FZJ80 starting woes

dan1554

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Depends on what the suggested fix is. If they're bypassing the whole factory system including the starter solenoid then the Ford is probably the best bet since that's what those actually are, starter solenoids. If they're keeping the stock solenoid in place then you're spot on. I'd probably use something Toyota just to have an on-board spare, like the headlight or fuel pump relay, or maybe a standard Bosch that you could find at any NAPA.
Ah, yeah if you guys are bypassing the solenoid all together, Im out of my element.
 

Hulk

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Here's the latest. I bought the Ford relay and installed it. Bolts up to the backside of the charcoal canister near the battery. Got everything tight and turned the key. No joy, just a weak click which I am pretty sure is coming from inside the cabin, not under the hood.

Pulled out my jumper cable and jumped the two big terminals on the relay. Starter cranks like new.
Put the key in and turned it on. Used the jumper cable again, the Cruiser started up immediately.

So the relay didn't fix the problem, but it now makes it much easier to use a small jumper cable to start the Cruiser. As long as I have my key and a short chunk of wire, I can pop the hood and fire up the Cruiser anywhere. This is progress, I guess.

Something in the ignition circuit is disconnected. It's not providing enough (or any) power to trigger the relay.

@Rzeppa & @DaveInDenver: school me on how to do this properly. Explain it to me like I am 13 years old. I have a multimeter. How do I use it to figure out where the problem is?
 

Romer

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Matt only thought I have is on my 80 I had an issue and it turned out to be a bad ground. Not because the ground was loose or broken, but because contamination between the cable and metal was causing poor contact. I had to grind a bit on the metal to improve the contact.
 

Rzeppa

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If you don't already have the jumper accessories pictured below, you should, they're super-handy because you can't always hold both of the pointy probes on the meter where you need them. You can use them to check continuity from one connector (or terminal) to the other end using the ohms function (200 ohm setting)*, or you can use them to hook one end (common) to ground and look for +12V with the pointy probe (20 VDC setting). You'll probably need an assistant to keep the key turned to the start position if you're doing the latter.

Basically, start at the source (probably fuse box) and work your way, segment by segment to the load, which is your starter solenoid. One of those segments is open. It could be a wire, could be a connector, could be where a wire is supposed to be crimped to a terminal inside a connector. You'd expect to see 12 volts at the fuse box, then at the switch, then downstream from the switch. There will probably be several physical segments to check, each with a connector at each end. I'd put my money on something under the hood, as that's where the heat, moisture and vibration is.

* NEVER use the ohms function on a live, energized circuit! For that matter, never use the current (Amps) function unless you know EXACTLY what you're doing.


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satchel

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I'm happy to help you narrow it down if you'd like to bring it up to Erie.

The red line below is where power should be flowing to your starter to engage the solenoid. I'd first make sure you have 12v at AM1 on the ignition switch. If that checks out then turn the key to start and make sure you see power on ST1. Then move to the nss and make sure the ignition side sees 12v when the ignition is in start, and same with the starter side of the nss switch. If you have 12v on the starter side of the nss when holding ignition in start then follow the last wire going to the starter from the nss to the starter.

You can also check for any of those points being broke with an ohm test, just put the multimeter in ohm setting and put one lead on one point and another lead at the other point and it should go to 0 on the meter. You can test this by just touching the leads together and watching it go to 0, then taking them apart and watching it go to 1, simulating a break basically. Just make sure you have removed power from the circuit you are checking ohms on, disconnect the battery to be safe.
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DaveInDenver

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Not much to add to @satchel and @Rzeppa.

You can also start with @Romer's suggestion. I think he's talking about one of the main grounds, like the one from the battery terminal to the engine block. Corrosion on that one would explain it.

Measure the resistance between the battery negative terminal and engine block. This should be very small and depending on your meter might show a couple of mΩ. If it shows higher then something's wrong. You want clean, shiny metal under the terminals and no frayed cables. Nice solid crimps.

You'd do similar measurements at each step in the control circuit like Trey is showing on the low current side of the solenoid. Looking for zero ohms (continuity) on wires or infinity (open) where it makes sense.

There's also voltage (and current) on your meter. You use that to see if you have voltage where and when you want it and don't when you don't want it.

