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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So my rav (fwd; 1998; 170,000 miles) has been going through a tougher winter than it usually has. I moved to montreal and I park on the streets. Getting in and out of parking spaces is very very difficult when there is snow because I dont have snow tires. So my method of getting out of snowy spots is pedal to the floor forwards, pedal to floor reverse, and repeat until I catch some traction. I feel bad for putting her through this but I always believed in her invisibility... until today when I started my car and started to drive down the road and after about 50 feet the engine just died. Now when I try to start it I just get the classic sputter for however long I turn the key. I got a new battery a few months ago so I do not think that is the issue. Whats wrong with my rav4? Is the engine dunzo? I'll need to move my car for snow plowing in the next few days so I either need to start the car/move it or have it towed.
 

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My first thought is a failed timing belt. Simply replace and drive again.
 
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Winter tires with the are mandatory in Montréal (december 15 to march 15), you could have a ticket!
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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Winter tires with the are mandatory in Montréal (december 15 to march 15), you could have a ticket!
That would be best case, worse case you kill someone else, a loved one, and/or yourself. Please don't fix her, she is trying to keep you from killing someone!
 

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Also, keep in mind that over-revving a cold (especially Canadian winter cold) engine can be very detrimental to its longevity.
 

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You need to Goodle some diagnosis videos. Check for spark. Compression etc. If belt has gone then compression figures will be low.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Its at the toyota shop now. The mechanic said electronics are good and spark plugs are good. No word on compression but he did say that there was fuel and oil in the engine? or something along those lines; atleast not where it should be. They've worked on it for 1.5 hours and said it'll may take another 2-3 to determine the issue. Either the timing belt or they're going to open the engine up. May need a new engine... Labor on top of the towing cost is looking hefty so I don't know if I should continue. Gonna call back in 30 to get an estimate.
 

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Confirming a timing belt failure takes maybe ten minutes so either they are inept or the engine has a serious problem. That is unless it's an immobilizer keeping it from starting.
 

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It is a non-interference engine, that is if the timing belt slips or fails it won't wreck the engine, if they told you otherwise go get your car. If funds were an issue you should have found a trusted mom and pop shop to take it to, I couldn't imagine taking a 19 year old car to a dealer for work. You could possibly have found a shop that would let you participate in the repair saving you some bucks and teaching you some mechanic skills. I used to have one in Jacksonville, FL that was like that, there I would send my son and daughter with their vehicles, it was usually a great learning experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Update: timing belt failed. Took them about 3 hours to figure it out. They removed the spark plugs along the way so they're replacing them as well. I decided that I'd go through with the repair which they estimated at $650, probably unwise as something else could be wrong, but hopefully I can get $1000 out of it when summer comes around. In hind sight I should have checked into some shops before this even happened because of the inevitability. But what r ya gon do
 

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Update: timing belt failed. Took them about 3 hours to figure it out.
That's absolutely ludicrous! :wall
I can tell just by the sound of no compression when cranking. Then ten minutes to remove the top timing belt cover confirms it.

I certainly hope you never take your RAV4 back to these numbskulls! :doh:
 

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That's absolutely ludicrous! :wall
I can tell just by the sound of no compression when cranking. Then ten minutes to remove the top timing belt cover confirms it.

I certainly hope you never take your RAV4 back to these numbskulls! :doh:

+1! And one can only hope that they will do the repairs with more competence! :confused:
 

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As I don't live anywhere near Canada I am not affected personally But I have to ask why you do not have
Winter tires? You know that it is the law, it's mandatory not a request, and that you are therefore risking a
life altering event as I bet your Insurance won't cover you if you have an accident?
 

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I agree with Dr Dyno, any half competent mechanic would have figured it out in a couple of minutes that the timing belt had failed, I would ask for a review of the charges. This is why if you aren't able to do the repairs yourself and are going to have a shop do it, that you establish a relationship with a quality mom and pop shop.

