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Beware all ye who enter here, for there are very dumb happenings lurking below.

This thread is for documenting the torture I am subjecting upon this otherwise innocent 1998 RAV4 5dr.

I picked this up in mid-February from a lovely lady on the Sunshine Coast who had been using it as her runabout and for trips to and from the NSW Central Coast, as a replacement for my last car (a 1999 Volvo S80 T6) after it decided it preferred its coolant everywhere but in the engine, and I was sick of fixing it. I paid the princely sum of $1500 for this RAV4, with 314,000km but in fairly decent condition (with the usual exceptions of clear coat failure, worn rear diff bushes and a minor exhaust leak at the manifold). It is a Cruiser Pack model, which means it got the silver plastic cladding instead of black, a different interior fabric pattern, and a tilt/slide power sunroof. No limited slip Torsen rear diff unfortunately, or at least that's what the build plate implies (I will definitely have to open it up and check at some point). It's also a manual, which is a bonus (plus, it's already slow enough as-is with the manual, the auto would be positively glacial). Also fun fact about non-USDM post-facelift models, we get the upgrade to distributorless ignition, but we don't get all the emissions crap on top like the evap VSVs and the like.


I wasted no time in immediately beginning to defile it with stickers.


I decided an appropriate way to christen it would be to flog it through the forest for giggles, which it handled with aplomb.


After the shonky actual Linglong brand linglongs that were on it tried to kill me (multiple times) in the rain, they were promptly buggered off and replaced with a nice set of Bridgestone Dueler A/T D697s.


Converted the gauge cluster from the standard green bulbs to amber LEDs.


Continued the over-stickering.


Now you're probably thinking "But Boden, aside from the ridiculous amount of stickers, nothing dumb is going on here!", and yes, you would be right, but here is where the fun begins...

I picked up a Rev2 5SFE from a mate out of a 1998 ST204 for the price of $free.99, albeit with a rod knock (not that this will be used in stock form anyway).


Got a twin scroll CT26, 3SGTE twin scroll manifold and 3" dump pipe from Gumtree.


DIYPNP Megasquirt ordered from DIYAutotune in the US (unassembled, natch, because nothing adds to the spice of life like trusting your motor to an ECU you assembled on your dining room table).


2JZ-GE Supra brown top injectors and oil lines for the CT26 arrived today.


Currently waiting on a few things to arrive as listed below, but the plan is to get the Megasquirt assembled and installed into the car while it's still N/A, so I can get it setup with the factory distributorless ignition and have it all running smoothly, then put the CT26 and injectors on it and have some fun with the stock motor, and then once it's ready, slot in its replacement, the aformentioned 5SFE, albeit with newly rebuilt forged internals, and really get this thing cranking out some power. I will most likely be replacing the standard gearbox with a Celica GT4 unit at this time, because stock 1st gear on the RAV4's E250F only goes to about 35-40km/h, and the ratio gap between 4th and 5th is too small for enjoyable daily driving (difference between 4th and 5th at 100km/h is only about 300RPM or so).

Waiting on:
  • Megasquirt
  • Oil pressure gauge
  • Oil filter relocation kit and cooler
  • Coolant lines for the turbo
  • Gen2 3SGTE sump
  • Fittings and adapters to get oil feed from stock pressure switch location and connect -10AN drain line to 3SGTE sump
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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Very nice, looking forward to seeing your progress. A word of advise crawl under her on the driver's side and you will see a plastic bit that covers the brake and fuel lines, take it off and check the condition, mine were nearly rusted through where the they pass through the retainer clips, and one of the brake lines broke when I attempted to remove it. My car was a northern car so your's may not have that problem. See http://www.rav4world.com/forums/85-4-1-faults-fixes/210626-brake-line-corrosion.html

