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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings,

I am reaching out to you all in hopes of helping narrow down my power loss issues...

I have a 2006 Rav4 Sport w/4 cylinder. Over the last 1 1/2, I have had to replace the Alternator 4 times due to the alternator going bad. I would have expected a car of this age to need a new one, however 4 in this short amount of time is pushing my limits. The battery is checking out fine, and not currently in need of being replaced.

We have noticed that when going over the passes/mountains at night (or even up smaller hills) the lights dim and power seams to be draining. During a recent trip east over the rocky mountains the power failed twice, and needed a jump start to get us moving again.

I know there is such a thing as bat alternators every once in a blue moon, however all 4 were brand new and have died after a few months. In my limited knowledge, there has to be something causing a drain on the alternator to the level that it's eating them up like candy.

Any ideas on where to start and or narrow down my search on what is causing the power fails and ultimate demines of the alternators?

-Rob
Albany, Oregon
 

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Have you been replacing the alternators yourself, or has a repair shop been doing that? That alternator failure rate is far too great and your RAV needs to have a thorough check to determine what is causing the problem. Have any problem codes occurred, presuming that codes have been read?

Back in the "old days" of cars having DC generators rather than alternators I had a Ford which continued to eat generators. Turned out that the Ford dealer had been replacing the generators without doing any diagnostic work. After I complained loudly, that dealer finally did what they should have done in the first place - problem was a defective regulator, replacement cost at the time was something like $15.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The battery has been checked out and is in good condition. We have been replacing the alternators ourselves as they have been testing bad. There hasn't been any real "diagnostics" done as it hasn't yet set of the check engine light. What does happen is described below:

While driving down the road the battery light starts to flicker, the "VSC, ABS & 4wd" lights come on. If you catch it in time you can turn off the car and easily restart the car, the lights have turned off and your on your way. If you don't catch it in time, the battery light comes on solid as well as the break light, and you loose power steering and if you turn off the car it won't restart, however the lights are still on, just in a dimmed mode. However the second you hook up a jumper cables to both vehicles it will start right up with no lights on.

This has been happening with increasing occurrences all with the same symptoms.

Any more thoughts, other than taking it to dealership?
 

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2008 RAV4 Limited V6
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However the second you hook up a jumper cables to both vehicles it will start right up with no lights on.
This makes me think it's a ground problem. Be sure the negative battery cable provides a good ground to the frame and the engine.
 
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