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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all. Just received the 08 Rav in June. Southern California weather has been in a heat wave of 90-100. Been using a tracker for fueling. Getting 11-15 mpg where I see many on here are supposed to be getting average 22-24.

Previous owner said spark plugs changed recently. Tires are from 2015 Goodyear Assurance Touring and changing their pressure doesn't change anything. Alignment was recently done seemingly to no effect.

I've used a bottle of STP Fuel injector to no avail as well as in another tank prior, Seafoam. Air filter seems fine. Oil just changed so we will see.

My levels of maintenance knowledge include doing brake work, coolant flush, brake bleed. Things like that. YouTube videos. Can anyone point to a thread I've missed? I have read the mileage one that's ten pages long where I saw everyone's varied mpg. No help to this issue. Sorry for all the overseas and out of the US people who use liters as I don't know the conversion.

Hope that's all the information anyone needs to help diagnose. Has anyone done anything specifically that had returned their mpg to normal?

No codes thrown. And shout-out to Junebug who is the mod, hope I did everything right and not in any problematic way. I have read and searched enough to see his promotion at some point to top level mod and even read back to his/your guest level posts. So I have done reading and a lot in case anyone needed that proof.

Thank you if anyone can help and has first hand experience. I'm not talking a few mpg or single digit gains here, this is pretty drastic and always been that way. Wheels seem to spin freely by hand on a lift.

That's all I can remember for now. Nothing else I will lead anyone into as far as my guess, so hopefully people can come up with something on their own?

Grateful and thank you for anyone's help.
 

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For the $25ish, I'd change the plugs again or at least pull them and see if they are ngk iridium plugs. Don't take the previous owners word for it. They may have used some junk made in China plugs for all you know.

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Thanks. I had that suspicion. The seller said it was being sold because it wasn't being used. But they must have been going through the same gas burning issue. He said everything was done and ready to go. Oil just changed, etc. But in a thousand miles the light came on and the oil looked clean on the stick but was black on the filter and the drain pan. The back wiper rubber rotting and the front wipers all smeary. So I wonder...

I'll pull what I can to take a look. May be that he only changed the easy ones, if at all. And like you said, not the right ones. Had a 1MZ-FE I worked on and changing the easy ones didn't help but once the hard ones were taken care of, the monthly fuel cost cut in half.

I like Denso. Heard stories even Bosch aren't liked by these Japanese engines. Thank you for your input.



For the $25ish, I'd change the plugs again or at least pull them and see if they are ngk iridium plugs. Don't take the previous owners word for it. They may have used some junk made in China plugs for all you know.

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Plugs, new coils, complete trans fluid change, diff fluid change, air filter, check for exhaust blockage/back pressure. 11 mpg would have me pretty upset. Are there any codes? Check for a vacuum leak.

Do you let it idle for extended periods of time?

If you have access to a full scanner, check the fuel trims, a/f ratio, timing, and injector m/s.

I'm averaging 25-26 mpg and have a bad wheel bearing. Best tank was 30 mpg. Finding whats cutting your mileage in half shouldn't be too hard.
 

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Thanks. I had that suspicion. The seller said it was being sold because it wasn't being used. But they must have been going through the same gas burning issue. He said everything was done and ready to go. Oil just changed, etc. But in a thousand miles the light came on and the oil looked clean on the stick but was black on the filter and the drain pan. The back wiper rubber rotting and the front wipers all smeary. So I wonder...

I'll pull what I can to take a look. May be that he only changed the easy ones, if at all. And like you said, not the right ones. Had a 1MZ-FE I worked on and changing the easy ones didn't help but once the hard ones were taken care of, the monthly fuel cost cut in half.

I like Denso. Heard stories even Bosch aren't liked by these Japanese engines. Thank you for your input.
I've found Rock Auto to be the best deal for plugs. And definitely check out the long and short term fuel trims. Anything above 11-12% should kick the cel light.

