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Discussion Starter #1
I've seen several posts about stalling, rough idle, etc, but nothing that seems to match my experience last night. I have a 1997 2 door 4WD 5 speed RAV4 with high miles, about 200,000. After much work and diagnosis, it has been running fine, idle at around 700 or 800 RPM, starting on the first try, no check engine light. Last night, I was at a stop sign, went to pull out and stalled. I thought that I could've popped up the clutch too fast, but, when I attempted to restart, it cranked but wouldn't start. After another try, I opened the hood to see if any of the spark plug wires had come off, or if the distributor was loose or damaged, or any other obvious problem. I didn't see anything, tried again, and it started. Once again, stalled when I tried to pull out. After a few more minutes and a few more tries, it started and ran normally the rest of the time. Started on first try the next two times, and went back home with no driveability symptoms. Also no check engine light came on. Any thoughts? thanks.
 

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-- How old are the plugs and wires?

-- How old is the distributor?

-- For troubleshooting this on the 1996-1997 Rav4, I would be giving lots of attention to the age of the distributor; its coil; and its built-in camshaft position sensor.

Other leading causes of no-start conditions here in the last couple of years seem to be:

-- Crankshaft position sensor wiring fouled, sensor fouled with oil and debris, or sensor bad. (It is a chore to get in and look at the sensor. You can measure the sensor's resistance pretty easily by disconnecting its harness though.)

-- ECT sensor bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Distributor rotor is two years old, cap is newer, plugs and wires are a little over two years old. The way that it suddenly conked out led me to suspect something electrical. A wire pops off and there you are. I thought that the TPS or fuel pump gave out, however, after several minutes, it started and ran fine. Not sure if this is a one time anomaly or a problem that will crop up again. The check engine didn't come on. I was thinking of taking it to O'Reilly and let them scan it, perhaps there is a code in the memory since the computer needs to detect the fault twice before the light comes on. Thanks for suggestions.
 

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Could be many things. Twice, similar for me. Once was a bad ignition coil (2 on 2000s), and the other was a jumped/stretched timing belt.
 

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-- If I am remembering correctly, coming to a stop and then having the vehicle fail when accelerating sounds like my experience with an old Honda whose igniter and coil were failing. For a few weeks as I troubleshot, letting the engine bay cool down would allow re-start. The problem did worsen over time.

-- The OP could check for spark when these stalls occur.

-- 1996-1997 Rav4 Distributor and Related Parts Specs:
Ignition Coil Primary
Cold 0.36 to 0.55 ohm
Hot 0.45 to 0.65 ohm

Ignition Coil Secondary
Cold 9.0 to 15.4 kilo-ohms
Hot 11.4 to 18.1 kilo-ohms

Signal Generator (a.k.a. pickup coil or camshaft position sensor, mounted on distributor housing):
Cold 135 − 220 ohms
Hot 175 − 255 ohms

The igniter (or "ignition module") often fails as well, especially on cars this old. Possibly swap out igniters and see if this fixes the problem.

I have been advised to replace both coil and igniter at the same time. An older igniter can stress a new coil yada.

More tests available from the factory service manual's ignition section at:
 

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If not the above, one more thing to try: the next time it stalls, open the gas cap. Big sucking sound, then starts/runs?

Definitely do the major tune up anyway including new plugs (cap and rotor too if you have them; my 2000 doesn't), wires, air and fuel filters.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the suggestions. Over the weekend, I went to O'Reilly Auto and scan showed no stored codes. No problems when I drove it over the weekend. It's a bit worrisome in that perhaps the problem was an isolated incident, but, on the other hand, I don't want to have perishable groceries or be in the middle of a big intersection and not be able to start.
 

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Thanks for all the suggestions. Over the weekend, I went to O'Reilly Auto and scan showed no stored codes. No problems when I drove it over the weekend. It's a bit worrisome in that perhaps the problem was an isolated incident, but, on the other hand, I don't want to have perishable groceries or be in the middle of a big intersection and not be able to start.
Let us know if it pops up again
 

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Same happened to me: stalling at stop signs. My fix: RAV4 World Forum (in here!) told me that my Bosch Spark Plug Wires aren't top-quality. 1/ R&R'd Bosch Plug Wires w/ NGK, still going strong these 6+ yrs. later; 2/ Cleaned EGR Valve; 3/ Ensure Wire are SNUG onto Spark Plugs!

From my Notes 16AUG2013: "New OEM Toyota SPARK PLUGS & WIRES. Plugs Torque: 156 in-lb. = 17.6 nM. = 13 ft-lb. RAV4 World [advised me]: "Bosch plug wires notoriously gunk up = stall at red lights."

Let us know of your success. I hope these simple DIYs help you greatly.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Same happened to me: stalling at stop signs. My fix: RAV4 World Forum (in here!) told me that my Bosch Spark Plug Wires aren't top-quality. 1/ R&R'd Bosch Plug Wires w/ NGK, still going strong these 6+ yrs. later; 2/ Cleaned EGR Valve; 3/ Ensure Wire are SNUG onto Spark Plugs!

I have always used NGK with wires with Toyota, Honda, Mazda, they are indeed the best fit.

I tried driving a lot more to see if the problem would recur, and no stalling, however ,eventually the check engine came on for throttle position sensor. This was been a huge headache since I bought the RAV4. Replaced it when I bought it three years ago, still didn't work and the mechanic ended up wiring it in since the socket wasn't working right. Replaced the sensor again this year. It goes out of adjustment all of the time. Definitely could have caused a stall if throttle response was delayed and RPMs were too low when the clutch engaged. However, there was no code at that time.
 

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@Jasonjh37

Throttle Position Sensors you installed: were they OEM or aftermarket?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
After market, I believe, which may make a difference. I've looked into buying a new wire harness, however, the part is discontinued.

Throttle Position Sensors you installed: were they OEM or aftermarket?
[/QUOTE]
 

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@Jasonjh37

QUOTE: ''
Throttle Position Sensors you installed: were they OEM or aftermarket?''
Whom are you asking?


The prudent choice = OEM genuine Toyota (incl. Aisin; Denso). DON'T install aftermarket when OEM is available.

It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money - that's all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot - it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.” ~John Ruskin
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Definitely the TPS is out of adjustment, has been doing some of the lurching and bucking that it did before when the TPS was a little off. The adjustment shouldn't be difficult, rotate slightly and check with a multi meter, however, I don't know what is the correct reading--Haynes manual only gives instruction on replacing the TPS. If anyone knows, please reply.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Related to this problem, does anyone know if the engine wiring part 82121-42300 and 82121-42310 are interchangeable? Can I use a wire harness from a RAV4 manufactured April 1997 in my RAV4, manufactured August 1996?

There seems to be a baffling array of part numbers and mid year changes, not to mention different configurations (such as 2WD vs. 4WD, manual vs. auto, etc). Thanks for any clarity.
 

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To learn if PNs 82121-42300 & 82121-42310 are interchangeable-- I'd call my local Toyota Dealership Parts Dept., ask them to look up. They have "Replacement" part numbers and should be able to tell you if they are compatible.
 

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Put the two part numbers into toyodiy.com/parts. One harness appears to be for 1995-1997 manual transmission. The other is for 1995-1997 automatic transmission. I expect there is quite a lot of variation between the two.

I recall some oddities with throttle position sensors for the Rav4.1. Did you save the old TPS connector (the one your mechanic evidently could not work with)?
 
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