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Discussion Starter #1
No luck in searching threads to find my exact problem, but speedos look to be an issue with Rav's. My Rav4 '99 5d, AWD, auto trans, which I have not had long had this problem from the get go but took awhile for me to notice it. The previous owner was a mechanic and swapped the tranny out prior--which may or may not be related.
The speedometer and odometer read right on by my GPS phone app until driving 20 or 30 minutes when the speedo needle starts to drop back from the GPS reading til my speedo reads about 35 when I'm actually at 55. Takes awhile for it to drop back to this point and seems to stay at this point til the car is off and sitting for many hours. It always reads right on in the morning til I'm down the road quite a ways.
Any ideas as to where to begin appreciated.
Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I finally got around to replacing the part, unfortunately it did not change the situation. It was a cheap part so I got no regrets there. Any ideas of where to go from here? It is very puzzling to me that this thing works perfect for10 to 15 miles before it starts to act up. One thing I found when replacing the part was the bolt holding the sensor down was a 2 stage bolt. The first 1/4" to 3/8" of the bolt was a smaller diameter but also threaded. Above this first section the bolt was threaded all the way to the head. The bolt tightened down a ways then became loose, so the part is not bolted tight, but seems very secure. Probably not related to the malfunctioning speedometer.
Perhaps the instrument cluster is the next place to look, but doesn't make sense to me.
 

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Sorry for hijacking the thread. I'm looking to replace the speed sensor on my 1998 Manual 4WD RAV4 (RHD), but can't seem to find it, despite searching the Internet far and wide and looking at the "Annotated Pictures / Help with locating parts on 98+ 3S-FE" thread.

What's the easiest way to access the VSS? From underneath the car or from above? I would love to see a picture that shows its actual position in a RAV4 :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
On my '99 auto trans the sensor was located on the top and was accessible from the top. I had to remove all the air filter stuff and it was back down and not an easy reach, but doable. I understand the manual sensor is positioned on the bottom and when removed some fluid loss will occur. I don't know it you access from the bottom, but would guess so.
Good luck.
 

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Thanks bluejay, that's helpful! Still waiting for some first-hand experience with locating the VSS on a manual transmission.
 

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Bluejay, this sounds like a heat-related phenomenon if you are only having the problem when the car has been running for a while. Have you checked all the wiring to the sensors for damage? Are all the ground secure? Here's a Celica owner's post that might be helpful:

Vehicle Speed Sensor Location (Auto + noABS) - NewCelica.org Forum

There is a second speed sensor on the transmission (#89413-32010), but its a transmission revolution sensor that would throw an MIL if it were failing (and I'm not sure if it relates to the speedometer display).
 

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I found it on the back of the transmission, not too difficult to reach.

I think the next step would be to test the wire harness. What are normal values for resistance / voltage at the three pins?

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
demoder,
When the speedometer starts to fail so does the odometer. I understand there is another speed sensor on the auto trans models that senses when the transmission should shift gears, and read where it is not supposed to affect the speedometer, but I'm not sure. Have not noticed any shifting problems so have not considered this. Going to check the wiring better. If I have to get another cluster the odometer won't bother me, it's not the original motor anyway.
Thanks for the tips and the links!


ed.slim,
Glasgow eh? Would love to visit your country some day.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
An update that may prevent someone future frustration:
I finally ordered a used instrument cluster on Ebay to replace mine and finally got around to installing it, but they were not the same. It's not true that all the 1st gen Rav's have interchangeable instrument clusters. The one I bought has a mechanical odometer trip meter where my Rav 4 has a digital trip meter and guessing that is at least part of the difference. Mine is the one on the right and the Ebay item is on the left.
It's not easy to replace these but with great difficulty I was able to do it without removing the dashboard. The electrical plugs are extremely difficult to reach.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It appears the cluster I bought is for early Gen 1 Rav4's. If anyone wants a deal on it I'd sell it as the cost of returning to the Ebay seller is not worth it with all the postage, restocking fee, etc. It's the one on the left in the above photo.
Cheers!
Dan
 

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Toyota made many changes to the Rav4 in the years they built the 1st generation.
The digital odometer appeared in the 98 model year.

An interesting note about VSS:
Manual Rav4 has 1 VSS, the 2-wheel drive automatic has 2 and the awd automatic has 3.
The VSS used for the speedometer has 3 pins while the Vehicle Speed Sensors that monitor the axle speed, only has 2 pins.
 
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Discussion Starter #15
Still working on this problem. Finally got the correct instrument cluster --used on line, and still got the same exact symptoms. Don't figure there's much chance of 2 clusters having the same exact failed symptoms. Could not see any damaged wires anywhere. So not sure what to do. Not wanting to spend a lot on diagnostics. Replacing the Speedo sensor did not solve the problem.


After 10 to 15 miles the speedo starts to read slower than my actual speed. Let the car cool down an hour or so and it works good again for a few more miles. Welcome any more suggestions--thanks in advance.
I could continue to live with this, but it does bug me.
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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Replace your engine grounds they can cause a lot of intermittent problems and can appear to be heat related. Wire brush the ground contact points and apply dielectric grease. There is an improved grounding plan that fixes a lot of interment codes and problems, and it can get your RAV4 running better, see the following:

https://www.rav4world.com/brochure/derek/ground_wires_part1.pdf
https://www.rav4world.com/brochure/derek/ground_wires_part2.pdf

A few of mods I did when I did when I did this engine/transmission ground mod:
- I attached the grounds to the inner fender grounding point rather than the negative battery terminal.
- I added a jumper from the left engine hook to the alternator mount.
- I eliminated the left hook to inner fender because I ran a ground directly from the left hook to the battery ground point
- I upgraded the wires to 2 gauge welding wire because I upgraded my alternator to 145 amps, see my garage for more information.

Check your transmission fluid levels, if it is heat related low fluid will heat it right up.

Check the instrument panel grounds as well, mine had panel had some lighting irregularities that I solved by disconnecting the ground point wire brushing and reconnecting.

By the way get dielectric grease and start applying it to all electrical connections anytime you disconnect and reconnect anything.

Keep us posted on your progress or lack thereof.
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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Contact mensajero he may want your older model instrument panel.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
eodgator,
Many, many thanks for your input. Will begin work on the grounds this week.
I do have 2 extra clusters now. :smile Will message mensajero.
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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By the way, I used welding cable that I bought at amazon.com and not the expensive wires suggested on the files I sent you.

You can test the engine ground problem theory out by using a jumper cable between the negative battery terminal and a clean spot on the transmission, not the engine.

Good luck, with her.
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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Change your transmission fluid if it smells burnt, feels gritty, is dark, or it has been more than about 50,000 miles since your last change. I'm not sure what Toyota's recommended atf fluid change is but transmissions particularly old ones don't like abuse. When changing fluid drain, don't backflush it, pull the transmission pan and clean the screen. Observe in the pan if there is a lot of metal debris, small flecks are okay, chunks are not. Clean the pan out before resealing. The fluid in the torque converter is still old, so now you can backflush it with the clean screen and pan in place.

Forgot to mention inspect your transmission cooling hoses, one of mine failed and destroyed my transmission. I have a thread on how to make your own for a manual transmission, but it should be about the same for an automatic. I did this because the hoses are very expensive from Toyota. See http://www.rav4world.com/forums/94-4-1-d-i-y-modifications/245377-making-your-own-manual-transaxle-cooling-hoses.html
 
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