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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, so I wanted something to commute to downtown Seattle and perhaps take monthly short road trips in the area, already have a v8 4wd 4runner which is fun but seems excessive plus the v8 mpg is not great.

Stumbled on this forum, liked the 4.2 and few weeks later found a, 1 owner, local 2001 rav4, Toyota maintained with basically everything except the manual tranny (I guess the bright side is that wife can drive it as well) and a pretty good price for the region.

Trying to be wise about spending on it as it has 190K miles and besides some gravel, snow covered roads It will not be used for off-roading. I am going to take the roof-rack off, use synthetic oils and likely use 215/70/16 all season tires to maximize the mpg during weekly rainy commutes.

As much as I like the look of AT tires I am trying to resist. I can carry chains for road trips and emergencies (do I need 1 or 2 pairs?) OR perhaps I can grab a second set of wheels and beefy tires later?

I know this is opposite of what most people do, any other suggestions besides that I should have gotten a corolla:=), we also have a Toyota Corolla Matrix, it was not fun last year so will be getting rid of it

In summary what I am trying to do is have a gas efficient commuter but which is suitable for PNW's weather/terrain
 

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First, I think you're smart for going with the 215/70 tires. The little 2.0L will run good, get better gas mileage, and your odometer will read correctly.

I've been praising Nokian tires on this forum like a tire salesman (I'm not), but man they work good! They're on the expensive side, but you can save from having to carry chains so that's one of the many benefits.

You can have an all-weather AT tire, I'm currently using Nokian Rotiivas. An all-terrain, severe snow rated 3PMSF tire. My snow/ice experience with these since installation last year is limited, a one-week adventure in the Appalachians. But the driving in these conditions was confident and we helped recover two bigger SUVs from the ditch.

For dedicated winter driving tires I used the Hakkapeliitta R2s. These tires were used on a FWD Escape with remarkable results. My family toured Europe that year snow shoeing and boarding the Alps, driving through blizzards, snow drifts, closed roads due to snow etc. In a FWD SUV . . . never got stuck. Never had to turn around. No chains or traction devices. Just the naked Hakkapeliittas driving an open front transaxle! I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't experienced it from the driver's seat.

Anyway, those are my two biased suggestions . . .
 

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Another option for tires are the Cooper AT3 4s. I have an 02 automatic trans 4WD and run the Coopers. I've driven in snow, all over the Mojave desert, Mammoth Mountian, Big Bear, etc. These tires can take a beating and they weigh nothing. My mpg has not suffered either. They aren't aggressive looking like the BFG KO2's, but they still have a nice look and decent sidewall protection. They have a 60k mile warranty and perform great on wet roads. I highly recommend. Also most people don't realize just how capable the 4.2 4WD actually is. Now i'm not doing any crazy rock crawling, but for snow, loose gravel inclines, and minor obstacles, I was blown away and couldn't be happier.

Check out this thread by Commando of his 01 Rav 4wd build to give you an idea just capable this thing really is.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have been lurking here for about a month and quiet aware of Commando's build, its quiet impressive, the pics of his truck are on ebay, rocky-road:). One thing that does concerns me is the exposed underneath, I reached out to skid plate guy and it is $550 for 4.2s, I think I will just try to build one myself after I watched some you tube videos, seems doable.

Just finished soldering a harness for a new blaupunkt headunit with mirrorlink, a modest $54 buy that also included a pair of 6.5 speakers from wally world, I have some components on the way for the front doors.
 

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I have been lurking here for about a month and quiet aware of Commando's build, its quiet impressive, the pics of his truck are on ebay, rocky-road:). One thing that does concerns me is the exposed underneath, I reached out to skid plate guy and it is $550 for 4.2s, I think I will just try to build one myself after I watched some you tube videos, seems doable.