My wife's 4.2 manual trans Rav gets a steady 23.1 mpg with 25% town and 75% highway. On a pure highway trip on a not so hilly trek, I've just crested 27 mpg. These raviolis are known to be heavier on the sauce. The 4.2 is underpowered with a 2.0 liter engine, but having the manual trans helps bring up the mpgs. 212,000 miles on the girl and she's still solid.

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I don't have the money to spare as it is with fuel costs for this vehicle being double. Thank you for the suggestions. If you have a way of telling which actual part is defective short of buying a scantool with live data, it's getting expensive. But at $55 a pop for coil, $12 a plug. The diff on this one (FWD) is shared with the transmission fluid, and the previous owner said it was just done. But I'll have a look again at the stick. Would old transmission fluid really bring it down this much? For blockage, how do you do it? Hole before and after the cat and measure? No codes thrown. I'll go spraying around the hoses in the bay with brake clean. Thanks for that reminder. I went from another Toyota engine ten years older than this one, and after plugs and (it had) wires, still got me only 15-17. So I'm pretty upset, but for now I'm calm about it. I do idle, but not like a livery driver or agent of some kind, just the normal stoplights, drive thrus, and moments to eat a few bites. Nothing unusual. It is hot here in So Cal, so 90 in a turned off car isn't something I can handle.

A full featured scanner would make so many things so easy. Not only do I not have access, I don't have access to a mechanic who is reasonable and won't overcharge me something I can't afford. I just have a basic code reader. It doesn't even show any pending codes. In the long run it would save money but how long, if I throw all the parts at it, it should have.

Do you know (or anyone know) if the one Autozone lets you loan does live date, fuel trims, or pending codes?

I'm amazed even with your bearing going, you're still getting that. 30 mpg sounds like heaven to me. Even 25 is a dream.

To do it all would make it not too hard, but I need to not do anything I don't have to, as wasting money on stuff that works is not ideal, to put it mildly. I need to know exactly what is the problem and fix it and not try everything, and at minimal cost. It's not about what it seems like, it's that there just isn't the money to do everything. But the list is a good thing to look at. And thank you for your input. I'm located in a temperature hot zone. If it helps any, the engine of another car before I replaced the plugs and wires to had a very faint light popping sound when I took possession of it, I assume that's misfires? After I was done with everything, no more light puff pops. This vehicle does not have that pop pop pop sound. But I still need to pull them and look.


Plugs, new coils, complete trans fluid change, diff fluid change, air filter, check for exhaust blockage/back pressure. 11 mpg would have me pretty upset. Are there any codes? Check for a vacuum leak.

Do you let it idle for extended periods of time?

If you have access to a full scanner, check the fuel trims, a/f ratio, timing, and injector m/s.

I'm averaging 25-26 mpg and have a bad wheel bearing. Best tank was 30 mpg. Finding whats cutting your mileage in half shouldn't be too hard.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Love the RockAuto and it's inventory listing. Bought pads and things from them before. Side note, it lacks in the rear wiper department. I have found as of June or so, they have started to add tax (guessing they have a warehouse in California now) so they and Amazon are about the same price, but free shipping with Amazon and free returns. The last time I got plugs were from them and they were a great price. Compared to chain auto stores, the national stores rip people off! I'm about the same 25/75 but with an Automatic.

I don't have an Autel or similar. Just a multimeter. Everyone says the next one after her's, the 4.3 is fine with the 4 banger, but I feel like it really is alive with the 3.5 in it. It does lack the instant MPG however that later years of the same vintage have. That's my pain. I never have them dirty enough to trip the light. Just shy enough to cause a high bill in the drinking department. But yeah, manuals last. Clutch jobs depending on how hard she is on that, but you could probably make it to 350, 400 on that one. Yoda trucks are beasts.


I've found Rock Auto to be the best deal for plugs. And definitely check out the long and short term fuel trims. Anything above 11-12% should kick the cel light.

My wife's 4.2 manual trans Rav gets a steady 23.1 mpg with 25% town and 75% highway. On a pure highway trip on a not so hilly trek, I've just crested 27 mpg. These raviolis are known to be heavier on the sauce. The 4.2 is underpowered with a 2.0 liter engine, but having the manual trans helps bring up the mpgs. 212,000 miles on the girl and she's still solid.

