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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Rav4World Forums!

I'm new here, so I apologize for any lack of etiquette that might be expected. That said, I'm having a pretty perplexing issue with my 2003 Rav4 and was hoping to find some help. Local help hasn't proven to be very reliable, unfortunately.

The problem is as follows: I'm not receiving any accessory power - for the most part. The only electrical components that seem to work are the headlights, check engine light (which is referring to the speedometer no working due to lack of power), and the hazard lights. No radio, gauges, break lights, fans, turn signals, nor windshield wipers. Even the electronic lock on the transmission needs to be bypassed manually through the button. What makes this more confusing to me, is that it isn't consistent. With no rhyme or reason, the vehicle might start with full power or might start as described above!

I recharged my battery, which seemed to get rid of the problem for a month or two, but now the problem's back, and even buying a new battery isn't saving me. I've read that the ALT fuse has been responsible for similar symptoms, but I'm skeptical due to the random nature of whether or not the problem will occur.

Additionally, if I try to drive the car while it's in its troubled state, I'll hear a buzzing/whine at a certain RPM. And if I continue to drive it long enough, power will kick back on. Which leads me to believe it might be an alternator problem, but I'm left unsure.

From the posts I've read on this forum, you guys seem knowledgeable and helpful, so I really look forward to hearing some insight! Thanks for the time!
 

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Often these kinds of problems result from bad grounds. Could be from the battery to the chassis or to the engine. If they aren't fixed checking fuses etc. won't fix the issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Dr. Dyno!

I appreciate the quick response. I'll admit, however, that I'm not well versed in car maintenance, so I might be a bit slow. Are you suggesting the issue might be the cables themselves? If so, how can I go about testing them to see if that's where my problem lies? Thank you!
 

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A good way to check if you might have a ground problem. Take your multimeter and set it to a low DC voltage setting. Now take the negative (-) lead (black) from the multimeter and attach it to a good ground somewhere on the chassis. Now take the positive (+) lead (red) and poke it into the centre of the negative (-) post of the battery. Do not connect it to the clamp on the negative (-) but onto the post itself only. Now turn on high beams (a helping hand may be needed unless you have long arms) If you get more then just a few millivolts, then you have a problem in in your ground circuit. Clean up the battery cables ends (both ends) and battery terminals untill they are bright and shiny. If the problem persists:-- Your car will also have at least one wire that runs from the chassis to the engine and possibly one or more that runs from the chassis to the negative post of the battery. You need to find them and either replace them or clean them up. Another thing to look for when doing this is a green substance in the battery cables, if you find it, replace the cable(s), they are beyond redemption. The green stuff is corrosion. It can often be seen just at the cable battery ends. If the cable casing seems swollen at the ends, suspect inner corrosion and slit the cable to have a look. If you don't have a multimeter, get one, they are of great value around car and home.
 
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