. Turn the key, lights turn on, but silence. Next time you get stuck, try moving in and out of Park and see what happens. Let me know.
  • vortizvortiz Member Posts: 2
    I had the same problem. I replaced the starter and a week later there was this horrible screeeching noise, a thud and then then it died... I was able to start it up again and then it died again...

    I was told it may be the engine or the belts. Checked the belts, they were fine. The engine, I was told, would cost me 2,000 for a rebuilt one. Is that normal?

    I'm not sure if I take the 4Runner in, will I get screwed over? One mechanic that I called said that it wouldn't be worth replacing the engine on such an old vehicle.

    I guess I should mention that it's a '91 V6 and has well over 220k miles... but I like my 4Runner... It has saved me from some heavy water and I hate driving the little cars.

    Can someone point me in the right direction, please?
  • rubyslippersrubyslippers Member Posts: 1
    I have a 98 4runner that has 123,453 mi on it. For the past several months when I drive the car, it dies while I am driving it. Today while on the freeway, it started to sputter and lurch like I was running out of gas,(it always does this) and suddenly it dies. It only does this on acceleration, or it did, until today while at a stoplight it was light someone was messing with the accelerator. If I attempt to accelerate its like a fuel line is being choked off. I have gas in it. I have taken it to Toyota, they have replaced the fuel pump, fuel filter, my timing belt and waterpump. But know on knows why it does this. And of course it never does this for the mechanic. Help!
  • k2hawaiik2hawaii Member Posts: 1
    I have a problem on my 2000 Toyota 4Runner with occasional hard starting and stalling problem. I have to hold the gas pedle down to keep the car from stalling when I initialy try and start the car, but I do not have any check engine lights comming on. Any assistance or ideas will be appreciated.


  • eazzyeeazzye Member Posts: 1
    Hope someone can help. I have a 2000, 6cyl limited 4 runner. Last week when I tried to start the power died like I had a bad battery. I pulled key out and put back in. The car started fine after that. The same thing happened again today a couple of times. I also noticed it took about 20 seconds for the car to have any power once car was started. Other issue I noticed was both times it happened when I had a 1/4 tank of gas or less. Any help is appreciated.
  • gbeckmanngbeckmann Member Posts: 1
    Hey, I have the exact same problem. Any suggestons? I cleaned the throttle chamber but now my check engine light comes on. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • balla01balla01 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 4Runner that recently has started to have starting problems. It just got quite cold down here in Georgia, so I do not know if that is related to it or not. I turn the key to the ON position and all of the lights, radio, etc. works fine just as they should, including headlights. I try to start the truck and it just makes a ticking noise without turning over. My volt meter says that the battery is fully charged. It has turned over once though when I attempted to start it, but a few seconds after I let go of the key. It was like the signal to the starter was delayed and that is why it started even when I was not trying to crank it anymore. Does anyone know what is wrong with this? Help!
  • bobgordonbobgordon Member Posts: 156
    Has the battery been looked at/replaced recently?

    Here's a little run down on battery problems;
    If your battery connections are loose or dirty, when you turn the key to "on", everything looks fine as far as lights, gauges and radio go. But when you try and start the vehicle, the amperage draw is so much that the connection is now lost due to the fact that the battery is weak or dirty/loose connections.

    Start with removing the (-) negative terminal then the (+) positive from the battery. Clean and inspect the terminals and the battery posts. Reattach doing positive first, then the negative. Coat the connections with some dielectric grease.
    See how it starts...if OK you're good to go.
    If not, take your 4R to a shop that will test your battery.....
    Your connections might be loose or corroded down at the starter and ground point on the engine block but start with the above (easiest) first.
    Good luck!
  • icombsicombs Member Posts: 1
    I had this with a honda passport. it was the neutral start switch and it froze in "D", on the honda it was where the shift linkage met the tranny and it was repairable in place (new one was pricey). there was a plastic collar from the linkage around the plastic rod on the switch and when the shifter linkage moved the collar slid freely around the rod that moved the switch: ((O)) sort of like that. they were just glued together so i drilled and pinned them together. or, in a pinch you can rotate that inner rod [the O in my super awesome diagram] to P or N and leave it there to start truck.
  • ozkaryozkary Member Posts: 1

    did you find out your problem? I have a similar one, and I am thinking it is the starter. let me know what you found.

