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I picked up Toyota's fastest production vehicle

 
Old 01-24-2019, 10:26 AM
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I picked up Toyota's fastest production vehicle

From 2006 to 2012 that is... The Toyota Rav4 V6 AWD (source)




A new to me 2007 with 140,000 miles. I bought it for $5,500.

It has a few issues. First of all, the wheels are completely corroded. Not sure why but probably has to do with this car coming from the North (you can barely find AWD cars in Houston).

Pic of the wheels:




Secondly, the rear differential is leaking fluid from all the seals. This appears to be a common known issue where the differential breather rusts up so when the differential heats up it pushes the oil past the seals. I don't think the differential was running on empty as there was still fluid to leak, so there should not be any permanent damage.

Finally, the steering column has a clunk. This is also a known issue with online DIY to replace an intermediate steering shaft that was poorly designed.

So far, I haven't driven it much because of the differential issue. Waiting for the weather to improve before I get everything taken care of. I have some evil plans for it, but really I think I am just going to end up giving it to my mom who has been driving a 1st gen RL for almost 15 years.

Last edited by wackjum; 01-24-2019 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:43 AM
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Given the other cars you own, I have to ask - why?
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:47 AM
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You have the most eclectic stable. I love it.

Originally Posted by ttribe View Post
Given the other cars you own, I have to ask - why?
It was Toyota's fastest production vehicle for a time

It's roomy, practical, and probably gets decent gas mileage. I'm just wondering what title he'll bestow this thing.
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Costco View Post
It was Toyota's fastest production vehicle for a time
That's more of a damning commentary on the state of the Toyota brand than it is an endorsement of the RAV4!
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:57 AM
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I was doubtful that this was Toyotas fastest production vehicle at any time. Then I saw in the pictures that it says 'sport' on the doors and well enough said.
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Old 01-24-2019, 11:12 AM
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IIRC, SuperTrooper169 had one of these as well?
Yikes at the wheels, but otherwise, not a bad little CUV. Looks to be pretty clean, aside from the issues mentioned, should be a good DD for getting around Houston and keeps the miles off the toys.
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Old 01-24-2019, 11:14 AM
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I've always liked the V6 Rav4s ... I wish the wife liked them more
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Old 01-24-2019, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by ttribe View Post
That's more of a damning commentary on the state of the Toyota brand than it is an endorsement of the RAV4!
Technically with Toyota making Lexus so they made the IS-F and LFA during that period if we want to get down to it
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Old 01-24-2019, 03:05 PM
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i had the 4cyl and it was a great car. We had the steering shaft issue as well. Running boards look really good on the Rav I think.

Supercharge that thing!
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Old 01-24-2019, 03:07 PM
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:ponder the Exige/Evora use the 2GR-FE with an S/C
Do it!
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Old 01-24-2019, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ttribe View Post
Given the other cars you own, I have to ask - why?
This car didn't really fit into any need. I just got it because it seemed like a good deal and I thought it would be a fun and quirky car to have. After I saw the car in person, I realized it was pretty clean and just had some common well documented issues so I picked it up.

I am probably going to fix it up and then give it to my mom to drive. She owns a 2004 RL which is getting kind of dated, and she has been driving a 2003 Nissan Pathfinder that I picked up cheap. But that car just got sold. She enjoys the elevated seating position and has been bugging me to find her a CUV. This is IF my wife gives up the Rav4. She drove it home and took a liking to it already...

Originally Posted by Costco View Post
You have the most eclectic stable. I love it.

It was Toyota's fastest production vehicle for a time

It's roomy, practical, and probably gets decent gas mileage. I'm just wondering what title he'll bestow this thing.
Thanks for the compliment. I am always on the lookout for oddball cars.

Actually I have too many cars to fit in my signature box. If I do keep it, I will have to form an ownership impression before I come up with a suitable description.

Originally Posted by gnuts View Post
i had the 4cyl and it was a great car. We had the steering shaft issue as well. Running boards look really good on the Rav I think.

Supercharge that thing!
Which running boards did you have? I'll look into it. So far I plan to powdercoat the wheels Hyper Black and *maybe* install an exhaust.

Originally Posted by 00TL-P3.2 View Post
:ponder the Exige/Evora use the 2GR-FE with an S/C
Do it!
My friend has a supercharged Camry from this gen. He has spent a lot of money on it... I don't think I want to do that, but then I see the silly thing and think how awesome it would be if it was a true sleeper.
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Old 01-24-2019, 04:45 PM
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2GR-FE + S/C + AWD =
It's no contest to the 911, but would be a blast I'm sure. Would likely come down to if the trans could handle the extra power. Wonder if it'd be as simple as sourcing a S/C & the Lotus ECU (doubtful).
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Old 01-24-2019, 06:03 PM
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There are several manufacturers that make SC kits for the 2GR-FE including Toyota's own TRD.
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Old 01-28-2019, 09:25 AM
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they came on the car, but they were like these, actually my car was identical to this:

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Old 01-28-2019, 01:19 PM
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You just converted 2 more women to CUV/SUV
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Old 01-30-2019, 01:35 PM
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Straight ballin
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Old 02-01-2019, 07:14 PM
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Still not even close to the fastest if dropped from a plane. Those are great little vehicles.
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Old 02-06-2019, 03:39 PM
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Acurazine is the best and worst really
You learn to set your expectation bar really fucking low
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:20 PM
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I've been busy with the Rav4 but looks like everything is done now and I have been driving it for the past few days.

