Question about 1990 Toyota Tercel

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Bad starter? & how to replace it?

My boyfriend's 90 toyota tercel has about 80k miles on it, and just recently it stopped running. when he goes to start it, the engine makes noises like it's trying to start, but then it just quits. i noticed smoke coming out of the starter area on the side of the engine so i'm thinking the starter's bad.

the charge on the battery is fine and the connections from the battery to the starter are also fine. before it quit, we took it to the mechanic who said for $500 he would change the timing belt.

could the timing belt be the source of the problem too? & is there a way I could do it myself instead of paying that much money.

thanks!
- girlfriend in distress

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A good place to start is to remove the starter itself and take it to an auto parts store where they can test it and you will know for sure that the starter is good or bad. If indeed the starter is not working right you will have to buy and install a new one or rebuilt one but most auto parts stores will also do a core charge. Pretty much exchange the old one for a new one and it doesnt cost as much.

It does indeed sound like it is a starter problem but then I only have 1 yr of schooling on engines but I was best in my class and I do most of my own work. So Im 90% you dont need the timing belt changed. However, if the starter checks out the smoke could be from a different problem. And seeing as how you mentioned the timing belt, there is a possibility that one of the pullies that hold that belt might be stuck. This would cause smoking and the car not starting. Just check it out by process of elimination.

I hope this helped.

Posted on Aug 03, 2008

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Check starter draw at battery.(voltage at battery while engaging starter).If the voltage drops below 9 volts and you know that your battery is good and freshly charged.You could have some engine issues.If not satisfied with the test results then remove as kataldemdra said and have it tested.The only reason you should do the starter draw test first is because.The machine used to test the starter at the auto parts does not put the starter under a load as when its mounted to the engine.Good Luck!!!

Posted on Aug 03, 2008

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