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2020 RAV4 LE
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So lets cut to the chase. In order of most noticeable to least noticeable:
1) Cusco Front Sway Bar
2) Cusco Rear Sway Bar
3) Cusco Strut Brace

Ironically thats also the order of most difficult to install to least difficult lol. Here are some comparison numbers

OEM Front Sway Bar:
Diameter- 26mm
End Thickness- 9mm

Cusco Front Sway Bar:
Diameter- 27mm
End Thickness- 12mm

OEM Rear Sway Bar:
Diameter- 22.5mm

Cusco Rear Sway Bar:
Diameter- 24mm

Overall I'm pretty happy with them. It definetly tightened up the RAV on those "im running late" turns. Is the RAV ready to win some Autocross Competitions? No lol. Do they look awesome? Yes :D










 

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2021 RAV4 Prime XSE in Magnetic Gray
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I've been trying to find the strut bar for my RAV4 Prime. The added battery weight really makes the body feel twisty even while taking very gentle turns. Where'd you find yours? A quick search around the interweb shows most dealers are out of stock.
 

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2021 Rav 4 XLE gas engine
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So lets cut to the chase. In order of most noticeable to least noticeable:
1) Cusco Front Sway Bar
2) Cusco Rear Sway Bar
3) Cusco Strut Brace

Ironically thats also the order of most difficult to install to least difficult lol. Here are some comparison numbers

OEM Front Sway Bar:
Diameter- 26mm
End Thickness- 9mm

Cusco Front Sway Bar:
Diameter- 27mm
End Thickness- 12mm

OEM Rear Sway Bar:
Diameter- 22.5mm

Cusco Rear Sway Bar:
Diameter- 24mm

Overall I'm pretty happy with them. It definetly tightened up the RAV on those "im running late" turns. Is the RAV ready to win some Autocross Competitions? No lol. Do they look awesome? Yes :D










Could you please discuss the steps you did to remove and replace the OEM front bar with the Cusco. How long did it take?
 

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2021 RAV4 XLE Premium Hybrid
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2020 RAV4 LE
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've been trying to find the strut bar for my RAV4 Prime. The added battery weight really makes the body feel twisty even while taking very gentle turns. Where'd you find yours? A quick search around the interweb shows most dealers are out of stock.
I bought it a while back on ebay. There was a guy on here selling one thought
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Could you please discuss the steps you did to remove and replace the OEM front bar with the Cusco. How long did it take?
Longer than it should lol. So I was planning on doing it at home, but i quickly realized i wasn't as thin as i used to be and I was going to need more room under the car if i wanted to make it easier. I ended up doing it at work on our alignment rack. It took me a few hours, but i took a bunch of breaks and really took my time.

Make sure that you have lifted the rav from the body and the suspension is drooping (i messed this up and almost took a sub frame to the face lol)
The sway bar will come with instructions, but they are in Japanese. you can use the google translate app and your camera to read them
You remove the front and rear "skid plate" and partially drop the driver and passenger side ones behind the transmission one.
Remove the nuts from the sway bar ends
Remove the nuts and bolts that are in the middle of the sub frame (where you will be putting your jack)
Place the jack under the sub frame and support it (the pictures in the instructions show where)
remove the rest of the bolts that hold the sub frame in place except for the front two. The front two I backed out but didn't take completely out
slowly drop the sub frame until you have enough room to get to the 4 bolts that hold the sway bar in place
Remove sway bar, replace with cusco one, and re install everything
Check your alignment after

Again it comes with instructions and even thought they are in Japanese, the pictures are pretty helpful
 
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Longer than it should lol. So I was planning on doing it at home, but i quickly realized i wasn't as thin as i used to be and I was going to need more room under the car if i wanted to make it easier. I ended up doing it at work on our alignment rack. It took me a few hours, but i took a bunch of breaks and really took my time.

Make sure that you have lifted the rav from the body and the suspension is drooping (i messed this up and almost took a sub frame to the face lol)
The sway bar will come with instructions, but they are in Japanese. you can use the google translate app and your camera to read them
You remove the front and rear "skid plate" and partially drop the driver and passenger side ones behind the transmission one.
Remove the nuts from the sway bar ends
Remove the nuts and bolts that are in the middle of the sub frame (where you will be putting your jack)
Place the jack under the sub frame and support it (the pictures in the instructions show where)
remove the rest of the bolts that hold the sub frame in place except for the front two. The front two I backed out but didn't take completely out
slowly drop the sub frame until you have enough room to get to the 4 bolts that hold the sway bar in place
Remove sway bar, replace with cusco one, and re install everything
Check your alignment after

Again it comes with instructions and even thought they are in Japanese, the pictures are pretty helpful
Thanks. Since you already took a photo to translate with the Japanese instructions and the pictures can you upload? This sounds like a job the average DIY shade tree mechanic might not be able to easily do. I was kind of hoping you could just squeeze your hands and a socket wrench up from underneath to unbolt the sway bar mounting brackets and sliding the bar out through the wheel well after removing the links. I guess not after reading about the subframe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks. Since you already took a photo to translate with the Japanese instructions and the pictures can you upload? This sounds like a job the average DIY shade tree mechanic might not be able to easily do. I was kind of hoping you could just squeeze your hands and a socket wrench up from underneath to unbolt the sway bar mounting brackets and sliding the bar out through the wheel well after removing the links. I guess not after reading about the subframe.
I didn't take a picture of the instructions, I just hovered the phone over them and Google Translate will translate it to english. Lol i was hoping the same honestly, there just isn't enought room to get the bolts out unfortunately. Let me see if i can find the instructions, if I can ill scan and upload them
 
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Ugh, I spent 4 hrs yesterday trying to get the front sway out in 100 degree weather because I thought it would be a fun project. I went well beyond what the instructions said to do and unbolted the front struts and steering rack but just couldn't get enough clearance between the frame and subframe to get the sway bar out. Taking the front sway out requires a significant drop of the subframe, like a good 4-5 inches and mine was getting caught on something (maybe because I was only supporting the rear of the subframe and the engine was leaning against the firewall?). I got the subframe to barely clear the pegs it sits on, but I just couldn't get that gap wide enough to squeeze the sway out. It was pretty frustrating since I was probably only 1/2" away from success, but I eventually had to throw in the towel as I was getting super dizzy from the heat. I'm just going to have my mechanic put it in and will report back. The front sway is much more difficult than the rear - like if the tower bar was a 1/10 difficulty, the rear would be like a 2-3/10 and the front would be a 5-6/10 just due to the sheer amount of disassembly involved in lowering the front subframe.

