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Discussion Starter #1
A few months back the neutral safety switch was replaced on my RAV under extended warranty. It cured the "might start might not" problem where I had to wiggle the gearshift knob to make contact.

Two days ago it started the same shenanigans. The first time it was as if there was no battery at all....no dash lights, interior lights, fan, radio, nothing! Shifting through the gears somehow made the connection and it cranked up as normal.

Then yesterday we were going to celebrate our anniversary and the same no start scenario. This time all lights, etc, were on as they should be but no ignition. It took a good five minutes of fiddling with the gearshift then it finally turned over & started. The rest of the day it cranked up every time with just a twist of the key.

This is frustrating as hell! If I get it to the dealer and it starts every time for them then what are they supposed to repair? I suppose the recent new switch could have gone wonky but that's questionable.

This is a real head scratcher and the thought of eventually being stranded due to this is unsettling to say the least.
I wonder if it could be the ignition switch itself or even a bad ground oe positive battery connection to the starter?

Any ideas or guesses? I'm stumped on this one.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Kinda difficult.....one hand is turning the key while the other jiggles the gearshift.
 

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This may appear irrelevant at first, but we had the same problem with a microwave oven. At first it worked fine, then intermittently it wouldn't work when the door was closed, then it stopped working altogether. Wife has an extended service contract, the switch which determines whether the door is shut or not was replaced a couple of times, but the same sequence of working-working intermittently- not working at all recurred. Finally the door switch was replaced with an improved model which has a longer electrical contact area - problem solved, no recurrences since.

Good luck - that's a frustrating problem!
 

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This may appear irrelevant at first, but we had the same problem with a microwave oven. At first it worked fine, then intermittently it wouldn't work when the door was closed, then it stopped working altogether. Wife has an extended service contract, the switch which determines whether the door is shut or not was replaced a couple of times, but the same sequence of working-working intermittently- not working at all recurred. Finally the door switch was replaced with an improved model which has a longer electrical contact area - problem solved, no recurrences since.

Good luck - that's a frustrating problem!
Similar problem with a Whirlpool front loader washer. Took a few door switches till we got a good one!
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Took it to the dealer today and asked them to break out the fine tooth comb.....check anything and everything that might cause such a problem including the "new" neutral safety switch. Of course it started perfectly every time today. :wall

Odd situation but the "dealer" is no longer a Toyota dealer but they have the same Toyota trained staff and they are allowed to perform Toyota extended warranty work. I know all the personnel by name so I take our cars there for oil changes and extended warranty work. I've been going there since 2007.

On the way back home we stopped at the new local Toyota dealership to check on parts availability for the rear outboard seat belt recall. My old dealer can't do recalls. All I wanted to do was present the recall letter, ask if they had the parts in stock or not, and if so, to make an appointment for the work.

They were not busy at all but this simple task took 45 minutes! Seriously? Long story short they have the parts and the appointment is set. I just could not get it across to the guy that we did not want the work done now.

Do you have the parts in stock? Yes or no.
If so I want to make an appointment to install them. If not when will you get them so we can make an appointment? Pretty simple, eh?

I see a porter going out to the car to put down the paper mats and a plastic bag over the seats. No, no, no, we're not doing this today! To top all of this off I was dealing with the assistant service manager, not a regular service writer.
Dear God, where do they get these folks?

This is the same dealership that mailed me an oil change special for $29.95.
That was for 5 quarts, the V-6 takes 6. When I called them asking how much the extra quart would be they told me it would be $59.95 total. I told them I did not want synthetic just one extra quart. I was told synthetic was higher and it would be $59.95. Adios!

I brought this up to the assistant service manager today. He said that was not correct and to please contact him the next time oil & filter was due but he would not give me a price. Obviously I will not be going here for anything other than warranty or if I have no choice whatsoever.

Sorry for writing a book but with all the problems I've had with my RAV, never ending it seems, then a dealership like this, I am beyond pissed. If I could get out from under this thing I would do so tomorrow but I'm stuck with it short of a lottery hit. My frustration is beyond description.

If my situation changed I would not consider another Toyota under ANY circumstances. The brand has burned its bridge with me. I still like my car but I can't trust it anymore........or a Toyota dealership. Rant over, I'm going to get a bourbon & water!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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The standard question I ask myself whenever I call or stop in for any kind of service on anything anywhere is, "I wonder who's job I'm going to have to do for them today?!!" When they actually do do their job right I always complement them.

