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-   -   What's making you happy today? (http://cellar.org/showthread.php?t=14055)

glatt 10-05-2020 06:35 PM

Fixed the car.

This is the 25 year old one. It has had issues over the years, but was always reliable. Runs like a top.

Well, over the last week or two, it has simply not started. Intermittently. Sometimes it starts. Sometime it doesn't even crank. Just a single click. MOTHERFUCKER. And then a few tries later, it does start.

This is the kind of thing that can cost real money, and can be caused by a number of things.

The battery voltage seemed a little low, so I pulled it out and took it to Autozone. They tested is and said it was good. So not the battery. That was too bad. I figured a battery would be easy to do, and fairly cheap. Kudos to Autozone for not selling me a single thing.

I remembered after we got the automatic transmission cars, I would sometimes get into this Prizm and try to start it without pressing in the clutch, and it would make no noise, just a single click. So I kept thinking about the clutch. Maybe the car didn't think I was pressing down on the clutch.

So I did some research, and watched a few diagnosing videos on youtube. Everybody eventually mentions the starter, after discussing the battery and corrosion on cables. The starter on this car is buried in the hardest spot to reach. Under the intake manifold at the back of the engine, over the suspension, and catalytic converter. Really close to the fire wall. Basically impossible to see, test, or get at without taking everything apart. I so didn't want to deal with it, which means a mechanic would also charge two arms and a leg to do it too.

But that clutch pedal. I kept thinking about the clutch pedal. I've got the factory manual and the chilton's manual, and I looked up the location of the safety start override switch on the clutch pedal, and read about it. Looked at circuit diagrams. It could be the issue, but unlikely. The car doesn't want you to try to start it when it is already running, because you will cause major damage. So they have an override switch so it won't start if you don't press in on the clutch.

Then I went to ToyotaNation web forum to see if they had any insights. First I did I quick search, and somebody mentioned the clutch pedal as a possible problem when a car wouldn't start, and also mentioned bits of broken plastic on the drivers floor as an indicator.

How could I forget? I saw bits of plastic on the driver's floor the other day. I assumed it was just trash my son had left there. BUt there were definitely bits of plastic that I couldn't identify.

So I went out and crawled into the driver's side with a mirror and flashlight and looked up under the dash as I pressed the clutch in with my hand.

The clutch pedal normally has a cushioned bracket on the arm that pushes against the switch. My cushion is completely missing, and the funny thing is the hole in the metal bracket that holds the cushion lines up almost perfectly with the poky bit of the clutch pedal switch, so when you push the clutch all the way to the floor, the metal bracket on the clutch pedal goes around the switch, not depressing it. If you exert a little sideways pressure on the pedal, then the metal plate depresses the switch, and the switch engages.

That explains my intermittent start issue. Sometimes the metal bracket was pressing on the switch when I pressed on the pedal jut slightly differently. Often it didn't.

For what it's worth, My son was recently learning how to drive stick on this car, and he was really giving it a beating. I bet the 25 year old rubber/plastic cushion broke during that process.

So I ordered a replacement cushion from Toyota for $20 for a $1 part, but in the meantime I took a little electrical tape and a felt button and taped a makeshift cushion to the clutch pedal to engage the switch. I tried starting the car 15-20 times, and it started every single time.

So long story short is the car was unreliable for a week or so and had a major problem that would likely have cost more than the car was worth to fix, and I fixed it for free with crap I had lying around the house.

/Happy camper.

BigV 10-05-2020 06:50 PM

Bravo!

Excellent work, detective and mechanic. Oh, and you write well, too.

Gravdigr 10-05-2020 09:15 PM

Good on ya, Glattman!

Prizm. I thought Geo (Chevy) made Prizms.

Nevermind, I just Wiki'd it, and (Today I Learned) found out a Geo Prizm is just a Toyota Sprinter/Corolla.

xoxoxoBruce 10-06-2020 03:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by glatt (Post 1059104)
The car doesn't want you to try to start it when it is already running, because you will cause major damage. So they have an override switch so it won't start if you don't press in on the clutch.

If you press on the clutch pedal the car isn't moving but the engine still is. I'm sure they use one of several ways to prevent you from engaging the starter into the running engine(flywheel).

That switch on the pedal disconnects the starter(engine) from the wheels so you won't squeeze somebody between the car and the wall or another car.

Regardless, you done good, those switches are a pain in the ass see, even harder to get to. My truck has one on the brake pedal so it won't start without my foot on the brake and it's an automatic.
I'm sure you made the kid happy which is a second feather in your cap. :D

Griff 10-06-2020 05:55 AM

*Boom* nicely done

glatt 10-06-2020 06:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gravdigr (Post 1059111)
Good on ya, Glattman!

Prizm. I thought Geo (Chevy) made Prizms.

Nevermind, I just Wiki'd it, and (Today I Learned) found out a Geo Prizm is just a Toyota Sprinter/Corolla.


Yeah, back when we bought this car, you could get much more car for the same money if you got one with the Geo badge. Otherwise, we would have just bought a Carolla. We got the folding rear seats, remote mirrors, and tape deck for the same price as the base model Toyota that had none of those. :)

Diaphone Jim 10-06-2020 10:58 AM

That kind of fix is one of best feeling things I know.
Be glad you are here because usually nobody you tell gives a shit.

glatt 10-06-2020 03:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce (Post 1059131)
That switch on the pedal disconnects the starter(engine) from the wheels so you won't squeeze somebody between the car and the wall or another car.

That makes good sense.

Clodfobble 10-06-2020 08:04 PM

Minifobette and I did our first volunteer shift at a local rescue shelter today. She's been struggling with *vague gesture* all of this, and told me during a low point "I just want to play with dogs."

I had to work hard to find a place that would let kids volunteer (and still only with an adult,) but it's not too far away, and their tasks include both dog walking and "socializing," which is literally just "take an animal out and play with it for as long as you want." Plus, the walking will be secretly good for her, too.

One small hitch was that while volunteering slots include weekends, training had to happen on a weekday. So I said fuck it and pulled her out of class. As far as I'm concerned, it's therapy, and thus an excusable medical appointment.

glatt 10-06-2020 08:42 PM

the dog training will enrich her more than whatever they were covering in school.

Gravdigr 10-06-2020 09:08 PM

Sounds like urrbody benefits.

Win.

BigV 10-06-2020 09:24 PM

gives new meaning to "lucky dog"

:)

Griff 10-07-2020 06:45 AM

Yeah, you know what she needs.

Griff 10-07-2020 06:53 AM

1 Attachment(s)
They're back!

https://apnews.com/article/wildlife-...0d3a5e41ac38c7


Tasmanian devils, which were once called Sarcophilus satanicus or “Satanic flesh-lover,” went extinct in mainland Australia before the arrival of Europeans. Scientists believe the introduction of carnivorous dingoes, a surge in the indigenous human population, and a devastating dry season cause by a prolonged El Nino caused the devil to migrate to present-day Tasmania, said University of Tasmania ecologist Menna Jones.

jaminhealth 10-07-2020 02:59 PM

So far, my morning coffee and breakfast soup.


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