A lot of these repairs are demonstrated in detail on YouTube, just follow the steps. A quality manual and a few basic hand tools is a must, I recommend the following:
3/8" metric socket set with deep well sockets
metric wrench set
24mm wrench (you need it for tranny and differential plugs)
3/8" torque wrench (you can sometimes rent these at auto parts stores)
1/4" torque wrench (you can sometimes rent these at auto parts stores)
Various screwdrivers
Hex key metric set
Vice grips
Channel locks
Wire strippers (a quality set)
Wire cutters
Needle nose pliers
Magnetic tool retriever
Quality flashlight
Jack Stands, at least one pair
Multimeter, digital autoranging (it doesn't have to be expensive)
OBDII reader, get a cheap bluetooth one that connects to a smartphone, tablet, or computer with an app like Torque
Maintenance manual
Work gloves
Safety Glasses
Cheap vinyl tablecloth for laying on the ground and sliding around under your RAV. More clearance and easier than a crawler. You should have one in the car all the time for emergencies.

If you want to expand it:
1/2" metric socket set
1/4" metric socket set
1/2" torque wrench
Wobbly extensions for your ratchets
3/8" drill with quality cobalt bits
Angle grinder with cutting, grinding, and wire brush wheels
Oil filter wrench
Flare nut wrenches

You can pick up some quality tools at good prices at flea markets, pawn shops, estate sales, or borrow them from friends/family/neighbors and don't give them back (lol). Watch out for cheaply made tools, nothing like really bearing down on a tool and it bends, expands, or breaks... rough on your knuckles and they tend to strip your nuts, bolts, and screws.

Start by doing small tasks like changing hoses, belts, oil, filters. You'll be amazed at the sense of satisfaction that you can do some of these things yourself and save some significant cash. Dispose of fluids and waste properly.
 

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eodgator, IYO is it possible that the belt slipped and threw off the timing rather than breaking, t/f making diagnosis take longer than a few minutes? That should be stated with a review of the charges. And I do agree the dealer is the LAST place I'd take an older RAV4. Didn't we just have another member who made that same mistake and got a "you might as well buy a newer RAV4" price?
But it certainly was nice of them to replace the spark plugs "since they had them out" - another ten minute job.

This is another one of those situations where I'd like to walk in with the car owner and ask a few pointed questions. Years ago they'd probably just throw me out but now I've developed enough diplomacy that I can have some real fun with them :) - and do it w/o them taking it out on the car or its owner.
 

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Dr. Dyno you are correct that it may be possible that the belt jumped, but if the timing was that far off wouldn't a reasonable mechanic assume timing belt issues on 19 year old vehicle without maintenance records?

In my mind a 10+ year old car purchase falls into one of these categories:
1) A temporary vehicle that I'll drive till it dies or I can afford something better
2) A car that I really like and that I have the skills, tools, and work area to take car of most mechanical issues (this is where I am with my RAV4)
3) A classic that I will maintain in peak performance and condition
4) A gift that I will take care of to a point and then it's gone

I wouldn't buy an old car or high mileage car if I didn't have maintenance skills and didn't care to learn them, I didn't have access to tools, and a I didn't have a suitable work area. Or, I couldn't afford to send my mechanic's kid to a university of their choice if I was going to pay someone else to do the work.

Folks, if you have an older car 10 plus years and you aren't married to the maintenance super of a dealership, don't take your car to the dealership, unless you have really deep pockets. Do it yourself or find a reputable mom and pop shop. Mom and pop need to send their kids to college too.

I got to old to worry about what people think of me anymore so I'm not the guy you want to take to mechanic to try to have them take another look at the bill.

I really despise car payments, and the sticker shock on cars that cost more than my first house. Rather than making payments I would rather buy an older/high mileage vehicle that I know I can do everything myself short of the crusher at the scrap yard. The average car payment according to Edmunds is $479 a month! Can you imagine if you took a year's worth of those payments and put that money into a reasonable RAV4.1 that you could pay cash for? You could put the red top beams 3SGE or turbo 3SGT engine in there, upgrade the suspension, cooling system, exhaust, have a quality paint job put on her, sound deaden her, put an outstand stereo in her, and the list goes on. And then... no further payments other than some occasional maintenance!!!!
 
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Did you get her fixed?
 
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