Cusco publishes the following data for the sways:
Front: 27mm width, 131% more rigid than oem 25.4mm
Rear: 24mm width, 124% more rigid than oem 23.2mm

With that said, front sways tend to provide less of a fun driving feel since they induce understeer, but I've appreciated them after doing a thick rear sway upgrade. I wouldn't do just the front sway, despite it being slightly more of a rigidity upgrade than the rear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ugh, I spent 4 hrs yesterday trying to get the front sway out in 100 degree weather because I thought it would be a fun project. I went well beyond what the instructions said to do and unbolted the front struts and steering rack but just couldn't get enough clearance between the frame and subframe to get the sway bar out. Taking the front sway out requires a significant drop of the subframe, like a good 4-5 inches and mine was getting caught on something (maybe because I was only supporting the rear of the subframe and the engine was leaning against the firewall?). I got the subframe to barely clear the pegs it sits on, but I just couldn't get that gap wide enough to squeeze the sway out. It was pretty frustrating since I was probably only 1/2" away from success, but I eventually had to throw in the towel as I was getting super dizzy from the heat. I'm just going to have my mechanic put it in and will report back. The front sway is much more difficult than the rear - like if the tower bar was a 1/10 difficulty, the rear would be like a 2-3/10 and the front would be a 5-6/10 just due to the sheer amount of disassembly involved in lowering the front subframe.

Cusco publishes the following data for the sways:
Front: 27mm width, 131% more rigid than oem 25.4mm
Rear: 24mm width, 124% more rigid than oem 23.2mm

With that said, front sways tend to provide less of a fun driving feel since they induce understeer, but I've appreciated them after doing a thick rear sway upgrade. I wouldn't do just the front sway, despite it being slightly more of a rigidity upgrade than the rear.
Bummer!! yeah I started doing the front in my garage and quickly decided to use a lift at work lol. Did you remove all the bolts the instructions said? I actually left the front two slightly on to keep the whole subframe from wanting to move back. How did you lift the car?
 

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Bummer!! yeah I started doing the front in my garage and quickly decided to use a lift at work lol. Did you remove all the bolts the instructions said? I actually left the front two slightly on to keep the whole subframe from wanting to move back. How did you lift the car?
When I was doing it, I was just using jack stands at the front, so there wasn't much clearance at all. I took the front sway to my mechanic buddy and he concurred that it was definitely a tricky job. He had 2 screw jacks and a trans jack holding everything up in such a way that it could lower the engine - he said the trick is that there's a support bar going from the rear mount to the engine that I missed and it was taking those 4 bolts out of the rear mount that allowed the subframe to drop the 5" necessary to get the front sway out. I also had him install the Spoon rigid collars while the subframe was down - he reported that the JDM subframe (or maybe just the non-Prime subframe) must be slightly different because he had to grind a little bit of the collar off to get everything able to fit back correctly.
I don't feel like I can really make a good conclusion about the effect of these mods on their own, as I installed Blitz ZZ coilovers and Cusco rear upper control arms at the same time. The handling is MARKEDLY improved with these upgrades (and lowering about 2") and the previously floaty RAV4 feels like a regular wagon now. I need to get the car aligned after all these suspension changes, probably shooting for around -1 to -1.5 camber in front and corner balancing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
When I was doing it, I was just using jack stands at the front, so there wasn't much clearance at all. I took the front sway to my mechanic buddy and he concurred that it was definitely a tricky job. He had 2 screw jacks and a trans jack holding everything up in such a way that it could lower the engine - he said the trick is that there's a support bar going from the rear mount to the engine that I missed and it was taking those 4 bolts out of the rear mount that allowed the subframe to drop the 5" necessary to get the front sway out. I also had him install the Spoon rigid collars while the subframe was down - he reported that the JDM subframe (or maybe just the non-Prime subframe) must be slightly different because he had to grind a little bit of the collar off to get everything able to fit back correctly.
I don't feel like I can really make a good conclusion about the effect of these mods on their own, as I installed Blitz ZZ coilovers and Cusco rear upper control arms at the same time. The handling is MARKEDLY improved with these upgrades (and lowering about 2") and the previously floaty RAV4 feels like a regular wagon now. I need to get the car aligned after all these suspension changes, probably shooting for around -1 to -1.5 camber in front and corner balancing.
that sounds cool af! pics or it didnt happen lol
 

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that sounds cool af! pics or it didnt happen lol
haha here it is! The rear settled an extra 1/2” overnight more than the front, I’ll fix them next weekend. The car could honestly go about another 1” lower but there’s the batteries and stuff dangling down and it’s different scraping those than an exhaust.

for comparison, I took pics next to my buddy’s unmodded Prime that we bought during the same week.

Tire Wheel Car Land vehicle Vehicle

Sky Tire Wheel Car Automotive tire
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Niiiiiice. I love seeing this gen RAV lowered. I think there is someone that makes aluminum skid plates that go all the way back.
 
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