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80 series - starting issues - looking for suggestions


Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2012
Hi guys,

Usually the 80 starts quickly - i.e flick the key and she's running in a second or two. And up until recently we've been able to leave her a few weeks at a time and she's always flashed up.

Anyway, last few months we've been using the Hilux as the DD and the 80 series for weekends mostly... and apparently the old girl doesn't like it. I suspect she may be sulking.

Basically, leave her for more than a couple of days and she won't crank - instead you just get the solenoid chattering away, without the starter cranking over. If I attach a jump pack to the driver's side battery she'll flash up okay, and then stop & start okay from just the vehicle batteries until she's parked up again.

So, a couple of possibilities I guess:

1. Batteries are starting to fail. I checked the batteries today (when it wouldn't start, just clicking the solenoid) and both showed 12.6v. I know this is a little low, but I'm surprised it wouldn't kick over the starter. As above, fitting the jump start pack resulted in immediate starting. Note that the alternator is producing 14.4v on idle, which I think is about right.

2. Starter/solenoid is playing up. Maybe needing more welly to get the get it to crank?

3. There is a significant parasitic draw happening somewhere. I find this one a bit unlikely, as we've not changed anything recently, there are no interior lights on or whatever... I've not known a parasitic draw suddenly appear... but maybe I'm missing something?

So, for gurus out there, a few questions:

(a) would you expect the truck to crank over okay with 2x12.6v batteries?

(b) Anyone had an issue with the solenoid or starter that requires higher-than-expected cranking voltage?

(c) Any other ideas for what to check before I bite-the-bullet and just get a couple of new batteries?

Cheers all!

Dave S
Hi Dave, mine will do the same if left for a few weeks it’s normally the passenger side battery on mine.
12.6V is ok but the battery capacity may be down.
Test both batteries as the plates may be sulphated up.
You may have a bad battery lead or earth termination.
Probably just the start of a bad battery.
Did you check the batteries by disconnecting them both from each other ..... one bad one will pull both readings down.
Thanks guys.

I haven't checked the batteries' voltage individually yet, but will do. Not sure how to test the capacity TBH - is this something I can self-test?

I'll also try putting an earth from the batteries to the block, to verify if its an earthing problem.

Any other comments/suggestions welcome!
Check the voltage drop when cranking the engine. It shouldn't drop below 10v. Even at 12.6v, if the batteries are failing, the CCA could be insufficient to crank the engine. Measure the current draw with everything switched off. It should be <50ma with the car locked and the alarm set assuming it still has the OEM TVSS3B alarm system.
The 24v models have an intake heater relay, underneath the off side battery, which has been known to give problems. Mine suffered this and had a parasitic draw approaching half an amp when parked up which was enough to flatten the batteries in a few days to a point where they couldn't crank the engine.
It’ll be your battery’s for sure.

All this recent hot weather must have buggered one of mine up. Parked up for about a week during a hot spell, didn’t start, passenger side battery replaced with a better one I had in stock, been fine for weeks now.

And my daily a4, fine being started 7 days of the week, parked for 3 hot days…flat…
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Ideally you need to get the batteries drop tested individually but even if one is much worse than the other, renewing them as a pair is advisable.
What TP said. They need testing with one at least disconnected. You’ll probably find one drops down in voltage a bit more than the other over time. Best thing is to charge each with a Ctek charger over a couple of days or more. There’s a good chance a Ctek will revive them/it. If not any good battery supplier should be able to put a battery analyser on them and tell what’s what.
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Cheers guys. There used to be a really good back street garage battery guy local to me (Randalls Accumulator Company I think it was called) - proper old school bloke that would drop test batteries, try to revive them for you, etc, etc. Unfortunately most of the local suppliers now seem to be limited to selling you new batteries.... but I'll check for parasitic draw etc, first. I'll report back when I find the answer, in case it helps anyone else.
For a smallish cost you can buy a modern battery tester on Amazon, that is able to give you a comprehensive test on your batteries health, cranking tests, charging test etc
It’s a tool you may not use a lot if you are a diy guy but probably save you the cost of it with a couple of visits to the garage to have yours tested and will likely last you for many many years
There are some Facebook groups you can sign up to which will give you some tools to test and keep for free so long as you post up a review for them
Funnily enough i have had exactly this issue on my 80 recently and also not using it as much as I used to. So will also follow the recommendations. cheers
Had the same on mine. Drove me nuts until I noticed a small spark at one of the battery connections. It was a very light bit of corrosion and it looked absolutely fine. But apparently, the resistance was enough to pull the voltage down when starting.
Cleaned them and starting is like new now.
Mine has done the same Dave, in the past after being left for 3/4 days..... New batteries sorts it....... But do try all the other suggestions..... Im betting Batteries 'tho'
Used occasionally for how long ? long enough to fully recharge ? I'd hook up a trickle charger before i thought about replacing batteries .
o_O Even halfords do batteries with a 5 year guarantee

A few quid but worth it especially if you're looking after a few motors...

Unfortunately the write up on these testers reads good, but they cannot do a 'real' load test. You only have to look at the terminals to see that. Even modern testers look at the voltage and tell you all good, and then a 'pulse' is sent through the battery and this confirms the connections inside the battery are in good order and the amount of plate sulphation is low, but like the voltage the pulse puts a minimal load on the battery as a whole. The amount of DIY customers who have these style of testers want to argue that their battery does not need replacing because the green light is on you simply would not believe, only when I put a 'proper' load tester on the battery which mimics cranking do they agree to a new battery.

To the problem, anyone purchasing just one battery on a two battery setup is wasting their money, sure the car starts but a number of things happen, first remember when two batteries are in parallel they are in fact one big battery however, one is new and one is old...or older. The older battery will 'resist' the charge so the alternator, only charges until it believes the batteries are fully charged. the reality is that neither of them are. When parked and the engine is off think of one of the batteries being full of water but connected by a hose, to the other battery which is only half full, the water (voltage) will move until you have two batteries with equal voltage but NOT equal power. So now you have not one low battery but two. Put another way, if you need 100 amps to start your engine, you still need a decent voltage to 'push' that amperage, if the volts are not there then neither will be the amps, so running one good battery through an old one will eventually ruin the new battery in very short order.


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