The immobilizer (a.k.a. immo), which is an automotive security system integrated in many vehicles since 1996, is installed in some 2001, 2002 and 2003 Toyota RAV4 SUVs, but not in all of them and if it is present or not, that fact is not identifiable from the model number, or by its trim specifications, nor by looking at the VIN number and not even by looking at the ECM part number.
While we do not know the criteria used at the factory for installing it or not and in which vehicles, although we guess it is a location or a demographic reason, the good news is that it can be told if the immobilizer is enabled or not just by looking for the presence of a fuse, or better said, for the presence of a short pin, which resembles a fuse in size and shape, so we will call it a “fuse” from this point on.
There is a fuse box inside the vehicle cab and another one in the engine compartment under the hood. The one we will look for, is the one located in the engine compartment.
You will need to open up the hood of the engine compartment of your auto and standing in front of the engine, you will see the fusebox in the front, at the right, with a black plastic cover. Below is a picture of it (we are sorry for the dirt).
Lift the cover of the box by depressing the clips on the sides of it, and you will see something like the picture below (probably with less dirt).
Just look at the fuse that we circled in the picture below. If that fuse is present in your RAV4, then the immobilizer system is enabled in your auto, as that fuse is for powering the immobilizer system circuit. If otherwise, it is not there and you have been using your RAV4 like that (which means that the fuse was not intentionally taken out for giving you a hard time), then your auto has no immobilizer.
Again, this will apply to the 2001, 2002 or 2003 Toyota RAV4. We have not checked if it applies to other models.
By the way, it is a common problem, that if that fusebox gets damaged or burned by a short circuit and then replaced by a brand new one, it is the most common cause for the vehicle not starting. A brand new fusebox will always come with a fuse in that location and even a recycled fusebox may come with it too, so if your RAV4 does not use the immobilizer system and the fusebox has been replaced, the engine will not start until that fuse is removed. For example, in USA, we have hardly seen a 2001-2003 RAV4 with the immobilizer system enabled, while here in the Caribbean, most of them do have it enabled (yes I know what could be the meaning of this…).
If the vehicle is using or not the immobilizer system, is very important to know when buying either a brand new ECM, or a refurbished or used ECM, no matter if the part number matches or not. For example, you may need an 89661-42651, but we have seen that part number, both, with and without the immobilizer system and there was no distinction on the ECM that could identify the immobilizer status as being on of off.
I hope this helps,
Do you need to service your ECM? You will find the needed information and a professional service in the following link: Rav4Repair.com
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