Intermitent starting problem on 2004rav4 manual transmission

my 2004toyota rav4, 70,000 miles has been problem free. Now when i turn the key , nothing, no sound , dead. sometimes the 2nd or 3rd try ‘it’ll start right up, and run like nothing’s wrong. other times will not start at all. 2 hrs later , try it and starts right up,. the battery has been replaced and it chged nothing. The mechanics are stumped and say they can’t do anything till the problem repeats itself, and it starts fine, at their garage. I’ve been stranded and don’t want that to happen again. What’ wrong? the clutch switch?

It might be the clutch interlock switch.

A quick way to check is unplug the connector to the switch and insert a jumper wire into the connector. This removes the switch from the circuit.

If the engine starts every time it’s the clutch interlock switch.


I see a new starter in your future.

I’m also going to vote for a bad clutch interlock switch here with the starter a distant second.

I also have to think the safety switch is the cause of the trouble. You might be able to prove that by depressing the clutch a few times when the trouble occurs to see if that helps. The trouble could also be with the starter solenoid contacts since it is at the age when that kind of thing happens. You should hear a pretty load click though when trying to start the engine if that is the case for the trouble. The contacts come together but don’t connect due to contact wear.

You could wire in a bypass switch to the starter solenoid which will allow you to still start the engine if the trouble is before the solenoid. That will get you going but it defeats a safety system.