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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

I just went outdoors to crank my Rav up to head back home, and it would not start. It ran perfectly a couple of hours ago. When I turned the key, all I heard was a single click. The lights and radio worked fine...but the lights would dim when I turned the key. I just recently had issues where my battery was not being charged, so my dad and I changed out the alternator over the weekend. The car ran great and it took away the battery light I had on my dash.
I was thinking the starter might be the culprit, but I recently had it replaced about 3 months ago.

Any ideas or things I should try? Could my battery not have enough juice to start the car?
 

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2008 RAV4 Limited V6
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You have a bad battery. I've seen bad batteries take out alternators, and I've seen bad alternators take out batteries. Have your battery properly load tested at an auto parts place for free.
 

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I would do a current draw test on the battery, then look at the starter. does the car start fine with a jumper pack? or off another vehicle?

running a lead acid battery flat will permanently damage it, regardless of age.

I had a near new Fusion brand amp kill a 3 month old battery in my RAV4 Cabrio, I rarely used the car in winter and the amp decided to short its "power on sensing" and stay permanently on, drained the battery twice and murdered the battery. I even took the alarm system out thinking it was the culprit!.
 

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Check your battery and starter cables, both + & - and both ends. If they're okay put a good sized charger on it for a few hours. If it starts the new alternator isn't working for some reason. Once running at high idle the battery voltage should be at least 13.5V. If it is your battery is bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks everyone. I'm going to go get the battery completely charged and load tested tomorrow. Last night we tried to jump start it, but it would not crank. It was very strange...it ran smoothly over the weekend and suddenly just won't start. If anyone has anymore suggestions, feel free to give them to me. I'm trying to learn how to do and test a lot of this stuff on my own...so it's a learning process. :)
 

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Measuring the battery voltage while trying to start the car will tell if the battery is the problem. If it drops below 10 volts the battery is either discharged or bad. Above 10V indicates either a cable or starter issue.
 

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Thanks everyone. I'm going to go get the battery completely charged and load tested tomorrow. Last night we tried to jump start it, but it would not crank. It was very strange...it ran smoothly over the weekend and suddenly just won't start. If anyone has anymore suggestions, feel free to give them to me. I'm trying to learn how to do and test a lot of this stuff on my own...so it's a learning process. :)
I can almost guarantee you have a shorted cell in the battery. If your charger never gets lower than 2 or 3 amps, that's a telltale sign.
 

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Is your car a manual? If so, try putting it in gear and rock the car forward a bit. This will rotate the flywheel so that the teeth are in a different position. When the starter is throwing out the starter gear, there may not be enough juice to move the flywheel a bit and engage. Just had it happen tonight trying to start a long sitting car that had sufficient voltage for the starter to click but there was just a bit of a thunk sound with the click. Pushed the car forward bit and it started without a hiccup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It's an automatic transmission.

So I went and had the battery tested at Autozone, and it was fully charged and tested well. I checked the + and - connectors but didn't see any corrosion. Tried to crank it and still had the single click. :( should I take my starter out and have it tested? I thought about checking the fuses, but I have no idea where to even begin. Thanks again for all the suggestions!
 

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It's an automatic transmission.

So I went and had the battery tested at Autozone, and it was fully charged and tested well. I checked the + and - connectors but didn't see any corrosion. Tried to crank it and still had the single click. :( should I take my starter out and have it tested? I thought about checking the fuses, but I have no idea where to even begin. Thanks again for all the suggestions!
The best test is putting a voltmeter on the starter terminal while trying to start. If you aren't able to do that at least check the connections at the starter before you take it out.
 

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I thought about checking the fuses, but I have no idea where to even begin. Thanks again for all the suggestions!
Usually, if someone tries to jump the car and messes up the cable connections, a fuse is blown. Maybe this is not your problem, but it would be worth it to check them out.
The relevant fuses are labeled as IGN, EFI, MAIN, ECU-IG, AM2 and ALT-S in the covers of the three fuse / relay compartments (two in the engine bay, one just above the hood release lever).
For more information, check the following files on this link (which has to be stickied by someone in this forum):
https://docs.google.com/folderview?...BwdGNFMFh4c3c&id=0B61gpLoGBEPNcFlmSTI3aUFhYWM
Merged_Rav4_User_Manual.pdf (p206, p222-224)
Fuses.pdf
 

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Not sure if you have the issue resolved or not, but it definitely sounds like you may have a bad starter. I would check there.
 

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I had that problem with another vehicle - it was caused by a dirty cable end and terminal at the starter motor. Cleaning them solved the problem and was a lot less expensive and bother than replacing something which may not need replacing.. Suggest that Dr. Dyno's checks be tried.
 

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1. If once started, the car runs fine for a long time, then the alternator is probably fine. Cars only really use the battery for starting.
2. If 1 is okay then, the problem is probably the battery or starter. My starter has never failed this way, usually the solenoid (smaller round cylinder on the starter) gets stuck and you get nothing (no dimmed lights because contact is not being made). check these videos out for solenoid failure and rebuild.
If that sound familiar, you can "rebuild" the solenoid very cheap and easily. I've NEVER replaced any of the internals. I HAVE cleaned them out with electrical cleaner, used a small abrasive disk to gently deburr the contacts, then lubricated all the internal. this process has worked twice for me very well.
3. Can you start the car in the mornings but not after driving a bit? In my experience that would suggest the starter.
4. The starter is very easy to remove on the Rav.
 
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