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Discussion Starter #1
There is no DIY (Do It Yourself) maintenance sections on this forum. Can the admins add a DIY maintenance section for those of us interested in performing and sharing knowledge related to properly maintaining our RAV4? DIY maintenance saves money and gains knowledge. There should be a DIY section for each generation as there will be differences.

I would like to eventually see threads under the DIY sections for properly replacing all fluids (oil, transmission, rear differential, power steering, brakes, coolant), drive belt, performing brake service (pads/rotors), at a minimum.

Thanks
 

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I agree. I made a jump to this forum from the Subaruoutback.org forum as they are both run by the same group. Over there there is a HUGE diy section. It has helped me with tons of stuf on our gen4 outback. I was hoping to find the same here for our new RAV.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I still need to find a service manual for the 2015 RAV4 (if anyone has a link please share). However in my experience the service manual (even the mfc version) often isn't helpful for various reasons:
- Don't show where the bolts are (due to bad diagrams)
- Generalize steps (ie: step 1 - "drain the coolant"...ok HOW??)
- Don't tell you what parts you need to replace for certain procedures, such as crush washers when removing a diff bolt (ok what's the part number?)

Having a thread dedicated to each procedure will be invaluable to getting it done right the first time.
 

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Picked up an extra tow bolt from the dealer this week and asked if they will ever get a Haynes or Chilton manual for our generation RAV. He said "not likely ever because they are all going electronic". I think that is a bogus answer. I sure would like a Haynes manual for my RAV.

They are good enough that I used one to pull the engine out of my 1975 Opel Manta, rebuild the manual transmission, reinstall everything . . . and the car started up the first time! I'm no mechanic either, so that's saying a lot about Haynes manuals.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Most services you probably don't even need a manual.

For power steering I'm planning to get the front end on jack stands and look for the lowest drain spot (most likely at the loop cooler). Ensure engine is NOT running. Disconnect the line at loop cooler and let it drain. Then turn steering wheel from "lock to lock" until all fluid is drained. Re-connect line at loop cooler, refill with new power steering fluid and turn steering wheel from lock to lock to bleed any air out of the system. When no bubbles appear it's done. Top off the PS reservoir. Always recommend OEM fluid, otherwise ensure it meets the specs as shown in the owners manual.

For coolant, there should be a drain plug at the bottom edge of the radiator (usually a white plastic wing nut). Ensure car is cold (SAFETY FIRST!). Remove the radiator drain plug and allow to drain. With a clean/new siphon-pump siphon out the coolant reservoir. Once drained, screw drain plug back into radiator (NOT too tight - it's plastic). Full up radiator and reservoir with distilled water (NOT garden hose water unless you want hard minerals and lead in your engine). Run the engine for 15-20 minutes (during this time I run the A/C or defroster for 10 minutes and then the heater for 10 minutes). The idea being to get the coolant circulating by opening the thermostat. Turn off engine. Allow the car to cool (if you have an air compressor you can blow off the radiator to speed up the cool down). After 15 minutes or so, repeat the steps (drain radiator, siphon reservoir, refill with distilled). After draining for the 3rd time (or drains clear) it's time to refill. Find out the total capacity of the cooling system (owners manual). Estimate how much coolant drains. Based on total capacity and amount drained, determine how much water is stuck in the engine. Account for this delta when you mix your coolant (goal is 50% or 55% if you live up north). refill coolant. I would highly recommend a Lisle Coolant Funnel (https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http://www.lislecorp.com/uploads/products/24680STOPPER_5C6AFFC1B6756.jpg&f=1)

Need to find out more about the transmission.

For rear differential, should just be a drain plug on the bottom and a fill plug on the side. Ensure the car is level before you begin. Remove the fill plug first (in case you can't get it off after you drain!). THEN remove the drain plug. Allow oil to drain. Put drain plug back in along with a new crush washer. Torque to spec. Get an OTC 2359 oil pump (~$20). Fill with the appropriate oil (see owners manual). Pump oil into fill plug until it begins to overflow out. Stop filling and allow excess to drip out. Replace fill plug along with new crush washer and torque to spec.

There should be a good oil change video on youtube.

I haven't done any of these services yet on my 2015 RAV4. When I do I'll update this thread with pics.
 

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Most services you probably don't even need a manual.

For power steering I'm planning to get the front end on jack stands and look for the lowest drain spot (most likely at the loop cooler). Ensure engine is NOT running. Disconnect the line at loop cooler and let it drain. Then turn steering wheel from "lock to lock" until all fluid is drained. Re-connect line at loop cooler, refill with new power steering fluid and turn steering wheel from lock to lock to bleed any air out of the system. When no bubbles appear it's done. Top off the PS reservoir. Always recommend OEM fluid, otherwise ensure it meets the specs as shown in the owners manual.

Good luck with that, Rav4s have had EPS (Electric Power Steering) since 2006, there is no fluid.


 
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