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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First I want to give a huge thanks to those that have tried to help me fix this over the years. I also want to say that my fix might not be your fix. Though checking out the things I mention are free

I am writing this for posterity, and am trying to maximize on 'search terms' in order to help the most. So it's all in one thread and at the top, instead of buried pages deep into a thread. Not to mention as these cars get older, the amount of help and knowledge in here is diminishing. It seems like it is basically down to two or three peeps to cover it all nowadays Please Note: Not trying to offend anyone with that last bit. The guys and gals that do come in here are the 'real deal' and I have mad respect for them. They don't have to keep coming in here.

My issues were due to human error and a failing, or defective, alternator. Not really sure how to do this post as there were two things wrong and both things had dramatic improvements, so I figure I will just do a video to explain the bulk of it. I am also going to change out my oxygen sensors in the next week or two. Thinking that that might be the fix I need for one specific situation.

First major improvement was changing out my timing belt the correct way. The first time I did it I never made sure the camshaft pulley was at TDC. I was one tooth off. Which put me 15° out of time. So if you aren't on your original timing belt, which you probably aren't if reading this, then it is worth the hour or two of work it will take to find out. There might e a better way to check with a timing gun, but considering the computer runs the engine out of time the moment you start it... I don't know how accurate that would be. Much less if having the camshaft one tooth out of time would even show up on a timing gun that is checking the timing on the crank. So this is how I know to make doubly sure. I wish I would have taken some pics when I figured this all out, but I didn't. So here is a video to keep me from spending two hours writing it all down.

If you have any questions, or need me to expound on anything... feel free to comment. I will try to explain it the best that I can.

1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 Toyota Rav4
Engine lacks power (both)
No power driving up hills. (both)
Unresponsive accelerator. (both)
Power only in the first bit of the accelerator. (both) (though got even better with alternator)
Accelerator is floored driving down hills/mountains. (both)
Accelerator is floored driving on level ground. (both)
Accelerator floored going up hills/mountains. (this might be a throttle cable is too loose fix . ie not downshifting) (both)
Loses speed when coasting down hills/mountains (alternator fix)
Loss of speed when coasting down hills/mountains in neutral (alternator fix)
Cruise Control issues. (alternator fix)
Cruise Control causes loss of power. (alternator)
Engine revs up when engaging cruise control. (occasionally) (alternator)
Cruise Control doesn't engage (occasionally) (alternator)
Intermittent power issues. (both)
Improved power with cleaning ground wires. (alternator)
Timing belt is a half tooth off.
Engine in second gear on high elevation mountains (I think this is going to be an o2 sensor fix. Thought might not be. And could already be fixed with the timing and alternator. But haven't been that high up since the fixes, so going to swap them preventatively)

I am sure there are more that I cannot think off right now.

Things I did that never worked for more than a band-aid fix
Cleaned ground wire connections
Added new ground wires
VSV valve
Engine cleaner
Cleaned throttle body
Spark plugs and wires.
Added transmission cooler
Cleaned EGR valve

I think that is about it. Hope this finds someone that needs it. I wholeheartedly wish this was here a few years ago. It has been one of those problems that nobody could answer. Till now.


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From your post it appears that almost every issue which you reported has been taken care of by getting the timing belt/camshaft gear timing corrected and by replacing the alternator. Good that you have the problems sorted out and hopefully what you have discovered will help others, especially Gen. 1 RAV owners.
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