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Made an impulse decision when I purchased a 2003 Rav4 with only 34,000 original miles, this is the cleanest car I've ever seen for that age, it looks new inside and out and as a bonus, it was only 6,000. I felt like I found a unicorn, however after coming home and reading the reviews I'm hoping my unicorn doesn't come up lame and gimpy.

Car drives great, no sign of transmission problems (yet). I'd like to keep it this way, my question is, should I have the ECM checked to see if it's okay or wait for problems to show?

Does every 2003 models have the ECM problem? I don't want to search for trouble but at the same time this is a car for my daughter who is just learning to drive.

Thanks for your time!
Kristi
 

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Not every RAV4 but mine had the problem and I had it flushed immediately before it would cause the tranny to go bad. If I were you I would call local Toyota give them the VIN #and they will tell you what was done to it and what recalls still need to be completed. Also, run your VIN number at research.com to see if your car was a rebuilt in a different state or not, free service like Carfax but free. Good luck

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It's past the Toyota ECM recall/warranty by it's age, so if it were me I would sign up on www.toyota.com/owners (put your vin in, see if the service was already done) or secondly contact the guy on eBay (out of New York) that repairs the ECMs. He may be able to confirm too if yours had the service or not.


[edit] you STOLE that for $6k. very jealous.
 

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Thanks DPFAST. I checked the site you recommend and it matched what the records said as well as the Carfax. As luck would have it, I tracked down the last owner via the car records that came with the car and he emailed me back. The car has been in their family from the time it was purchased, was gifted to last owner upon death of his elderly aunt, who only drove to grocery and to church. Oil has been changed and car serviced as recommended.

The previous owner was very happy that a teen got it, that is what he had hoped for. He said he hadn't had any trouble with it other than this code showing up once PO442, He took it to the dealer and this is what was found ** see below**from my quick research it doesn't seem to be with the ECM problem? The only reason he traded it for another vehicle is that his wife recently passed and he only needed one vehicle. He said he would not have traded it in if she had not passed.

So, happy to have contact with the old owner and to know that the car is as advertised. However, still do not know about the ECM as he doesn't know if his elderly aunt had it done.

***Problem reported****MPI ~|~ ~|~SCANNED AND FOUND CODE PO442. TESTED ALL VSV S PRESSURE TESTED. NO LEAKS FOUND. MAKE SURE GAS CAP CLICKS ONCE AND DO NOT OVERFILL GAS FILLER/ TANK
 

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Checked there too 03RavinPa, came up with the P0442 code, the owner told me the same as well. You know, I NEVER impulse buy and would never even have looked at an 03 vehicle but this one was so clean, came with records and looked like new and drove like a dream. I know detailing can clean up a car, but there is NO way detailing could have made this car as clean as it was- none. There isn't even a stain on the seat, not a one all the interior carpet looks as if it came off the showroom floor. It wasn't even on the lot yet, it was in the back waiting inspection/cleaning etc. I new if I didn't jump on it that it wouldn't have been there when I got back, so- I bargained really hard and walked away happy. Until I got home and researched the ECM problem.

Now the decision is, do I just have it changed out now and prevent a problem or just do a wait and see type of thing? I'm a proactive kind of gal, but I don't want to cause a problem if one isn't there.
 

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Checked there too 03RavinPa, came up with the P0442 code, the owner told me the same as well. You know, I NEVER impulse buy and would never even have looked at an 03 vehicle but this one was so clean, came with records and looked like new and drove like a dream. I know detailing can clean up a car, but there is NO way detailing could have made this car as clean as it was- none. There isn't even a stain on the seat, not a one all the interior carpet looks as if it came off the showroom floor. It wasn't even on the lot yet, it was in the back waiting inspection/cleaning etc. I new if I didn't jump on it that it wouldn't have been there when I got back, so- I bargained really hard and walked away happy. Until I got home and researched the ECM problem.

Now the decision is, do I just have it changed out now and prevent a problem or just do a wait and see type of thing? I'm a proactive kind of gal, but I don't want to cause a problem if one isn't there.
It wouldn't hurt to call your dealer and see if they will replace it free of charge. Worst case, you spend $200 and save the worry about roasting your transmission like I did. I purchased a 59k mile '03. 2 weeks into buying it noticed the RPMs spiking on acceleration from 1-2nd gear (automatic transmission). I went back to the dealer and they tried to replicate, and couldn't. Went back again, told them to let the car sit overnight and try in the morning. They did, and found the problem immediately. Replaced ECM, gave it back to me, problem resurfaced within a week. Took it back, they threw a new ECM + transmission at it, as they had surmised the transmission had damage relating to. I've been fine ever since.
 

