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1996 Toyota Rav4 (3 Doors, AWD, Manual)
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
TLDR: I moved back to Quebec, Rav4 ate a bearing, I put RAV4 in storage, I now start working on RAV4, but need a new engine.

Hey y'all!

I know, I know... I've been awfully silent on here this last year. But hear me out, it was one heck of a crazy year.

Last November my wife and I decided we wanted to have a kiddo (it's still a work in progress, but we're practicing really hard!). Considering that Vancouver is prohibitively expensive, we took the decision to move back to Quebec. And YES, I kept my Rav4, that wasn't even an option!

So we packed all of our lives in a UHaul and drove across Canada in 4 days!

Wheel Tire Automotive parking light Automotive side marker light Vehicle


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You really need to be crazy... or a trucker to drive all that in such a short amount of time, and I am not a trucker.

So when we arrived in Quebec, we saw something we haven't seen in 4 years : Winter. And what a winter that was! It so darn cold and I don't know if it's because of the cold, but my Rav4 started driving like crap. In a matter of a week I went from getting around 500km per tank to barely 150km.

This happened in the dead of winter.
I wanted to cry.

So I did what every sensible human being does in these times and I bought a RWD sports car.

My wife and I welcomed Albert in our lives: a 2016 Scion FRs with 50 000km on the clock.

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Albert has been a good car to us. Driving us safely through snow storm and icy roads. I will tell you, RWD cars are SO MUCH FUN in winter time! And that's not a joke. Whoever says they're horrible in the snow needs to try a properly balanced one.

Anyway, back to Maurice.

I decided to retire Maurice for the winter. So he went in my father's car barn to hibernate.

In the meantime, I was approached by an agency to build their video offering and my career took most of my time outside of my wife, my friends, and aimlessly driving just for fun. So I kinda forgot about my Rav4. I know, how could I!

So this brings us to now.

This weekend my father and I decided to get this Rav4 back on the road.
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We changed the timing belt (it was most likely the reason for the horrible gas consumption), charged the battery, turned the key annnnnndddddddd.... Well, the engine started but made a HORRIBLE noise.
It sounded like a rattle can, just louder. We dropped the pan and YAYYYYYYYY, a shredded bearing!

This takes us to now. I am currently looking at my options. I have already put a lot of time into this car and I LOVE it. So it is not a matter of being cost conscious here. I am trying to source a low mileage 3S-FE with a manual transmission. I would like to find a domestic one if possible to keep the OBD2, but I am also open to import one from Japan. I really don't want to go through the pain of rebuilding the engine... I could, but I would much rather find a solid one and just drop it in and call it a day.


I will keep y'all posted on this project here.
My original goal was to put it back up to showroom specs, and it is still the hope! I want this quirk mobile to be on the road and in car meets next summer!
 

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1998 Rav4, manual transmission, 2WD, 5-door, JDM engine installed in 2013
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I have already put a lot of time into this car and I LOVE it. So it is not a matter of being cost conscious here. I am trying to source a low mileage 3S-FE with a manual transmission. I would like to find a domestic one if possible to keep the OBD2, but I am also open to import one from Japan.
I do not think JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) 3SFE engines have any issues with OBD2. After all, OBD2 is all about the computer and the sensors, isn't it? The JDM engine is going to be set up for the sensors (with one small caveat about the camshaft position sensor for the 1998-2000 Ravs). You already have the correct computer. It's almost plug and play, no?

Also I expect the JDM engines have lower mileage than just about anything from a salvage yard here in the United States. This is because Japanese emission standards are so strict that engines get retired much sooner in Japan.

-- 1.5 cents from the owner of a 1998 Rav4, purchased with a JDM engine in 2018
 

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Sounds like we might be at the same point. I have had my Rav in the shop now for almost 1 month. It has been a journey but here's hoping it will have a happy ending. It went in for engine replacement. The parts guy has been relentless in the pursuit of sourcing a new engine. He is as particular as I am and has been involved in the care of my car for a number of years. He located a low mileage engine from a west coast supplier who brings them from Japan (he refused to go the salvage yard route), but the replacement journey has been a complicated by the fact that my car had California emissions stuff. They have had to source other parts therefore to bring to non-Californian (my understanding). There was some kind of sensor and vacuum tube that had to reordered as well as injectors. The good thing is that he has been able to source the parts, and I am hoping to get it back next week with all new stuff installed. It's been a journey (expensive) but am keeping my fingers crossed it will all go well. Don't really like the rental HRV I have. It's an ok ride but not like my Rav at all!
 

