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Training Wheels Nightmare

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So I've just picked up a ke70, 4kc, manual, for far to much $ but it is what it is. Its my first car and am just planning on learning on it.

I'm new to the forums and have been aimlessly looking for a solution but am yet to find a thread with much guidance as i am extremely new to this.



The thing struggles to start.

Every morning when i go to drive it the car will crank and then ill give it some gas and it'll start up on the 1st to 3rd go.

But i find when i start and stop it continuously the problem just gets worse and worse;

Ill go to turn the key and all i hear is a click, then when i hold my foot on the accelerator and i go to turn it, then it will crank over - Maybe


I was at the bank getting money out, went to go start the car and no matter what i did it wouldn't start (I'm sure if i just kept trying it would've eventually started). But the banks right next to a battery world so i got them to test my battery, and all was fine. He told me to get it home and get someone to look at it because he thinks the starters gone, but i don't have that someone and I'm hoping someone can lead me in the right direction before i take the car to a mechanic.


These problems are pretty random but, sometimes ill only hear a click, sometimes It'll start first go, and sometimes It'll just take some gas to get her going.


I've searched around and only can relate to a few issues that involve the starter motor / solenoid and maybe the ballast resistor or battery? but the battery seems to be all fine.

Any help is greatly appreciated!!



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" issues that involve the starter motor / solenoid"

Yes, that sounds like the place to look.  Although you could actually start by checking the points and timing, getting the spark to fire at the right time makes it catch first time rather than third try. You'll need feeler gauges, a dwell meter if you're keen, and a timing light. You'll use them all your life. (well, maybe not if we all go electric!)

"But i find when i start and stop it continuously the problem just gets worse and worse; " 

So, temperature related..  Check the earths from motor to chassis and chassis to battery. All must be tight and clean.  Then check the +ve to the starter solenoid and the black activation wire on the solenoid.

If all are tight and working, then its starter out time. Awkward to get to on a 4K, but you'll learn...  The solenoid comes apart with a soldering iron on the wire that sticks out by the bolt terminals, and you can clean up the big contacts inside with a file and put a skinny washer under each of them.  This makes up for the copper that has burned away on the contacts over the last 40years. It will let you inspect the teeth on the starter (usually OK) and the teeth on the ring gear that they hit. Take photos..  

An auto electrician will check the starter windings, the copper wire loses its resistance and that is temperature dependent. The motor is a throw-away if that's the problem, in the good ol' days someone would rewind it.


When it goes "click" quite solidly the solenoid magnet has slammed the starter teeth into the ring gear and simultaneously pushed the copper contacts together over the battery cables. If that is happening correctly then the starter takes over and turns. So the failure to turn can be lack of power going through those contacts, or the teeth jamming so it can't turn.

Once you've sorted out the starting you can figure out how to tune it to make it start sharply and run well.  They are simple motors and a great way to start modding cars.

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Hi Caleb,

                Welcome aboard !   Totally agree with Altezzaclub, that your immediate,  & most pressing problem, is probably starter motor related.  However, that does not necessarily indicate that by inference, that the starter motor is faulty.  The starter motor is the one electric item in your KE70, that draws more power & amperes, than any other piece of electrical equipment. Any connections at both the battery terminals, or the main earth connection to the chassis, are known places, where you could get large voltage drops, whilst trying to start the car.  I would have hoped that the Battery World guy would have checked & inspected those, but you never know.

So before you do anything else, one thing you can do immediately, with few tools, is remove battery terminals, & any high current lead connections, between the battery & the starter motor, & clean them all with a wire brush,  until there are no signs of corrosion, which can appear as a fine white power, or a "bluey" gunk.

Does the car in general & engine bay, look like it has been neglected ?  When the car runs, & is driving, how is it's performance ?  Is it relatively smooth to drive ?

A car of this age, which is a new acquisition, usual requires a complete check over, of fuel, electric, & engine conditions, even if it appears to be going reasonably well.

Where are you located ?   There may well be a forum member, close to you, who would be welcome to give it the "once over", and assist.

If you happened to be in Brissy, then, I'd only be too happy, to have a look, if you brought the car around.

Luckily, the 4KC was one of the most popular & reliable of all the K series engines, & there are still plenty of spares available.  They are also very easy to work on.

Cheers Banjo

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Great community. 

Thanks heaps that's actually helped my head grasp what my first move is a lot, so thank you!


Ill get onto cleaning the terminals now! well, after i buy a pipe cleaner or something of the sort.


As for the engine bay (ill post some photos soon), It hasn't necessarily been neglected, more just thrown together.


