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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just acquired a 98 with the Soft Top. It is such a cool vehicle.
I'm wondering what I should do with it... It is 2wd, automatic, and has 300,000 miles with a broken timing belt, but otherwise in excellent condition for a 98.

My question is primarily how many of the soft tops were produced? They seem pretty rare items, and I'd think they would command high prices for their rarity.
For example, I have a 56 Chevy Nomad which in 56 they were very unpopular and only sold 8,000 of them, but today that rarity makes them the most valuable model. Furthermore, the ones modified/modernized are worth more than originals. My 56 is getting a C4 corvette drivetrain and suspension I'm doing the work on, just to let you know my abilities and experience.

I could rebuild and restore the 3sfe engine, but I'm really interested in swapping in a Prius drivetrain to get the 45 mpg it can offer. I have LOTS of experience with the Prius, so there is no question that I can handle the conversion. The question is whether I am adding value here when I go to sell it.

Appreciate any feedback!

Jack
 

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Welcome!


First, you need to consider that this is non-interference engine, so you can just throw is a new belt and be on your way!


Second, living in California, you must know just how much of a PITA it can be to modify your car in ANY way! I would first check what CARB has to say about this swap.


Next, I do a lost of custom work and race AWD Mitsubishis, I found this Rav4 exceptionally difficult to work on! Engine/tranny removal is much more difficult than it should be! I am glad I am not doing any engine swaps on Rav4!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Engine swaps in California require the same or newer year engine, and must retain all the smog equipment,
and then the cars smogs as a car with the new engine. It must be inspected by CARB official. It would certainly be easier without any rules and bureaucracy.

I worked on the timing belt last night. It wasn't difficult. No need to remove Alternator and AC and power steering pump, just remove the belts. The engine bracket doesn't have to come off either, just the motor mount.

At 300,000 miles, the belt had been replaced before. Toyota makes great engines, but they don't last forever...This one is leaking fluid from somewhere. I'm just getting it running for now.

I tried to find the production numbers for this model and year, not luck with Google. How can I find them?

Welcome!


First, you need to consider that this is non-interference engine, so you can just throw is a new belt and be on your way!


Second, living in California, you must know just how much of a PITA it can be to modify your car in ANY way! I would first check what CARB has to say about this swap.


Next, I do a lost of custom work and race AWD Mitsubishis, I found this Rav4 exceptionally difficult to work on! Engine/tranny removal is much more difficult than it should be! I am glad I am not doing any engine swaps on Rav4!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think you'd find better results fitting a later diesel. Where will the batteries go in a rav?
Top down, diesel exhaust, not the result I'd want. Plenty of room in back for the battery.
The Rav4 EV that has no exhaust at all, was selling for $50k a few years back..they are not so high anymore, was one for only $15k recently.
 

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I firmly believe that diesel exhaust should be in the front of the car! Why should we smell that exhaust, while owner get a pass? But you are right, convertible diesel is even worse idea!
 

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Well, as a design engineer with a lot of DIY capabilities I indeed love your Prius/RAV4 conversion idea. And it certainly seems you have the knowledge & ability to pull it off. Just think of all the show-stopper & it-can't-be-done challenges you'd get to figure ways around and overcome. And you'd likely have the only one in the world.

But then the practical aspects intrude into my head. Did I increase the car's value? Maybe, maybe not but I'd have to sell it to find out. Then I wouldn't have the only one in the world. So am I doing it for the fun of it or the possible profit? If only the latter there are many more realistic uses of my time. And 40 mpg out of a 4.1 RAV4 body instead of a sleek Prius going down the road? Not happening!

So, with all the other projects I've got going I'd probably convert it with a C4 Corvette drivetrain and suspension instead! Then you'd REALLY have something. :thumbs_up:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Got the timing belt replaced, it runs very good, so no hurry to swap drivetrains.
I was looking at the cost to rebuild the 300k mile motor, and it is pretty inexpensive, so that is looking
like a good option.

The v8 swap might have to wait for another RAV4... ;)
 
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