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Basic 101

When RAV4 started some years ago. As time went by, we realized, that our RAV4, despite it popularity. For us, the performance and cool ride enthusiasts. No parts were available at that time.:doh: That was the time that being a guinea pig was the order of the day. Everyone was experimenting with parts from other Toyota Vehicles. It came to a point that we all learned…sometimes the hard way. Ask Derek, The Guru. I would like to share the experience of how to go about modifying our RAV4 with out making the same mistakes we did. :wall Mistakes cost money. Here is a step by step on how things should be done.

Step 1. Know which RAV4 you have? Establish year, model, and what part of the world is your RAV4 from? Asian, USA, Europe etc. Is it legal in my country? Not all RAV4 are equal. Check your RAV4 Number Code. 2 doors or 5 doors, 5 speed, Auto, 2WD, AWD, ABS/No ABS. Also, what accessories does it have. How good is the OEM stereo, Do you like the tires it brought from Toyota? Etc.

Step 2. Buy a RAV4 Manuel (cost $150.00 depending on currency) Check them on EBay. They have very valuable information. Be sure it’s for your specific model. Haynes books works fine also.

Step 3. Examine the terrain your RAV4 will be driving every day. Street, mountains, country, sand, beach, coastal, suburbs. Terrain dictates suspension parts, always, this is very important.

Step 4. Establish what you are going to use your RAV4 for. To work, home grocery getter, Recreation (fishing trips etc.), Rock Claiming, Sand jumping, Boulevard cursing, Drag Racing, Car Show, everyday use, weekend use. Well, you get the picture.

Step 5. How much you are willing to spend every month. Budget is very important. Being a car enthusiastic is not cheap. Any way you go.

Step 6. Surf the net for parts. Bookmark any part source that has your parts. Always check for reference and if you go to eBay, read carefully what you are going to buy/bid on. They use the “Need to know basis” If you don’t ask, they won’t tell you. So be careful on EBay. Tip, if you see a picture that doesn’t show you all the angles, watch out.

Place in order what mods you want to do, be organized. Write everything down. What are you going to do first? Sound equipment, performance parts, outside look, inside comfort, suspension. Have a clear concept of where you are going to invest your money. Always have a budget. How much I’m willing to spend on this project?” Don’t do many projects at the same time. One project will interrupt other$. Do one project at a time, once that one is finished. Wait some weeks to see if some bugs come up. In that period of time, this will give your wallet a breather to get ready for the next project. Try not to invest two times on the same mod. Do the things right the first time. Don’t pay twice for the same mistake.

You might need some tools! Sometimes you can help your wallet by DIY. Some mods are so simple you might as well just get your hands dirty. While you’re at it, you learn. Things like Changing oil, Replace Spark Plugs, Coolant change, Intake filters…OEM and other wise. Your basic tools: from 7mm to 14mm are a must, a set of pliers, Screw Driver, wire cutters. Go to any Sears and get those Craftsman sets. They are the best and have life time warranty.

Always remember if you think that you are going over your head regarding DIYers. Go to someone that might help. If not, don’t try it, and fail, it just creates frustration. Don’t do that, you will hate yourself, not for trying, but for failing. So if you see that it take a lot more skills and tools, that you don’t have, go to an expert. Stuff like Shock absorbers, Struts, Headers, Exhaust, MSD wiring, Stereo and speaker installation, let the expert do these.
Keep it simple don’t go over your head. Sooner or later you will cry “uncle”. Follow these steps and you won’t have any problems. The voice of experience is speaking, because I’ve [and many others on this forum] have “Been There”

Sources of good information: a little out dated but it helps some

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