86-95 Trucks & 4Runners 2nd/3rd gen pickups, and 1st/2nd gen 4Runners with IFS

87 Toyota pickup starter-relay-wire situation

Old 05-08-2019, 08:19 PM
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87 Toyota pickup starter-relay-wire situation

I have a 1987 Toyota pick up SR5. I've replaced the rear pinion seal, some suspension arms, and now the starter. In the winter sometimes it wouldn't want to start but it always would turn over. Until one day it didn't.

Classic clicking noise so I replaced the starter. After that, same click no start so I followed this tutorial here and she started!

Drove around for a day and all was well until night time. I turn on the lights and feel the engine slow. I made it like 4 miles intermittently turning off the lights until finally it died. Jumped it and got home. After charging it up it immediately died when I tried to drive it with the lights off. I checked the battery with a voltmeter then and the next morning and it stayed at 12+ V. It seemed odd timing that the alternator would go right when this was happening and it was dying so fast I thought for sure there was an improper ground with the new relay I installed.
I've followed through the wires and don't see any issue. So I impulsively cut out the old relay thinking it was grounding out the battery. (I couldn't get the plastic harness off and was so hot and frustrated.) Then the truck wouldn't start again. So I need to put that back in. There's a small red stripe wire, white striped wire and two plain black. I paint markered one of the black wires to know which was which but later when trying to butt connect them and having a hard time, I ended up rubbing it off and now I don't know which is which. I know I'm an idiot. Both say "ams-1" on them. I'm wondering if there's anyway to test or find out which is which... someone please tell me they're both grounds.

I soldered on some wire so I have more to work with but still not sure about the two black wires...

If Im able to properly put back in the old relay I figure I'm going to check the alternator by removing the battery while running and then hope that's it and replace the alternator. But I am worried that somehow the new relay I installed is the problem. I contacted the page that posted the tutorial and they said they never heard of that issue. Has anyone else had this problem?
What will happen if I put on the black wires of the old relay on switched? I'm having a hard time finding schematics or information on this specific relay.

On a side note, the new starter I put in had a completely different wire harness plug. (The plastic part that you clip the signal wire harness into). I just put a spade connector that fits perfectly onto the metal part in there but since there's no plastic harness to clip on it, it isn't reliable. (This is now going straight to the new relay and then to the signal wire). I couldn't find an adapter. If anyone has advice on this too I'd appreciate it.

Thanks for reading!

Last edited by Cyan; 05-08-2019 at 09:16 PM.
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SomedayJ (05-08-2019)
Old 05-09-2019, 06:43 AM
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RAD4Runner (05-15-2019)
Old 05-15-2019, 06:19 AM
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How Charging System Works and how to check:

The Relay Physically...

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