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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All.

I only just joined since I am considering purchasing a RAV4 Gen 1 but with very little car knowledge thought I would see if i could get some advice.

A work colleague is selling an old RAV4. It is a 1995 2.0 Automatic 4WD RAV4 L model.

The price he is offering it at is a little under what I have seen other online sales complete at so unless there is something major wrong with it I think the price is good. I am based in NZ and the price he wants is NZ$1000.

He gave me a quick review of things below, I would be keen to hear anyone's thoughts on what to look out for and basically just any general advice based on this information.

  • Im selling because Im moving or else I would keep it (this I know is 100% trues, he is leaving the country!)
  • There nothing wrong with the car (hopefully he is telling the truth!)
  • It is reliable. I've driven it all around the country and it never failed me
  • Plenty of life in the tires
  • The car makes a rattling sound but the mechanic told me this the muffler, not the engine and can be fixed with some welding
  • Last vehicle inspection it did fine, just needed spark plugs
  • Previously failed a vehicle inspection for the seatbelts not retracting (I just took it somewhere else)
  • It once failed an inspection for rust around the windshield which I fixed
  • It does leak a little oil (like most old Toyotas)
  • It has plenty of scratches and dings and stains inside (this is not a pretty car)
  • Cam belt hasn't been replaced to my knowledge

I am not looking for a car that looks and behaves like a brand new car for the money I am paying, I fully understand this is 20 years old and will have issues.. I just thought it would be good to run this list past some experts in a forum like this to hear some feedback.

I am not concerned if I need to fix a few things up but more concerned about not knowing how much or how big a job it would be to get the work done.. no point in buying something and having to pay out 2-3 time the original costs to fix it up.

Attached are some of the pictures!

Thank you all in advance!
 

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Well ... I see one major flaw ... the steering wheel is on the wrong side! :)

The "rust around the windshield" is a red flag (too), as is "I repaired it myself" (unless the seller is a body shop pro).

The timing belt kit, and water pump, need to be done ASAP.

If it were here and cheap, I'd likely buy it. Except for that first big problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Awesome, thanks for the feedback LugNut!

I got an estimate for the timing belt and water pump replacement.. was a little higher than I would have expected though. The garage said it would be a 4hr job, does this sound correct? He quoted me NZ$800 for parts and labour. For an idea of parts costs I can buy the Timing Belt + Tensioner Kit + Water Pump new from the garage for NZ$135.. so essentially sounds like he is quoting NZ$665 (US$470) for 4hrs work.. this seems pretty steep to me since my understanding is this is a manual job and no specialist equipment required (is that correct?).

The average wage here for a mechanic is about NZ$25.. I understand the garage would want to make the same probably and then lets add another 25% assuming they pay their mechanics above average.. but for 4hrs work this still would only be around NZ$250.. so unless I am missing something here then it sounds like this is a pretty excessive quote.. thoughts anyone?

I would of course shop around for quotes but wanted to use this forum as a sounding board to see what others thought.

I will make a decision soon.. hopefully some of your feedback will help me, thank you!
 

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Buy the car parts and take it to a mechanic for doing it. Might just take 2.5 to 3 hours, especially if they have all the equipment. it will come out cheaper.
In Ottawa, Canada, independent mechanics make CA$70+. At the dealer, be ready to may CA$100-$120 per hour.

I have fixed rust around windshields before; usually at the top. The rust usually comes back. The only time it did not come back is when I really sanded out all the rust. It was hard to get around the gasket. I am not even sure I even got all the rust out. I then used the best anti-rust paint I could get (POR-15) and the rust did not come back. But it looked ugly.
 

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I thought I should update this thread.. better late than never.

So in the end I bought this car.. and it is awesome! I cannot be more pleased with it.. well, I probably could but that would be asking too much based on the amount I paid and the age of the vehicle.

So I took ownership of the car on the 6th January 2017 after I returned from my xmas holidays.

It has been 2 months to the day and I haven't had a single issue with it.

I ended up paying $800 NZD (about US$560) and haven't had to spend anything on the car yet. It starts every time, is water tight, has never skipped a beat and all in all is making me very proud to own a RAV4!

Actually.. I lie slightly, yesterday I had to spend $3 for a pack of bulbs since one of the headlamps was only working on full beam, but after a quick change in the car park outside the store all was working. I did come across another issue last night also and that is the light behind the shifter for lighting up the gear looks to have blown (or perhaps the fuse) but having read up online about it this looks to be a very simple fix also and since I do very little night time driving doesn't really affect me.

But.. other than that everything is good.

Some of the things on my to do list to make my life with my RAV4 better may be..

1. Stop the squeaking noise coming from the spare tyre. (I just read a thread that suggests tape or oil will fix)
2. Find a new knob to replace the missing one on the temperature slider
3. Put a new clean carpet in the back.. seems like a 1m x 1m square will sort that.

After that I don't think it will be worth making any 'improvements'.. sure, a paint job, taking the dent out one of the bumpers and adding some of those cool fog lights would be nice but considering I only paid NZ$800 and any improvement will probably cost the same again (at least!) I think I am good for now.

