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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, gang.

My '98 Rav4 with 141K miles on it has a giant (maybe 1.5 inches) hole in the passenger side sub-frame. Right under the AC condenser. Hole wasn't there a few months ago. I believe that it rusted from the inside out. Driver side sub-frame is structurally sound with just surface rust.

I took the car to a local shop and after putting it on the lift, they suggested I drive it to the nearest junk yard.

Finally got an appointment at a Toyota dealership and they quoted me - wait for it - $12,700. No, not a typo.

They said $6,100 for parts - sub-frame, crossmember, control arms, and exhaust pipes. (The catalytic converter and exhaust piping is badly rusted and does need replacement).

They said $6,600 for labor. 60 hours at $110/hr.

I love this car and would happily put in a few thousand dollars to get it back in tip top shape. But not 12+ thousand.


So, I have a few questions.

1. How insane are these prices? I recognize there are many rusted bolts that probably would have to be cut, so I know that this will be a time consuming job.

2. Is this something I should bother tackling on my own? I have time on my side - I don't drive the car to get to work so not driving it for a month is no issue. I've done the dreaded ERG-VSV valve replacement, am handy, and am able to figure stuff out and follow instructions, but on the other hand, I don't own a repair shop with a pneumatic lift.

3. If it is not worth it to attempt repairs, what is the best option for me to get a few dollars out of the car? Scrap yard? Take out what parts I can to sell? I know people are always on the hunt for the fold down cup holders and other similar items.


Thanks in advance for your input!
 

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I had a friend whose rear sub-frame had a small hole appear on their 1992 Camry wagon. Admittedly not nearly as complicated as the front sub-frame to repair/replace.

Their trusted mechanic quoted $280 for a used sub-frame from the auto recyclers and another $400 labour to swap it around. My friend went to a local shop specializing in frame restoration ... he was charged $180 to cut out the cancer and weld a replacement piece in place. Shop said it's good for at least another 10 years ... car probably won't last that long.

Maybe it's worth getting a few more opinions before doing anything?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
BugJr - Thanks.

Don't think a weld will do it on this one.

I'll have to do some more research and see if I can find a reputable frame shop.
 

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Maybe it's worth getting a few more opinions before doing anything?
Agree. You've already gotten the astronomical estimate. Have a few welding shops look at it for down-to-earth prices. If they're good they'll look over the rest of the car for damage too so something else doesn't go in six months.
 

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There have been a couple of people on here who have successfully had the frame replaced free of charge by Toyota. If you search you may find them and decide if it's worth trying.
I removed my subframe (also referred to on here as a K frame) by jacking up the car, putting it on stands and lowering the frame, no hydraulic lift or special equipment.
There are as you say plenty of rusty bolts but it is possible to do it yourself.
I had mine sandblasted and a couple of rust holes appeared, plates were welded over the holes and then I had it hot zinc galvanised, a process where molten zinc is sprayed onto the steel. I had my wheels and a few brackets done at the same time. You have to be quick if you want to then paint them, I sprayed mine within 48 hours, if you wait any longer then the paint will not take and you have to wait a year for it to be able to accept paint without it flaking. I did this 5 years ago and everything still looks like new.
I believe that there are probably thousands of 4.1 ravs out there with rusty subframes, its just that they are very hard to see and are going unoticed at inspection time.
Good luck with yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, I've contacted Toyota and spoken to three people and each one basically laughed at me due to the age of the car.
 

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I also have a 1998 4.1 That I Adore..... I'd weld a Patch over the problem area and then drive a few miles north to Quebec and have a company called Metropolitain AntiRouille spray their almost magic formula anti rust treatment to stop all future rusting. Mine has no rust and is almost showroom perfect after all these years of use. IMHO They don't make them like They used to.....
 

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IMHO They don't make them like They used to.....
And that is good! Long ago, a two year old or 50,000 mile car was getting risky to drive due to engine failure, failing tires, rotted exhaust, etc.

Almost 100,000 miles on our almost 16 year old RAV 4.1, and still going strong. Can't complain. :thumbs_up:
 

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Yeah, I've contacted Toyota and spoken to three people and each one basically laughed at me due to the age of the car.
That's rude. When I rode motorcycles for over 30 years I steered clear of motorcycle dealers as much as I could, so I was unfamiliar with what dealers were like. One day in 1995 while passing through a city I stopped at a Harley-Davidson dealership just for a break and the free coffee, and I looked at the stuff they were selling - under accessories almost all Asian-made stuff. At the parts counter I had a brief exchange with an employee about ignition points who laughed out loud, pointing through the show window, "Is that your bike? Ha! We don't carry parts for obsolete bikes!" He was pointing to my '56 FLH which was older than he was.

I am not easily perturbed, and when I mounted and was about to ride away a customer ran out and said, "Name your price! I want that bike!" It was worth a smile. Just down the road I got the points at a Chevy dealership. Same part. Toyota's relatively long time between new models is attractive to me for similar reasons.
 
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