I put together this list of things for anyone with an older car that they want to keep running.
A few recommendations for anyone, get some basic hand tools, a good Bluetooth OBDII scanner with Mode 6 Fault Code (Mode 6 Fault Code preferred) along with an app called Torque, a good autoranging multimeter, a fox & hound (for tracking electrical problems), a set of torque wrenches, and do most of the work yourself. You'll be surprised at how good it feels to do your own maintenance and not have to pay out the big bucks for work on your car. The alternative is sending a 20 year old car to the mechanic every time she hiccups and being sent to the poor house. Some preventive maintenance recommendations:
- Replace all the "soft" rubber hoses/lines, don't wait for that dreaded engine light and/or sitting on the side of the road waiting on a tow.
-- Radiator hoses
-- Heater hoses
-- The hidden coolant hoses under the lower exhaust manifold heat shield
-- The coolant hoses going to/from the Idle Air Controller Valve
-- Vacuum Lines
-- Fuel lines, fuel vent lines, and the fuel tank filler hose
-- Brake lines
-- Transmission cooler lines
- Inspect and replace as necessary the hard brake and fuel lines
-- If 4x4 both carrier (differential) mounts and the drive shaft center mount
-- Control arms new bushings, mounts, and ball joints. Corrosion control, prime and paint.
-- Struts with associated hardware
- Complete tuneup
-- Timing belt/ water pump kit
-- Iridium spark plugs
-- New ignition wires
- All fluids
-- If 4x4, the differential
-- Power steering
-- The all important blinker fluid
- Clean and upgrade the engine/transmission grounds
- Corrosion control
-- Get under her and inspect for corrosion, remove covers, side molding, etc
-- Use a wire brush, sandpaper, and lots of elbow grease to remove rust and corrosion
-- Use a rust stabilizer to keep it from coming right back
-- Prime and paint/undercoat
YouTube is your friend, weed out the trash and find some good mechanical advise on there that can help you troubleshoot most problems and make most repairs. I highly recommend Scotty Kilmer and Schrodingers Box.
I know some people are purist and only want to use official Toyota parts, but it really doesn't make any difference on most things. But, if you want nothing but Toyota parts be prepared to drain the wallet; for example, the radiator I purchased was about $100.00 US from amazon.com, $220.00 US from local parts stores, and a whopping $540.00 US from Toyota. I don't think most people are driving 20 year old cars because they have too much money. Denso makes a lot of Toyota's parts and if you buy those same parts from Toyota they are likely to be marked up 200%, 300%, or more than buying them from Amazon.com, RockAuto.com, or even your local parts stores. Hey I don't begrudge anybody making a profit, but 300%, well that's just larceny.
It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
RAV4.1, 1999 RAV4, 3S-FE engine, E250F transaxle 5sp AWD, 5 door, LHD, Redneck Edition (RNE), Mossy Oak Obsession wrap, heavily modded, TOAD
'96 Newmar Mountain Aire, 40' diesel pusher motorhome, the mothership