1998 Toyota Rav4 Car starting problem

Tiny
REALITY
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 TOYOTA RAV4
  • 2.0L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
I have a 1998 Toyota RAV4 2WD. For the last couple of months the car has been starting bad. Once you let it sit for a while it has problems, It will take a long time to crank and once it does SOMETIMES it will idle poorly or want to shut off if you do not press the gas. If you drive it for a while, turn it off and right back on it starts good. I have had the following replaced or cleaned:

IAC throttle plates
Fuel injectors
Sparks plugs & wires
Fuel pump
Fuel filter
Fuel pressure regulator
Starter

Can anyone offer some information on what may be wrong? Thanks in advance!
Note: I also took this to the Toyota Dealer where they spent three hours and could not find anything.
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Friday, June 19th, 2015 AT 11:04 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
It sounds like nothing has actually been diagnosed. The starter has nothing to do with a running problem. The combination of symptoms suggests fuel pressure is being lost through a leaking injector and flooding some of the cylinders. To start the verification for that, connect a fuel pressure gauge, then see what happens to the pressure after the engine has been off for a while. It is supposed to hold steady for days or weeks. If you find it drops to 0 psi, also watch how long it takes to come back up when you turn on the ignition switch. The fuel pump will only run for one or two seconds, then turn off. That usually isn't enough time to get the pressure high enough for the engine to start.

The fuel pump will resume running once the engine is rotating, meaning you're cranking it. The starter motor draws the battery's voltage down quite a bit, so that makes the fuel pump run slower than normal. That makes it take even longer to build up the needed pressure. If you do see that delay in pressure buildup, turn the ignition switch on but don't crank the engine. After a few seconds, turn it off, wait a few seconds, then turn it on again. That will double the amount of time the pump runs and will allow it to build more pressure for starting. You can even do that three times.

Once the engine starts, check right away for black smoke from the tail pipe. That is another sign the cylinders were flooded. Black smoke comes from burning way too much fuel.
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Saturday, June 20th, 2015 AT 12:27 AM
Tiny
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Thanks for your reply. I forgot to mention in the post I have checked for smoke several times, there is none. Also the guy who cleaned my injectors said he listen to all of them using a stethoscope? And they all sounded fine? Not sure if that helps at all.
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Saturday, June 20th, 2015 AT 1:57 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Sound doesn't mean anything. A bad injector will still make a clicking sound. What you want to find out is if one is leaking when it's closed and at rest. The only way to know that is to remove all of the injectors while they're still clipped to the fuel rail and it's still under pressure. You'll see the fuel dribbling out. That leakage is what is the most common cause of fuel pressure dropping after the engine is stopped.

You can also pull the vacuum hose off the fuel pressure regulator and see if it's wet inside. If it is, the regulator is leaking and must be replaced. That is not very common except on GM trucks.
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Saturday, June 20th, 2015 AT 2:16 AM

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