It's a methodical approach. You read the wiring diagram, see where a wire goes, what it's connected to and think "Does it make sense what I'm measuring?"

A lot easier to show in person than describe, unfortunately. If you can, take up one of the guys on doing it in person.
 

RayRay27

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Hey Matt @Hulk when you try starting the truck do all of your dash lights come on? And when the truck doesn't start does it make a humming noise when you're turning the key?

I'm having the exact same issues as you. We just got back from camping down near salida and I had no issues what so ever. We got home yesterday and I just parked the pig in front of the house over night. I just went to try and start it and move it a few and nothing. Tried starting it and nothing happened. All of the dash lights come on and all you hear is a humming noise. I kept trying to start it in both park and neutral but same results.

This may be a dumb question but when your rig doesn't start is it parked on a hill at all. I doubt this has anything to do with the truck starting but it seems like every time I have this issue my pig is parked in front of my house facing down hill with the wheels turned into the curb.

I don't know it's driving me crazy at this point. There has to be a common theme amongst all of these trucks. It seems like there are too many owners with the same issues?

Another potential dumb question @DaveInDenver , I am not an electrical person, all I know is to turn the switch up or down for the lights, but is it possible that the charing system on these trucks don't like AGM batteries? I know on my solar panel the the controller it came with has a setting for AGM, Wet and calcium. Maybe the charging system are made for lead acid or wet batteries and are not properly set to maintain an AGM battery? At this point I'm just trying to understand what the hell is going on?
 

DaveInDenver

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The charging systems on Toyotas is generally not ideal for AGM. This results in undercharging them over time. It's possible it could be related to this if your battery has become deeply depleted.

Whether it's a 1:1 correlation isn't possible to say without some more data. Specifically you'd need to watch the voltage over time. What is the voltage at the beginning (time zero), then what it rises to while driving, what it falls to as it sits, what is it during starting, etc.

If your batteries are run low and no longer able to hold up sufficient voltage or source enough current the solenoid may not fully engage and the motor not turn. It can also cause the whole system voltage to droop to the point the control circuits drop out, too. Self jumping like Matt is doing might mask it by going around whatever circuit is voltage sensitive.

Troubleshooting this is following suppositions because it's hard to *really* nail down the root cause. But at least watching the voltage while charging and starting can at least give you a clue.

Basically an AGM wants to be between 14.2V and 14.8V while charging at normal temperatures. Flooded lead acid (plain type) can tolerate down to about 13.8V and still charge reasonably. All batteries can benefit from the higher voltage, though.

You can infer how well you're charging by looking at the resting voltage of a battery. What you want to do is run your normal charge and let a battery sit for about 24 hours and measure it's voltage. When you do things right a lead acid battery will be about 12.8V to 13.0V after sitting for a day. This is considered 100% state of charge.

If after a day resting you see something lower than this it will indicate the battery was not fully charged or is aged to the point that it no longer can accept or hold a full charge. Doesn't mean the battery is done but it's just no longer new.

The issue is that you never want to overcharge an AGM and that range of voltage is temperature dependent. Putting 14.8V on an AGM in the summer will cause it to overcharge while 13.8V is always safe. The problem with overcharging is that creates heat and heat causes the electrolyte to boil or vaporize.

With a flooded type this just means you have to add back water but it's permanent damage with AGM. This is also a problem with regular non-AGM sealed type (also called maintenance-free). Manufacturers err on the side of caution and run their charging systems at the low end to prevnt this but Toyota is super conservative and run exceptionally low.

Also, FWIW, Optimas and Diehards tolerate a wider range than Odyssey and Northstar. If you use Odyssey batteries with a stock Toyota it's likely you're only going to get 2 to 3 years from them.
 
