Hey guys, I just installed the new 1.5 inch lift from Northwoods Performance on my 2018 Rav. Although I haven't had it long I would like to share my experiences with you and post updates in the future to let you know how it's performing.
I've been looking at kits since I purchased my Rav. Someone on this forum mentioned Northwoods Performance. I like this kit because it's more then just a lift. It's a performance upgrade over the OEM springs. I also like that it's not just strut and subframe spacers. After a lot of thought, I decided I didn't like the idea of putting spacers between the rear subframe and body. This is because your only lifting the body of the vehicle on the rear and the clearance between the differential and ground stay the same.
Before I installed the kit I decided to take some measurements to see how it would effect the suspension. I took height measurements from the front and rear bumper trim as well as checked the wheel alignment.
The install was pretty straight forward. The kit has easy to follow instructions with color photos. The instructions say it takes 2-3 hours to install the front and 3-4 hours to install the rear. But if your experienced and have the right tools, you can install the whole kit in 3-4 hours.
The rear is lifted by a slightly taller and higher load rated spring. The hardest part of installing the rear was getting the control arm lined up to install the bolt. Using a small pry bar and a large center punch you can get the holes aligned enough to gently tap the bolt in place. I also reinstalled the end link bushing and nut to help keep the arm in place after lifting it with a jack stand.
The front is lifted by a strut spacer and higher load rated spring. Using a wall mounted spring compressor the new springs went on easy. I installed the strut spacers and mounted the assemblies in the vehicle. I had minor issue with the supplied nuts for mounting the strut to the vehicle. The thread pitch was wrong and didn't screw onto the studs. It wasn't a big deal though, I just used the OEM nuts. I reported this to the company and they are working to resolve the matter for future customers.
Installing the sway bar endlinks back on the struts is a bit tricky. With the struts now sitting lower in the vehicle the endlinks were just a little higher then the mounting point. You must have both endlinks disconnected, and I had to temporarily loosen the nuts on the sway bar side to get extra wiggle room so they fit. I noticed the sway bar contacts the lower control arms when the suspension is unloaded. With the vehicle on the ground they raise up off the control arms. This shouldn't be an issue, but I contacted the company to suggest making a bracket to mount the endlink a little higher on the strut. I know there are some other lifts on the market that include a link bracket to prevent this.
Something I did that the instructions don't mention, is putting a little lock tight on the nuts that hold the spacer to the strut. I also torqued the rear lower control arm with the vehicle on the ground. Doing this will prevent premature failure of the control arm bushing.
After the install I rechecked the height measurements and alignment. 1.5" higher in the front and 1.25" higher in the rear. The alignment did need a toe adjustment. Camber is still within specs. Caster was a hair out of spec on the left front, but that usually happens with most lift kits.
So far its been a good kit. The Rav still feels stable on the road and the vehicle tracks straight. I look forward to seeing what else they bring to the market. On their site it looks like they have a skid plate and exhaust pipe in the works.