Here's what it looks like now:




I found a local guy selling his brand new 2019 Toyota Camry XSE wheels for a decent price ($800). They came with new TPMS and the factory Bridgestone Turanza tires. I also put on the OEM sidesteps that were recommended in this thread.

The only problem is that the tires for the Camry are a tad smaller. Stock size for the rav4 is 235/55/18 and the Camry is 235/45/18. Therefore I've lost about an inch of sidewall and .5" of vertical height. But I am just going to run these tires for now.

Mechanically, I replaced the intermediate steering shaft. That wasn't too hard and took about an hour.



The differential leak was indeed caused by a completely rusted/frozen breather causing fluid to be pushed out past the seals when the differential heated up. I dropped down the differential and replaced the breather and axle seals.



But then after I got everything buttoned up and took it for a test drive, I realized the airplane turbine whining noise had not gone away, so it wasn't because of a low-fluid differential.

More digging revealed that the electromagnetic coupler at the front of the differential has a bearing that if corroded, could cause the noise I was hearing. Of course Toyota's solution is to replace the entire coupling, a $900 part with no aftermarket alternatives.

But some smart people online figured out that the Toyota Avensis, a car sold in Europe, shares the same AWD system as this generation Rav4 and so the bearing is available for purchase from Toyota's German OE supplier Febest. The fix was to remove the coupler, press the coupler out of its dust cover, and change the bearing.

I tried using a brass punch and hammer at first, but the coupler didn't budge. I resorted to picking up a 20 ton press from Harbor Freight Tools and that did the job. I removed the old bearing, pressed in the new bearing and put the coupler back on. I had to wait overnight for the RTV to set but the next morning, my test drive was pleasantly silent so the fix worked.

The car lift was invaluable for this repair.


Car on the lift, getting differential taken out.


Where the coupler mounts to the differential.


The coupler removed.


Me trying to pound out the coupler.


The old and the new bearing.

I've been driving the car for the last two days. I'll be posting some driving impressions soon.



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Old 02-09-2019, 06:39 PM
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Epic
Car looks tits
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Old 02-09-2019, 07:21 PM
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Toyota's best quirk! LOVE it!
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Old 02-10-2019, 12:35 PM
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Nice, Also now that you have smaller tires it should be even faster!

Welcome to the press lifestyle. You will wonder what you did without it. It's like the biggest BFH.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:33 AM
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Looks good.
Only downside to loss of sidewall will be the 'increased' addition of miles to the ODO.
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Majofo View Post
Epic
Car looks tits
Thanks!

Originally Posted by Midnight Mystery View Post
Toyota's best quirk! LOVE it!
Thanks!

Originally Posted by Stapler View Post
Nice, Also now that you have smaller tires it should be even faster!

Welcome to the press lifestyle. You will wonder what you did without it. It's like the biggest BFH.
I've already got a friend scheduling to come by this weekend so I can press out a wheel hub for him.

Originally Posted by 00TL-P3.2 View Post
Looks good.

Only downside to loss of sidewall will be the 'increased' addition of miles to the ODO.
Thanks. Yeah the tire is about 7% smaller so I'm adding 7% more miles. The car really doesn't have much value left at 140k+ miles, but still not inconsequential. On the plus side, I may actually be going the speed limit now.
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:09 PM
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A minor issue & not a big deal on an econo-UV, even if it is that fastest Toyota produced.
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:48 PM
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Early Driving Review

I've been driving the car for a few days now, both for weekend errands and work day commuting.

I'm just going to focus on the performance aspects. As I boldly claimed in the title, this was Toyota's fastest North American production vehicle during its run from 2006-2012.

The V6 Rav4 came with Toyota's standard 3.5 liter V6, good for a factory rated 269 hp and 248 lb/ft of peak torque at 4700 RPM (the 2GR-FE). This might not seem like much, but this Rav4 is built on Toyota's New MC platform. Actually it was the first vehicle using this platform, and it is the same small platform Toyota uses for the Corolla, Prius, and Scion TC and XB. This engine is actually a bit overkill for the platform. In addition, my Rav4 has AWD. The V6 Rav4 also came in FWD, but I cannot imagine what that would be like to drive.

The V6 Rav4 also came with a 5 speed auto instead of the 4 speed auto.

The AWD is a simple on-demand FWD biased system that usually keeps 100% of the power at the front. There's no side to side torque vectoring here. But it does use an electro-magnetic coupler instead of a viscous coupling so it can pre-emptively transfer power to the rear when it anticipates slip (like during acceleration) instead of just reacting to slip like Honda's "Realtime AWD."