  • bcg3bcg3 Member Posts: 1
    I have the exact same problem with my 200 4Runner that k2hawaii described. No help from mechanics as it happens randomly and unless they see it they can't fix it. Did replace the throttle idle sensor and that might have helped some. Have you found a fix yet?

  • 4runner_19964runner_1996 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 96 4runner that stalls at lower speeds or idling. No check engine light. We've taken it in, everyone just shakes their heads. We've done the plugs and wires, checked fuel pressure. Replaced the fuel filter.. that temporarily fixed the problem. Not sure where to go next. Any ideas?
  • edevine75edevine75 Member Posts: 1
    I have been having the same problem with my 2000 4runner. Anyone figure out what the issue was for this?
  • mtnblz7mtnblz7 Member Posts: 1
    I have the same problem with my 2001 4 runner. I noticed that it only happens when I listen to the radio with the car turned off - ussually anywhere over ten seconds - and then try to start it. I notice a sound like the fuel pump shutting off after about ten second with the radio on. Then when i try to start it, it takes about 5-20 seconds of me cranking it for it to finally start. When it finally does start there is a puff of smoke that comes out of the exhaust. It smells like backed up fuel that burnt.
    I had added a viper alarm to my truck with the help of my friend as soon as i got my truck about 2 years ago, so i thought maybe we screwed something up, but i sounds like i am not the only one.

    I hope someone has a clue what is causing this......

    Thanks to anyone that can help.
  • chelsea252chelsea252 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 4Runner that has started to have starting problems. Have a battery less than a year old & have just checked the connections & verified it has a full charge. Electrical systems all work fine including headlights when the key is turned to "on". When I try to start the 4Runner it makes a loud ticking noise from the Relay/Fuse box but the starter doesn't engage. After a number of attempts it will start. Any ideas???

