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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi, I'm new to the forums. I'm glad to see there are other people who like the first gen Rav4! I had wanted one for years, seriously considered one in 1998 and regretted not going for it then.

So I have been looking around for a long time, and noticed that they were becoming rarer and rarer on car lots, so when I found a nice looking 99 here I jumped on it, paid for it with my Visa :kiss...it has 159k miles, AC, auto, sunroof, ABS, leather seats.

Questions: I thought at first these early models had 4wd but when I ran VIN check it said AWD. Which is it? what's the actual difference? if it's 4WD is it something I need to activate and if so how?

Also I'm sure it needs rear shocks and it doesn't seem like it would be hard but DH is busy an it's cold here for working on cars - how much should it cost US$ to replace these if I go to a shop? Midas just quoted me $204.

Also there seems to be some fun things you can do with the seats that the car salesman couldn't demo. You can fold the rear totally up against the front seats can't you? and lay them all down like a bed?

I will try to post a pic later...
 

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Welcome to the forums :D

4wd and awd are the same thing, as in 4 wheel drive or All wheel drive, it runs 4wd permanently on these and as you have bought an auto i think its got auto centre diff lock, which will click in automatically if you get it stuck in mud etc, on a manual shift there is a button to engage that feature buts its automatic on an auto i belive but ive not seen it myself as mine is manual.

Rear shocks look very easy to swap out providing no rust etc, how much cost to change i would say 1hour labour should cover it easily if all goes to plan from what ive seen.

Get a picture up they are great little trucks, i bought my 98 as a second car for winter when weather gets real bad, but i like it so much i drive it all the time!
 

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Welcome aboard! Great place to find out nearly everything! I have a CUTE 1997 two door (or 3 if in the UK) front-wheel drive and take her everywhere. Not a great Snow car but she holds her own. It would be better with Snow tires but the all-seasons perform reasonably well. I take Goose (the Tacoma) out when there is Snow on the road....:smile

Shocks: yes, an easy job to do yourself in about an hour. Find a friend up there who has a heated garage and swap them out. Really, it takes about an hour or so. Easiest DYI job other than oil change.

Seats: yes: they do fold up against the front seats. I believe they don't come out (at least not in mine; that started with the 4.2) but do fold up pretty flat against the front seats to make scads of room.....especially in the 2/3 door.

I spent 13 years in the Billings area. Where are you? Winters seem to be a bit milder than when I was there. I don't hear about the week-long 25 below zero nights in February as much as back then....... Coldest I saw was 42 below. THAT was freaking COLD!:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Welcome to the forums :D

Get a picture up they are great little trucks, i bought my 98 as a second car for winter when weather gets real bad, but i like it so much i drive it all the time!
Yes that's one reason I got it..my other car is a minivan and there are places I just don't want to take it. Also, they're just fun rigs!

I'm getting quotes for 200-225 installed so far. I'd like to just get it done and not burden DH though I would be happy to help!

Roadjunkie, I'm in Missoula and it's not as cold as it used to be here, either, but still not fun for working on cars. Our garage is cramped and DH is always working on kids' and grandkids' cars in it..I looked at the undercarriage and it does look dirty and rusty and my fear is it'll turn into a big hassle just breaking the old shocks loose and I'll never hear the end of it... :wink

Also the engine temp never seems to come up and he says it needs a new thermostat or it'll be bad for the motor. That's another thing he would normally do for me but I'm treading lightly right now.
 

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Let me add my welcome. You live in my second favorite state. (Alaska = #1) Driven thru your area several times on trips from Sturgis to Coeur d'Alene & further west. Been to two of my favorite MT places, Two Medicine CG and Elkhorn, twice each.

My FIL had a 1998 RAV4 4WD for many years. Now owned by a good friend who absolutely loves it.

Agree with the others on the shocks. They are easy .... if everything goes smoothly. Break something that you need to reuse and a one hour job becomes four hours. A shop has to get the job done regardless. And $200 may be a fair price for domestic tranquility. :wink:

On the 4/AWD question, unlike later models like my '06 which only engages the rear drive when it's accelerometers and 4WD computer anticipate it's going to be needed, your system is full time 4WD, for which the terminology AWD is often used interchangeably. No buttons to push.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ah, thanks. Just got a bunch of quotes and they're all in the same ballpark.

Would it help to get the undercarriage cleaned when I get the car washed, or would that make things worse as far as rust? It really is a mess down there.

One last thing, there is a lot of noise in back, almost like a loose door. one of the seat straps was flopping around, but there are other sounds. Maybe the compartment covers. The spare wheel seems tight and secure.

Is this just a Rav4 thing or what should I be looking for?
 

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Best small SUV in my opinion. I have mentioned it here many times that I could have bought a newer small SUV but instead bought the first generation and put money in it to make it perfect !

I bought a brand new 2001 second generation when it came out. It looked so beautiful !!!!
THEN .... the other manufacturer started to make their small SUVs like that and it is all a mixture now.
THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME !
Even the second generation kinda got mixed up with them.

The first generation has a real character and it stands out !!!


I have put almost 40k miles on it in one year bringing it to almost 200k now and it has never let me down driving anywhere in USA on any terrain.
I plan to keep on restoring it and using it like my FJ Cruiser. They are a great team.
 

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One last thing, there is a lot of noise in back, almost like a loose door. one of the seat straps was flopping around, but there are other sounds. Maybe the compartment covers. The spare wheel seems tight and secure.
May be the rear door latch or hinges. The 1998 starts squeaking until you respray it with some lube.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
so I'm replacing the air filter. What's the trick to getting the air temp sensor to off. Pull hard or do you twist it? Having trouble with it. I didn't want to reef on it too hard and break it if there is some trick to taking it off

EDIT: never mind - I got it...no need to take it off.

thanks everyone
 

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Shocks are a one hour job.
You provide the shocks, or garage may install the cheapest pair (white box crap) & mark them up closer to premium $$.