My manual transaxle self destructed when one of the coolant lines ruptured on I-4 just above Lakeland. I have a thread on how to make your own (or have them made) a lot cheaper and better than the stock ones. See - http://www.rav4world.com/forums/94-4-1-d-i-y-modifications/245377-making-your-own-manual-transaxle-cooling-hoses.html
 

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A gt4 gearbox might have the wrong final drive. The rav has 4.9:1 in the first series. Then 4.5 with the 2az. The adm gt4 got 3.9. The jdm gt4 got 4.3. I was thinking about using a gearset from a 4agze box in the rav box to help with the ratios.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Very nice, looking forward to seeing your progress. A word of advise crawl under her on the driver's side and you will see a plastic bit that covers the brake and fuel lines, take it off and check the condition, mine were nearly rusted through where the they pass through the retainer clips, and one of the brake lines broke when I attempted to remove it. My car was a northern car so your's may not have that problem. See http://www.rav4world.com/forums/85-4-1-faults-fixes/210626-brake-line-corrosion.html

My manual transaxle self destructed when one of the coolant lines ruptured on I-4 just above Lakeland. I have a thread on how to make your own (or have them made) a lot cheaper and better than the stock ones. See - http://www.rav4world.com/forums/94-4-1-d-i-y-modifications/245377-making-your-own-manual-transaxle-cooling-hoses.html
Rust is almost unheard of in most cars over here in Australia thankfully. Already checked the trans fluid lines to the cooler and they're all good, no signs of leakage or anything to indicate they're gonna go pop.

A gt4 gearbox might have the wrong final drive. The rav has 4.9:1 in the first series. Then 4.5 with the 2az. The adm gt4 got 3.9. The jdm gt4 got 4.3. I was thinking about using a gearset from a 4agze box in the rav box to help with the ratios.
I doubt that 4AGZE gearset would work, the RAV4 gearbox is an E series transmission, last time I checked at least most of the 4AGZEs were using the C series transmission. It's also the same box (well, similar) that the guy in the states with the red 3dr used, he used a Caldina GT-T box. The final drive in these E series AWD boxes is before the transfer case, which has an output ratio of 1:2.9, which in turn is why all of the GT4s, Caldinas, RAV4s, etc. all use a 2.9:1 rear diff, and hence the gearboxes are (mostly) interchangable. Downside is that I will lose the locking center diff which won't be great for offroading but ah well, the stock locking center would likely implode with 400whp coursing through it anyway haha.

EDIT: 4AGZE gearset might work, but why bother? It's not any stronger than the RAV4 gearbox's internals, and it lacks the wide gears of the ST185, ST205 and ST215W gearboxes, and if you get an ST185 RC, ST205 or ST215W gearbox, they also have double cone syncros which don't wear out easily like the early transmissions and shift like a hot knife carving through butter.
 

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The reason for the e58 4agze gearset was for the ratios alone. The rav box has been strong enough bolted to the 3sgte. It also has more diff ratios available. If you are happy to lose the locking transfer case then you can use the lighter 2az transfer.
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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Somebody vandalized your RAV4... they moved the steering wheel to the wrong side, LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The reason for the e58 4agze gearset was for the ratios alone. The rav box has been strong enough bolted to the 3sgte. It also has more diff ratios available. If you are happy to lose the locking transfer case then you can use the lighter 2az transfer.
Fair enough, although considering the price of GT4 boxes it seems like a whole bunch of extra effort for no good reason. Plus with the power bump, the overall taller gearing will be fairly streetable and the big reduction in revs at highway speeds (3k at 100km/h down to 2.3k) will be awesome for fuel economy and noise. I may use the RAV4 final drive on the ST185 gearbox and transfer yet, still drops me down to 2700RPM at 100km/h but fixes the issue of the ultra short 1st gear and poor spacing between 4th and 5th.