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Made an impulse decision when I purchased a 2003 Rav4 with only 34,000 original miles, this is the cleanest car I've ever seen for that age, it looks new inside and out and as a bonus, it was only 6,000. I felt like I found a unicorn, however after coming home and reading the reviews I'm hoping my unicorn doesn't come up lame and gimpy.

Car drives great, no sign of transmission problems (yet). I'd like to keep it this way, my question is, should I have the ECM checked to see if it's okay or wait for problems to show?

Does every 2003 models have the ECM problem? I don't want to search for trouble but at the same time this is a car for my daughter who is just learning to drive.

Thanks for your time!
Kristi
That's a great find - congrats! A pic or pics would be nice to see . . .
 

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Wow, what a great find. Congratulations. Yes, photos. I'm new to the RAV world. What would it cost to replace the ECM proactively vs. transmission etc. later if it causes a problem?
 

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Trying to load some pictures, slow coming as I have to put them on Photo Bucket and it's the devil. I can't post to here as photos are too big.
 

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Okay, I have to post a few more times before I can post links according to the rules of the site.
 

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Pictures, no luck.

Trying again to upload, but not having too much luck. I'd be happy to email them to someone if they could post them.
 

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ADkris - Big Congrats on a very rare low mileage find...how exciting & great styling !!

Love to hear the interesting story, of your purchase / CraigsList or through a friend of a friend ?
- $6,000 for essentially a RAV4, that is hardly broken in...a 14 year old demo
- also is it 4x4, model, auto/std. trans, power options, etc. ??

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Canadian Unicorn:
I was luckily enough 1.5 years ago, to find a mint 2000 4Runner SR5, v6-4x4 with 80K miles.
- 70 year old gentlemen was the one owner/rust free & original paint, and he bought a new 2015 Toyota Corolla
- Lexus/Toyota Dealership flipped it on a Dealer-2-Dealer auction, and my buddy bought it for me or himself / I had first dibs, on purchase, otherwise he was keeping it for his shop vehicle

I later chatted with the senior, he said:
"I loved that 4Runner and always kept it washed & garaged, in a rust belt / buying the Corolla...what was I thinking?...LOL"
 

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ADkris - Big Congrats on a very rare low mileage find.

Love to hear the interesting story, of the find / CraigsList or through a friend of a friend ?
-$6,000 for essentially for a RAV4, that is hardly broken in...a 14 year old demo
- also is it 4x4, model, options, etc. ??

I was luckily enough 1.5 years ago, to find a mint 2000 4Runner SR5, v6-4x4 with 80K miles.
-70 year old gentlemen was the original owner/rust free, and he bought a new 2015 Toyota Corolla
- Lexus/Toyota Dealership flipped it on a Dealer-2-Dealer auction, and my buddy bought it for me or himself / I had first dibs, on purchase, otherwise he was using it for his shop vehicle
- I later chatted with him, he said:
"I loved that 4Runner and kept it washed & garaged, in a rust belt / buying the Corolla...what was I thinking...LOL"
So a bit of bait and switch really. I was at a Honda dealer with a family member who was looking at another vehicle. I mentioned I was looking for a CHEAP car for my daughter as she's a new driver and the sales guy said they just got in a 2006- note, 2006 Rav4 with almost no miles. It was not on the lot, it was in the back, I asked to see it. He grabbed the keys, I looked it over in awe because it looked so great (remember I thought it was a 2006) I asked to drive it and it drove like a dream, that was it- I was sold.

It was when we sat down to talk numbers and I looked at the Carfax and noticed it was a 2003 WHAT!! He then apologized for misspeaking! UGH....

At this point in my mind I had already bought this little SUV, the fact that it was a 2003 gave me pause for about a nano second and started my strategy to get the price down. Honestly, I was A LOT bent that he said it was a 2006 and then- opps it's a 2003.

So even if I would have looked it up and learned about the problem I still think I would have bought it. It's just like a new car and I felt pretty lucky to find that urban legend 'granny' car.

When I got home last night I looked up this model and drove myself NUTS researching/reading about this problem, about 3 in the morning I was convinced I was going to sell it today. I calmed down. ;)

Great find on your 4Runner!
 

