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LeeADAB

Intermittent Starting Issue - 2003 Rav4 Gx 5Dr 2.0 Vvti

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For quite a while while now I have had an intermittent starting issue on my 2003 4.2 Rav4. On occasions (so infrequent there has been no need to get it looked at) - which seems to occur on the odd damp morning when that layer of wet mist covers the car.....I get a fluttering noise when starting. Although it always starts even if the noise happens I am looking for a heads up on where to start looking.

I feel it has to be a dampness issue but maybe the sound files attached will help out. I have attached one with the car starting normally in -2deg and dry and then the other morning when damp drizzle.

I had a service back in March and had new spark plugsfitted just to rule that out.

Any help would be appreciated. confused.gif

Freezing -2° dry.mp3

Cold damp drizzle.mp3

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check with el contacts on starter + sparks

regards

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Hi Igormus. Thanks for the reply.

I have removed the front of the air filter to gain access to the ignition coils. As the "flutter" happens towards the end of the starting I was leaning towards thinking the last coil to fire could be at fault. I had found out that the firing order was 1-3-4-2. Well it turns out that that was the one that was replaced back in 2007.

Between now and then it looks like it has been removed and the rubber/silicone seal from the top has gone missing. There is a 3-4mm gap now between the plastic and the engine. The ignition coil part number is 90919-02244.

I'm going to bet that this would allow damp in to the spark plug causing my problems .

I have attached a few photos which show the gap and a normal unit and the offending one with missing seal.

Would anyone on here have an old coil they could send the seal from?

Hopefully someone can help out?

Many thanks, Lee

post-105906-0-17231100-1356781713_thumb.

post-105906-0-05263700-1356781845_thumb.

post-105906-0-77390300-1356781911_thumb.

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Have you tried swapping the coils? I would try a set of new Iridium plugs as that noise is the sarter trying to keep up with the engine as it is half started.

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Hi Anchorman,

I haven't tried swapping the coils. Maybe putting that one in first position would then make the engine flutter on the first ignition? I have had brand new plugs fitted in march this year as I wanted to change them to see if they helped. I do think they fitted platinum plugs but from what I read that should be fine even though the engine block says Iridium. The fault has happened for well before these plugs though so I don't think they are at fault. I needed a new rocker cover gasket fitted a couple of years back by Toyota and they would have removed the coils then. I think that is when the seal went missing.

I think that sealing the hole would be the first stage to solving this problem. Only Toyota parts don't sell the seal separately. :(

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Can you not make a seal from some suitable rubber sheet/mat?

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I once struggled with an Avensis that a mate had said was recently fitted with new plugs. Not only would it not start properly but it was really lumpy at idle. A set of new Iridium plugs cured it.

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Are these engines fitted with a vacuum switch to control the fuel pump. I would be looking here as I had a petrol engined scenic that used to fail to start intermittantly. Happened raraly so very difficult to diagnose. Changed the switch and never had the problem again.

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Can't think what that is but fairly sure RAVs don't have them.

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Normally fiitted somewhere on the intake manifold. Suction on turning the engine over makes contact in the switch allowing current through to the fuel pump. Fiited to most modern petrol engines for safety reasons. Be very surprised if they don't have one or something very similer. A dirty or faulty crankshaft position sensor can also cause similer problems

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I have ordered a complete ignition coil. That way I can use the seal from it and have a spare for future repair if needed. Thought that would be a good idea anyway as the other three are still original.

The last few wet mornings it has fluttered each morning. At least that may make the fault finding easier.

Last night I took advice from Davrav and after lots of searching the shed used a rubber washer and an O-ring as a makeshift temporary seal.

This morning (wet) it started perfectly. As the problem has been intermittent I'm not saying its fixed but will see and soon I can get a proper seal fitted. Hopefully it won't get too hot and melt my makeshift seal.

I will speak to the garage too about swapping the platinums over to Iridium plugs. I've seen lots of posts saying to use Iridium and as it says on the engine too I want them!!

Thanks for the other replies too. If this doesn't solve it I will then start on the other suggestions.

Happy New Year to you all!!

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Another update....

Spare ignition coil arrived today. Removed seal and fitted. (after testing the spare worked of course)

Has been fine last couple of days with the temp seal so watch this space!

