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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everyone,

This is my first time posting here and I guess necessity is the cause of this being my first post. My wife's 2002 RAV4 with an I4 has some sort of engine issue and I think it's the fuel system.

Battery is fine and the system will crank and attempt to fire, but will not actually start. There is a bit of combustion so I reasonably can say compression is fine, as is getting some spark. Plugs and the long boot were replaced in Dec by a mechanic. The engine almost acts like it's out of gas, but it has a 1/2 tank. It suddenly stopped working yesterday.

Based on previous experience with other vehicles, I think it could be the fuel system. I have a couple of questions that I was hoping to ask in advance before I can get home from work today and begin some investigations. I've done some searching here, but am hoping for clarification particularly for this model year...

1) When I turn the key to the on position (not start), shouldn't I hear the fuel pump making some sort of sound to indicate it's priming the system? Usually on most cars you can hear it, or you hear some sort of electrical sound coming from the vehicle, indicating that. I do not hear anything at all and I had her help me last night so I could listen.

2) Assuming that yes, I should hear some sort of sound indicate the fuel system is getting going, doesn't that leave me with checking the fuel relay/EFI relay, then any related fuses, and then checking the pump itself?

3) I don't currently have a voltimeter but I could borrow one. In any case, when I check the relay, I read somewhere that if I shake it and rattles that means it's bad. Can anyone verify?

Thank you!
 

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You should hear the fuel pump run for a very short time when moving the ignition key to the On position. If you don't hear that sound then the problem most likely has to do with the fuel pump. You already appear to know what the next steps are to take if you don't hear the pump run.
 

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I often use a simple 12V test light for such troubleshooting. Don't know about the relay shake test but you should feel it click when you turn the key on. You can also test it by swapping it with another identical one.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both for the tips. My dad came over with the voltmeter and confirmed fuses good, relay good (we jumped to battery and checked voltage, also it clicked when powered), then tested the connector at the tank and had 12 volts. I guess it's the fuel pump after all!

I was wondering if I could get a bit more advice. I'm searching online for the fuel pump for this 2002. I'm coming across one on parts geek for $23, (here's the link, if i'm allowed to imbed 2001-2005 Toyota RAV4 Fuel Pump - Fuel Delivery - Autobest 01-05 RAV4 Fuel Pump - 8196-05377267 - PartsGeek, and then others as high as $69, on up to $200. That's quite a disparity...am I missing something? It looks like the ones that cost more include a lot of things such as new strainer, some hose clamps, etc, but the less expensive ones have what I guess is just the pump. So I'm not sure exactly what I would need.

Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Everyone, thank you for the help. I got one of the fuel pumps that Dr. Dyno recommended. It was easy to swap the pump out, just a little splicing on the wiring/connector. It fired right up. In fact, the car has more get-up-and-go, I believe. Also, we were chasing some check engine light codes throughout the last couple of years (first we were told catalytic converter, then something else about fuel mixture, but I don't think it was O2 sensor). Anyway, the check engine light is off now, even though we never disconnected the battery. I don't know if it was a fluke, or if the engine light automatically goes off if the car hasn't run for a week or so, but it will be interesting to see if somehow that was related.

Thanks again!
 

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I suspect the codes were caused by intermittently low fuel pressure while the pump was failing. That wouldn't allow the system to achieve lock at 14:7 air/fuel ratio. The post-cat sensor would detect that and trigger the codes They probably won't come back.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi everyone,

Sorry to bring up this thread, but last night the car died while going home...just kind of stalled out as we turned. The car would crank but not start. I immediately suspected the fuel pump had died...I couldn't make a determination for sound due to baby crying. But, I had been hearing a higher-pitched electric whir sound over the last few weeks, and thought it was the pump being noisy. I still will go through the steps of fuel relay testing, etc., but it's probably that $10 pump.

I'm willing to pay a little more this time to make sure the pump is more reliable :) Bosch is a name brand, would a Bosch fuel pump be a good idea? Are they known for good products? I've found some for $80ish.

Thanks everyone!
 
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