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I have a very unusual issue with my 1993 Toyota 4runner SR5 4CYL 4WD 5 Speed. I have had the car for a very long time, and recently I have had a very strange issue when starting the car and I can't seem to figure it out, so I need some help.

About 2 months ago, the starter gave out. I replaced it with a rebuilt one from Advance Auto. A few weeks later, that starter failed. I returned it to the store and they exchanged it for another rebuilt one. I installed it and it was working just fine.

Now for my issue.

When I turn the key to ACC, all the lights come on, stereo works, headlights turn on. When I turn to START, I hear a "click" from the starter, and the car loses complete power. No headlights, no stereo, no warning buzzer, nothing. When I turn the key back to ACC, nothing comes back on. Then, the whole car stays dead for about thirty minutes, no matter how many times you put the key in and turn it, it stays dead. After about 30 minutes, you can stick the key in and turn it to ACC and everything comes on, but as soon as you turn to start, it goes back out again.

Heres what I know -

  • The battery is good. I just tested and replaced it.
  • There are no blown fuses. I have checked both panels.
  • I attempted to jump the vehicle and still have the same issues
  • All the ground straps are secure and not corroded
  • No smells when I turn the ignition
  • The battery cables are tested and good
  • No previous electrical issues in the past.

I am trying to narrow the problem. Could it be the relay in the fuse box? Or the ignition? I just dont understand why the whole car could lose power for 30 minutes and then come back on if it was in issue with the starter. Could anybody point me in the right direction?
Thanks guys.

  • Batteries can have internal broken links that can cause intermittant "dead" battery. When you say you "tested " it and "replaced" it what do you mean? – Solar Mike Jun 16 '17 at 4:03
  • I bought a new battery because I thought the old one was the problem. No change with the problem after I installed the new one. The guy at Autozone tested it. – Patrick Jun 16 '17 at 4:22
  • Ok , check the cables for breaks and the fuses – Solar Mike Jun 16 '17 at 4:40
  • Sounds like a classic bad connection. ACC is not enough to stress it but the starter draws way more current. When the extra demand kicks in the connection is stressed and give up the ghost. Check the battery cable from the battery to the rest of the car. Look for poor or corroded connections, frayed wires that kind of thing. – vini_i Jun 16 '17 at 6:57
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The problem lies in your connections to the battery or ground. I'm not sure how you tested them, but from your description, this is a classic case of losing connectivity from either the ground strap or the positive lead. I've seen it happen many times in the past.

Your best bet is to disconnect each main connection, clean the connection (both at the wire and connector), then reconnect everything. You can do it one at a time, but leave the ground disconnected while doing your work to prevent damage and injury.

If the battery is good and the starter is good, plus considering what you've said about everything dieing, this is what's going on.

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