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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!

I'm new on this forum and I'm sure the rav4 lovers community will teach me a lot and provide help when needed!

My wife and I own a 2006 RAV. She also had a 1997 RAV at her parents in LA. I brought it back a couple a months ago so we can use it as a second car.

That old beast survived the 1,000 miles long trip non-stop but I did a few check-up along the way as I didn't really know its condition. And I discovered a few problems. I'm good enough to make basic fix and maintenance (oil change, brakes, some electronic...) but this is overwhelming!

So here is the thing:

- It's loosing oil (about 1 to 2 quarts for 1,000 miles), sounds like a lot to me...
- No apparent leak anywhere I checked (cardboard under the car after a drive and visual inspection).
- It's loosing coolant (need a refill maybe every 500 miles to keep it from dropping under the mid-level)
- Same here, no apparent leak anywhere...
- It's making a noise, kind of like a metallic rattling, but only when reaching high rpms (above 3,000 rpms) and getting louder as rpms increase. This happens in any gear.

I was thinking blown head gasket but would that explain the noise?
Or worn out piston rings but why leaking coolant in that case? Maybe 2 different problems then?

Details about the car:
- RAV4 1997 1st gen
- Gasoline 4 cylinders engine
- 4WD
- Automatic
- About 179,000 miles on the odo, not that much right?

HELP please! It's not urgent as it's our second car but I would eventually like to fix it and put as less money as possible of course... I love this car! :crying
Anybody ever seen that before?

Thanks for your help guys! :smile
 

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Our Gen3 Rav4 is loosing so much oil now, it started burning oil at around 175K kms until now at 188K kms. no time to replace and clean these cylinders :-(

1. loosing oil about 300-350ml very 700-800kms now, common is the piston's oil ring, needs to replace piston rings too. big job, more money. how's the colour of your exhaust smoke (blue colour?) but what else we will see once we opened them up.
2. coolant leak, have you checked the water pump yet? else internal leak and gets burned (now, that's very bad), hows the lip of your tailpipe/s?
3. now, time to replace rear shocks too :)
 

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'99 RAV4.1, 3MZ-FE, E250F 4x4, Torsen Dif
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What color is the smoke coming from the exhaust?

What does the oil look like on your dipstick?

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi guys and thanks for your answers!

@ashtonybb :
I haven't checked the water pump yet, what's the procedure?
Are you mentioning the rear shocks just for general info or you think it could be related to the noise?
Tailpipe has no rust, it's quite black on the inside though.

@mensajero :
What problem did the oil cooler solve exactly?

@eodgator :
It only smokes white (steam) with cold engine or in cold weather, so I think nothing to worry about.
There's definitely no blue smoke, would it be significantly blue with the amount of oil it's losing if going through the engine? If yes then it can't be the pistons rings right?
Oil on dipstick is quite dark if looked at a while after refilling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
UPDATE: Had a little misadventure this morning...

I tried to drive it up the mountains to go hiking. Before leaving, I topped up the engine oil and coolant. The radiator looked like it was full (liquid visible just under the cap) and the overflow tank was mid-level so topped up close to full.
After 30 minutes on the freeway and a couple of good climbs, the coolant temperature gauge was slowly going up at each uphill and back down to normal downhill. Turned on heater full blast and pulled over when I could. The overflow tank was now more than full and bubling because of steam coming from the flexible pipe at the top of the tank. Little steam coming from radiator top cap as well. Coolant in radiator was partly gone...

Looks like the radiator can't hold the pressure, so the coolant boils and can no longer cool down the engine, am I right? Could it just be a bad radiator cap? Would than justify all the coolant lost?
 

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'99 RAV4.1, 3MZ-FE, E250F 4x4, Torsen Dif
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Replacing the cap is the easiest, cheapest and often the cure.

Next to running out of fuel and tire problems, overheating is the next leading cause to vehicle breakdowns. I have to be able to travel anywhere in the US for my work so I have to keep a reliable vehicle, I always replace all belts, hoses, fluids (except oil which is far more often), and radiator cap at that time. I had to replace my radiator, the lower third of it, the cooling fins were just rotten from corrosion, you can pick one up inexpensively on amazon.com or many other on-line sites. See my thread http://www.rav4world.com/forums/85-4-1-faults-fixes/243105-cooling-system-rebuild.html.

The issue of the missing oil is perplexing, you say that you have no blue smoke and no leaks, well it has to be going somewhere! When you first start the car in the morning is the exhaust smoke blue, if so you have bad oil seals which is common on the 3S-FE engine, no big issue except it can lead to other problems.
1) fouls the spark plugs
2) fouls the oxygen sensor
3) mucks up the catalytic converter and EGR system
4) cost money to keep the oil topped off
5) looks bad
Now you can replace those pesky seals but first try a bottle of stop leak, I like the Lucas product, and that can reduce or stop those leaks delaying that expensive valve seal replacement.

Keep us posted on what you find.
 

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'99 RAV4.1, 3MZ-FE, E250F 4x4, Torsen Dif
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That rattling noise sounds like it may just be timing belt slap, start the engine hold something like a long screwdriver or wooden handle against different parts of the engine and listen. Watch out for moving parts. If it is timing belt slap the sound should be loudest on the passenger side of the engine (assuming a left drive vehicle).

