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81 Corolla Sometimes Won't Start When Hot


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#1 sedin26

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 12:23 PM

I have a 1981 Corolla Wagon with Automatic transmission. It starts and runs well in most cases. Always starts when cold and sometimes when hot.
However, sometimes when the motor is warmed up to operating temperature, it won't start. Electrical accessories work fine (headlights, etc...) but nothing happens. No clicking, just seems dead.

The remedy is to wait 30 minutes or so, at which point it starts up again with no issues.


Judging by some of the threads I've seen here it looks like the contacts in the solenoid go bad fairly commonly but I'm wondering if anyone could shed some light on this.



I'm not sure if it has the 1.0 or 1.4KW starter. If it is necessary to replace the starter, will either of those work?

#2 fishexpo101

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 10:14 AM

Could be either the contacts or the starter solenoid/starter itself. Contact issue should happen whether or not it is warm or cold. But they are easily enough to check, look for telltale signs of corrosion first, if it looks OK, go ahead and get some contacts. They are a relatively low cost item, compared to the price of the starter.

Since it happens when warm, I'd look into some thermal issue. Solenoids are sensitive to heat - on SB/BB Chevy motors - heat soak phenomenon is well known. Double check that there isn't an exhaust leak close to the starter - heating the starter case can cause all sorts of issues.

Also double check the battery, as those can be very temperature sensitive as well. More so, if the battery is 4-5 years old.