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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all; I've been a big Toyota fan for years. Our 96 corolla DX wagon achieved 250k miles before the AT failed. The body is still in spectacular condition.

Anyways, I'd like to get something more suitable for the snowy winters in CO. I've been looking for a jeep, honda crv, or rav4 for some time now. Recently a 2001 rav4 4wd popped up at a dealership (not toyota). I was suprised that there was no switch or lever (like I've seen in Jeeps) to engage the supposed 4wd. I read this post...
http://www.rav4world.com/forums/86-4-2-general/56026-4wd-awd.html
but one poster says the 4wd system powers all wheels at the same time but another poster says the rear wheels are powered as needed. I'm very confused. Which is it?

My off the cuff reaction is that a vehicle where you can "lock" in 4wd like the jeep as needed in the snow might be a better choice for me but I'm not sure.

Any input appreciated.

Thanks
 

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I'd say that you need to buy a JEEP in your area. It's not even worth looking at a 14 year old Toyota, soon to be 15 years old. The RAV is NOT full time 4WD, it is as needed and very long in the tooth at that. Why buy worn out junk?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks: According to the thread I referenced, I thought 25% power was applied to the rear wheels at all times and could be increased as needed, and sensed. Is this not correct?

I also found this from http://www.samarins.com/reviews/rav4.html

AWD system: The RAV4's full-time 4WD system uses a viscous coupling center differential to distribute power to the front and rear wheels. When front wheels start slipping, more power is transferred to rear wheels and visa versa. Although this four-wheel drive system is not designed for real off-roading, it will offer you some advantage on slippery roads.

and this from http://www.awdwiki.com/en/toyota/#RAV4_II_Type_20__2000_2006_

RAV4 II Type 20 (2000-2006)

Sold as 2wd or 4wd.

Both automatic and manual transmissions have full-time all wheel drive with viscous coupling locking center differential. Optional Torsen limited slip rear differential.[3]
....................

The 2001 I found at a dealership is a one owner, well maintained, all service at Toyota and only about 72k miles. That's why I like it. I have no experience with Jeeps and according to the recent consumer reports, Jeep and Fiat have the lowest reliability of all vehicles while Toyota and Lexus are number 2 and number 1.
 

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I live out in the sticks, and although the winters here are not too bad we do get a fair amount of snow, Fitted with a set of AT tyres, you shouldn't have any problems coping with 8 inches of soft fresh snow, muddy fields are no problems either and that's even with a horse box in tow.
They drive great, very reliable, you wont regret buying one. only down side - 25mpg. (one a good day)
and both of mine are 2001 (15years old)
 

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Wait.....someone on this forum even SUGGESTING buying a JEEP??:surprise Yikes! Read Consumer Reports and then see what you think of Jeeps. NPR recently ran an article on why people continue to buy Jeeps when the ratings are usually at the BOTTOM of the reliability list. It's because of the "Jeep factor": it's cool to own a Jeep. Keep that wallet slicked up, however. I am NOT against American vehicles.....except the reliable factor keeps creeping up. I have a 2002 Toyota Tacoma with, now 165,000 miles on it and it has been in the shop exactly never. I do my own maintenance and replaced the timing belt at 90,000 miles. She is very good in the snow and is a shifted 4WD, of course. We also have a 2005 RAV4 that is terrific in the snow; any snow so far. We live in the Denver metro area and the RAV4 is our ski vehicle and we have NEVER had problems, even in bad snow conditions. You do NOT have to shift or punch in 4WD or AWD for the vehicle to be great in adverse conditions. Look through the picture gallery and you'll see many pictures of two door RAV4s out in the worst of conditions. Jeep? That cracks me up. IMHO. (Apologies to anyone who has one. Build an American vehicle that is as reliable as those from over the ponds and I'll buy it.....)>:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi and thanks for the reply. I'm also in CO and love Toyota reliability BUT I didn't know if the 4wd system on the 2001 Rav4 was as good as the Jeep system. The 2001 I found at a dealership has no buttons or levers inside to engage 4wd but the badge on the back clearly says 4wd. So are the rear wheels powered all the time or do they rely on a sensing system to engage if they start to spin? I thought that perhaps a jeep would be better for snow since you can "lock" in 4wd with the lever and didnt' know how the Toyota system worked or compared in comparison.

oh, do you think a 4 cylinder is adequate for occasional ski trips in co or would a 6 cylinder be mandatory?

I called a toyota dealer and was told 2001-2003 rav4's had transmission problems. Any experience with that?

