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102 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
02 4WD 140k miles

Trying to sell my Rav but still can't solve this problem:

A couple months ago I was sitting at a stop light, went to step on the accelerator, but then the engine shut off completely. No rough idle, no hesitation. Straight cut from power. While off, the dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree. Turned key off then on, and it started right away with out a problem and drove off like nothing happened. No codes thrown. A couple days later same problem; engine cut off at idle. To this day it never has cut off while in motion, only at idle. Battery connections are solid, but I haven't checked any ground wires. Where should I look? I called two shops and 1 of the guys kept it for a couple days and of course couldn't get it to replicate the problem. Both shops told me I most likely need new cats and sensors. When has bad cats and/or sensors made a car shut off??


Last October I took the Rav up a mild off road trail. Mainly fire service road with a few sketchy sections. I took a wrong line and the front end came down hard on a rock forcing the exhaust pipe upward, snapping a bracket and punching a hole in the bottom of the cat. I had a pretty loud exhaust leak for about 2 months and patched it a few times with JB weld, but didn't last as it was too hot for the weld to hold up. It was at this time where the engine randomly shut off. Then I took it to the shop to get the hole welded for the time being and that's when I was told I need new cats and sensors. Both cats were replaced about 25k miles ago. I can't imagine I need new cats again unless they are aftermarket??

Top left red circle: This 02 sensor is loose and broke free after that impact on the trail.
Middle red circle: This was the hole created by impact.
Bottom red circle: This is where the rock hit.

Automotive tire Automotive fuel system Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive exterior

· Registered
102 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks for the feedback @Dr. Dyno @mike.mikeegee04, here's a new symptom and to further clarify the issue at present:

Car starts fine, no hesitation and never had an issue.
After start up, the car idled rough so i pulled plugs and put new Densos in. (I'm selling the car so I'd rather just put new ones in to cancel that out)
Note that the car has never shut off while in park and at idle
After installing new plugs, the idle was back to normal.

Test drive:
In drive and at a stop, the rough idle came back.
When accelerating from a complete stop it intermittently loses all power for a split second.
The RPM and speedometer quickly goes down to 0 and then kicks right back in to normal acceleration.
Note that the car has never stalled out on me completely at speed forcing me to cruise to a stop and turn the ignition on again.

These are like quick losses of power. As if the negative battery terminal is pulled off real fast and reconnected. I checked the battery terminals multiple times and they have been thoroughly cleaned. Everything is bolted on tight and battery strapped down and will not budge.

One thing I did not do yet is clean the MAF and TB which I will do tomorrow.

To sum it up:
  • Randomly and suddenly loses power when at a stop and in drive. The lights on the dash light up as if I turned the ignition switch to the "ON" position. Car starts right back up when I turn the key.
  • Quick loss and regain of all power for a split second when accelerating, notably in first gear coming from a stop.
  • When driving: no hesitation, shifts smooth, other than the already mentioned quick loss and regain of power.
  • Has not stalled at idle when in park.
  • Idles rough randomly when in drive even after spark plug change.
  • To Dyno’s point, unlikely this is a CAT/02 sensor issue as I would most likely experience less optimal engine performance at speed if exhaust system were clogged.
  • To Mike’s point this may very well be a faulty MAF sensor because if it were just dirty, acceleration would be inconsistent and hesitating.

In light of further clarifying the issue, any new ideas? @Commando Have you experienced anything like this?
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