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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,
First of all thankyou to everyone who has posted knowledge and builds on this forum for so many years now. Some posts that have helped me / informed me and inspired me are from over 10 years ago!! Amazing! Here goes my project / build / adventure thread, which ill keep up to date as I go.

I'm from a place called Perth, Western Australia. We have a entire state of mainly blank scrub filled desert mixed in with some lovely southern parts of the state which consist of cooler climate forests and muddy trails.

I've been into importing Japanese Toyotas for many years, Crowns, Chasers, Altezza, Soarer ... many years "drifting" at race tracks and have owned many Toyota Surf/4Runners ... however I was, as im sure many people are, INSPIRED by Commando and his 4.2 thread. To make something so simple and small and not really made for 4x4, into something capable. The Challange and fun of a cheap(er) RAV4 4.2 was needed!

My obsession with White/Pearl White cars .Took me a couple of months to find a White example

This 2004 -2.4L - 2AZ-FE 5-speed manual E359F example was for sale locally 2 hours from my house.
So I drove down and picked it up for $6000 AUD ($4000 USD)
A little high in price, however as we all know for some reason during the last few "covid" years , cars became worth $100's or 1000's more for no reason ? LOL

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
After driving it around for a week I first decided to go and replace all the fluids i could.
Engine Oil
Gearbox/Transfer Case
Rear Diff
But left the radiator, as it was still the delicious TOYOTA RED coolant and I had no problem in late Autumn in 30 degrees c outside temp.

I used what you all recommended here GL-4 85w-90
So far so good, no noises, much smoother shifts, no crying differential noises.

Following that, Installed some spare HID 7000k Spotlights which I'd removed from a TJ Jeep Wrangler a year ago. Parked up next to a 2001 Cruiser at my local auto parts store!

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Driving on the 235/70/16 expired (cracks) NEXEN tyres, Was fine, but I wanted to remove them.
I found that Suzuki Vitara (common here in Australia) share the same 5x114.3 stud pattern and 60.1mm Center bore wheels!
So I found a guy locally that was selling a full set of 5 "Suzuki Grand Vitara 2008" 17x7 +45 with BRAND NEW 225/70/17 - Toyo Open Country A/T II

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They fit on perfectly. No scrubbing. Thanks again to all the discussions on here which I read regarding 225/75R16 - Using a tyre calc, 225/70R17 are "basically" the same rolling diameter.
I removed the Thule high set roof racks and found a pair of factory rails from a wrecker 1 hour from my house. Put them on easy, with some low profile bars.
Heres a pic at work: (the height change with just a higher profile tyre was awesome)

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Next simple mod was some "ebay" window Wind Deflectors. I quit smoking 6 years ago now thanks to Vaping.
However I still really enjoy vaping while driving. So wind deflectors are the best thing when its raining outside


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I then picked up a roof rack basket to work with the low profile roof rails. 1200mm x 900mm and fitted 4 x 4" "Work Flood Lights" to the top, wired into a relay and onto a cabin switch.


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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The next week i decided to install a small table onto the back door.
Our primary hardware store or "Home Depot" in Australia is "Bunnings"
I went to Bunnings and found a sweet 900x450mm "PEG-Board" and some rope

My idea was super simple. Some basic steel L-Shape brackets, A couple of bolts here and there and some rope to hold it flat.
I'd seen many Toyota PRADO / LandCruiser people do this simple mod. there is some online stores that also sell full pre-fabricated setups for the Prado / LandCruiser / FJ Cruiser.
But cheap is always better, and DIY is fun!

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I had a spare spool of 4500k LED strip that i thought would be cool to wire into the rear cabin light, so that when the door is open at night, the LED light would provide ample cooking light.
I used a couple of self tapping screws behind the plastic moulding of the door to hang the Marine Rope. Drilled a small hole in the ABS plastic and the hangers were done.
The pegboard just needed a couple of L-Shape bracket hinges which I easily bolted to the door , using rubber matting for insulation so that they didnt squeek or rub on the door when moving around off-road.

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Sadly the OCAM front bonnet/hood protector failed within a week and snapped (shitty design) No bother though, as it was kinda ugly.

Next was some recovery boards! (In this case, X-Bull, knock-offs of "MaxxTraxx" ) cheap enough, just some simple brackets had to be made (DIY) to mount them onto the roof rack. In Western Australia , we OFTEN go to the beach, our beaches are beautiful and they are often driven to for holiday spots!.

Along with the Recovery boards I had been doing so much research on here, however also found one other country that loves the RAV4 model as much as everyone on here. Thats RUSSIA!

