Hi folks. I have a 98 Montero that's new to me.
When I first got it, I had to turn the key twice to start it. The engine did not crank on the first turn, and on the second turn the starter would engage start the engine. It did sound a little weak, like it would if your battery was low. I drove it like this for a few weeks, and over that time my battery died a few times and I had to jump the truck. The battery has tested as good, and the alternator is charging. Not sure if it's related.
Last week the engine wouldn't turn over at all, but I did hear a relay clicking when I turned the key. I don't think the relay clicked every time, probably 7 out of 10 times. I tried starting it for about 10 minutes off and on, and also tried with jumpers hooked up to another car.
I went under the truck and could see a spark coming off of the solenoid when my wife turned the key. Still nothing, so I hit the starter with a hammer and it started right up.
I just installed a new starter, and it started strong on the first turn of the key. After that it took 3 turns, then maybe 5 turns, and now nothing at all. If I bridge the solenoid with a screwdriver, I hear the starter motor turning but the engine doesn't turn over. I stuck a test light into the starter signal cable connection, but don't get a light when the key is being turned. Not sure if the signal light is getting far enough into the connector to make contact.
I'm pretty sure the starter relay is under the dash above the drivers legs, and I feel and hear it click when turning the key.
Going nuts! Please help.