Thanks
 

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I would consider ANY Toyota 4WD before I even THOUGHT of a Jeep. Seriously. Read Consumer's Reports on the ones you are considering. EEEeeek. :eek: I cannot say if how they are engaged for 4WD in the RAV4 series but know that tooting around in the Snow is NOT an issue in the 2005. It belongs to my Significant Other and our standard joke when we are sailing up the roads to the mountains is "WELL...you really need a V6 to get around in The Mountains.... " :wink as it is just not necessary. I actually told her it would be; clearly the 4 cylinder does GREAT. Does it keep up with the V8s etc that are screaming up the hill? No. Do I care? No. My gas mileage compared to theirs..... Bottom line: 4 cylinder is just fine for around here. I don't believe there is a V6 available on the new ones anymore. Why? Gearing is a better way to use the power available than cramming more cylinders in there. Purge Jeep from your mind......:wall
 

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Oh: not sure about transmission problems in those years.....
 

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Oh: not sure about transmission problems in those years.....
They are common, but they are not transmission issues. The ECU ends up with some cracked solder points and it shifts erratically. The good news is that it can be solved by pulling out your ECU and re-soldering it. Or better yet, the route I have taken with three different Rav4's...mail it to Sergi in the Bronx to rebuild for you for under $200.

In short, don't be scared of transmission issues.
 

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And by the way, I have purchased about 50-60 Corolla wagons and over 500 corollas sedans, they are my favorite. Especially the 96 wagons! I've seen them at 400k miles...
 

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I have a 2001 AWD RAV4, live in north central NH and have used this forum for many questions. I'm also a gearhead and did all my own work until a brain tumor left me disabled in 2005. I drive with a left foot adapter and have difficulty walking more than 1/4 mile. At age 15 and 175K, my RAV is still going strong and 100% dependable. If you're in an extremely remote area with roads typically not maintained to any degree, I guess my opinion would be that you need a more dedicated off-road-capable vehicle. For an all-around practical small SUV the 2nd-gen RAV4 is unbeatable. I just replaced the plugs for the 1st time only because I felt guilty, and have changed oil every 3-5K. Aside from fluids changed at appropriate intervals, I've had no other probs except a bad cat. And I added LubeGuard Red to the trans this summer. I've been warned the "rear driveshaft usually goes south around 170K but so far, so good. I undercoat it with fluid film as needed and I hope it goes another 175K. Saw the post re: mileage and yes, 25mpg is all there is!!! Brian
 

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The RAV4 4.1 and 4.2 (1994-2006) were full-time 4wd not slip activated like the 4.3 and 4.4. Meaning you have all 4 wheels with power all the time. (25% per wheel) If the 4.1 would lose traction with the front or rear you had to stop and push the lock button on the dash. The 4.2 has the viscous auto lock if the front or rear start to slip it will engage and send power to the wheels with traction. If this system was so good, why did Toyota stop putting into RAV's? Well the main reason was fuel economy. With an awd on demand system the front is always engaged and if it starts to slip the rear powers up. That is pretty much how all awd systems are today. Some are better than others, from the tests and reviews I have read here in Germany the RAV4 4.4 has a very good on demand system compared to others like the CR-V etc.
 

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Hi all; I've been a big Toyota fan for years. Our 96 corolla DX wagon achieved 250k miles before the AT failed. The body is still in spectacular condition.

Anyways, I'd like to get something more suitable for the snowy winters in CO. I've been looking for a jeep, honda crv, or rav4 for some time now. Recently a 2001 rav4 4wd popped up at a dealership (not toyota). I was suprised that there was no switch or lever (like I've seen in Jeeps) to engage the supposed 4wd. I read this post...
http://www.rav4world.com/forums/86-4-2-general/56026-4wd-awd.html
but one poster says the 4wd system powers all wheels at the same time but another poster says the rear wheels are powered as needed. I'm very confused. Which is it?

My off the cuff reaction is that a vehicle where you can "lock" in 4wd like the jeep as needed in the snow might be a better choice for me but I'm not sure.

Any input appreciated.

Thanks
I bought my 2001 Rav4 4wd standard with only about 90,000 miles on it. Always under coated and came with a new safety inspection. It works awesome in deep snow. Its hardly " worn out junk ". Just buy one that has low mileage and has been serviced properly. Get a mechanic you can trust to look it over first. Don't believe 100% what the dealer says on its condition. I payed $2500 for mine and already have had 2 offers to buy it for $4k.
 
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