Theres a website called Drive2.ru which is somewhat like a "car-blog" website, where owners post what they often do to their Rav4's weekly.
Russians are very smart and creative. Their laws are not as strict as any of the USA/Australia , so some things they get up to when it comes to suspension or body work is questionable at best.
However their ingenuity is amazing.

I managed to locate CAD diagrams of the well-known "Spacers" which are often just purchsaed from Ebay.
Using the CAD images i sent them to my local fabricator who works with HDPE .A week later i had some 30mm front and 25mm Rear HDPE spacers made which were 1/4 of the price of the ones on Ebay/Websites.
However I needed to figure out how to extend my strut top / mount studs so that i could install the spacer.

Back to Bunnings ....They did not stock anything of the sort when it came to what i would call "studs" for the strut top / mount.
I decided to buy stainless steel 70mm nuts and bolts instead. Using these, I simply welded them using my MIG welder to the strut top.

Much like this :but 10x stronger + More weld.

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Easy install both front and rear.

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Gave the RAV4 a substantial lift from stock !

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Next job was to fabricate up some brackets for the rear for a pair of shackles, The RAV4 only weighs around 1.4 tonnes. So i decided 10mm thick steel would do the trick.
Hopefully i wouldnt actually NEED to be pulled out of a sand -trap , or mud hole, but then again....

So i had some plate, welded it together and installed some 3.5T shackles

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks to Commando again for this post.
Using his diagrams I converted the "freedom eagle" measurements to metric Millimeters I had a friend who works with metal fabrication bend me a 3mm thick steel "bash plate" or "protection plate" for under the engine.

The sump of the 1AZ/2AZ engines are REALLY prime candidates for a solid sharp rock to pierce through . I think at some point in Commando's thread he even gets his oil sump smashed up and has to replace it.

Commando's Images:
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A week later my friend had the plate ready.

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The fitting was not perfect, especially as my 2004 model has the factory Toyota Australia nudge bar. The front "lip" of the plate also didnt really fit up behind the bumper too well.
So trimming was needed. However the angles of the main portion was perfect!

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So i trimmed up some gaps for the nudge and test fitted:

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Almost there. With additional vent holes, to keep the airflow going underside.

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I also removed the HID spot lights and installed new LED Spot lights on the top of the nudge bar with additional amber flood lights on the bottom of the nudge bar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Added a 2-WAY / CB Radio antenna for my GME radio.
the GME fit perfectly into my removed ashtray slot. I mounted the mic in an easy to reach location. Range is around 2km-3km depending on ground. The antenna i used is only 4db and short.

I may look into moving it onto the roof rack to see if i can get some more range.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Next week I went to my local camping store "Anaconda" to buy a side awning for the roof rack.
I chose a 1.4M span, with a 2M pull out length.
As the RAV4 is short to begin with. I didnt want some strange giant looking awning on the side of the vehicle.

Installation was super easy, a couple of L-Brackets mounted to the basket mesh and side poles.

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
We are now some what up to date to this week.
Although I have much more planned, and much more to do!


Went on a camping trip with my friends to a place only 2 hours outside of Perth- Western Australia called "Avon Valley"

Each year they have an event at the Avon river, which called the Avon Descent : About – Avon Descent

Its a beautiful part of my city, Large forest type area with a huge flowing river. Many smallish hills to drive around muddy farm tracks.


I knew I would be heading out with a fair few capable 4X4's , A Nissan Navara UTE , Pajero, Jeep Wrangler and a Toyota LandCruiser.
The Rav4 being the smallest and least capable, I put it through many many crazy down hill and up hill climbs which I thought at the time i would be stuck and have to leave the group and find my own way home.

I had been 4 wheeling before and understand full well how to position the wheels for best grip and movement. The difference in not having a "LOW" 4 was the challenge.

Momentum seemed to be the key, and although i have no videos and sadly no images to show (friends were not taking pics!!! :( ) I managed to drive up and down rocky muddy tracks at the same pace as the larger purpose built 4x4 vehicles.

It was an absolutely awesome trip. So happy with how the RAV4 performed, Confident driving, sometimes many "foot to the floor in 2nd gear or im not going to make it" loads of amazement making it up some tracks!
I must state the absolute NEED for the engine protection plate under the vehicle was vital. If I hadn't had it made and installed I could almost say that i would have broken much of the sump and smashed up several parts under the front end.

I think the next work will be focused on some new shock absorbers front and rear, Possibly springs too for an extra half inch to an inch of clearance. The exhaust could also do with being tucked up a little higher against the underside of the body , especially where it swings down underneath the rear diff mount/cage.

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Very interesting thread! I love what you did for the back door shelf! My skid-plate angles were approximatives.... I'm happy it worked fine for you. Good job!