Somebody vandalized your RAV4... they moved the steering wheel to the wrong side, LOL.
It's the right side ;)
 

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If you like more ''serious'' offroad (for a RAV4), keep your transfer case! I made an ''hybrid'' transmission with a E250F and a E352F for my 4.2 RAV4. I'm going off road almost every week-end with my friends and their ''true 4x4''. Without a LO range, the 4.9 ratio in the E250F is a little more useful than the 4.5 in RAV4.2. And the lockable t-case is very handy over the viscous t-case in second generation.


You can use a 5th gear from another E transmission if you want better highway RPM. You can also swap the fifth gear without removing the tranny.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
So over the last couple days, more stuff has arrived, namely the oil cooler and filter relocation kit and the oil pressure gauge, but neither of those is as exciting as what's in this box....



That's right, the key piece to the puzzle has arrived, the DIYPNP Megasquirt kit! Based around the Microsquirt module, this little beasty is what will be running the RAV4's heart. Mine has been upgraded to have sequential injection support, and it already supports sequential ignition, which combined with the distributorless ignition on the 3SFE means that upgrading to COP with sequential ignition will be a breeze later on.



I'll be doing a small YT series on this build as well, starting with the DIYPNP assembly, I'm going to start assembling this tomorrow so I should have something more interesting to show you later in the week.
 

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The date of death for the factory ECU looms ever closer, I finished assembling the Megasquirt :D



It boots up and communicates with the PC over serial just fine which is a good sign, the wiring to the adapter board was done to the factory wiring diagram's pinouts so it should all be A-OK but we'll see how it goes once it gets into the car. I'll be doing a full writeup seperately on putting a Megasquirt into a RAV4 as well, since the only other writeup that existed was lost to the sands of internet time, however I was able to get in touch with the guy who wrote it originally through Matt Cramer at DIYAutoTune (seriously awesome customer service right there!), and he was able to give me a copy of the writeup which was great of him. For anyone considering assembling one yourself, it's seriously not as hard as you think. This is my first real soldering project, let alone working with circuit boards and through-hole components, prior to this my only experiences with soldering were piecing together janky wiring for stuff in my car and on the bike, and the kits come with basically everything you need, just supply solder and a soldering iron.

 

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Everything is on hold now courtesy of some cheeky Toyota engineer in Japan deciding to throw 2 spanners in the works. Some of you may know that the 76-pin Nippondenso ECU connector actually comes in two flavours - the first being the most common type, with the 12 pin and 16 pin connectors having uniformly sized and located pins, and the 2nd, less common type, where the 12 pin connector and pins are physically wider, and the pins are located further up in the connector. Guess which one my car has, seemingly contrary to every other market the RAV4 was sold in? And secondly, the fact that AUDM RAV4s (or at least 98-00s) use the 12-pin connector at all, whereas other markets use the 22-pin connector in its place, making the ECU pinout diagrams I have likely completely useless. Luckily the 5SFE I acquired came with its engine loom, which uses the correct 22 pin connector, so I can hack that off, remove the 12 pin connector from the RAV4 loom, and once I can pinout the ECU from the silkscreening on the PCB (or somehow acquire an Australian market version of the ECU pinout or wiring diagram), and wire the 22 pin connector in its place (and adjust the DIYPNP's internal wiring to match if needed). Below is a pic of the two ECUs, top is the PCB from the factory ECU, 12 pin connector is the right-most one, you can see the difference to the standard 12 pin connector directly below it.

 

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OK, so I cracked open the factory ECU, and was met with a few annoying things. Firstly, yes, the pinout ended up being almost completely different to that of the wiring diagram I had, cue me spending a few hours getting all the pins laid out, comparing the two and figuring out which wires had to be moved to which pins in the adapter board.



Secondly, Toyota gipped Australian models of the RAV4 by not giving them sequential injection unlike international models, so I've run the pins for injectors 2 and 4 to the 15-pin D-Sub expansion harness connector (plus wires for the wideband's output to connect to the MS and for a switch to activate launch control/flatshift) and will cut the injector wires in the factory loom this week and connect them to the ECU instead of having them wired in pairs, because I paid for the sequential injection expansion board and I'm damn well gonna use it :p



I also depinned the 22-pin connector that I needed from the Celica engine harness I had attached to my donor 5S-FE.



