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Greetings. I usually hang in the 4.4 forums but started a search for another RAV for dirt roading and mild offroading. I've read elsewhere that the 2004 might have the best combo of AWD drivetrain and reliability of all the RAV gens. Anyone care to comment on what combo of year/trim/options I should be looking for? The extent of mods would be OME suspension and slightly bigger tires. Thanks!
 

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Other than the ECU concerns with the 2001-2003 they are rocksteady beasts. I have really put mine to the tests and always come back satisfied. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one but I would refurb the ECU asap if it hadn't been done already.
 

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If you are going for a 4.2 for driving off the beaten path I would recommend a 5sp manual for starters. The ECU problem was for the 2000-2003 automatics, and was taken care of for the later models. Also go for the 10/2003-1/2006 versions as they had a lot of modern goodies added. Depending on where you live certain models had the LSD for the rear which is good to have. These came in models like Limited (2000-2003) and Executive (2003-2006) in Germany anyways. There was also a diesel version but again this was not available everywhere.


One thing about the 4.2's is ground clearance. While they are VERY good at handling deep snow and mud etc, their ground clearance is less than the 4.1's and 4.3's+. So if you were to do more mild off roading and trails you may want to do a lift kit for it and of course some under body protection. I think someone on this site did a very cool off road mod to a 4.2.


Good luck, and have fun!
 
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