I would recommend getting a replacement timing belt, water pump kit and doing it all at once so that you don't have to go back in there later. Again amazon.com or many othe sites have these at reasonable prices.

While in there a new crankshaft oil seal should be completed as well.

If you do the timing belt job yourself make sure you tension it properly ( see http://www.rav4world.com/forums/94-4-1-d-i-y-modifications/56986-diy-timing-belt.html) or you wil be going right back in there and redoing it, if you think it wasn't fun the first time wait till you have to do it again.

Keep us posted on what you find.
 

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Were I live, the tropics, the problem is heat. Installing an oil cooler help to keep the engine temp from soaring pass 208 degrees F. Today for example, its 70 degrees, at 8AM. Yes, Toyota engines work hot, but in my area, hot engines, plus atmospheric heat will fry an engine. Add to that the A/C going in a traffic jam, I guess you get the idea, that is all year round. Increasing your engine will tend to burn more oil. It help my engine and it stopped burning engine oil. I change the oil, go from 3k to 5k miles without adding oil. Worked for me. BTW, I have one for the engine and one for the trans-axle. Where do you live?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@eodgator :
I'll change the cap first as it's so cheap and hopefully it'll do the trick! Could a bad cap actually justify the lost of so much coolant overtime?
I'll also bleed the radiator see if there's any rust in there.

Regarding the oil I'm just as perplexe as you are, I know it has to go somewhere, but the smoke is NEVER blue and I can't find any leak. I drove it and then parked it and let it run with a sheet of cardboard under the engine: NOTHING!
If bad oil seals or piston rings I'd see a significant blue smoke right??

The noise doesn't sound like a belt to be, it's no squeaking or slaping, it sound metallic, but not exactly like bad bearings... Let me try to record it and post it! Would bad piston rings make such a noise only in high RPMs?

Thanks for all the links anyways! Great job you did on your cooling system!

@mensajero :
The outside temperature is definitely not an issue here, it was about 15°F this morning when it overheated on the freeway... I'm in Colorado, and it's winter!
 

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OK , that is cleared up (heat). At the time of this recording, were you driving it in the snow, or was it park and just hitting the throttle?

Is it snowing in your area?
Do you drive in the slosh a lot? (I guess so) Mountain or city?
Where do you buy your gas? (What brand?)
Did anyone work on your car and touched the throttle position sensor?
Have you flush your engine, EVER?

Answer the question, because I'm hearing something which once happen to a member of this forum some time ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
When recording I was back home, just parked.
It is snowing here and freezing here fairly often, mostly drive it in the city (because of all the problems it has, I'm not comfortable going too far with it), so not much snow and no mud.
For the gas it depends... 7eleven, conoco, shell...
It's my wife's car, she bought it when she moved to Colorado, I moved a little later and wasn't here to inspect it / talk to previous owner so not much info on what's been done...
I was just looking around and it looks like the cable pulled by the gas pedal has some slack. Big deal?
Shortly after buying she realized it was losing a lot of oil. A mechanic did something but she can't tell me what, she said they "cleaned inside the engine" but she doesn't know what's been changed or anything and she didn't keep the bill.
 

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Regarding the gas. In your area, since its snowing. You might have taken in some, contaminated gas. Recently, it happen here in PR. Since the hurricane Maria went by and destroyed our country. Many gas station started to sell contaminated gas. For starters try to get the gas from the same station. Melted snow might have gotten into the station underground tanks. (my dad, now retired, had two gas station for 30+years, I know a little about that)

Check your gas position sensor and give it a reset. Look in this forum to show you how. Temperature sensor might need to be changed. The cold might have affected them. Try a scanner, just next to your right leg knee, there is a plug. The person who worked on your engine looks like left something out of place. Even a misplaced gasket, check that. We call that here, a sledgehammer mechanic. They are responsible for it. Also, your OBC might have gotten some water or the cold has affected it. It sounds like the signal is inconsistent.
 

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Sorry, I forgot this one. When you are out of power like in my country, this technique came up and it worked.

If you can't pinpoint where the oil is coming from their is a simple form to detect it.

Lift your ride and remove your splash guards, of course, safety always. Lift your car and place them on Jack Stands . Then, clean your engine from the bottom up with a pressure hose if possible. Get a strong LED light. And, believe it or not, a skateboard,. Place your cellular phone on the skateboard and place the LED light next to it. Start the engine of your RAV4 and start your cellular phone camera to record. Have someone accelerate your engine while you ride your cellular phone back and forward under your ride on the skateboard or something simular to see and record where the oil is coming from. Front to rear, side to side. once done, check your recording to see if you can see where its coming from.
 

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"The issue of the missing oil is perplexing, you say that you have no blue smoke and no leaks, well it has to be going somewhere! When you first start the car in the morning is the exhaust smoke blue, if so you have bad oil seals which is common on the 3S-FE engine, no big issue except it can lead to other problems."

I misspoke here I meant valve seals.

I doubt you have a bad rings or valve seals if it never smokes.

Do as mensajero stated with the cleaning the engine, you can also add a dye to your engine oil that fluoresces under a black light (UV) wherever there is a leak.

Best way to narrow down engine noise is as I stated before, listen to the timing belt cover for slap, by the way noise like that can be a failing water pump, but I cannot tell for sure. See http://www.rav4world.com/forums/85-4-1-faults-fixes/256225-engine-noise-diagnosis.html

Keep us posted, good luck with her.
 
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