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1998 Avalon Intermittent Starting Problems

08-17-2007, 05:16 PM
We have a 1998 Avalon which we love, about 125,000 miles. It has pretty much been flawless until the past 2-3 months. It has developed an intermittent starting problem....usually on the first start of the day or after it has been sitting for several hours.

90% of the time, the car starts right off. Sometimes it tries to start (in fact I think it has started) but when I release the key, it has not started. It will usually start on the next try. More worrisome, sometimes I turn the key and NOTHING happens, I don't even think there is a click. However, if I just keep turning the key from off to on then the car will eventually start like nothing was wrong...usually on the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th try.

I have taken it to 2 Toyota dealers who basically tell me that until the car is dead-on-arrival, they can't / won't diagnose it. The battery was replaced as part of the "fix" (didn't help). The spark plugs have recently been replaced also.

Is there some logical sequence of things to check / replace. I guess this is going to come down to part-changing. I was wondering what you would replace and in what sequence. Any help you could provide would be very much appreciated. I have pretty much given up on our Toyota dealers and will try someone independent if I came "armed" with some information.

Thank you very much.

09-27-2007, 02:44 AM
Do you still need help?

Joe W
10-29-2007, 09:25 PM
Seems like it would be the ignition switch...?

01-31-2009, 10:14 AM
Having the same problem with a 98 XLS, car always cranks, but starts only 95% of the time. problem never lasts long enough for normal fuel delivery or spark tests. No CEL activity, or stored codes. Any suggestions?

02-02-2009, 09:19 AM
In the future, please do not resurrect old threads, but since this one was not resolved, I'll let it slide for a bit longer to get an answer.

Sounds like the starter brush contacts have worn out. If you can tap on the starter housing with a hammer, this might jog the starter just enough to make electrical contact and start up. There is a starter repair kit you can buy to replace the brushes. Cheaper than a new one with more work involved, but the procedure is not difficult. Let us know the outcome so we can close this thread. Good luck!

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