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Inukshuk

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is it possible that the charging system on these trucks don't like AGM batteries?
Maybe its not ideal, and still I have had good performance from AGMs in my 80 for 15+ years. That includes frequently running it low to keep the fridges going (first red top group 27 Optimas and now for 10+ years Group 31 Deka Intimidators. Now that the 80 is not my daily it is typically on the maintenence charger when in the garage for more than a few days and my fridge runs through a Dometic PLB40 which charges via teh truck when driving and solar if parked during the day. My alternator with new brushed puts out in the mid 13's
 

RayRay27

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Maybe its not ideal, and still I have had good performance from AGMs in my 80 for 15+ years. That includes frequently running it low to keep the fridges going (first red top group 27 Optimas and now for 10+ years Group 31 Deka Intimidators. Now that the 80 is not my daily it is typically on the maintenence charger when in the garage for more than a few days and my fridge runs through a Dometic PLB40 which charges via teh truck when driving and solar if parked during the day. My alternator with new brushed puts out in the mid 13's
See if I park the truck in the garage for a bit ill put it on the charger to keep the battery nice and charged but when I have it parked in front of the house for a bit and drive it every other day or so it seems to start to act up.

I too have a new ignition switch and NSS that I need to install plus I plan on pulling out the old factory alarm. I think this could be a potential parasitic loss. I noticed the other day that the light was blinking but I didn't set the alarm or lock the doors. So not sure if the factory alarm may be draining the battery?
 

DaveInDenver

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See if I park the truck in the garage for a bit ill put it on the charger to keep the battery nice and charged but when I have it parked in front of the house for a bit and drive it every other day or so it seems to start to act up.

I too have a new ignition switch and NSS that I need to install plus I plan on pulling out the old factory alarm. I think this could be a potential parasitic loss. I noticed the other day that the light was blinking but I didn't set the alarm or lock the doors. So not sure if the factory alarm may be draining the battery?
"In God we trust, all others must bring data."

Leaving your battery on a maintenance or shore charger is the absolute best way to extend its life, especially AGM since they're finicky.

I've had 3 Odysseys. One was replaced under warranty as it didn't last 3 years. That one I only had put the diode in place of ALT-S (I'm dubious of this voltage bump "trick"). The two I have now that are almost 4 years being left on a charger almost continuously when I'm not driving the truck or have a solar panel on it when camped longer than just overnight. I've left the charging system stock for the past couple of years.

A couple of years ago I picked up a little Bluetooth battery monitor to record what's going on with my batteries. Handy little gizmo.


It shows real time on a 1 second sampling and 5 minutes of history.

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And recorded history at I think at 1 minute intervals. Not exactly sure how many days back the memory will hold. This was a Rimrocker trip in May that was still in mine. Easy to see when the engine was running and the fridge drawing down the battery and when I took it out of the truck at home.

IMG_2338_mid.jpgIMG_2337_mid.jpg
 
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Hulk

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Hey Matt @Hulk when you try starting the truck do all of your dash lights come on? And when the truck doesn't start does it make a humming noise when you're turning the key?

I'm having the exact same issues as you. We just got back from camping down near salida and I had no issues what so ever. We got home yesterday and I just parked the pig in front of the house over night. I just went to try and start it and move it a few and nothing. Tried starting it and nothing happened. All of the dash lights come on and all you hear is a humming noise. I kept trying to start it in both park and neutral but same results.

This may be a dumb question but when your rig doesn't start is it parked on a hill at all. I doubt this has anything to do with the truck starting but it seems like every time I have this issue my pig is parked in front of my house facing down hill with the wheels turned into the curb.

I don't know it's driving me crazy at this point. There has to be a common theme amongst all of these trucks. It seems like there are too many owners with the same issues?

Another potential dumb question @DaveInDenver , I am not an electrical person, all I know is to turn the switch up or down for the lights, but is it possible that the charing system on these trucks don't like AGM batteries? I know on my solar panel the the controller it came with has a setting for AGM, Wet and calcium. Maybe the charging system are made for lead acid or wet batteries and are not properly set to maintain an AGM battery? At this point I'm just trying to understand what the hell is going on?

Hey @RayRay27, all the dash lights do come one when I try to start the vehicle. However, I don't get a hum.

I don't think the symptom is influenced by whether I am parked on a hill. It's parked on my slightly uphill driveway now, but I had the same issue in Moab and it was parked on a level parking lot both times.

At this point, I suspect I have a loose/broken wire somewhere in the ignition circuit.
 

RayRay27

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Hey @RayRay27, all the dash lights do come one when I try to start the vehicle. However, I don't get a hum.

I don't think the symptom is influenced by whether I am parked on a hill. It's parked on my slightly uphill driveway now, but I had the same issue in Moab and it was parked on a level parking lot both times.