Just finished soldering a harness for a new blaupunkt headunit with mirrorlink, a modest $54 buy that also included a pair of 6.5 speakers from wally world, I have some components on the way for the front doors.
Nice! Yah skid plate is definitely in my future. I haven't run into any problems scraping yet, however it would be good peace of mind. I should mention I haven't done a lift yet either, but some 40mm ebay spacers are my next step followed by some OME springs later on. Here’s a pic from the other weekend doing a little off roading at my local OHV Park. I’ll post some better vids later on if you’d like.
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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
The tires look great, please do post, what size are your tires?
Walmart has a black friday special on Goodyear tires with free install that $17 a pop. I am keeping an eye on CL as well, if I can score a good deal I just may get the ome suspension kit plus kyb gr2 now called excel I think.

My headunit is a Blaupunkt Idaho it is a just a tad bit too big in height or vertically, barely couple of mm, there are also gaps on both sides. The sound is much better though, I cannot believe that I haven't touched the speakers or deadened the doors yet. BT, radio all sound good, I haven't been able to get the mirrorlink to work yet, need to try a diff cable. Just wedged in the front at the moment, so I can enjoy some tunes
 

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That's great! I almost went with a touch screen unit too, but opted to save money here and went with the Pioneer MHV-600BS unit. Works fine for now but in the future I might address the audio.

I'm running 235/70/16 tires. I personally just wanted a bigger looking tire and these fit just fine. I had to remove the spare tire cover to make the spare fit tho, but I like the look so it doesn't bother me.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So I am going to take a look at some bfg all terrain ko2 215/70/16 tomorrow morning, so much for fuel efficient tires:=)
 

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Great tires, I think they’ll work wonderful for what you want to do. The KO2s are extraordinarily tough at the expense of being on the heavy side. A 215 series should mitigate some of the rolling resistance of a fatter tire and provide better traction on slippery surfaces. The tires are also going to prevent common punctures and pinch flats so you could comfortably remove the spare if you desired to loose some of that weight gain.
Also, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, you can buy aftermarket wheels for relatively cheap that weigh 6-7 lbs less than those OEM units. That should almost completely remove the weight penalty alone of the KO2s. If you do so, remember to get a 6.5” wide wheel for you 215/70 tires, not another 7.0”. Saves weight where it matters most and protects the wheel more from damage. It’s also the recommended dimension for this tire, 7.0” being the maximum permissible.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
This is fantastic, great pointers.

So I did try to find 5x114.3, 60.1mm center bore, 45mm offset, 15 inch steel wheels from let's say Camry to try to see of they will clear or rub on the calipers, but was not sure how much weight I'll save. I'll search your posts to try to track down the wheels you mentioned:), but if you know which brand that would be super helpful.

I am planning to leave the back seats and the spare in storage, remove
the crossbars on the roof rack and see the gains.

One of the big reason for the tire purchase was that I was able to get all four installed for $290. They also look much better and performed great on our little Mountain Loop Highway drive over the weekend.
 

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Oh I’m not keeping it a secret, I’ll share.

The stock alloys aren’t anything to brag about so it’s quite easy to find a better suited package. I went with some German built Rial Bavaros in 16x6.5 ET38. It was the closest alloy wheel I could find that matched the OE steel wheel’s dimensions, 16x6.5 ET45.

I ordered them from TireRack but don’t see them available in that size anymore, maybe out of stock? Although, they do have Rial Luccas in this size.

I recommend these wheels on the basis that they’ve performed well for me, but I’d make no claim that you couldn’t find a better wheel if you looked harder. Might cost more though? But I do at least in part credit these wheels for keeping our driving satisfaction up and our fuel consumption down. Nice that they’re easy to clean too.
 

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So I did try to find 5x114.3, 60.1mm center bore, 45mm offset, 15 inch steel wheels from let's say Camry to try to see of they will clear or rub on the calipers.
15'' wheels won't fit on your RAV4, except if you find some extreme negative offset. They will not clear the lower shocks mounts at rear wheels.

It was a nice spot on the pictures!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I think I'm done with the wheels n tires for now, I'll just do my skid plate n replace parts and fluids as needed.
I am pleased with how it performed in the mud with the new tires, I think it will be quiet adequate for my excursions.
 