Performance... i mean i guess its fairly smooth, bumpy asf since hes put lowered king springs in it and its bloody shocking to drive, but engine wise.. it holds up. He said the owner before him supposedly rebuilt it but he had no proof. But he said when he changed the rods and saw in it, that it looked healthy. But he lied about a bunch of other sh*t, so who knows.


And for the check over, I'm the sunshine coast but cheers for the offer mate that would've helped heaps!

If anyone knows a mechanic in the Sunshine Coast which is particularly better, that would be heaps of help! or if you're a legend and are able to check it out, feel free to message me!!

Cheers mate.

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Hi Caleb,

                Well, at least you live in "the right state", & the Sunny Coast, is even better.  Which area ?  I know there a couple of guys on here around Caloundra. There are few members up there, so hopefully, one of them may respond.

Photos of your engine bay would be good, or a particular item or part, you are concerned about.  There are those on here,  that can spot things, that are "out of place", very quickly.

Keep firing away with questions or queries.   There aren't too many  "aging issues" with these olde Corollas, we haven't already come across, addressed, or have the solution to fixing them.

Good luck !

Cheers Banjo.

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Ok so I cleaned all the connections from the battery to chassis, battery to motor and motor to chassis. I went out for a bit to test and see how it went starting after that. Started first try multiple times until I got home and tried to see if it happened again, and sure enough it has. I haven’t messed around with the starter yet as my jack stands are at work. Now to explain more problems in case anyone can help, or if they’re related.D47BCEE2-DC2E-4FFC-B802-36986EF06181.thumb.jpeg.5c707cea30c41bcb15961307dee720b0.jpeg

First things first, the timing belt is fairly loose on the left side, not sure how to tighten it. Yet to search around, have just gotten home.

ive also noticed when idling in traffic the car seems to thump, quite noticeably. It’s coming from my butt, so transmission? I noticed checking the bay while keeping it idling that the “thump” causes the engine to jolt, carby side pushes down, so maybe to do with the carby?

I have also noticed that when pressing the clutch to change gear (I usually notice it changing to 3rd gear, but I think it’s random) it rattles or there’s a rattling noise, also very noticeable, until I release and start accelerating.

and for the last thing, there’s smoke coming from my 3rd cylinder. I noticed the engine was damp around the area so might just need a clean down. I am planning on taking it to a mechanic today to get it checked out, but any information that you can give for me to check, or to let the mechanic know would be heaps of help! 

also if anyone has a recommendation for a good mechanic in Caloundra? 


-Training Wheels

aka Caleb.

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Hey Caleb 

It wont be the timing belt you can see it will be the fan belt that runs the water pump and alternator K series engines have a timing chain. There is a bolt at the alternator that you loosen and slide the alternator to the side to tighten the belt. The banging from the rear could be damaged gearbox mounts or a failing uni joint in your tailshaft. As far as the smoke in at cylinder 3 give it a degrease and see how you go. 

Edited by Big G
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So yeah there wasn’t an alternator bolt in it so that’s fixed now. As for the starter, the mechanic said he wasn’t able to get to it because the alternator or something wants to spin with it and he didn’t want to take it off for whatever reason, probably because he couldn’t be assed. So nothing changed there

As for the thump, there’s a missing engine mount, so that’s an issue.

And the steering... he’s said the wheel bearing about to bust out.

wondering if it’s reasonable to ask for $300 to replace a wheel bearing and engine mount. Thought that was insane. Pretty sure I could figure out the wheel bearing if it’s basic tools. As for the engine mount, well I don’t even know which one so I’d have to go back and ask. But would I need to remove the engine to install? Or could possibly do from underneath?

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Hi Caleb,

                After downloading the pic of your engine bay, & rotating it 90 deg C, so I didn't get a crink in my neck, I can see what you mean, about being "throw together".  Nice big aluminium radiator & thermofan, I guess.  Lots of extra wires draped around here & there, &  all that spaghetti junction small rubber hoses around the carburetor, for all the  California emission control stuff. (That's what the C in 4KC stands for)  I'd get rid of all that eventually, as when it gets that old, it usually don't work any longer.

The rear gearbox rubber mount, are a known point to fail, as they usually get a good covering of oil, from the rear of the gearbox.  Have seen them come away from the mounting metal, & also "shear" right through the rubber.  Easy to repair.  Just hold the gearbox up with a jack, & remove rear gearbox support cross member, complete with mount.

The front engine mount of the carby side, is also usually, the one that will fail. It is close to the exhaust pipe, & if the heat shield protector has fallen off, it gets exposed to the exhaust heat, & the rubber breaks down.  Easy to replace, without removing the engine.