At this point, I suspect I have a loose/broken wire somewhere in the ignition circuit.
10-4. I'm just racking my brain over this at this point. Making me nuts!
 

Hulk

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10-4. I'm just racking my brain over this at this point. Making me nuts!
Me too, brother. I'm actually a little relieved that I now have a way of bypassing the ignition circuit so I can start it. It's not a good long-term solution, but at least I can drive my Cruiser again.
 

RayRay27

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Me too, brother. I'm actually a little relieved that I now have a way of bypassing the ignition circuit so I can start it. It's not a good long-term solution, but at least I can drive my Cruiser again.
Yeah its crazy to me that I can spend three days driving around Salida, Buena Vista and Leadville with no issues but as soon as it sits in front of my house for 12 hours it won't start the next day. 🙃
 

Inukshuk

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A couple of years ago I picked up a little Bluetooth battery monitor to record what's going on with my batteries. Handy little gizmo.
For about a year I have used a Victron smart battery protect before my accessory fuse panel. It similarly gives me data and will shut off the panel when voltage drops below a seting of my choice. So if I leave an accessory on my battery in theory wonn't be depleted. (Not ideal to have yoru stereo run off because you lose all the presets... have to rewire that bit)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MXG5XZ4/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_59Y8YTJX7MNVABH357A8?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Hope this is not too bad a hijack @Hulk
 

LARGEONE

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Just finding this thread! I have nearly the same problem...AGM battery and no start unless I leave my truck connected to a trickle charger. I have some sort of draw on my battery, and if my battery is not 100% charged, then absolutely no start. If I leave the truck on a trickle charge, starts right up. If I drive to the grocery store, starts right up...but if I were to stay in the grocery store for 5 hours, it might not start...I'd have to use my second battery to jump myself. In these older cruisers, there are old connections where a "less than fully charged" battery just doesn't have enough juice to make the starter circuit work. (please excuse my non-electrical terminology...I suck at anything electrical). I think these are the ones that can be fixed with the solenoid bypass. This may be what I need to do?

It is weird to me that my truck is not capable of turning the starter with a weak battery? Most vehicles you will at least get the solenoid to engage and you get the ru-ru-ru weak try but no start. With the 80, you get NOTHING. Not even a click...or maybe a click inside the vehicle, but no starter click. I have changed starters and still have the exact same problem...it is definitely in the starter solenoid circuit and it only happens when I don't have a fully charged battery....which is a problem when you run a fridge in the desert!

I have been dealing with this off-and-on for about 4 years (maybe more), and have just dealt with it since I have dual batteries and have not yet been stranded. I also carry a huge jump-pack just in case. But I would still like to have it fixed.

I think my next try is going to be removing the remote starter that Car-Toys put on it because I think it might be what is causing the slow draw on my battery?

HULK, sounds like your issue is in the same circuit as mine....I'm wondering if you put your battery on a charger and leave it for a couple of days to full charge (and even use the 50amp bump if your charger has one) whether it is enough to bridge the gap (wherever that might be...ground or other?)???
 

DaveInDenver

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In these older cruisers, there are old connections where a "less than fully charged" battery just doesn't have enough juice to make the starter circuit work. (please excuse my non-electrical terminology...I suck at anything electrical).
All these data points sure sound to me like a common set of symptoms are forming.
I think these are the ones that can be fixed with the solenoid bypass. This may be what I need to do?
The solenoid is the brute force approach. That's one way to fix it, perfectly legitimate if perhaps ham-fisted.

The root cause is poor conductivity somewhere in the harness. A bad ground wire, a bad wire, maybe broken or shorting, corrosion somewhere. It might be the same thing in everyone's truck in a circuit prone to issues or different things in just generally aging vehicles. I tend to think it's a combination, a sensitive circuit that just happens to be the first to indicate a suspect connector.

For example interior connectors are not typically sealed but inside the truck still experiences humidity and moisture, so I'd maybe see if one of the connectors in the starting circuit is under the driver's dash right by your feet. Think about it, you get in with snow and ice melting salt on your boots for 25 years and the heater evaporates it, so you could start to see issues there with corrosion and rust, near the pedals, and that sort of thing. Just spitballing.

Until at least one 80 owner does the work to trace it down and another confirms or disproves the theory the world may never know!
 
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