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Discussion Starter #1
All,

I've read a number of posts on this site regarding problems with starting a Tundra, but I've got a problem that I think is a little different than most: I have a 2002 SR5 5.7L with about 160,000 miles. I bought it about 2 years ago, and when I first purchased it, it occasionally had trouble starting - I would turn the key and nothing would happen. I checked the battery, and it was fine. After a few tries, I could usually get it to turn over. Sometimes, if it really gave me fits, I could get it to start by jumping it. That went on for about a year until one day, I couldn't get it to start at all. Again, nothing happened at all when I turned the key. I tried jumping, no dice. I even bought a new battery because the old one was getting close to being done. Didn't help. My mechanic looked it over and decided it was the starter. He pulled it out of the truck and it worked just fine on the bench. But, since it took a lot of labor to pull the starter, we decided to go ahead and replace it.

After the original starter was replaced, things worked very well for nearly a year. Then, just a few days ago, it wouldn't start again. Once again, when I turned the key, nothing happened. I was able to jump it to get it going. I've checked the battery and the alternator and there are no problems there. After I jump it, it will start up for the new day or so, but if it sits longer than that, no start. One thing that might be worth mentioning is that this new problem first appeared the day after my son left the dome light on for a couple of hours. The battery started fine that night when we found the truck with the dome light on, but the next day, we couldn't get it going without jumping it.

I'm pretty frustrated. I could take it back to the mechanic who put the new starter in it a year ago, but I'd like to figure out if the problem really is the starter. Why would replacing the last starter have fixed my problem if that starter had tested out fine when it was removed from the truck? Is it possible the old starter was just seized up and the movement and jarring of getting it out of the truck unfroze it? What are the chances the new started went bad in under a year?

Thanks in advance for your help!
 

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Sounds like to me that heat is getting to the starter and frying the bearings out of it just enough that the battery will not turn it over when it gets hot. I'll bet it will start after it is allowed to cool long enough. Add a heat shield if there is enough room.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the responses. I'd expect that if I had a bad relay or a bad ignition key, I wouldn't be able to jump start it - am I incorrect?

Regarding the heat issue - every time I've had this problem, the truck has been sitting at least overnight.
 

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Thanks for the responses. I'd expect that if I had a bad relay or a bad ignition key, I wouldn't be able to jump start it - am I incorrect?

Regarding the heat issue - every time I've had this problem, the truck has been sitting at least overnight.
There could be dirt or dust in the relay or ignition contacts that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesnt.
 

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is the starter getting the signal to crank when you turn the key? if yes and no crank its the starter, if no power check connections and battery voltage. then go from there. without these questions being answered we are all just guessing.
 

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When the truck won't start, if you turn the lights on do they come on? This rules out a completely dead battery, it at least says your battery has some juice in it.

You say you can jump it and it starts. This leads me to believe you need to replace your battery cables. They get corroded even down inside the sheathing where you can't see it. Once that happens you will get all sorts of random starting issues and other electrical problems can arise as well.

Yes, if you can jump start it then no the key and ignition are not the problem.
 
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