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1996 Toyota Rav4 (3 Doors, AWD, Manual)
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I do not think JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) 3SFE engines have any issues with OBD2. After all, OBD2 is all about the computer and the sensors, isn't it? The JDM engine is going to be set up for the sensors (with one small caveat about the camshaft position sensor for the 1998-2000 Ravs). You already have the correct computer. It's almost plug and play, no?

Also I expect the JDM engines have lower mileage than just about anything from a salvage yard here in the United States. This is because Japanese emission standards are so strict that engines get retired much sooner in Japan.

-- 1.5 cents from the owner of a 1998 Rav4, purchased with a JDM engine in 2018
Interesting. I thought JDM engines had a different protocol. But you would know better since you have a JDM engine in yours. Thanks for the input, it definitely steers my research towards getting a JDM engine.

@jamguy Yeah. It seems like we're pretty mush in the same position. I have sent emails to a couple of importers and I am waiting for their answers. I am hopping to find an engine soon to get that beauty back on the road!

@Rocksloth It would also need to get new piston ring, a new clutch, the oil pump seals are leaky, new vacuum lines... I mean, if I get in there I want to really get in there. And at that point I figure it would be way easier, cheaper and more reliable to get a low mileage engine and transmission.

But I am still thinking about my options. I will see one I get quotes from the importers.+
 

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1998 Rav4, manual transmission, 2WD, 5-door, JDM engine installed in 2013
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Interesting. I thought JDM engines had a different protocol.
You know the vocabulary better than I. :) All I know (and as you are apparently finding in your online searches) is that JDM 3SFE Rav4 engines are installed all the time in the United States. I think it's just about "plug and play" as the young enthusiasts put it.

I will toss in that one of my Honda Civics some years ago also had a JDM engine. The differences are trivial. To reinforce this, this Florida, U.S.-based JDM engine dealer observes that all that is needed to make the JDM engine fit in the first generation Rav4 is:

"Swap over the upper timing covers, cam pulley and cam sensor from the old core too the new engine."

-- Toyota RAV 4 2.0L Engine 1996 – 2000

And I believe even this is overkill for the1996-1997 United States-distributed Rav4, since the 1996 and 1997 Rav4s have the camshaft position sensor mounted inside the distributor. Only the 1998-2000, non-distributor, U. S. Rav4s require a small modification of a JDM engine, so the JDM engine will have a camshaft position sensor.

Some variations arise between the California and federal emissions Rav4s, but I think they are pretty easy to deal with. LabCoatPaul treats these differences in one or more of his youtube videos. E.g. his cylinder head replacement video. Post your Ravs VIN (if you want) and I can maybe speak more about this aspect for your Canadian-based Rav4. Granted I think you are more expert than I and have already figured all this out (or are close to figuring all this out, as you talk to JDM 3SFE dealers).
 

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1996 Toyota Rav4 (3 Doors, AWD, Manual)
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@Elle__Rav4 Never say that I know better. You are always giving valuable information to everyone here. I would even go as far as saying that you know better than me about these cars! I am FAR from being an expert... I am but a bush mechanic.

I wholeheartedly thank you for giving me this valuable information. I will focus my research towards JDM engines since they have lower mileage.
 

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@Rocksloth It would also need to get new piston ring, a new clutch, the oil pump seals are leaky, new vacuum lines... I mean, if I get in there I want to really get in there. And at that point I figure it would be way easier, cheaper and more reliable to get a low mileage engine and transmission.

But I am still thinking about my options. I will see one I get quotes from the importers.+
[/QUOTE]
Ha ok needs a full overhaul! well I see why you want to do a swop, I guess if you did go for a re-build considering the price just to do that, I myself would re-work it as a preformance engine (something akin to stage 2) so a least after the cost you have good power and fuel economy beyond stock.
 

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From all that's been said here, I am glad I decided to go ahead with the low mileage Japanese engine. My rebuild was done in 2014 and has lasted up to this point. My "Ravvie" will be so happy with its new "Heart"!
 

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1996 Toyota Rav4 (3 Doors, AWD, Manual)
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So far no luck. The importers I am reaching out to only tell me that they don't have it in stock and that they don't care about the 3SFE. It is looking more and more like I will have to pull the engine out of the car and do a full rebuild myself... which I really don't want to have to do hahaha. FML
 

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1996 Toyota Rav4 (3 Doors, AWD, Manual)
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Because I have never done it before and it stresses the heck out of me! I really loved the idea of simply putting a low millage engine in and calling it a day but I guess I'll have to go all in!
 
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