Chokes, hesitates, stalls

Tiny
JILL ROSE
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 TOYOTA RAV4
  • 4 CYL
  • 4WD
  • MANUAL
  • 215,700 MILES
A month ago I brought this vehicle to the dealer because it started (out of the blue) hesitating and choking while going into first and second gears. Sometimes there would be no power at all until I pressed the fuel a couple of times. I have to rev it high like a race car at stop lights and in traffic just to keep from stalling and struggling to regain any power/speed. At the time, the check engine light was on, as well, but that is fixed. Toyota replaced the oxygen sensor. That did not fix the hesitating and choking problem at all. Two days later, they cleaned part of the throttle body. That did not fix the problem either. Then I took it to an independent repairman with twelve previous years of experience working for Toyota service department. He fixed the EMC wire short- replaced the EMC, replaced the VSV valve and modulator, completely cleaned the throttle body. These did not fix the problem. I brought it back to him and this time he replaced the in-tank filter and the fuel filter. While all these things did improve how the car runs, nothing fixed the hesitating and choking at all. The mechanic said the only other thing he can think that would help is replacing the catalytic converter and/or the engine. I feel like there must be something else that might fix the problem. What can you tell me? Thanks!
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Saturday, March 11th, 2017 AT 3:56 PM

7 Replies

Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
A plugged catalytic converter is easy to check, your mechanic should have checked this. Also, check that the throttle position sensor is working as it should. A good scanner with live data feed can check all the sensors and actuators are working and pick up a problem quickly in the right hands. You really need to start at the beginning and work through all the systems. Also, fuel pressure and leaking injectors should not be over looked, start here.
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Saturday, March 11th, 2017 AT 4:01 PM
Tiny
JILL ROSE
  • MEMBER
How easy is it to unplug the catalytic converter?
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Saturday, March 11th, 2017 AT 5:12 PM
Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
You cannot, what happens is the catalyst matrix which is like a large honeycomb breaks and collapses and blocked the exhaust flow. See picture for a view of a section of catalyst matrix.
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Saturday, March 11th, 2017 AT 8:42 PM
Tiny
JILL ROSE
  • MEMBER
Wow, okay so can you replace the catalytic converter? If not is it death to the car?
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Saturday, March 11th, 2017 AT 8:47 PM
Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
Yes, they are easy to replace most are just bolt on some are welded, but an exhaust shop can replace a faulty catalytic converter quote easily.
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Saturday, March 11th, 2017 AT 9:17 PM
Tiny
JILL ROSE
  • MEMBER
My mechanic seemed to say that it is hard to replace the catalytic converter in a 1996 RAV4 manual 4x4.
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Sunday, March 12th, 2017 AT 5:01 PM
Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
Should be a bolt up catalytic converter, not a big job. Even if it is a unit catalytic converter it still will be a bolt up. May be get a specialist exhaust repairer to investigate the catalytic converter and exhaust first and get a quote.
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Sunday, March 12th, 2017 AT 6:01 PM

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