I don't have to get the Warranty of Fitness done for another few months and hopefully all will pass fine assuming nothing major happens between now and then. The seat belt issue that the previous owner described.. not sure if that will be picked up, they seem to work fine but don't fully retract on their own without some assistance, not by a huge amount, not enough to get stuck in the door but any more and may do. Not sure if there is an easy/cheap fix for this but will cross that hurdle when (if) it comes to it.

LugNut previously suggest "The timing belt kit, and water pump, need to be done ASAP.".. is there a way I could confirm if this is something that would be needed? I don't want to be spending out if I don't have to.. but I also don't want to be ignoring it if it is a possible issue.

Oh.. and I gotta say it again.. the car is awesome! :)
 

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Fortunately the 3SFE is apparently a "noninterference" engine, so if the timing belt slips badly, etc., no big damage should occur. But do the kit and the water pump as soon as you can afford to. Spark plugs, air filter, etc. even sooner.
 

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I've had mine for ten years, just some things to keep a look out for.

There is a dipstick for the front diff in the driver's side wheel well, check to see if there's actually oil in there as this is often ignored.
As mentioned before, it is a non interference engine. I've had the timing belt snap on me with no internal engine damage, but you really don't want to be left stranded on the road when that happens.
My car was also denied inspection for seatbelts, my cheap fix was to use the ones from the back seat. It doesn't fit perfectly, but it works. Everything else is just standard wear and tear so you when checking the car keep an eye out for funny sounds, knocks, vibrations or odd lights/things turning off while driving (especially since you say he has a knocking sound in the exhaust, try and isolate that sound to listen for others, shake the exhaust a bit to see if it really is coming from it)
 

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With the belts. Try removing the plastics off the pillars and blowing the retractors out with compressed air. They can get quite dusty in there.
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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First off congratulations, that was a great buy, and welcome to the site.

Go under your car, and because someone put your steering wheel in the wrong place I don't know which side but, you will see a plastic guard covering up your brake and fuel lines going to the rear. Take that cover off and inspect the lines for rust, mine were heavily corroded where the lines go through retainer clips. See my thread - http://www.rav4world.com/forums/85-4-1-faults-fixes/210626-brake-line-corrosion.html

As far as the timing belt and water pump change out, see if your mechanic is okay with you getting the parts yourself because you can get good deals online for a waterpump timing belt kit that will include everything you need but the labor and curse words. While there change the front oil seal, won't add much time but it may save you from having to go back in there just to fix a leak.

Change all your fluids, most overlooked are the rear differential, brake, and transmission.

Clean and spray all your rubber suspension and driveline parts with silicone lubricant spray. This will help eliminate squeaks and make the rubber last longer.

Your transmission probably has an external oil cooler, those hoses that go to it last a long time but if one fails it can cause disaster for your tranny (it happened to me), I would recommend changing those if they are original, are rusty, or look really old. See my thread on how to make your own - http://www.rav4world.com/forums/94-...-your-own-manual-transaxle-cooling-hoses.html. This is for manual transmission hoses, you would just need to check the sizes of the fittings and hose lengths.

Make sure you have a functioning jack, actually try it out and make sure it works. Never go under your car when it is supported by just a jack!!!!

If you aren't mechanically inclined, you may want to get your hands dirty and learn how to do some of the maintenance yourself. Owning a 22 year old car can get quite pricey if you have to send it out for everything and it can be quite satisfying knowing that you fix stuff yourself.

A few suggested quality tools:
3/8" metric ratchet kit
3/8" torque wrench in foot pounds
1/4" torque wrench in inch pounds
metric open/box wrench set
various screwdrivers
multimeter, doesn't have to be an expensive one, digital and autoranging is a big plus
pair of jack stands

See youtube on how to do a lot of maintenance. Your engine, unless someone changed it, is probably the 3SFE engine which is in a lot of Toyotas so you can look for maintenance ideas from other Toyotas.

Have fun with your new wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So it has been nearly 2 years since I purchased by 3 door '95 RAV4, I am so happy with it. It hasn't missed a beat since the day I got it. It passes it's 6 monthly inspection every time and always starts first time every time. I removed the 2 back seats since I never used them and the extra space has made it very useful. I put a new 1m2 piece of carpet in the back and changed the tyres once, that has been my only expense other than the required WoF's.

The time has come however where my mechanic has warned me that come my next service I may a few things that will need fixed and recommended I consider purchasing a new car. I have a long road trip coming up in a couple weeks so decided to bite the bullet and buy something slightly more recent.

I don't want to give up my '95 RAV4 but I can't justify having 2 cars, and particularly with the extra cost of getting it through it's next service, so sadly I need to let go.

Today I purchased a new used car, a 2016 RAV4 Limited.. a big upgrade from my current. I expect to take delivery of it in just over a week so I am going to make the most of the time I have left of my awesome car before I put it up for sale.
 
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