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Couple of thoughts: 1. Definitely check the transmission fluid. It’s possible that not enough was changed, or the wrong fluid was put in. 2. Your high ambient temperatures make this harder, so try at night: see what your temperature gauge says. It’s possible (although not likely) that you have a stuck thermostat which could prevent the engine from warming enough, keeping it in cold loop and dumping fuel. Your gauge should be dead centre or just a hair below.

Other than that, tire pressure, dragging brake, properly gapped plugs, new engine air filter etc etc etc. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Will do, thank you. Since a dump and fill is cheap, it's within the realm. Thinking some reliable Maxlife. Even though it shifts like a ninja right now. If it's anything, the RPM goes to about 1000 during the (I believe it's called?) closed loop or cold startup until it gets to temp rather quickly, around five minutes give or take. And then drops back to the normal 650 rpm idle. Thermostats are cheap. Might do it anyway.
I do look at the temp gauge often. It's in the middle once up to temp.
Thank you.

Couple of thoughts: 1. Definitely check the transmission fluid. It’s possible that not enough was changed, or the wrong fluid was put in. 2. Your high ambient temperatures make this harder, so try at night: see what your temperature gauge says. It’s possible (although not likely) that you have a stuck thermostat which could prevent the engine from warming enough, keeping it in cold loop and dumping fuel. Your gauge should be dead centre or just a hair below.

Other than that, tire pressure, dragging brake, properly gapped plugs, new engine air filter etc etc etc. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yeah and some lunatic is always out there trying to cross all of them at once. Not me though.
25%/75% I try to take the highway as much as I can, less chance for cars on side streets to hit you or make you brake, andless chance for the cops to make a reason for you to be their new customer. You'll probably remember unless it's rush hour, five to ten above the highway limit is the norm here to not get hit from behind or get people angry at you. But I don't hammer down from a standstill. There's so much hp that the wheels would spin if I don't gently ease down on the pedal. So I don't jackrabbit and try to keep it under 2000 rpm cruising and when accelerating rarely do I go above 3000. 4 regular lanes plus two carpool on each side. 12 sounds about right. Maybe you were at an interchange that needed extra like on ramps and transitions on both sides.

I'm wondering if your driving habits are contributing. Mostly city driving?
I visited LA/corona a few years ago. 15 lanes, wow! I'll never forget that.
 

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Will do, thank you. Since a dump and fill is cheap, it's within the realm. Thinking some reliable Maxlife. Even though it shifts like a ninja right now. If it's anything, the RPM goes to about 1000 during the (I believe it's called?) closed loop or cold startup until it gets to temp rather quickly, around five minutes give or take. And then drops back to the normal 650 rpm idle. Thermostats are cheap. Might do it anyway.
I do look at the temp gauge often. It's in the middle once up to temp.
Thank you.
Just to be by the book, I'd fill it with genuine Toyota fluid.

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My 2008 Limited V6 purchased new still gets 18 city / 25 highway - pretty darn close to when new.

My mechanical knowledge stops at the gas tank, so I'd listen to the folks who are suggesting the spark plugs be redone. If the cables were put on incorrectly, you're poor beast is fighting against itself (and your wallet).
 

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Thanks. I had that suspicion. The seller said it was being sold because it wasn't being used. But they must have been going through the same gas burning issue. He said everything was done and ready to go. Oil just changed, etc. But in a thousand miles the light came on and the oil looked clean on the stick but was black on the filter and the drain pan. The back wiper rubber rotting and the front wipers all smeary. So I wonder...

I'll pull what I can to take a look. May be that he only changed the easy ones, if at all. And like you said, not the right ones. Had a 1MZ-FE I worked on and changing the easy ones didn't help but once the hard ones were taken care of, the monthly fuel cost cut in half.

I like Denso. Heard stories even Bosch aren't liked by these Japanese engines. Thank you for your input.
 
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