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Eodgator, I am looking for some advice. I have recently purchased a 1999 Rav4 and I found out afterwards that the engine cradle was broken and a plate was welded to it. I know I need to replace the engine cradle and was wondering what tips, methods can you suggest, or anyone else. It appears from my perusing of the boards that the engine cradle cracking is a common issue with this model.
 

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Even tho I named your thread engine cradle I've never heard the term before. What the heck is it?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The engine cradle, Toyota part # 5120142040, also called by others as front sub frame or K frame. The engine rests on this, and it connects to the frame and the lower control arms are bolted to it. From everything I have read it appears that this major portion of the front suspension is highly susceptible to rusting out and breaking (as mine has). Link below for the part.

(I had to remove the link as I do not have enough posts yet to enter one)


I am looking for information from others that have had this issue and how they resolved it, self help, garage only etc. I also would like to hear about, parts needs that arose from the replacement of this so I can gather those up before diving in.
 

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Okay, the front subframe. It kinda came to me after I asked. And rust can certainly be an issue with it. I've heard of replacing it but usually with a used one from a yard. I did replace the front A-arms due to rust on my FIL's '98 RAV4 but the subframe was okay.

BTW, with your next post being your 6th links are allowed.
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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You can find them in salvage yards, just inspect them for damage/severe rust (light rust is to be expected) before purchasing one, or if you have deep pockets you can pick up a new one for about $750 plus their ridiculous shipping charges. Before you install it, wire brush, rust neutralize inside and out, clean it up good, prime, and paint it with a heat resistant pain; it gets quite hot down there. Keep us posted on what you decide to do.

Do the same for the control arms while you have them off. About the same price to buy new ones as it is to rebuild them (buy from third party, not Toyota). Look at those struts too.

It's a good time to make sure all your mounts are in good shape and no leaks from your steering system. You can search through threads here on how to rebuild the steering box.

Check out your cv boots, if they are in bad shape you can just replace the whole lower cv joint again third party about the same as rebuilding. If they are cracked and leaking, definitely replace because crud gets in there and causes all kinds of hate and discontent. If you replace the cv joints, put new seals in the tranny.

I know, the list piles up when you go to repair something, but I hate to have to keep tearing the same parts off to get back in there and fix something that I should have taken care of the first time. Of course I don't know your skills, if you have a garage, or how deep your pocketbook is. If you are going to own an 20+ year old car you have to do a lot of the work yourself or at least find a good reputable shop to do the work. Dealerships will clean your checkbook right out for parts and particularly labor.
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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Don't work under her without jack stands or she'll kill you!!!
 
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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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If you go to your profile and update it, start a garage, Put a signature, list what your RAV is there so that folks can help you because they know what you have without having to keep looking somewhere for the info. That is why I have all that in my signature line.
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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Don't buy an "engine cradle" from a donor if it has had much front end damage, you may be trading one problem for another.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Wow, great advice and plenty of it. I would not have thought about the boots and steering, but while it is all apart......


Lucky dollars are not the restriction this time around. I have done the brakes and pads, rotors, shoes drums, rear shocks entire fuel system. Hate that damn fuel line setup on and off of the tank. previous owner must have banged something pretty hard because fuel tank was smashed on one side and seam was leaking...So replaced it all, only in pieces, thought parts looked good but got tired of pulling the tank back out because yet another fuel line was rusted through and leaking.


Had a broken rear spring and both of the black rubber (stoppers?) within the rear springs were just bouncy toys on the bottom. Do not know if they (rubbers) are that necessary to replace.


Need front struts (maybe) broken spring on one. Getting a picture of the condition it was in yet?
Found out the engine cradle was cracked, had a steel plate welded on it and then all of it was covered with a (hide me) rustproofing undercoating. I will send picture of that half (butt cheek) repair when I get the part off.


I was looking in to getting the whole under frame coated with "fluid seal" ? at the time parts were coming off and on. recommendations on that front?


Rock Auto has front end kit all MOOG parts that includes inner and outer tie rods, ball joints, both control arms and stabilizer link for under $300.00. That seems a good price for all of those parts.


I do need a strut spring and it seems all of the struts for the RAV4 are much higher for the Gen1's. I planned on replacing both struts just because I do not know how good they are.


I thought about timing belt and water pump too as all of the parts will be out of the way and I have no ides what the4 maintenance history is (seems to be very bad to non existent given purchased condition).


So I might as well jump on the steering too as it is mostly buried under the cradle.


Man this is getting expensive. Interior was by far the best part of the vehicle great condition other that the rusted in place fuel door lever (replaced that too).


I am looking for the turn signal bulb receptacle and marker light receptacles. The lens was cracked filled with water, so all components inside were burnt and rusted. Have not been able to find those.


But I digrees.... Any information on what seems to be a full under body mechanical restoration anyone is willing to pass on will be greatly appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I am seeking a used cradle form our Southern border, and was planning on rustproofing it. thanks for the how to piece on that.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I did add the info on my 99 RAV4 on the garage site, but it does not seem to be coming up. Silver 4dr 99 RAV4 automatic.
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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I have practically rebuilt mine, except for the engine. I have quite a few threads on my projects, if you click on my avatar and select profile, under statistics you will see threads, click on that and it will list them. My springs were sagging, needed suspension work, so for that, I ordered an Old Man Emu, lift kit, it comes with front and rear coil springs, heavier duty than stock, eliminates a lot of body roll. It also has a good set of rear gas shocks, no front struts though.

