2001 RAV4 fast idle ?

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 rich cold. Any tips appreciated. Thanks Hank
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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.
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Ray O
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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.
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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.
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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 rush.
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<snipped>

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.
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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? Thanks Hank

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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.
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Ray O This car is front wheel drive only, so it should get better mileage eh? Hank

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Spark plugs are new so it's not plugs.. The temp gauge doesn't reach 3:00 but is at 3:30.. What should the temp gauge read after 1/2 hour drive? Thanks hank

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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 dragging.
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 longer 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, etc.
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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A 2001 front wheel drive Rav 4 with an automatic transmission has an EPA rating of 21 city and 28 highway.
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