Go with decent shocks, Bilstein Shocks hard to beat...all I will use, on any vehicle.
- big with the T4R crowd / I even have them on my '98 Chev. 4x4 truck
- their made in Germany or USA made, to German spec.
Free Shipping on Orders Over $99 at Summit Racing

montanagirl - Congrats on your nice 1999, pays to be patient to find the good ones...photo?
- few weeks ago, I bought a mint 2000 4Runner SR5, v6-4x4, and just turned 130,000 Km. today or 80,700 miles, 16 years old, and still drives like a new vehicle @ 20 cents on the dollar new / just better, less electronics
- an older SUV with steel-chrome bumpers (Love-it), the way a vehicle should be manufactured
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Ok, now DH is in a better mood, tested the suspension and said the shocks are probably ok even if the they're the originals.

But the engine light keeps coming on and he hooked up the computer, the diagnostic says EGR valve insufficient flow, something like that.

I've read some of the threads here on that issue but can't tell how serious the problem is. It's apparently a bear to fix, should I get a pro to do it? I found a Toyotas-only shop in my town.

As someone else here posted, I kinda planned to make up what a didn't pay for a newer model to fix up an older one, because I like the first gen version so much. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! :)
 

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Your lucky that the USDM market Rav 4.1 has a diagnostic port to hook up the computer and pull codes, over here in Uk we dont get the socket so there is a lot of trial an error along with basic codes on old flashing light method!

Anyhows back to the EGR it could be one of many things, either just blocked EGR valve on back of intake manifold which if it is needs removing and cleaning out, or it could be one of the solenoids or other parts that activate EGR has failed, there are tests that can be done on various parts and some searching on here should bring them up on here.

Also to add here is a video i found when looking for info on testing EGR on my rav which should be of help -

Ian
 

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The OEM wheels were all 16". Lower spec Ravs came with steel rims, higher spec ones with alloys.
Yours are the coveted Bradley manufactured 5-spoke rims, originally adorning the highest spec "L" edition (but available of course as an accessory for every other Rav).
Sadly, they were only available on North America.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The OEM wheels were all 16". Lower spec Ravs came with steel rims, higher spec ones with alloys.
Yours are the coveted Bradley manufactured 5-spoke rims, originally adorning the highest spec "L" edition (but available of course as an accessory for every other Rav).
Sadly, they were only available on North America.
Wow, I feel special! If only I could figure out the cruise control now..or maybe it no longer works.

tyrant your video didn't run here but I found it on you tube. with any luck DH has one of those vacuum testers but I really don't want to bring it up now. I'm just laying low

Took the rig out on a long drive, fun, but that temp gauge did not budge. Guess I'd better look into that for sure...:mad:
 

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Took the rig out on a long drive, fun, but that temp gauge did not budge. Guess I'd better look into that for sure...:mad:
Did you have heat? Warm or hot?
The EGR problem would only cause fuel mileage or emissions issues, nothing serious, but the light being on may also disable cruise. I'd reset the code and see if cruise works until it comes back on.
 

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Nice looking ride! Did I TELL you this forum was a wealth of information? Missoula: one of my favorite spots as well. Lots of geologic history there: old lake Missoula......! :)

If the gauge didn't move AT ALL it may be a faulty gauge or sender. If you are getting heat out of the heater, it is warming up. Handy to have in Montana.

And someone recently said the 4.1 side of the forum was dead.......:D
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Did you have heat? Warm or hot?
The EGR problem would only cause fuel mileage or emissions issues, nothing serious, but the light being on may also disable cruise. I'd reset the code and see if cruise works until it comes back on.
I'm getting some heat, seemed like the normal 2 miles to warm up, but it's been fairly warm here too. Probably wouldn't cut it if we got to zero temps again.
 

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Yeah, but..... OK: (I know you probably know all the following, but......) The thermostat is normally closed and allows the coolant to circulate around the engine and warm up before finally opening and sending the coolant to the radiator. If the thermostat is stuck open, the coolant will go to the radiator, cooling it before cooling is needed. The sensor only detects the temperature of the water flowing through the system and sends that information to the gauge. I'm not sure you can run a car engine making HEAT>:D and have it not warm the coolant at all (Google South Pole :wink: ). And if you are getting the usual 2 mile warmup and heat from the heater, the sender/gauge would be the more likely problem. The cabin heater blends warm air with cold and, if the heater is all the way over to the HOT setting, you aren't getting much heat from outside. IMHO.....
 

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Yeah, but..... OK: (I know you probably know all the following, but......) The thermostat is normally closed and allows the coolant to circulate around the engine and warm up before finally opening and sending the coolant to the radiator. If the thermostat is stuck open, the coolant will go to the radiator, cooling it before cooling is needed. The sensor only detects the temperature of the water flowing through the system and sends that information to the gauge. I'm not sure you can run a car engine making HEAT>:D and have it not warm the coolant at all (Google South Pole :wink: ). And if you are getting the usual 2 mile warmup and heat from the heater, the sender/gauge would be the more likely problem. The cabin heater blends warm air with cold and, if the heater is all the way over to the HOT setting, you aren't getting much heat from outside. IMHO.....
?? so do I need a thermostat or something else? sorry I don't understand.

And you're a cyclist too? can you fit a bike in the back of the Rav4? looks like an MTB might fit but a roadie might not.
 
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