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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

I have a problem with the clutch on my 4.3 2.0VVT-i Petrol. I've had it for about six weeks now and put 4000 km's on it.

After the first week, I returned the car to my dealer and told them I wasn't happy with the clutch. It felt way too light and there was no feeling in it at all. First a salesman looked at it and said it might be because it wasn't broken-in yet. So, I drove it for another few hundred km's and got fed up. A mechanic looked at it and agreed that it wasn't normal, so he added an extra spring. I guess that just adds lift (or whatever). All seemed fine after the mod.

I then went on holiday and ended up in a lot of traffic jams (so lots of clutch action). By then the car had 3000 km's on it and the clutch started to play up again. I went back to the dealer and they did some adjustments which didn't rectify the problem. I asked to drive their demo with the same engine/transmission. It felt way better than mine. They decided to contact the importer and let me know their decision.

Their decision was not to to anything since the part wasn't broken and the importer hadn't received any other complaints. That doesn't surprise me: there aren't many around (I've seen one other RAV4.3) and some seem to be fine (i.e. the demo I drove). The dealer said they'd be happy to replace the clutch if they were sure it fixed the problem. In the end they offered to replace the clutch because I persuaded them that doing nothing certainly wasn't going to fix it. I understand this is a costly matter for the dealer and the importer (manufacturer guarantee) may not reimburse them if the part turns out not to be faulty. Anyway, it will be replaced in about two weeks. That's fine by me b/c I can still drive it. I don't like them taking apart the car either but hey, it has to be fixed and it seems like a standard repair job.

I've bought 3 cars from this dealer and have never had any issues with them. I think they're doing the best they can with regards to this problem. It's a difficult problem to diagnose anyway.

So here's the problem:
1. The travel on the clutch is way too long for my taste (which could be a matter of taste)
2. There is hardly any resistance/pressure when depressing (pressing down) the pedal
3. The same problem occurs when you release the pedal (hence the spring)
4. Because of the lack of pressure, when the clutch engages (which takes a while), it's hard to get it right. You almost have to take your foot off for the last bit which doesn't help because then the clutch engages way too fast.
5. The whole thing doesn't seem smooth: the spring/hydraulic pressure seems to vary depending on what positiion the clutch is in (i.e. depressed, halfway, 3/4 released)

All this is making the car bunny-hop (well almost) when I drive away in 1st gear. To second gear is't smooth either. And engine braking can be a problem sometimes when downshifting.

Is anyone else suffering the same problem? Because my car was one of the first delivered to Europe, I did anticipate some problems, but this one I didn't expect. Hopefully it's just a faulty part and it should be fixed by replacing it.

Are there any objective ways of measuring the clutch? I'm sure when they take mine apart they'll find some hydraulic cylinder or whatever is faulty.
 

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I don't think anyone in North America will be able to offer any experience on the 4.3 since all our models are automatic. Perhaps others in Europe, Africa etc. can share their thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I didn't, the amount of km's I drive doesn't justify a diesel. In my country the road tax is a lot higher for diesels so you'd have to drive about 30000-40000 km's a year. Fair enough, the engine might be sweet.

I love people that drive diesels. On the highway they leave a big puff of smoke when they accelerate. And I can always hear my diesel neighbors getting into their tractor on a cold morning. Diesels have come a long way and in some respects are better than petrol engines. But in terms of noise and smoke, petrol engines are lightyears ahead.

Now back on topic: is the clutch on the diesel a different clutch? My dealer said they testdrove a diesel and there's room for improvement there too. I just want a tight/smooth clutch. But first, I want a clutch that does what it should do.
 
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diesel i drove had typical toyot clutch, a bit light but workable... Most toyota clutches are light.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yep, I've owned 3 other Toyota's. There's light and then there's my current RAV4. We also own a Lexus IS. You need to work out in the gym regularly to operate that clutch. LOL.

Again, the RAV4.3 I testdrove was fine. Light but predictable. I guess I'll just have to wait for two more weeks until it's replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Interestingly enough the problem with the clutch has almost disappeared. I've been trying to figure it out and suddenly it hit me: the weather has warmed up considerably. From 3 degrees Celsius it's now warmed up to about 14.

When they put the extra spring on the clutch, the weather was also warm. That might explain why it seemed to fix the problem at the time. Also, my car is parked in our garage at night (not heated) and in the morning it always seemed better than when it had been parked outside all day in the cold.

So the problem I'm experiencing seems to be weather-/temperature-related. I'm still going to have it swapped for a new clutch. Testing it will be difficult unless I get some colder weather (head for the mountains :lol: ).

Does anyone here recognize this problem? Could it be fluids in the clutch assembly?
 

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I hope that my ignorant opinion is not harmful here, but if I dealt with such behaviour of a hydrolically actuated clutch, I would not go for a clutch replacement right away. Instead, I'd look at its master cylinder and associated paraphernalia, and made sure there's no air in the system first. The system is similar to brakes in its operation.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The dealer replaced the whole clutch under warranty yesterday. So far so good. It feels much more predictable and solid. I'd say it was a faulty part then. I guess Toyota will investigate the part.

I need some really cold weather to determine whether or not the problem has been 100% fixed. Luckily I'm going skiing next week.

I suppose it's cheaper to just replace the whole clutch as opposed to trying to find the exact problem. Anyway, as long as the problem doesn't return, I'm happy.
 
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