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Trying again to upload, but not having too much luck. I'd be happy to email them to someone if they could post them.
I seem to recall that there is some sort of problem on this forum using Photobucket images. When I try to view one I get a symbol and a notation that I have to upgrade my forum membership to third party hosting in order to be able to view them. But I'm not certain.

Maybe if you send a Personal Message to JuneBug, one of our moderators and who has admin. privileges the problem can be sorted out.

I've posted JPEG images from my desktop without any problem.
 
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I seem to recall that there is some sort of problem on this forum using Photobucket images. When I try to view one I get a symbol and a notation that I have to upgrade my forum membership to third party hosting in order to be able to view them. But I'm not certain.

Maybe if you send a Personal Message to JuneBug, one of our moderators and who has admin. privileges the problem can be sorted out.

I've posted JPEG images from my desktop without any problem.
PhotoBucket wants $19.99/month now.
- holding everyone hostage, to pay up or loose former images

JPEG insert off my computer, is the way I do it now.

ADkris Thks.
- my vehicles are posted here: http://www.rav4world.com/forums/91-member-introductions/194450-1st-time-toyota-owner-couldnt-happier-used-rav4.html

So a bit of bait and switch really. I was at a Honda dealer with a family member who was looking at another vehicle. I mentioned I was looking for a CHEAP car for my daughter as she's a new driver and the sales guy said they just got in a 2006- note, 2006 Rav4 with almost no miles. It was not on the lot, it was in the back, I asked to see it. He grabbed the keys, I looked it over in awe because it looked so great (remember I thought it was a 2006) I asked to drive it and it drove like a dream, that was it- I was sold.

It was when we sat down to talk numbers and I looked at the Carfax and noticed it was a 2003 WHAT!! He then apologized for misspeaking! UGH....

At this point in my mind I had already bought this little SUV, the fact that it was a 2003 gave me pause for about a nano second and started my strategy to get the price down. Honestly, I was A LOT bent that he said it was a 2006 and then- opps it's a 2003.

So even if I would have looked it up and learned about the problem I still think I would have bought it. It's just like a new car and I felt pretty lucky to find that urban legend 'granny' car.

When I got home last night I looked up this model and drove myself NUTS researching/reading about this problem, about 3 in the morning I was convinced I was going to sell it today. I calmed down. ;)

Great find on your 4Runner!
Great STORY - glad you shared...
2006, O'h its on '03...thks for sharing Dealership story...at the right place / at the right time.
- salesman talked himself out of knocking a few $$ off ... hehe
- nice Gen2 is exactly what my brother is looking for his wife's next ride
- but you have already calmed down, by now
 

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I have them posted, they are in my photo album waiting for moderation. As a side note, I had no idea that Photobucket changed their policy. I have about 500 pictures on there but haven't used them in years.
 

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I have them posted, they are in my photo album waiting for moderation. As a side note, I had no idea that Photobucket changed their policy. I have about 500 pictures on there but haven't used them in years.
Sorry, I don't know why they were moderated, that's not supposed to happen. Anyway I approved the photos and everyone can view them now. You can also embed them in your posts.

That's a beautiful RAV4 you got there, and in showroom condition. Lucky find!
 

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You can send the ECU off to be professionally repaired and re-flashed for under $100, or about $125 if you can't go without the car for a few days and would prefer a swap (they will send you a repaired ECU, and you just send them yours). There are a number of repair places that offer full lifetime warranties, too. That way you'll know its fixed and can forget about it.

If it were my car, I would absolutely have the ECU repaired, because from what my sister told me, it is a pretty scary experience when that ECU fails and won't let your transmission shift. It can also be dangerous because you might be trying to make a left as traffic is coming, or you might be on the freeway (as her daughter was -- it was terrifying!).

The issue with the ECU's was that the reflow soldering method which was used by Fujitsu during the manufacturing process was inadequate to secure at least 15 different surface mounted resistors. These resistors then lose contact with the board as a result of vibration -- but the car has to be vibrating (ie, driving) to induce this failure, and it is a fatigue failure, meaning that it takes a high number of cycles (vibrations) to occur.

Since your Rav has such low miles, it wasn't driven much, so there wasn't as much vibration and it hasn't endured enough cycles to cause failure...but as I'm sure you're read by now, these failures where incredibly common. My sister's '01 has just 123K miles, and it just recently had the ECU fail, but my other sister's failed back in '08 because she drove a lot more.
 
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