Join Date: May 2013
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Something few people write in their posts is what they have done to diagnose the problem, what they found, and how it affected the problem when they replaced a part. As a retired mechanic, I've seen people "shotgun" things, like put in new alternator, regulator (way back), and starter, only to find that it was a dirty battery cable which caused the starting problem. Oops!
The first two didn't work, and you went back to that store and got a third? Ouch. I'd have thought by then that the brand was suspect. I like to check with local mechanics as to which brand of remanufactured (reman) products has worked well for them, then buy those. They usually know which brand to stay away from.
OK, you said the third one made a noise and then kept spinning. It brings up the chance that the ring gear lost teeth or came off the flywheel, or it could just be a bad connection at the solenoid. Do check both. A large screwdriver in the starter access hole will allow you to turn the engine over to check every inch of the ring gear for missing teeth or disconnection from the flywheel. If the ring gear is good, pop another brand of reman in or get a genuine Toy part. The thing with genuine Toy parts is that you only pay that ghastly price once in your life. <g> Ditto Honda alternators and starters. $400 a pop, but good for life.
You might want to share the brand of bad reman here so others don't get the same bad parts from them. Chances are good that it's just a bad manufacturing batch or reman, but keep reading.
If your battery is nearing 4 years old, I recommend replacing it. (I lucked out and got almost ten years on my '07 Toyota battery, but that was a fluke. I had heard one slow crank and went to the store and bought a new battery to put in in the next weeks, and the old one died a week later. I was only 15 minutes late to my client's house after swapping batteries.) Anyway, in my 65 years, batteries usually average 3-4 years, no matter what the brand or grandiose warranty claims. And I'd much rather swap a battery ($75USD) than get stuck somewhere in a rain or snowstorm 30 miles from nowhere, wouldn't you?
I recommend using the purple sealant on the battery terminals after cleaning the battery cable ends to perfection. Doublecheck the ground on the engine block, too, and verify the ground strap from engine to body and/or frame. I'm guessing that you have already tested your charging system to rule that out as a factor, too, right? Good.
Also check your battery cables. Often, individual strands of the wire will fray from the terminal ends, and that causes harder starting because there is less wire to pass current thru. When replacing battery cables, I like using thick wire, 2awg, when possible. Caution here, because some manufacturers use thick insulation to make people think their cables are thicker. Check the gauge. Cheap cables usually don't say, which is a tip, but they can be as thin as 8awg. Most inexpensive cables are 4awg. Luckily, the geared starters in Toys mean that they don't need a super thick cable, but it doesn't hurt to use one.
I think that covered all the points.