On vehicles it's often, "How will I have to modify what they do to make it work?" Had that exact thing happen on the neutral switch on my mom's Subaru several years ago. They put a new one but adjusted it wrong. I got under and moved it fully the other way and never had an issue again.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I hope it is just that simple, I am at my wits end.
 

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Our old Protege5 had that issue with the transaxle range switch. Whenever it happened it would not illuminate that it was in Park. It would start all the time from neutral but Park was iffy. Took a few visits, because of course dealer could not reproduce at first. Eventually dealer replaced the switch and that seemed to fix it for awhile but then it was starting to come back just before we sold it.
 

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The fact that many of your lights didn't come on, leads me to believe that the problem is not the transmission safety switch at all. I would suspect it to be a faulty ignition switch or bad relay.

I don't have access to the wiring diagrams at the moment to give a more precise suggestion.
 

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Does the no-start problem take place only when the vehicle engine, etc., haven't been used yet on the day- i/e, when the RAV is still cold, understanding that "cold" is a relative situation in your part of the US? If so, then it could be that the electrical situation is remedied when the contacts which are causing the problem expand with increased heat and so make contact better, which also could point to an ignition switch or relay as Ricki suggests, or again to the transmission switch which may need to have its positioning adjusted. Perhaps if your RAV could be left with the service people whom you trust overnight . . .


Enjoy that bourbon and water!! In your situation I probably would have more than one!!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
My RAV was left with the old dealer overnight. It was her RAV we went to the new dealership in to see about the recall parts availability.

The no start is totally random. It could be warm, cold, or in between just as it was prior to the neutral safety switch install.
 

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The fact that many of your lights didn't come on, leads me to believe that the problem is not the transmission safety switch at all. I would suspect it to be a faulty ignition switch or bad relay.
Agreed. During my mini-rant I overlooked the technical facts Tex listed. The no dash lights symptom couldn't be caused by the neutral switch. Most likely the ignition switch or if nothing electrical works, the battery or a connection.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I agree with both of you and made sure the tech was aware of what had happened during that episode.
 

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The fact that these other symptoms occurred immediately after non related work was performed on your vehicle, is more than just coincidence.

I expect that the tech disconnected the battery while replacing the switch. Check the battery cables for proper tightness.
 

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It wasn't immediate, it has been several months since the switch was installed. Nary a problem until a few days ago. Battery terminals were tight with no sign of corrosion, I checked them myself.
 

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At this point you must be about ready to drive that RAV into the Gulf! Presumably it has been checked to see whether it is throwing any codes . . . ?
 

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Blogson,

I'll find that out when they call me but no check engine light was on this time or during the same/similar problem prior to the safety switch replacement. As of today I have heard nothing. What makes this extremely frustrating is that my gal's '08 RAV V-6 has been almost problem free. Her's was made in '07 as an '08 model, mine was made in '08 as an '08 model.

You have been along for the ride with the LONG list of problems I've had with this car. At this point if it ever caught fire I would simply stand back and smile watching it burn to the ground........providing this happened outside, not in the garage.
 

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I really do feel for you, Rick! You've had a lot of frustration with your RAV while your gal's has been good. A few years ago my wife and I did tons of research and based upon that - all positive about reliability, features, etc., - she bought a new Subaru Forester. Unexpectedly that was the worst piece of garbage we've ever owned - constant problems, lousy service after Subaru shut down the best servicing dealer in San Diego. When the clutch went out for the third time we went straight to the Honda dealer and bought a new CR-V and had the Honda dealer come to our home and pick up the Forester as a trade. It appears that unfortunately sometimes it's luck of the draw regarding even vehicles which have good reputations.

It is as if with some car makers when the reject parts bin is full they decide to build a vehicle out of the rejects and hope that it will be OK and that the buyer won't notice or complain when things go wrong. It seems that may be what has happened with your RAV and my wife's former Subaru!

Hopefully the problem with your RAV will be sorted out and that will be the last one which you experience.
 

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Blogson....we had a similar experience with a Forester, well-rated, supposedly reliable etc. Bought one just before the VW/Subaru dealer sold the Sub franchise to a Chrysler dealer. After the 2nd auto trans failure, we dumped it just before the head gasket thing reared it's ugly head. We sure love the RAV!
But I digress....
 
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