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I own a 1997 2 door/2 wheel drive Rav4 with the stick shift and was wondering what other people's habits where while driving. In town if the speed limit is 25 mph do most drive in 2nd gear or jump to 3rd. At 25 mph in 2nd my Rav4 is at 2000 rpms and sound a little loud but it is easier to keep it a 25 mph. If I jump to 3rd my rpms drop to a little over 1000 rmps and is hard to keep 25 mph, I always end up going 30 to get the rpms around 2000. Same with 35 mph, do most of you jump to 4th or leave it in 3rd. Maybe I am just worried about the noise at 2000 rpms thinking the engine is getting worked hard when it is just that the RAV4's engine is just noisy. Would like to see what others have to say. It might be differnent with the AWD models.
 

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Hey tony, I've got a 5-speed/2WD also. I usually put it in third for 25 - 35 and then fourth for 35 - 45 and then fifth. But only when I'm driving nicely :twisted: Honestly, if I stay in second at 25 mph, it gets to torque happy, which I find annoying when I am just taking it easy.
 

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Can't say I've ever tried to keep it at 25 mph. :twisted: But yeah, if I'm in a school zone or whatever and I have to be around 25, I do usually have it in third. Same is/was true for both of my Ravs, the '96 two-door and the '04 four-door.

Becky
 

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I've noticed the gearing is sorta strange... maybe it's just me... :p
I usually ride the gears longer... espeically 4th because I notice if you're in 5th gear under 60 mph the RAV will bog and not want to move too well until it hits over 60 again... btw, mine is AWD...

Oh, to add to your question, I usually ride 2nd up to 30mph... otherwise it labors.. just like my explanation above...
 
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good question

Hmmm... at 25 mph or 40 km/h (regardless of vehicle), I would just stay on third, and then drop to second as soon as I need to speed up again.

I have a 2004, so I am able cruise at low RPM more comfortably than, say, my old 1995 Tercel, which felt really sluggish when I drive slow on higher gears (even at 25 mph on third!). :roll:
 
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Discussion Starter #6
The gearing in our cars is horrible. I have a 5 speed with 4WD. In second at 25 the engine spins at 3000 RPM. In 3rd it spins at 3000 rpm at 35. Any faster than 35 and I use 5th gear. helps with fuel economy. Our loud wimpy little four bangers have no top end and relatively little low end. Toyota makes up for it with gearing. The engine spins at 3400 rpm at 70 mph. I am sure economy would be better if the engine spun at 3000 rpm at 70 in fith. That would just mean more downshifts. I could handle that for 1 or two MPG. Our families Acura TL spins its engine at 2000 RPM at 70 and gets higher MPG the faster you drive. I got 35 with it to Boston from NJ once. The Rav4 does best around 60ish economy wise. I think it is geared horribly and for the lack of forward thrust should do better with the milage. Oh well, enough griping about the gearing and power, it carries the dog. :D
 

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When I drive I never look at the tach, unless I'm going to pass. I shift at 4K since the power band is in that area. But in the majority of the situations I hammer it. Also I drive depending on the situation. When I have to move swiftly, extend shifts. It all depends on the flow of traffic. But I also give pedestrians a break, especially if it’s raining. :D
 

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It's best to keep the engine between 2000-3000 RPM in any gear; any lower and it will not provide enough torque, and any higher is a waste of gas unless you need the extra power such as to pass. I try to hover around 2500 RPM when cruising, 3000RPM when accelerating, and 4000RPM when I get on the highway.

My Rav runs 3500 RPM at 75 mph, which seems high but is pretty common for any 4-cylinder car. It's not really the high RPM of the engine that hurts the fuel economy. Look at Hondas, they run at a higher RPM, and they get 40+ MPG.

Simply lowering the RPM of the Rav's engine at a set cruising speed will not improve the fuel economy. If it did don't you think that Toyota engineers would have thought of that when they built the car? You have to remember that the Rav requires a lot more power to move for a vehicle its size, because it has the aerodynamics of a cardboard box and the weight and added drivetrain drag of an AWD system.

The Rav requires power to move even when you are cruising at a set speed and not accelerating, hence the foot on the gas pedal to maintain speed on the highway. If you regeared the transmission to lower the engine RPM, you would need to keep your foot to the floor to keep the Rav at 70 mph, if it even made it to 70mph. This would waste even more gas. It has to do with drag limiting, where the aerodynamic drag of the car reaches the point where the engine cannot overcome the drag, and the car won't go any faster.

Would dropping in a larger engine improve MPG? Maybe, but fuel economy, power, acceleration, etc. are affected by many complex variables which were obviously analyzed by the Toyota engineers when they designed the car. Why didn't Toyota just start out with a larger engine that had more power? Because the Rav was designed with specific features in mind to suit it's niche market in the auto industry, mainly size and cost.