PS: The white L-C Trooper in your last photos is my dream vehicle! So sad we never had this model in Canada. I drove one in Bosnia when I was serving with the Portuguese army.

 
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I was extenued to fix that part of the exhaust that was always crushed. So I routed it over axle... should have done this mod much sooner haha! No more worry!

 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thats a great idea Commando ! Will find some pipes and get that done !
Might even see if i can fit a smaller side muffler in that area instead of the giant barrel muffler from factory.
Although I wouldnt like the drone on the highway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ive just ordered
2x KYB Toyota ACA20R EXCEL-G Front shocks to which I will install Toyota Landcruiser Prado rear springs for an extra 1" Lift (Should bring me to just under 2" lift in the front with strut spacer)
2x WeBCO FORD Escape 2001 Rear shocks,I read on a Russian forum that these have a extended length of 646mm which compared to the OME Shocks (Old Man Emu (OME031): Open 627mm) should work well for my rear lifted butt!

Detailed in this post here :

Along with this some new KYB Front strut mounts and Front lower LCA Ball Joints, Mine are not dead, but for peace of mind out on the road and OFF -Road .

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The rear Escape shocks have a much bigger hole than the RAV4 for the lower mount. How are they correcting that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The rear Escape shocks have a much bigger hole than the RAV4 for the lower mount. How are they correcting that?
Appears to be a very tight fit. With grease applied. On another post. A person sands / cleans the dirt/debris from the lower mount then adds grease and the Ford escape shock fits?

Will report back once they arrive and I find out for my self :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Love all this! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Mate! have been following your thread all along! Another inspiration ! :)

Looks like my order from Ebay will arrive next week, so will have an update then.

I've picked up some FJ Cruiser and LandCruiser Prado rear springs which im going to clip off the pig tail on each and attempt to use them on the front with the new KYB Struts. and on the rear.
Should give me an extra 1" if all goes to plan.

Working it out based on measuring my OEM springs for my 2004 RAV4

Left to right:
"King Springs" 2" Lift" - Prado GRJ120R
OEM Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
OEM 2013 FJ Cruiser
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Rear 2004 OEM RAV4 Coil Spring Measurement / Diameter :
Height: 250mm
Outer Diameter of Top: 150mm
Outer Diameter of Base: 150mm
Inner Diameter requirement rear - 115mm minimum

Front 2004 OEM RAV4 Coil Spring Measurement / Diameter :
height 350mm
Outer Diameter of Top 165mm
Outer Diameter of Base 183mm
Inner Diameter requirement at top 130mm minimum to fit in top hat mount
No Outer Diameter greater than 175mm to fit in top hat mount

"King Springs" 2" Lift" - Prado GRJ120R
Height: 365mm
OD TOP: 165mm
ID TOP: 130mm
OD Base: 165mm
ID Base: 130mm
Coil Width: 18mm

OEM Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
Height: 352mm
OD TOP: 150mm
ID TOP: 115mm
OD Base: 155mm
ID Base: 116mm
Coil Width: 20mm

OEM 2013 FJ Cruiser
Height: 360mm
OD TOP: 162mm
ID TOP: 130mm
OD Base: 165mm
ID Base: 132mm
Coil Width: 17mm
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hey all,
I attempted to install the FJ Cruiser springs in the rear today. Just to see if they'd fit being 162mm / 165mm compared to stock 150mm

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This did not end well. The spring wouldnt sit properly on either seat.

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I went digging through my sets of springs ive collected over the years. One of my Project / Rebuild cars is an MZ11 Soarer from 1981. I've owned it for nearly 15 years and its currently undergoing body work and a complete rebuild externally , engine , interior.

I found some of the original OEM rear springs for the MZ11 Soarer. At some point I'd painted them blue.

Left to right:
OEM RAV4 2004 (With 25mm spacer)
OEM MZ11 Soarer 1984 (blue)
OEM FJ Cruiser
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Took some measurements.

OEM Rav4 2004 coil spring measurement:

Outer Diameter:
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Inner Diameter:
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Height :
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Now in comparison to my MZ11 Soarer springs:

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Almost the same !


So I cut a coil off the top of them , so that they were not extremely long and so that i could use my 25mm spacer as some insulation to the body. I wouldnt have been able to use the factory rubber insulator as the top of the MZ11 soarer spring was not flat.
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I now have an extra inch in the rear, and the rear axels are not looking too bad in regards to angle.
After lots of measuring today on the Prado and FJ Cruiser springs, Im almost certain they will fit in the front struts and give me another inch or so.
Just waiting on Australia Post to deliver my order. Hopefully some time next week.
Until then , the RAV4 appears as a drag car ..

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