So on the pavement, the Rav4 does move. It is not the fastest thing I have ever driven by a wide margin, but it will move much faster than you'd expect. It has an ample combination of power, handling, and delivery to make for a very fun drive. There's no torque steer or slip. The steering is light and greenhouse visibility is good. The car is also pretty small and the suspension controls body roll well. So darting through traffic or taking suburban turns quickly is pretty fun. You can "point and shoot." I keep thinking the whole time that this car is just way quicker than it should be.

The Sport trim comes with 18" wheels (which I swapped to another set of 18" wheels) and a stiffer suspension. Despite having 140k~ miles on the factory suspension, I don't feel like the suspension is worn. It is stiff though. It is significantly stiffer than what I was expecting for a family mainstream SUV. My loss of 1" of sidewall might be contributing somewhat, but overall the ride is harsher than what can be accounted for with tires alone. I have driven and own much stiffer cars, but the combination of stiff suspension, low amount of cabin dampening, and thinly padded and unsupportive seats is making the ride borderline unbearable. I would imagine it making mainstream drivers upset.

Also the steering is electronic, artificially numb, and overboosted. It makes the car easy to drive, but also not very engaging.

The throttle is acting like the throttle from underpowered econoboxes where initial response is aggressive to give the car the impression it has more power than it really does. In weak economy cars, it is a little annoying. On the V6 rav4 it is a lot to handle if you're not used to it. If this was FWD, I would think it would be outright messy with a lot of torque steer and tire slip. I find it very hard to modulate this throttle well and have resigned myself to just starting out faster than I normally would.

Brakes are good. No complaints there.

So overall, the car is genuinely fun to drive. It leaves a lot to be desired in terms of being a true performance car (lack of paddle shifters or a sport shift mode for example) but if you are constrained by real life needs, it's a good compromise vehicle that will get you through day to day life with a lot more entertainment than an econo-commuter. It also has enough performance to at least give you a credible chance of keeping up and enjoying a Sunday morning cruise with your buddies bringing Miatas, etc.

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Old 02-11-2019, 05:52 PM
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So who gets it? Mom or the the Mrs?
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:56 PM
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Out of curiosity, being ut shares the platform with a TC, Corolla, etc., could the 2GR-FE V6 subframe and engine be swapped into one of those?
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by NBP04TL4ME View Post
So who gets it? Mom or the the Mrs?
Tomorrow, wife is taking it for the rest of the week to see how it is for her. I've already decided that if it is going to my mom, I will need to get the OE tire size. These nice wheels need as much meat as possible to protect them from curbing. And this ride is something else.

Originally Posted by Midnight Mystery View Post
Out of curiosity, being ut shares the platform with a TC, Corolla, etc., could the 2GR-FE V6 subframe and engine be swapped into one of those?
There is a vehicle in Japan called the Toyota Blade Master and Toyota Blade Master-G. (What awesome names). It looks like a leather interiored hatchback E150 Corolla, but it came with the 2GR-FE. So yes I think a 2GR could be dropped into an E150 Corolla.

*BUT* the Toyota Corolla sold in NA and the Corolla sold elsewhere were different. The 06-12 Corolla from NA ran on a wide version of the Toyota MC Platform and was designated E140. Japan had a standard width Toyota MC Corolla also designated E140. Australia, Europe, and South Africa got an otherwise nearly identical looking Corolla but based on the New MC Platform and were designated E150.

I think for a 2GR swap, your best bet is the 2nd gen Scion XB, which appears to be the vehicle closest to the Toyota Auris that was available in NA.



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Old 02-11-2019, 06:49 PM
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I've seen people swap V6's into TC's before. It's a pain so it seems. Just curious. Thanks!
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by wackjum View Post
Tomorrow, wife is taking it for the rest of the week to see how it is for her. I've already decided that if it is going to my mom, I will need to get the OE tire size. These nice wheels need as much meat as possible to protect them from curbing. And this ride is something else.

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Old 02-12-2019, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by CCColtsicehockey View Post
Technically with Toyota making Lexus so they made the IS-F and LFA during that period if we want to get down to it
I was gonna say, if we're considering Lexus to be Toyota, which it technically is, I have that exact same bone to pick
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:50 AM
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You guys just can't stand the cute-ute as Toyota's performance flag-bearer.

But there was a time when Acura's TSX Sport Wagon was the only product Acura had with the name "Sport" in it. Luckily things are so much better for Toyota now. They have that BMW and that Subaru...
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:17 AM
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I bet you nerds are going to say Acura == Honda
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:33 AM
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by wackjum View Post
and greenhouse visibility is good.
I don't think I've seen this term used before. What do you mean? Just overall visibility out the windows?
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:27 PM
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I haven't seen it used as frequently, but do recall greenhouse being equated to the visibility/openness/airiness of the cabin.

Considering greenhouses are typically all glass, a viable comparison for a typical SUV.
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:44 PM
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I've always referred to the cabin area and the visibility out the windows as the "greenhouse." I think I heard it somewhere 10+ years ago and it stuck with me.
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:59 PM
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greenhouse visibility in most of your rides must be pretty shitty
going off the smell that is
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by wackjum View Post
I've always referred to the cabin area and the visibility out the windows as the "greenhouse." I think I heard it somewhere 10+ years ago and it stuck with me.

Me too... I've also heard it called a fish bowl when visibility is good.
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