My humblest apologies for being off topic here, but...
I just had to share this horrible experience!
My '97 Toyota 4Runner SR5, (family vehicle) decided yesterday, (my only day
off this week), that it's starter motor had done enough strating, (at 102,000
Lots of clicking, not much else.
It happened in a parking lot of a shopping center, (built on an Indian burial
gound, so considered a jinxed place by locals)...
I also had my 16= year old daughter with me, who was bitching that her day
was now ruined, because she couldn't get to the Mall to shop - it was all of
Anyhoo, I called Cingular, with whom I was supposed to have breakdown cover
for the last year, and was informed that I had no such cover on my account,
even though I had asked for it when the account was set-up!
So, I had to call my wife, to come tow me with her '86 Ford Econoline camper
She borrowed a rather secondhand tow rope from our circuit racer neighbour,
who informed her that towing with a rope was illegal in Oregon?
After an 'interesting' 6 mile tow, to a friend's shop, during which the rope
only snapped one time, (at a busy and dangerous intersection, naturally), when
I very quickly called into play my boy scout knot tying skills...we made it,
without being arrested.
note that automatic SUV's with power braking and power steering, are VERY
tough to brake and steer, without power!
Anyhoo, when my friends saw the ensemble of '86 Econoline towing '97 4Runner,
they responded with "you might be a redneck if", very funny!
We first disconnected the battery, and luckily I had one of those handy-dandy
computer memory keeper thingys that plugs into the cigarette lighter - and it
worked - otherwise I would be paying the local Toyota dealer $45 to reset the
radio code, which I do not have, and yes it does work!
So to remove the starter, Messrs Chiltons encouraged us to "disconnect wires,
unbolt starter and pull forward towards front of vehicle to remove from
The front driveshafts were in the way, so that part of the manual must be
referring to the 2WD version.
The starter bolts came out easily enough, as did the heavy wire, although the
plastic clip attaching the small wire is the work of satan himself, heat
hardened due to the proximity of the exhaust, covered in oil/grease/dirt and
designed in the true fashion of the ancient Chinese puzzle, also at arms
But the real fun was yet to come.
That increasingly heavy, and at arms length, starter motor was not coming out
via any of the very small access holes, at any angle or direction.
We removed the two 'skid plates', still no go, and eventually figured out
that we would have to remove the long thin pipe for the ATF dipstick, which
(of course), welded to the ATF pan, which cannot itself be removed, without
first draining the ATF and at least half removing the hefty front Anti-sway
then disconnecting the pipes to the power steering.
Nice design Toyota, most impressive.
note that the bolts for the anti-sway bar are welded underneath with the nuts
on top, and that the bolts closest to the exhaust downpipe/cat are cooked and
One of those had to meet the BFH and then we had to snap it off in the
bracket, later drilling out the remains, just to remove it.
Now my starter motor is in for a rebuild, and the transmission is getting new
filter and gasket, and the anti-sway bar link on the other side is getting
replaced - we discovered it was in poor condition -
That little lot took roughly 4 hours, and my hands still ache.
Not looking forward to putting it all back together.
I am grateful that we were able to avoid a hefty towing charge and dealer
bills for the work.
I think what really bothers me most is the complete lack of decent servicing
design by Toyota, and the almost useless Chiltons Manual.
Never mind, at least I stil have the '86 Econoline to go to work today and
Triumph design rules!
Take care out there
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