I have also checked the service invoice from March and the new plugs are Iridium!! NGK4589's :)

Will post back after suitable testing! (as I hate posts that don't have a conclusion!)

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Back again...

Damp this morning and it fluttered on start up. :g:

I think it has to be a damp connection somewhere?

So it isn't.....Spark Plugs as they are new Iridium ones and it was happening with the last set before March. Or the ignition coil with the missing seal. When I replaced the coil seal I swapped 1 and 2 coils over just to see if the sound changed with the firing order. Nope.

If it were the fuel pump or crankshaft sensor wouldn't that happen in all conditions as opposed to just when damp. It seems to be the mornings when that layer of mist covers the car.

Any Suggestions please....?

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May be worth checking all your earth connections - especially the main straps. They do get a build up of corrosion over time.

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Cheers Davrav....Will do that. Is there any in particular or shall I just go round checking all earthing bolts i find attached to the chassis? What do you mean by "main straps".

Thanks in advance.

I'm doing things one at a time to see if I can pinpoint the problem rather than doing all at once and never knowing.

Tonight I will follow Igormus's suggestion of checking the contacts on starter.

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Its not bad fuel again is it as the video sound clip sounds just like how our Meriva struggled some times to start as that had some bad petrol put in when we bought it,took a few months for it to clear.??

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Hi Paulus17,

Thanks for the reply,

I think I can rule fuel out as yesterday I filled up to the top with fresh fuel.

(48.9L did 320miles FYI.)

Would a bocked injector cause that noise or would that be an issue permanently rather than just on damp days?

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Cheers Davrav....Will do that. Is there any in particular or shall I just go round checking all earthing bolts i find attached to the chassis? What do you mean by "main straps".

Thanks in advance.

I'm doing things one at a time to see if I can pinpoint the problem rather than doing all at once and never knowing.

Tonight I will follow Igormus's suggestion of checking the contacts on starter.

By main ones I meant any heavy gauge straps.

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Hi Paulus17,

Thanks for the reply,

I think I can rule fuel out as yesterday I filled up to the top with fresh fuel.

(48.9L did 320miles FYI.)

Would a bocked injector cause that noise or would that be an issue permanently rather than just on damp days?

Now that i can't answer Lee not been mechy minded,but i will say it took us a good few months with filled up tanks for it to clear,as that was what we was told to do without draing the tank,and even then we would still get a judder when running,do you get any judders when the Rav is running or does it run ok??

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No Judders at all. Once started (even if it flutters) it runs perfectly. I say "perfectly" as I am really happy with the car. I runs as good as it did back in 2005 when it had 16k on the clock. Now it has done 74k.

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Oh well it was just another suggestion,sorry i can't help any.

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I think its ignition based. Lift the bonnet at night and see if you can see any blue sparks tracking over the engine either to earth or between two coils. It would be best done at one of these cold damp starts. Make absolutely certain that there is nothing touching any of the coils or wires. This is one with no leads - just the coils sat on top of the plugs, right?

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Hi Anchorman,

Correct there are no leads other than the ones that connect to the top of the four ignition coils. The coils lower into the spark plug tube and sit over the plugs.

I will have a look in the dark. The only time it has this issue is first thing in the morning when damp and sat all night so may not get any joy in evening darkness. Maybe a light water spray misting could replicate the morning damp (using a household plant sprayer?).

I remember once laying under my grandparents car with a garden hose as their car died every time they went through a puddle. That was much easier as once i found the point that made the engine cut out I just waterproofed the connection.

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The output of the coils is boosted during cranking to aid cold start. You could try the water mist but it would be best when the engine is stone cold. That one that had the rubber missing isn't damaged in any way is it?

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No damage at all to that coil visually. It has the seal now and looks new. I could swap it with the spare but as I have moved it into position one I think if it was that coil then the flutter would happen at the start? It still happens at the end of firing. If I release the key when it starts to flutter the engine happily runs and so far it has never not started or required another try.

Thinking that maybe the wire/connector to the last coil to fire may be getting damp?

Will look tonight but the engine won't be stone cold. I can try early morning when it is dark. The wife is always up early so I can ask her to turn it over while I look for sparks!! :)

I have some silicone dielectric grease which I can start applying to the wires to insulate them.

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