Like  Big G advised.  A good 30 minutes, with some degreaser spray & a brush, should clean the engine itself up, so any leaks get exposed.

Front wheel bearings, are likewise, very easy to replace.

Cheers Banjo

Edited by Banjo
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Are the hoses on the tappet cover connected to the air cleaner/inlet manifold??  If one is unconnected it will be the source of your oil smoke.

Otherwise, as the guys day, wheel bearings and engine mounts are no problem, ask how when you're ready to do it. The thump is a misfire in a cylinder that is amplified by the bad engine mount.

We could easily assemble a list of everything you should check and how to do it on a new car. Basically what the mechanic should have done if he could be arsed, but he couldn't.  Most of it involves having the car on a jack so get your stands back.

I'd start with suspension joints front & rear, look at them carefully, look for loose bolts and then lever against them with a big screwdriver or crowbar.

Check the exhaust while your under there.

Check the driveshaft universals

Check the clutch cable

Check the g'box and diff oil leaks.

Check the steering when doing the wheel bearings with one wheel up. Shake it left and right looking for slack and any noises. I get someone to swing the steering wheel left & right by varying amounts and speeds while I look underneath.

Bounce on each corner and see how the shocks behave.

That will tell you the state of the suspension/steering. You don't need a mechanic one these cars, they are dead simple!

When you've got the engine mount fixed you can start on the motor...  Does it start easily? Plugs set correctly? Plug leads within spec? Points and timing correct? Tappets set? Any leaks in the coolant system? Is the coolant fresh and green? (or pink) Loose bolts/nuts in the manifold system? Oil clean and filter newish?

The headlights are crap! They earth back through the dip-switch, a terrible idea. Its not hard to double the brightness, if you are driving at night do it in the future.


In the end you can have a car you know everything about and feel confident it will drive to Perth without a problem!

Ah fk!  A black engine bay!  You poor bastard!  When you have the motor out in a few years, make sure you paint it white!  They paint them black to hide oil leaks, I'd much rather see any leaks and fix them! That battery bracket is not stock either, make sure it holds the battery down firmly.

Well, there's enough to do your head in!  Have fun!



Now, what turn on the electric fan?  I assume there is one?? Is there?  There's certainly no stock mechanical one. It needs a thermoswitch somewhere to turn it on at 90deg or so, and usually I put them in the top rad hose. We also run a manual switch so you can turn the fan on from the dash.


Caleb's cargo carrier.jpg

Edited by altezzaclub
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Cheers fellas. That’s exactly what I wanted to know and tons more so cheers, I’ll be looking at this countless of times. I’ll go do some research and try figure everything out. I’m sure I’ll have some more questions as I go along. But that should be enough to get me going for quite a while, legends!

But yeah I plan on respraying once I get a new daily.

as for the fan. There’s a switch running to the dash, a Thermoswitch would help but, because I forget to turn it on.

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Hi Caleb,

                OK !  I was guessing there was a thermofan, but like  Altezzaclub, could not see a switch, to automatically turn it on & off, because it is  near the dashboard, & only manually switched apparently.

Here is an easy way to fit one, except instead of using it to fit a temperature sensor, you will use the adaptor to fit a Tridon thermofan high temp switch.

Have a look at this video, which would work well, with your existing top hose.  You can buy those adaptors on ebay, quite cheaply.


Here's another link, about thermofans & controlling them, which might be of interest to you.


Cheers Banjo

Edited by Banjo
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Here's the tridon catalogue. I'd go for a 95-90deg normally open thermoswitch, so it closes at 95deg and runs the fan, then when it cools to 90deg it opens the switch and shuts the fan off again. A TFS 106.

To mount it you cut the top rad hose and buy a fitting like this-


So, you need a thermoswitch, then an adapter that fits the radiator hose diameter (new cars have smaller hoses) AND it must fit the diameter and pitch of the thermoswitch. So make sure the thermoswitch will bolt into the adapter and the adapter will fit the hose. Beware, Ebay is full of Chinese dickheads who don't list the diameter and pitch of the t'switch fitting in their adapter, they just give you the hose diameter!

Hmm... you might have to be ready to drill out your $15 Chinese crap and re-thread it to suit the Tridon switch. They all seem to be 1/8th NPT on Ebay.

I bought mine from these guys-




Then a cheap 20amp 4 pole relay for $15 and we can tell you how to wire it when you're ready. DO NOT overheat the motor because you forgot to turn the fan on!  ..unless you feel like learning how to do a head gasket job!


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