And lastly, my 14Point7 Spartan 2 wideband controller and Bosch LSU4.9 wideband sensor arrived as well.



So the plan for this week is to get the car started, idling and at least driving, depending on what my schedule is like I may even start road tuning it.
 

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Finally got the MS wired in tonight! Decided not to use the sequential injection module for now, I'll worry about it at another stage. At this stage it appears everything is working, the IAT and CLT sensors are showing the correct temps, the TPS is calibrated and working, the tach output is working and driving the dash, and the fuel pump is coming on and priming properly. I have not yet tried to start the car, that's tomorrow's goal, getting the car started and idling reasonably well.



Also I need to look at my wiring, both the rad and condenser fans are coming on the instant the key turns to the run position. I discovered that there's a pin labelled FAN on the factory ECU that I somehow missed (and also isn't referenced in the USDM wiring diagram, because of course it isn't) so I'll fiddle with that tomorrow, with any luck it'll just need to be grounded to get the fan to switch off when it isn't needed. If anyone has any knowledge wrt. how that FAN pin works that would be excellent.
 

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Got the fans sorted today, all I had to do was tie the FAN pin to an output on the Megasquirt, and set it to have the input on (pin tied to ground) by default and off (pin floating) when the coolant temp rises above 85 degrees. Started wiring in the wideband controller today as well, just need to hook up the switched power and heater ground and I'll be ready to try and start it.
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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Sounds great, I cannot wait to hear what gains you get from the Megasquirt and I too have several "why would anyone do that projects" that are all wrapping up.
 

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Got it running and driving today! Started up perfectly, idles and drives pretty well on nothing more than the VE, AFR and ignition tables generated by Tunerstudio. Only issues to report are that the A/C compressor is not engaging, the MS responds to the request pin and idles up accordingly but the A/C computer is ignoring the MS's return signal to engage the A/C compressor, and the tach isn't working correctly, it's an ECU driven tach from factory (unlike pre-facelifts where the tach is driven by the distributor directly), it never displays anything more than 2500RPM and it doesn't match up with the actual engine speed anyway, so I think it's just not driving the tach hard enough. Will be looking more into those tomorrow, as well as doing some proper road tuning tomorrow with a good friend of mine, he does it on a regular basis so it'll be a great learning experience for me :D

 

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Got the tach issue sorted yesterday, turns out I'd somehow managed to set it to drive at half speed (like if you were trying to drive a 4cyl tach but had an 8cyl engine), changed the setting back to normal and now the tach works as it should. Also got it road tuned yesterday as well, car drives so sweet and smooth on the MS that it's better than the factory ECU, it feels like it has gobs more torque in particular, no more downshift dance when driving up hills. Still haven't figured out the A/C though, will have to look into that more this week because having no A/C sucks :p

EDIT: Looking at the factory service manual, it just hit me like a freight train. the A/C amplifier is expecting to see 5v on the ACT pin to engage the compressor, the MS's programmable on/off pins simply pull the pin to ground when active. I will have to fix that when I get home from work tonight :p
 

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Quick update with the status of things. Been driving around with the MS installed for a little while now, pretty happy with it so far. Got the A/C working a while ago, but need to throw a resistor in line with the output from the high side driver as the inrush current from it pops the 10A A/C fuse when you try to turn the A/C on. Being winter the motivation to make the A/C work properly isn't there though haha. Finally got around to putting the 5SFE on the stand a few days ago, pressure washed it today to get the majority of the gunk off so I don't get completely covered in grease when I tear the motor down.

Motor on the stand


Mmm, caked on CV boot grease


More crapola


All clean!


Hooray for no more CV grease!
 
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