Then I blew my tranny because a cooling line hose blew out, while on I-4 by the time I got pulled over in a safe place, the tranny was toast. So I pulled the engine and tranny, and just upgraded/replaced/fixed everything in the engine compartment other than the engine and heads.

Timing belt/water pump is great idea, not too difficult. To break the crank/harmonic balancer bolt loose, get a 24mm impact wrench socket, breaker bar and wedge the breaker bar up in the control arm, pull your plug wires so it won't start, turn the engine over and it will break it loose every time, or you have to have a very high power impact wrench, which may or may not work.

Those are good prices from Rock Auto. When ordering parts online, cross reference the parts from a few different sites to make sure you aren't going to get the wrong parts. I usually go to a Toyota parts site, get the part numbers and try to cross reference them that way.

If you mess with the cooling system, a new radiator isn't very expensive after market. I do recommend buying the genuine Toyota thermostat,because I tried 2 aftermarket ones and the engine overheated. The Toyota one has a larger valve, and bypass valve that the aftermarket ones don't have. I've heard you can drill a small hole in an aftermarket one and it will work. I have a thread where I rebuilt my cooling system with specifics.

Good luck with her, start threads for your projects so we can follow your progress.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Sorry if it takes me time between posts to reply. first thank you for all of the information you have given me. I do not have internet access at home so, replies will be long in coming sometimes.


I will be starting the major portion of the repairs after 10 April. I will keep updates and photos as to progress. Especially notes on unexpected issues and their resolutions. I am sourcing parts now, so if anyone has a 1999 RAV 4 engine cradle in good condition for sale, let me know.


I am going to replace all of the suspension on the front end and linkages. Thought's?


New struts , rotors pads, calipers if needed.


I am still looking of the front turn signal and marker light sockets.


That is all for now.
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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Front end..
Stabilizer bar
-- end links
-- bushings
Control Arms
-- bushings
-- mount (it has a bushing on it)
-- lower ball joints
-- perform corrosion control, strip, prime, and paint it
-- OR buy a rebuilt control arm for about the same price and a lot less hassle
Steering box - support it when you go to pull the cradle, it is held in place by the cradle if I rember right
-- Check for leaks, you can rebuild it cheaply
-- Check the rubber boot for the steering dust cover - it is on the steering linkage where it goes through the firewall, if you need a how to see - http://www.rav4world.com/forums/85-4-1-faults-fixes/215738-replacing-manual-transmission-project.html page 3
-- I damaged my outer tie rod ends when I disconnected it so I replaced it, inner one looked fine on mine
-- Check hoses for leaks and corrosion
CV Joints
-- check boots for deterioration, if cracked then water and grime is already in there do a nasty on your cv joint. It is about the same price to replace the lower cv-joint as it is to rebuild it.
-- if you pull the cv joints, replace the tranny seals
Engine and tranny mounts
-- Unless someone has replaced them they probably aren't in too good of condition
-- You will have to disconnect the front and rear tranny mounts to remove the "engine cradle" and cross member
-- the only engine mount is on the passenger side and you will have to remove it from the engine to service the timing belt and water pump
-- the driver's side engine mount is under the air intake box, you will have to remove it if you want to replace the mount.
Wheel hub
-- with everything off, you can look in there and see the bearings, I wiped out whatever I could get without turning it, put some new synthetic wheel bearing grease in there and worked it in, as the old grease surfaced I wiped it off.
Disc brakes
-- I had already totally rebuilt mine but the caliper was rusting so I performed corrosion control, primed with 2000 degree primer and painted with caliper paint
-- Check flex hose and if needed replace, if the front are bad the rear probably are in as bad or worse condition - You can pick up flexible stainless steel wrapped teflon brake lines on ebay
-- Check the rotor for deep groves, heavy corrosion, cracks
-- If the pads aren't fairly new, replace
Suspension
Springs - check for damage, sagging to one side, and/or corrosion - the Old Man Emu (OME) kit has a small lift and heavy duty springs that improve handling and ride (helps with body roll), the kit includes front and rear springs, and rear shocks
Struts - check for leaks and action
Transmission cooler and lines
-- check for damage, corrosion, leaks - if they look like original equipment - replace them, Toyota is quite proud of them but you can make your own for around $100 see http://www.rav4world.com/forums/94-4-1-d-i-y-modifications/245377-making-your-own-manual-transaxle-cooling-hoses.html
Replace all belts and hoses
-- there are 2 hoses that are under the exhaust manifold that you may want to take a look at, when I replaced mine one of the hoses split while I was trying to remove it and I hadn't even gotten frisky with it
-- there are also 2 hoses on the tranny side of the engine going to the throttle body, replace those too or some folks have said to loop it around and bypass the throttle body because it they say it really isn't necessary
Front turn signals
-- the whole assemblies are available on Amazon.com

That is a long list...
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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A few other things:
-- While the cradle is out you should move the EGR VSV from it's location at the gap of the intake manifold to the firewall. This is a no cost thing but you will thank me if you have any problems with the EGR system.
-- If you have a 4x4 check the front and rear differential mounts. If they are sloppy it can damage your tranny.
-- Again if you have 4x4 check the propeller (drive) shaft mount in the center of the drive shaft, again if it is loose feeling it can cause damage.
-- If 4x4, change the rear differential fluid
 
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