MikeyMystery

1997 Failing to start. Rapid clicking sound.

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Hey guys. So My 1997 LS 400 isn't starting very well. When I go to start the car the dash lights up and then instead of starting when I turn the key a rapid clicking sound happens. click click click click click click really fast. If that makes any sense. What could that be? When I hook up jumper cables from a car with a good battery it starts right up. Also not sure if this is related but the other day I got in the car and I must've unlocked the door the wrong way but my alarm went off but my horn for it was unplugged. I could hear it going Honk...... Honk....... Honk....... but minus the honk sound. Like I could hear it would've went off if the horn for the alarm wasn't unplugged.

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first thing to do is CLEAN and tighten your battery cables make sure you have good contacts, go to Autozone (or such) and have your battery & altinetor tested..

get back on here and tell us the results.... and we will try to help you without GUESSING.

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To Billy's point, tighten your battery cables (or at least make sure they are tight).  You could also check the voltage on the battery before starting the car.  The voltage should be somewhere around 12.6-12.8 or so.  Lastly, you could check the voltage as the car is being started.  If the voltage drops to less than 10 or so volts, consider replacing your battery.  Do you know your battery's age?  They don't last forever.  Also, do you have lots of corrosion on your battery terminals?  This can keep the battery from making good contact with the terminals, inhibiting starting.

Anyway, just random thoughts as I think about batteries.  

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The shop I took my car to told me the battery was fine. It's a new car so I can't tell you exactly how old it is but it looks fairly newer and I checked the fluid levels and they're good. The battery connections are all good as well. It jump starts just fine but it seems like if I leave it off for more than five miinutes the car won't start. I took the battery out a few weeks ago and charged it on a battery charger and when I put it in the car it seemed to work for a few days but then the car got parked for awhile it and it was dead when I went to start it up about a week or so later. When it does start or I jump start it and I turn it off and immediately try to start it either hesitates to start and barely do so or it fails to start altogether but when it does fail I see the dash light up and a rapid clicking sound happens. I'm not sure if that's just the sound of the starter not getting enough voltage of if it's something I should be more worried about. I thought I could possibly start unplugging fuses that aren't necessary to operate like the Radio or the heater but I ended up just putting them back in cause it didn't make any difference I could tell. I do know the stereo needs to be replaced because it doesn't work. It's got the Nakamichi stereo in it and I was wondering if I just pulled the whole radio out of the space on the dash can I replace the radio with a Double -Din stereo or will I need a dash kit. I was hoping to avoid having to purchase a dash kit and if I can replace the broken stock stereo with a Double-Din size stereo but I doubt that will be possible I'll probably end up buying a single DIN dash kit for it otherwise.

Also there's a strange switch down under the steering wheel that I was wondering if it was something that came standard. I'm not sure what the switch does but it sort of pops in and then pops out if that makes sense. I'm not sure if it was for something that was installed in the and

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Is it possible if you can record a video and upload on YouTube of what is going on? See if you can take some pictures and post them on here too about the mysterious switch. In the mean time, If you have a multimeter check the battery without and with the engine running. hopefully your alternator is working properly, you should be getting a constant voltage reading above 13 volts. The battery light isn't on, is it? If all is good, perform a voltage drop test at the starter. Maybe you have corrosion on the positive contact points of the starter. You can also perform a parasitic draw test as well. Worst comes to worst, take it to a Lexus dealership and have them diagnose it. It's gonna cost you roughly $120-170 for a 1 hour diagnostic. You can get a definite answer if the issue is either your battery, charging system or your starting system. They have a true battery diagnostic tester.

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Is the check engine light on once the car has started and running for a while? If the battery and all associated cables check out there it's possible your starter is going south. Especially with the clicks you are hearing. It does sound like an electrical issue though But the shop has ruled that out. House does the car drive once it's been started and how many miles does it have?

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You don't know if the connections are good, untill you disconnect them from the battery and clean them. If it starts good with jumper then its either the battery is no good or the connections are not clean. If its not charging then the alternator or regulator is not working. If you think there is a parasitic drain then you need to connect an amp meter and see if its so.

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You are relying on some mechanic, There is always some drain on most newer cars today.  Did the shop actually do a hydrometer check on each cell of the battery?  While the engine is running you should be measuring 13.5 to 14.5 volts across the battery terminal with head lamps on.  If not the Alternator is bad.  If you are measuring this than replace the battery and be done with the problem.

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some good advice so far. but. . .

take some coarse sandpaper, (180grit) to your terminals and clamps. if you have any usb chargers plugged into sockets remove them. buy a voltmeter. these are cheap. look for fluctuations when you press the gas pedal.

swap out the bushes for the alternator. -$10? (these wear out in time) and drop in a fresh battery.

still clicking? hit your starter motor a few times. if it frees up and starts? replace the Starter motor. and then your system has had a mild overhaul.

enjoy.

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I guess you guys were right about the battery. Went and had it checked out and they said it was no good. I'm going to buy a new one. Is there any requirements as far as a battery? I'm guessing there's a minimum of cranking amps required. I'm trying to find the cheapest one if possible.

Another question. I need a drivers side outside door handle. Does anyone know where I can get one cheap? I'm not sure what the part number is. If anyone knows the part number let me know. Thanks a lot guys. For real.

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Go to a Lexus dealership and get a battery there. Shouldn't be more than $120, and it's 5year warranty. I mean if you go anywhere else your gonna end up spending $100-$150 for a battery. I believe your battery should be rated at 575 cold cranking amps. Try eBay for your door handle or the junkyard.

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59 minutes ago, MikeyMystery said:

I was going to check out the junkyard today and hopefully I find one. If not I'll need the part number.

 

are you going to do it yourself??  if so be careful of the little clips.... fragile !

the door PDF shows you all that is in the door on the first page... all other pages show ALL you can do while your there.. 

PLUS HOW TO GET INTO THE DOOR.

door handle clip.jpg

Door.pdf

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Good news on the battery.  It's an easy swap.  I bought the largest cold cranking amp battery I could find (a Diehard from Sears).  My car will spend a week at a time at the airport during the winter months.  Coming home to it and the battery has turned the starter every time, even on those really cold late nights (15 - 20 degrees F).  

I really can't be of help on the door handle; however, I would suspect you will want to remove the inside door panel, which is fairly easy to do.  I *think* this will allow you easier access to the various cables and clips holding the door handle.  There is a how to on removing the door panel.  Here are two:

http://www.lexusownersclub.co.uk/forum/tutorials/article/207-front-door-trim-panel-removal/

http://www.lexls.com/tutorials/body/fdoorpanel.html

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So I got the battery replaced and it starts up nicely now. $50 at Walmart for some no name brand but it works. Went to the junk yard and found a door handle and got that replaced. Wasn't easy though. I broke the little sensor that connects to the back of the key cylinder so now when I lock my car up and come to un open it from the drivers side it sets the alarm off. I'll have to see if I can find another at the junk yard but it's not really a big deal cause I can just unlock the car from the passenger side.

Is there anyway to correctly disable the alarm so that it doesn't get set off by unlocking the drivers side door until I get that sensor fixed? If not no big deal I'll just get around to it when I can.

The car was overheating and leaking fluid so I replaced the thermostat which seemed to fix the overheating but it's still leaking fluids from somewhere. I'm just praying it's not a cracked block or something major.I gotta get under the car and find out where it's coming from. For some reason I still believe in this car even though it needs so much work. It's a nice looking car in my opinion and it's got a little bit of balls too from what I can tell. Hopefully I don't find any major problems with it that I haven't found yet. Pray for me. Lol.

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