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Looks great man! I'm definitely going to to get a set of these in the future. Heading up to Mammoth Mountain, CA this weekend and there's a huge snow storm going on right now. So it will be a good chance to see how these Cooper tires run. I got a set of chains just in case they make us put them on. Should I place them on the front or back wheels?
 

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You'll be handicapped on the ice/slush with 235 wide tires, so you want to be absolutely sure you have traction devices on the greatest load bearing wheels, usually the front. Sometimes in a truck or SUV pulling a trailer the rear axle is carrying an even greater load.
 

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That's the best use of hard earned money on these older vehicles.
Looks great man! I'm definitely going to to get a set of these in the future. Heading up to Mammoth Mountain, CA this weekend and there's a huge snow storm going on right now. So it will be a good chance to see how these Cooper tires run. I got a set of chains just in case they make us put them on. Should I place them on the front or back wheels?
Thanks, the road noise is about the same and even with less width they look good.
I have been looking at chains too, I had to use them earlier this year on our matrix otherwise we would have been totally stuck for days. As I understand fronts first but you can put them on all four as the bias is pretty even, It will probably do amazing. Actually I was wondering how the 4wd system will react with front chains only as they i.e. the fronts will have much more traction with chains and not momentarily but ALL the time, so I am leaning on getting two sets.
 

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I have been looking at chains too . . .
In regards to your RAV, I don’t think you’ll find much use for chains. If my past experiences with KO2s are any indicator, you’re going to scoot right along in severe winter weather. A snatch strap or tow rope could come in handy pulling others out of the ditch though 🤔

I should emphasis it‘s not merely the KO2s that are going to work so well for you, but the benefit of narrower tires as well.

Winter traction is about mitigating the effects of hydroplaning right down to the micro level. In the ’60s NASA developed a formula for calculating hydroplaning of aircraft wheels: 9(tire pressure). The NHTSA has revised it slightly in recent years to accommodate the greater diversity of automobile tires, something closer to 10.35(tire pressure). As a narrower tire has a smaller air chamber than does a fatter tire of the same diameter, narrower profile tires come typically specified for a commensurately higher air pressure to carry the same vehicle weight. My Nokians for example are specified for 32-50psi, I run them at 41. What this means is my RAV doesn’t experience hydroplaning until a whopping 66 mph, whereas a RAV4.2 equipped with 235s and Toyota’s recommended 29psi has lost control at just 55 mph at a water depth of 1/10”.

But severe winter driving introduces even greater threatening forces than just liquid H2O; slush and ice. But each of these is still fundamentally a water problem, in that the tire needs to evacuate a non-compressible medium as quickly as possible.

With slush, the tires have to evacuate a greater volume of water because water expands as it freezes. It also becomes more viscous, about x8 more so below freezing than typical summer temps. A smaller contact patch for a given vehicle weight motivates slush to egress the tire’s foot print with greater force. For a 225 that's about 25% greater force than a 235 series tire.

And finally, this 25% greater lbs/sq-in is where a 225 will hook up on ice when a 235 simply won’t. When the sipes have done their job directing water into the tread void or out of the footprint altogether, all you have left is the tread face and how hard your vehicle is pressing it onto the ice. The 3PMSF symbol guarantees your rubber compound will remain pliable enough in sub-freezing temperatures to conform to micro-surface features of the ice.

All this to say that’s why chains are a waste of money for you Mastee, but might be a good idea for Mistermike ;)

Interesting thing to note: a 215 series tire would be better still for winter driving for RAV4.2s, but many of us have conceded this benefit to run a single tire year round.



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Well I have one pair of chains and I’m going in to temps bellow 35°F. I’ll report back to let you know how my Coopers do! They have the 3PMSF symbol and I’ve seen videos of guys with wider tires than mine absolutely destroy in the snow and ice with their Dusters and 4.2 Ravs. But we shall wait and see. Thanks for the detailed advice and info. Always appreciated.
 
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