Sorry about the double post but I think my new Spyware has a bug and
won't let me reply to my own message, what a bunch of crap!!
Here's the details on the fast idle problem.
At 40 deg F starts right away and idle is between 1500 to 1700 rpm..
When temp gauge is at about 4pm the idle drops to 1000 to 1200 rpm..
And after about 10 minutes with temp gauge nearly 3pm it drops to 750
rpm in park or drive.
The problem my daughter says it never took so long to drop to 750 in the
past she thinks she might smell a bit of gas. Maybe it's running to
Any tips appreciated.
Assuming that the 4pm and 3pm are referring to the positions of the
indicator needle on the temperature gauge, it sounds like the idle speeds
are correct for the coolant temperature.
Depending on driving conditions and ambient temperature, 10 minutes is
slightly long for the engine to warm up. Check to make sure that the
electric cooling fans are not on while the engine is warming up.
Depending on mileage, it is possible that the thermostat is not closing
fully, which would result in longer warm-up times.
I doubt if the engine is running too rich when cold, as you would probably
get a check engine light if this were the case. It is normal to smell more
exhaust when the engine is warming up as it will be richer than when it is
fully warmed up.
One thing to check is heater or temp control on Heat? It takes longer to
reach normal running temp if the heater or coolant is flowing through the
heater core. I suggest closing the heater until normal temp is achieved,
then it can be switched on.
Closing the heater core will help the coolant reach operating temperature
more quickly, by a minute or two at the most, especially at the 40 degree
temperature cited by the OP. I doubt is having the heater on is causing the
extended warm-up time.
We don't know if it's frozen where the OP is located, but one would assume
if it's 40 outside, they probably turned on the heater at some point the
previous night. It's kinda like leaving the A/C on, before turning off the
engine. I had a weird temp issue with my 86 PU, when the heater was on
during warm-up. The temp would shoot up to almost max then settle down to
normal, if the heater was left on Hot.
There are alot of other variables to consider, but that minute or two, might
be a few minutes too long for some people, especially when you are in a
While anything is possible, in my experience helping dealers fix problem
vehicles, I always had the best luck by looking at the most likely causes
first. Assuming that the OP's daughter has had the vehicle for more than
one winter, she probably has some idea of how long the vehicle took to warm
up under normal conditions, which is why the question of extended warm-up
times came up. Also, if having the heater set to warm or hot caused
unusually long warm-up times, we would see a lot more questions and
complaints about the condition, which we are not.
OK, guys thanks for your thoughts..
She's going to bring the car over tonight and since I've replaced many
thermostats I know I can do that but I don't know where it is on this
car, is it obvious or hidden?
Second she just told me that the gas mileage is not very good, the best
on the highway has been a bit over 22 and around town and some highway
its way under 20.
I don't know what these thing should get a 4 banger should do better
than that. The car has 82,000 miles on. From what you guys have said
about the thermostat added to the low gas mileage I'm guessing there's
agood chance it's the thermostat. I also wonder why the computer
wouldn't signal that it's not reaching operating temp?
The thermostat is located near the oil filter, where the hose comes into the
block. Go to www.autozone.com for an on-line repair manual for the vehicle.
Pay attention to the orientation of the jiggle valve when re-installing the
thermostat, as noted in the instructions, and pick up a new oil filter
because it has to come off to change the t-stat.
A 2001 4WD Rav 4 with an automatic transmission is EPA rated 20 city/25
highway, so considering the age of the vehicle and the cold weather, the
mileage doesn't seem that bad. How many miles are on the spark plugs? What
is the tire inflation?
The computer will not signal that the car is not reaching operating temp
because that is not something included in the SAE standards. I thought that
you said that the vehicle is reaching operating temp but it just takes
longer. If the vehicle is not reaching operating temp, then the thermostat
is almost certainly bad if the electric cooling fans are not continuously
running. In either case, I'd check the thermostat first.
The temp gauge should be roughly halfway up the scale when the engine is
fully warmed up.
At 80,000 miles, I suspect that there is a combination of factors that is
causing the poor fuel economy.
Possible causes are:
Under-inflated tires - fill to approx. 5 psi over the pressure indicated on
the door jamb or glovebox door.
Unnecessary weight in the vehicle - remove unnecessary weight or cargo
Dragging brakes - check to make sure that the front and rear brakes are not
Roof-mounted cargo boxes, bike racks, ski racks, etc. - even aerodynamic
boxes like Thule and Yakima boxes add drag, especially at highway speeds.
Numerous short trips - the vehicle will naturally get its worst fuel economy
while the engine is warming up, so try to combine many short trips into one
Slipping transmission - check the quality of the transmission fluid
Driving habits like fast starts; riding the throttle pedal until the last
minute and then braking to a stop instead of coasting when possible;
unsteady cruising speeds; driving with left foot resting on brake pedal,
Incorrect spark plugs, like improper heat range. Use OEM spark plugs.
Incorrect base ignition timing
Aftermarket O2 sensor not working properly
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