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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
4wd mystery...

I went to a car lot today to look at a 1997 2 door, 5-speed RAV4 advertised as a 4wd. The first thing I noticed inside, however, is that there was no center differential locking switch. I asked the salesman if he was sure that it was a 4wd and he said that when he ran the vin# it came up as such. When I test drove it I accelerated quickly from a stop light with gravel on the road. Both my friend (who was riding with me) and I noticed that one of the rear wheels seemed to spin on the gravel briefly, which would seemingly be evidence of 4wd. Nevertheless, from the reading I have done on this forum it appears that all manual transmission 4-wheel drives from 1997 should have a center differential locking switch. Anyone have information or a hypothesis? How can I tell for sure? Thanks!

Update: After reading some of the responses from a similar post two days ago (yes, I know... I should have searched this site more thoroughly prior to starting a new thread) I can see that I really just need to go back to the lot and crawl underneath the car to see if there is a rear driveshaft. BTW... The vin# is JT3XP10V4V0008366
 

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... I can see that I really just need to go back to the lot and crawl underneath the car to see if there is a rear driveshaft.
No crawling needed. A 5-second look from under the rear bumper for a rear differential or not is all that's needed. If you're not that familiar with what you're seeing take a look at a few in a shopping center parking lot.
 

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The VIN decoder lists it as a SXA15 chassis model, which applies to 2-door 2WD Ravs.

A salesman unable to positively ascertain whether a particular car is 2- or 4-wheel drive isn't very credible in my opinion...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
A salesman unable to positively ascertain whether a particular car is 2- or 4-wheel drive isn't very credible in my opinion...[/QUOTE]


I couldn't agree with you more. Thanks, Mick, this is great information to have. I think I might go back to the car lot, look underneath for myself, and then point this out to them. They have it advertised on Craigslist as an AWD. It will be interesting to see if their description on CL changes (might be a clue as to whether or not they Knew this from the beginning.

Your input has been much appreciated!!
 

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A lot of people erroneously think that since there is a 4 in the name, all RAV4's are 4 wheel drive.
 

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Are you getting a good deal on the car? Maybe if you point out that they are not being honest, they will give you a BETTER deal to shut you up!>:D Work with it! It may be in your favor! AND a two door 2WD is still a lot of fun to drive and may get better gas mileage as you aren't dragging all that extra hardware around. Your info doesn't say where you are from. 2WD aren't the best Snow car but still do OK. I drive mine everywhere! And how CUTE can a car be? I would like to have had a 5 speed but the automatic does just fine. A quick look under the back end will tell you, as previously said. No drive shafts or differential: not a 4WD.:doh:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I live in Bend, Oregon and head up into the mountains 3-4 days/nights per week to ski. I am interested in the center lock differential for those times when the snow in the parking area is getting a bit too deep and I get stuck (seems to happen once or twice per season)

I did a bit of Google searching on this car dealer (Buddy's Auto) before heading over here to Portland to look at the car.There wasn't much in the line of reviews. However, I have done a bit more digging in the past half hour and discovered that they have recently changed their name. Looking at the reviews under their OLD name (Tony's Auto Sales) I have discovered that they have a deep and rich history of ripping people off.

So, the salesman told me it was an AWD and he was obviously wrong. Was it a lie or was he honestly mistaken? My policy in life is to believe the best in people and to give them the benefit of the doubt - as long as there is no RISK in doing so. However, that is starting to feel a bit difficult to do in this case. Think I'll just keep searching for that little RAV4 gem elsewhere?
 
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