Yes, definitely a fair amount of work. I'm 50/50 on doing rods/pistons right now. Under 400whp with a good tune is supposed to be ok with the caldina rods/pistons.Nice! Sounds like a fair amount of work ahead lol. Are you planning on building the block for the 400hp goal? I'm planning to keep the Rav a daily driver, so I doubt I'll ever push it past the stock fuel system, but eventually I plan to build a spare gen4 I have with forged rods & pistons, a Link ECU, ID1050 injectors and E85 for the MR2--I think that would be a really nice and pretty easy 4-500whp street build.
The front mount intercooler will be tough with A/C unless you mod or remove the bumper. I considered the options but there didn't seem to be many good options for running 2-3" intercooler piping, and it would be a lot of piping and some tough bends. The A/W option just seemed a lot easier.
On a similar note, I was VERY happy to find that the A/C worked when I tried it. I'm glad I went through the trouble of retaining the Rav4 compressor...
Regarding a front mount, I'm going to run a civic style half radiator which should open up some room and a long, narrow intercooler good quality intercooler. Piping is what it is...can't really shorten up the piping all that much which sucks...still unsure about the rear subframe, definitely want to run good suspension...and rear disc brakes. We've been throwing ideas around for quite sometime...and I now have three 2 door rav4's...and my mr2 is basically where i want it to be...so the rav4 project is next.
I'll create a build thread once we start.