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I just signed up as a 1997 RAV4 owner. I've had the car for about 16 years and have only experienced minor problems. I was a parts man for GM dealerships for about 25 years. I reside in Medford ,OR. Right now, I have a no start condition. The car died while my wife was driving it home from work - a whole one mile trip! I towed it to my house with a chain and my GMC Yukon so I could work on it more proficiently. I connected my timing light first to the secondary coil wire where it clearly showed spark, then to the plug wires and they showed spark also. I rented a fuel pressure gauge from the local parts store and checked the fuel pressure at the banjo bolt on the top of the fuel filter and it is right within specs. The manual says it should be 44-50 psi and mine is about 48 psi. I plan to buy some starting fluid and see if it shows any sign of life which should eliminate the possibility of an ignition system fault. I have a feeling that it might be the crank sensor though...we'll see. Anyway, your input is always welcome and I need to get it fixed ASAP!
Thank you
 

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Welcome, do you have a distributor or the twin coil set-up, I only ask because I guess the distributor is driven off the camshaft and if so then the timing belt must be ok, if not and its twin coils then check the belt first. If it's twin coils it could also be the cam sensor but that usually prevents it from starting, not a cause of it breaking down. When the crank sensor goes it usually runs but it's eratic, hesitates big time...
Have you got or got access to a scanner to check for codes?
 

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No start update

Well, my crank sensor arrived yesterday and work was to begin this morning to start removing the timing cover - no easy task if you've ever done it on an early RAV4. I get couldn't keep from thinking about horror stories about rebuilt parts sometimes failing. So for reassurance, I just had to check inside of the distributor and make sure something hadn't gone wrong with the position of the rotor or some other obvious problem. Upon removing the plug wires, I marked the location of the distributor base with a Sharpie, removed the hold down bolt, and eased the distributor out of the head so I could work on it comfortably on the bench. To my great surprise, both of the cast iron cogs or locating teeth on the bottom of the distributor were broken off. The distributor was installed by a friend who owns his own repair shop just a month or so ago, so I gave him a call and described what happened. He, and I who both have somewhat of an automotive background (he was a Toyota Tech at a dealership, and I was a parts man and for a while and a tech at several dealerships) had never seen this happen before. Anyway, the distributor is under warranty and a replacement will be here tomorrow! I'm a little disappointed with the distributor, but greatly relieved about the unnecessary crankshaft sensor replacement that would have ensued. :D
 
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