Rav4's off road capabilities - Toyota RAV4 Forums
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#1 (permalink) Old 07-22-2005, 11:15 AM
jonathan_ravman
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Rav4's off road capabilities

Hey guys ... I'm new to the whole Rav4 environment ... i just got my 2002 Toyota Rav 4 , its 5spd i got some cooper mud and snow tires on it right now ... i have yet to find a problem with my rav4. My question to you guys is ... How does it do off road ... is it comparable to the Jeeps and Trackers capabilities ??? let me know on how it preforms id apreceate it .. thnx


 
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#2 (permalink) Old 07-25-2005, 12:26 AM
anthonyd
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Never taken mine on 'real' offroad like rocks and bush!

But after saying that I can tell you they rock on the soft sand. I take mine on the australian beaches just about every weekend - been over sand dunes 3 stories high with no problem.

Normal beach driving is done without even deflating the tyres (cant be bothered anymore!)

I think the rav has the advantage over the bigger 4x4's on the sand because of it's light weight not letting it bog down!
 
#3 (permalink) Old 07-25-2005, 07:28 AM
rav4_at
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The RAV4 is no match for rock crawling, very steep ascent or descends due to the lack of low range(although I have driven down some pretty steep logging trails with the use of brakes) or anything really deep.

The jeeps and trackers have low range and truck body on frame construction so they are alot stronger not to mention steel bash plates underneath and better ground clearance.

Though the RAV4 is capable of going through some pretty knarly stuff(at a crawl) and it would almost embarass some on the sand and dirt trails(its light and manuverable).

It is very light and should you get stuck, you can winch yourself out easily(I use a 2 ton hand winch stowed under luggage compartment).

I think all in all the one major thing that limits the RAV4 is the ground clearance and suspension. Upgrade to OME or other 1 inch or so lift kits with suspension plus A/T tires and you are ready to roll.

Just drive cautiously, have recovery equipment of some sort plus another RAV4 and it will take you places that most wouldnt want to try.

Cheers
 
#4 (permalink) Old 07-25-2005, 03:42 PM
Modderrhu
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Well, the RAV4 is AWD, not 4x4. It has no low range, and it has a limited ground clearance. We can do something about the 4x4 issue by putting locking differentials in, and we can raise the chassis using lift kits. However, there is nothing that we can do to put low range in the RAV.

Mention's been made about other more serious 4x4's using ladder frames - the RAV4 uses a monocoque construction which is inherently weaker. However, Mitsubishi saw fit to build the Pajero this way, so I'm not all too sure that for recreational and leisure purposes, a monocoque construction is such a bad thing. We're not driving 2 tonne pick-ups here that are being put to hard work. We're not climbing over rocks where individual wheels will find themselves in the air and be unable to support the vehicle's weight either.

I think that the RAV uses limited slip differentials, front, rear and central, so it's drive system is perhaps better called 4WD than AWD. This 4WD system fails if two wheels on the same side of the vehicle lose traction. So, if you drive through a portion of terrain with firm ground under one side of the vehicle, and loose mud on the other, you risk losing all traction. A locking differential will help this by making sure the power doesn't get fed to the wheels that have no traction. With AWD, if only one wheel loses traction, then all the engine power goes to that single wheel.

Lifting the RAV is easy. I'm waiting to get some Old Man Emu springs for mine, for an extra 40mm ground clearance. A cheaper way to do it is to put some bungs in-between the suspension coils and the housing, though I'm not sure what real disadvantages this has over using proper springs.

So, I believe the ultimate limiting factor is the lack of low range. Low range is the bee's knees for crawling through rivers, over rocks, through mud and other such obstacles. For steep hill descent low range is a help beyond all others. Particularly if there's any risk of losing traction when you touch the brakes. That's the real issue here; when you start to slide going down-hill, do your utmost to never touch the brakes, doing so will risk your traction, and if you lose traction, you will start to slide. Better to go a bit too fast than to use the brakes and potentially getting into a slide you'll never come out of.

The RAV4 advantages that rav4_at and anthonyd have mentioned are a definite! The RAV is the very best thing for loose sand because it is so light. On loose sand, you don't want to use low range anyway, doing so can get you stuck, it has too much digging ability.

So, compared to a Jeep Cherokee, a Land Rover Defender, a Toyota Hilux (kinda like a Tacoma) or such vehicles, the stock RAV falls very, very far short. Best you see it as a Recreational Activity Vehicle with 4WD (RAV4) rather than a off-roader.
 
#5 (permalink) Old 07-25-2005, 04:23 PM
Stafford Meadow
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I thought the traction control feature was supposed to transfer power to the wheel with grip no matter which one it is or what side it is on. At least that's the way it looks watching the Toyota video on the Toyota website.
 
