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Discussion Starter #1
Good evening all.
First time rav4 owner, been working on vehicles since I got my license(20 something years ago), and fairly mechanically competent. I purchased a 97 MT 2.0l a few months back. Super clean all over,200k on original drivetrain/ engine. The seller said there had been on again off again fuel pump issues, so maybe replacement would be need in the near future.
I changed all fluids, sea foam in fuel system, and checked all supported obd2 readouts.
It would occasionally lag/ stall here and there, so I changed fuel pump, cleaned aic, manifold, and pertinent areas. Ran great for another couple weeks. Then went for longer test drive (mostly commuting 1-2 miles) when it stuttered and seemed to lack fuel delivery, while on the accelerator. About 5 miles later it stalled out and wouldn't restart for almost an hour. Fuel level was under 1/4, so after filling to full, that solved stalling issues for a bit. This last week there's no start without starter fluid, unless I'm parked facing uphill. Just changed EFI main relay thinking that may be it also, but it still won't start without starter fluid. It sounds as if it's getting bogged down when giving it gas after starting with the assist, but no response from giving it throttle.
Next guess is checking fuel pressure regulator, but I'd appreciate any other notions on the problem. Thanks!
 

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I hear you about your Rav4 not needing the starting fluid when it is parked facing uphill. The fuel pump is in the rear of the fuel tank. When the Rav4 is facing uphill is when there will be the most "head" on the fuel pump, likely yielding a bit better discharge pressure.

But too often someone comes here with starting problems and with the sense that the engine is not getting adequate fuel. They head right to the fuel pump. But rarely is the problem the fuel pump; the fuel pressure regulator; or any of the three fuel filters. Instead it's something related to turning the fuel pump on via the computer. Like the Crank Position Sensor. Have you checked its connector? Have you checked its resistance? If the timing belt has not been changed in a long time, the crank position sensor can get covered with gelatinous oil and may not be working optimally.

Have you checked the resistance readings of the ECT sensor?

How old are the spark plugs, wires, distributor cap and distributor rotor? I do not think these are the cause, but if any of these are old, then they may aggravate troubleshooting.

Resistance checks of the igniter and ignition coil would be worthwhile as well. Either of these can cause problems after engine warm-up.
 

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Or it could be the (new) fuel pump. :)

Changed the under-hood fuel filter (as well as the air filter)?

Another easy thing to try/check, after it starts running poorly, is to open the gas cap. Big sucking sound, then runs well?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the reply. A couple times it stalled out on me the ckp code came on, so I bought a new one(I forgot to mention that aspect🥴)
It hasn't thrown that code lately so I put that on the back burner. Now that you mention this, I'll head that route first.
New air filter, I'll check on under hood fuel filter.
Thanks again!
 

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Good evening all.
First time rav4 owner, been working on vehicles since I got my license(20 something years ago), and fairly mechanically competent. I purchased a 97 MT 2.0l a few months back. Super clean all over,200k on original drivetrain/ engine. The seller said there had been on again off again fuel pump issues, so maybe replacement would be need in the near future.
I changed all fluids, sea foam in fuel system, and checked all supported obd2 readouts.
It would occasionally lag/ stall here and there, so I changed fuel pump, cleaned aic, manifold, and pertinent areas. Ran great for another couple weeks. Then went for longer test drive (mostly commuting 1-2 miles) when it stuttered and seemed to lack fuel delivery, while on the accelerator. About 5 miles later it stalled out and wouldn't restart for almost an hour. Fuel level was under 1/4, so after filling to full, that solved stalling issues for a bit. This last week there's no start without starter fluid, unless I'm parked facing uphill. Just changed EFI main relay thinking that may be it also, but it still won't start without starter fluid. It sounds as if it's getting bogged down when giving it gas after starting with the assist, but no response from giving it throttle.
Next guess is checking fuel pressure regulator, but I'd appreciate any other notions on the problem. Thanks!
Mine is a 97 also having stalling and running issues I changed fuel filter ,fuel pump,egr,plug wires ,distributor cap and finally ended up being wiring going down towards crank position sensor leading from alternator general area going down to crank sensor seemed like it was rubbing alternator bracket and I had to wrap it up to insulate just my 2 cents
 

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I recommend checking that the CKP sensor connector is connected properly, with pins straight so that the two sides of the connector mate together right. (I had the latter problem once.) Also is the CKP sensor properly screwed in place?

Your Rav4's symptoms sure sound like those here:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sorry for the delay on response...
Changed crankshaft pos sensor.... no luck(but I learned the bump start crankshaft pulley bolt trick.. and that 6mm bolts needed in pulley removal kit!)
Running short on free time, so I towed it to a garage mechanic in town to check out.
He got the pump and rav going with separate power source, so the problem seems to be somewhere before fuel pump. Looking at wiring diagram it looks like C/OPN relay is next in circuit to fuel pump.
Question is... I've got a week till back in school (automotive technician certification) so I'm able to diagnose thoroughly there. My garage mechanic doesn't feel strongly about being able to fix the issue, and the certified technician in town is going to charge $200-250 just for that diagnosis(I get it, but I don't want to pay someone to potentially tell me this exact diagnostics answers. Can I safely hook up direct 12v to the pump to get it driving the 25 miles to school?
Or other ideas to bypass a full diagnostics bill? Thanks again
 

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When you turn the ignition key to the "on" position (engine off and not cranking), does the check engine lamp on the instrument panel (beneath the tachometer) light? If it does not light, see 1997 RAV4 with a periodic 'no start' condition

I cannot advocate for powering the fuel pump via a direct connection to the battery and driving any distance.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Great thread! Thanks!
I didn't think that it would be a viable option to drive with a gerry rigged pump, but I figured I'd throw it out there 😬
 

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I actually think it is a "viable option." But from across the miles and as a stranger whose competence you should not trust, I did not want to advocate it. I am trying to think of everything needed to ensure safety, and then, "how can I be even safer with this gerry-rigged pump?" Like whatever switch you use to turn the pump on and off should be well outside the gas tank. The rear seat (covering the access hatch to the fuel pump assembly) should be bolted down. You should have a passenger operating the switch for the fuel pump. When ready to shut the engine down, leave the engine running and just open the switch, to cut off fuel. Then remove the ignition key. You should practice a bit in a parking lot. Simulate how this works if the police stop you. Can you shut everything down undetected?

Would I try it? In a pinch, maybe, taking my life into my own hands.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Dually noted👍🏻
After looking through wiring diagram of fuel delivery, it seems like that C/OPN might be the point of failure(so long as it's not an ECM issue).
Bought some relays, getting a look at it on Friday, I'll give an update after.
Thanks again for the great leads!
 
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