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My Rav4 has developed a problem where it starts, then immediately shuts off. Once it's done this, if I try cranking it again without turning the key back to the fully off position, it turns over, but never tries to fire. However, if I turn the key back to the off position, then try again, it will start just fine, but still immediately shut off. It also won't start even if I give it a little gas while trying to start it (unlike some other descriptions of similar problems that I have read). Also, when it starts, it sounds like a good clean start, it just won't idle afterwords.
It did this once about a year ago, exactly like what I am describing, then half an hour later, it started fine and this hasn't happened again until a few days ago. When it happened again, it wouldn't start, then a a while later is started just fine. It also started fine the next few times I tried to start it, but it would occasionally do this (stop working, then magically start working later). Now it does it every time and I cannot get the engine to stay on. So this is something that progressively went out over the last week or so.
Someone on Rav4World suggested that it might be the ignition switch and very kindly told me the pattern of continuity that I should see if the switch worked vs if it was bad (see attached picture). There does seem to be an issue with my switch, because I have no continuity between 2-3 when the switch is in the Acc or On position (and I should). However, that does not appear to be the source of the current problem. The correct continuity pattern for the car when running should be 2-3, 2-4, and 6-7 (see attached figure). The engine starts via a connection from 7-8.
Therefore, to bypass the switch, I took the female end of the plug that connects to the ignition switch, unhooked from the switch, and ran a wire from 2-3, from 2-4, and from 6-7 (thus creating the connectivity for the On position). Then, I hooked the battery back up and quickly touched a wire from 7-8. The car started, but it immediately shut back off, just like before. Further, one of the oddities about this problem is that once the engine shuts off, I have to turn they key back to the off position before it will fire again (otherwise it just keeps turning over but never firing). So, while I had the wires rigged up I played with this. As expected, if I connect 7-8 getting it to fire and stall, then immediately reconnect 7-8, it turns over, but doesn't fire (just like trying to turn the key again without first going to the off position). I tried to figure out which circuit needed to be broken for it to reset and let the engine fire again, and its the 6-7 connection. If I start/stall it then unplug and replug 2-3 or 2-4 and try it again, it turns over, but won't fire. However, if I unplug and replug 6-7 and try again, it starts then quits (just like if I had turned the key to off, then tried again).
This makes me think that whatever is wrong is on the circuit for 6-7. Does anyone know what is on that circuit that could cause this?
Just for reference, here are some other things I've tried:
Checked spark plugs and wires (they were replaced fairly recently, and all seem to be in good shape, correctly gauged, etc.)
Checked for vacuum leaks (I did this one of the times that I got it running).
Cleaned the throttle body and idle air control valve
Replaced the fuel filter
Tried starting it with the MAP sensor disconnected (98's don't have an MAF)
Tried starting it with the green coolant temperature sensor disconnected (it really didn't like that at all).
Note: this is a cross post from Rav4World, and everything there has been and is continuing to be very helpful, but so far no solutions have emerged, so I thought I'd expand the collective brain pool a bit.
I'm at my wits end here, so any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
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