#6 (permalink) Old 07-25-2005, 04:55 PM
dabprice
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This is excerpted from'Victor555's post on 4/30/05. Note especially his comments about the '01- '03 Ravs:

Quote:
As some have mentioned, the RAV4 has OUTSTANDING APPROACH, DEPARTURE AND BREAKOVER ANGLES!!! VERY VERY IMPRESSIVE This is because the vehicle has very short front and rear "overhangs" and this is an EXTREMELY IMPORTANT aspect with regards to off-roading, and that's why I'm DEADLY against Toyota increasing the vehicle's length in it's next redesign.

Secondly, while the MINIMUM RUNNING GROUND CLEARANCE is not very good (6.7"), it gives the RAV decent "PRACTICAL GROUND CLEARANCE" because the vehicle is relatively narrow (this is especially significant when one side of the vehicle is on a lower or higher surface). Besides this, the LOWEST POINT (suspension arms at the very corners, right next to the wheel which are at 6.7") is at a very insignificant area as relates to off-roading. The important parts residing in the central areas of the underbody (differential, overall underbody, fuel tank and oil pan) are tucked up pretty high.

The AWD model even has "some" skidplate protection for cryin out loud, and while the 2001-2003 models were gutless (as far as torque is concerned), I find the '04 and newer models, with the 2.4L generating 165lb.ft., nice and "torquey"

And don't forget the aforementioned "ultra compact" dimensions (length and width) are a HUGE HUGE advantage while negotiating tight, narrow trails, and it's fabulous turning radius is also a HUGE HUGE bonus!!!

The only real shortcomings of the RAV in terms of it's off road abilities are it's tires and lack of a low-range for creeping over and going down rocks/boulders and VERY steep inclines. Additionally, the 4wd system (at least in the '01-'03 models) is very subpar for off-roading (open differentials....even the center diff is open ...yeah, I know it viscous coupling, but as far as I am concerned it's not much more than an open diff. Even the limited slip rear diff is a joke ) .....Now, if I'm not mistaken, the '04+ models, get traction/stability control (please correct me if I'm wrong), which effectively addresses the aforementioned 4wd issue, by braking an individual wheel if it loses traction sending all the torque to the slipping wheel, thereby acting as if it had locking differentials.

So, what's the bottom line??....The RAV is a fairly decent off-roader with the potential to be EVEN BETTER!!!. Simply slap on some "slightly" larger tires to increase ground clearance by a little over a half inch or so (replace the 235/60R-16s with 225/70R-16s), and also tires that have a slightly more agressive tread and you've got quite a capable ON and OFF road vehicle!!!

Additionally, I'd like to say that I consider the RAV4 AWD far more off road capable than my MDX (which Acura is constantly touting in your face as being a Medium duty off road capable vehicle ). I've owned both ('02 RAV and '03 MDX) and can say that the very limited ground clearance, lack of any skidplate protection and it's extreme width (77") are big limitations with taking the MDX off road.
 
#7 (permalink) Old 07-25-2005, 05:35 PM
RAV4EVR
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See what I have to say on this thread below..

"Could a RAV4 replace my Tacoma???"
 
#8 (permalink) Old 07-25-2005, 11:24 PM
anthonyd
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Modderrhu,

Ja they're great on the beach sand hey!

Pity you can;t take advantage of that anymore since the parks board has put a ban on beach driving!

When I lived in Durban we used to go up to sodwana and spend entire weekends on the beaches with the 4x4's! So sad to hear those days are gone!

You should see what it is like in Australia though - drive on the beach with a $20 season pass and the ou's here have no clue about driving below the high water line they're like "what do you mean turtle eggs?"

And we get the beach driving bans!!!!
 
#9 (permalink) Old 07-25-2005, 11:41 PM
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What ban? Stockton is still good for a beach trip.
SmellyTofu is offline  
#10 (permalink) Old 07-26-2005, 07:30 AM
rav4_at
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As someone mentioned that the 01-03 RAV4's do not have traction control and the 04+ do.

Well yes traction control solves the problem of having one side of the RAV4 without traction and the other side with traction but you could also do that with the 01-03's. I simply use both feet if that situation arises and gently use the brake and gas at the same time effectively "poor man's traction control". It works great! Although it brakes all the wheels, if you use it gently the power going to the slipping wheels is diverted to the non-slipping. Too me a long time to get it to work without stopping.

It is easier to do if you drive a manual as you are used to using both feet.

Lack of low range is a definately disadvantage that you cant really deal with other than get the manual(lower gears) and get a feel on how to use the brakes and gas effectively when downhill.

Note: if you have Anti lock brakes or ABS or whatever they call it, forget about steep descents as you cant rely on your brakes at all.
If you use your brakes, the ABS might start slipping and cause you to roll down the hill. I agree the brakes should not be used going downhill but if properly used, they can work well when you dont have low range(and no ABS). I use them when its really steep and have had no problems but you need to know when to stop braking and when to accelerate.
 
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