    Thanks for any help...
  • towletowle Member Posts: 1
    Ihave a 91 4runner replaced starter,neutral switch, ignitionswitch. is there a relay that I am mssing because where the book says there is a relay< I cant seem to locate it. Help. :confuse:
  • trblsstrblss Member Posts: 7
    On a 91 4Runner the starter relay is mounted on the starter motor. If you replaced the starter then you've replaced the relay.
  • durangojaydurangojay Member Posts: 31
    Yes, I know what it is> it is a relay swith in your fuse box. Take the cover off, have someone else try and start the truck. You will quickly notice which one is bad. Sometimes you can put your finger on it and literally feel it clicking to ensure you have the right one. toyota charges a lot for these, but $5 versions with a lifetime warranty are widely available. Hope that helps.
  • 3x4runnerown3x4runnerown Member Posts: 1
    I purchased my third Toyota 4Runner in January of 2010. In one month, the vehicle has been towed to the service department twice and driven there once. The vehicle won't start. The dash lights up and the air/heater turns on, but the car won't start. Initially the service department blamed a faulty brake sensor. Now they think it might be the security system. :lemon:
  • agnostoagnosto Member Posts: 207
    edited February 2010
    Hopefully is not a :lemon: ... which edition 2010 4Runner is (SR5, Trail, Limited) ... also is it a 4WD? I own the 2010 4Runner V6 Limited 4WD with NAV which is also my 3rd 4Runner Limited 4WD and after 5,500 miles driven in all kind of weather conditions (rain, snow, sleet, etc.) and one oil change (I do my own oil change) the beast has given me no problem whatsoever, and so far I am more than pleased with its performance and my best gas tank at 27.2MPG in highway at 50-55mph cruise control set. Well, best of luck for you and hopefully it might be something easy to fix...
  • jeasterlingjeasterling Member Posts: 1
    I have an intermittent starting problem that has come up over the past few months. When I turn the key, the dash, radio, etc. all come on as expected but then when I turn it to start the engine, I get a single 'click'. Repeating this anywhere from 2 to maybe 15 times, it eventually starts. Because it is intermittent, the mechanic could not duplicate the issue and suggested I use the Clutch Cancel button for starting when I experience the problem. This has not been any more successful than traditional starting. I've come across people with similar issues and the problem was with the starter solenoid. Battery is less than a year old. Any thoughts? It most often happens after a very cold night or after sitting in the relatively cold parking garage at my office.
  • jshepit34jshepit34 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 91 4-runner v-6 I have replaced the ignition coil and fuel injector pressure regulator. After driving the truck a while and turn it off then get back in to start it. It will do one of two things. Either kinda start where it spits and sputters acting like its not getting enough fuel, then stalling and doing that over and over till i can get going. Or not start or try to start, no cranking no nothing! Dont know if its injector, or starter or both. Not sure which way to go!
  • trunner1trunner1 Member Posts: 3
    I have the same problem. I just replaced the battery and it's still up to its' old tricks. Did you find a solution? My mechanic couldn't find out what's causing the starting problem.
  • noavgbearnoavgbear Member Posts: 1
    About every 200 miles the check engine and VSC lights cuts on (2001 Toyota 4-Runner Limited, V6 engine). I've had Toyota hook up the truck to their diagnostic machine and two different error codes indicate that the carbon canister (part of the catalytic converter) needs to be replaced, and, a second part of the converter needs to be replaced. I can't remember what the second part is called. I had these parts replaced and the check engine and VSC lights were reset. Then, after about 200 miles these same lights came on again. I've noticed that when I fill up with gas and try to start the truck, it starts right up, and then immediately cuts off. Then, I have to grind on the starter at least five or more seconds, TWO different times, before the truck will eventually start. The only time the truck is hard to start is after fueling up. I think this may be why the check engine lights keep cutting on, but I'm not certain. Toyota's diagnostic system still brings up the two error codes, despite those two parts being replaced. They're not sure what the problem could be. I think there's a vacuum problem somewhere ... any advice would be greatly appreciated!
  • skydivercdbskydivercdb Member Posts: 2
    Ok the other day I had it running then it just died. It will start then dies will not run....It has 1/2 tank of gas. I replaced the fuel filter, distributor cap,rotor and the coolant temp sensor...No joy HELP!!!
  • skydivercdbskydivercdb Member Posts: 2
    Hey if you still have those band type battery terminals get rid of them and put some good solid terminals on your battery...
  • exbankerexbanker Member Posts: 5
    I am having a similar problem with my 2001 4runner. There are no codes so the mechanic can't figure out what the problem is. We've changed the fuel filter, air filter, cleaned the mass air flow sensor and fuel injectors. Haven't found the right fix yet. Did you find a solution?
  • exbankerexbanker Member Posts: 5
    Did you ever find a solution for your 4Runner starting issue?
  • exbankerexbanker Member Posts: 5
    Did you ever find a solution to your 4runner starting issues?
  • trunner1trunner1 Member Posts: 3
    It was a combination of the starter and relay. It took two to three days to diagnose that correctly. Hope this helps you. I already had everything you had done prior to the real diagnosis. Good luck1
  • exbankerexbanker Member Posts: 5
    Thank You soooo much for your reply! Did a shop repair your 4runner? Just wondering did they have to replace both the starter and the relay? And wondering about what was the approximate cost for your repair?
  • trunner1trunner1 Member Posts: 3
    It was both replaced at the same time. I think it was around 200-300. But I also had an oil change. Hope this helps.
  • exbankerexbanker Member Posts: 5
    Yes that is very helpful and I'm relieved to hear an approximate cost of $200-$300.
  • lariccio1lariccio1 Member Posts: 1
    Ok so I am at a loss, I have been fiddling for 2 days and cannot trace my electrical problem. I'm leaning towards the ignition switch or neutral switch. This is what happens......or doesn't happen......Been driving regular, stopped at the store and came out to a dead vehicle. No power anywhere, no lights, no radio, NOTHING. I did all the regular checks, fuses, tried jumping it, took apart battery terminals, cleaned and replaced. I have followed the wires best I could and I get 12 volts at the starter terminal, but that comes direct from the battery so why wouldn't I? right? the battery is reading 12.91volts. but again no power to anything, no clicking.....

    I started to attempt to pull the tumbler but the manual refers only to a column mounted ignition and mine is in the dash. I can't seem to release the retaining pin to remove the tumbler.

    Can someone lead me in the right direction???????
  • fackmefackme Member Posts: 1

    hello.  1996 Toyota 4 runner  316km. Ran fine. First thing to fail was the signal lights. Fuze blown and replaced. Instrument fuze blows next, then stereo looses power. Get the thing parked. Shut her off, went start her again within 15 minutes. Did not want to start, but fired up.  Would not shift out of park. Throttle was very delayed from pedal input.  Died quickly,  got a boost and fired right back up. Stereo came back on. Still would not shift from park. The engine would sputter when given fuel and eventually died again. Starter clicked at first. Then nothing.

    Any ideas? Will be towed to a shop. Trying some  the earlier suggestions.


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