Anyway, I could go into a long complex explanation, but I'm tired.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
I guess I am not used to the sound of the engine when it is reving at 2500. When I was taught to drive stick on a camaro about 12 years back I was told always shift at 2500 rpms. But on the Rav4 if I am in town it is almost impossible to go 25 mph in 3rd gear because the rpms are just over 1000. The poor thing feels starved for juice so I end up going 30 and the same thing happens when I drive at 35 mph in 4th gear. My rpms then are just about 1800. So I shouldn't worry about going 25 mph in second gear at 2200 rpms. Even though the engine makes a little more noise than if it was in 3rd it is probably best for the engine, right? I had a friend tell me that the Rav4 engines are just a noiser breed of engine and to drive by how the Rav4 feels and not what the engine sounds like. How many of you drive 25 mph in second gear and 35 mph in 3rd? I would like to see what the answers would be from this question, because then I can get a better idea. Hope to hear from all of you.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
tonyeltigre,
Since every vehicle is different, you can't really go by speed, but by RPMs when determining what gear to use for a particular speed. I like to keep the RPMs somewhere between 2-3000 rpms when driving, and I consider 3-3500 to be my regular upshift point. For example, I have an old Land Rover that first gear is really only good for getting you into the middle of the intersection when starting at a light...of course, it's much more useful offroad...

That being said, the RAV is noisier than most other vehicles we've owned...maybe because it's a Toyota, maybe because the windshield has been replaced multiple times...I just take it for what it is...

Bogatyr
 

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I have a second generation Rav, which is supposedly quiter than the first generation Rav (due to better sound insulation) but I still think it is loud, especially on the highway. I would love to have a quieter engine and vehicle, but I accept the noise of the Rav and have adjusted to it.

On the other hand, I have been driving manual cars long enough to be able to "drive by sound" and know when to shift. I rarely ever look at the tachometer, since I can estimate engine speed by the sound. I don't crank the stereo up loud often because it masks the sound of the engine and throws me off so I can't shift without having to look down at the tach. So I guess having the engine a little loud helps me a bit.

It's funny because when I was driving a car with an automatic I used to crank up the stereo all the time because I didn't have to worry about shifting. Now if I can't hear my engine well I feel almost disoriented and screw up my shifting. Yeah I'll turn up the volume when I'm cruising down the highway, but it becomes distracting when I have to concentrate on shifting.
 

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I never had a manual that had a tach until a good five years after I learned to drive manual (because I learned on a barebones 1978 Dodge Omni, then owned two Ford Escorts in a row), so I've never relied on the tach for shifting. I look at the tach now for reference, but I have always shifted by sound. I crank up the stereo anyway though! :D

Becky
 
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Discussion Starter #13
I guess it depends on the drivetrain - not being in a country where 2WD RAV4's abound (all SUV's or compact 4WD's are AWD here), the drivetrain setup and subsequent output through each gear would probably be substantially different.

For instance the drive ratio on my Celica GT-Four gearbox is much taller than a standard RAV4 box, so 5th gear isn't required until about 70-75km/h as opposed to the AWD RAV4's 55-60km/h suitability. I do like my GT-Four gearbox, as it's going to be a lot more economical on longer trips, even with a turbo installed. :)
 
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Discussion Starter #14
Just read this thread and found it very interesting.

It seems that everyone has different styles, influenced by past vehicles, the type of driving they are doing, the way taught and I suppose the age of the vehicle as newer ones obviously have a little less wear and are more forgiving.

I have to say, that I drive mainly only back roads, very narrow and windy everyday apart from the last two miles. I find that I don't look at the RPMs or to be honest the speedo (unless of course I am on a decent road that I can get up any particularly speed) as if I did look down I would probably end up ploughing into either a tractor or someone late on the school run.

I just basically tell when to change up or down by the engine noise/labour and the behaviour of the vehicle. You get to know the vehicle you are driving and I can tell when I am driving at 40 or 50 mph without looking down. Which reminds me of an old Ford Sierra I used to have in my college days which used whistle around the drivers wing mirror at 50!

I have ever only had one vehicle that I had to constantly check what speed and the RPMs when shifting gear and that was a Volvo 480. The darn thing was so quiet and showed hardly any engine labour at all a nice car but hammer it and the computer showed a MPG return less than the RAV.

Oh well, that's my two pennies worth!

Mikey
 
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Discussion Starter #16
aggressive and alone, i shift at 5000-6000.

Girl in car => 3000-4000

Dad in car => 2500-3000
 
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Discussion Starter #18
you will find that range real quick when your dad smacks the back of your head. :(
 
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