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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've just returned from a 2,000km trip (1,987) from the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, through to the City of Calgary Canada, via Trans Canada Highway 1, back through the Kootenay's via the stunning Slocan Valley. In my 1998 SXA11 Rav4 All-Wheel Drive with Gen4 3S-GTE Factory Turbo Charged 9,000RPM Monster I call the Rav4 GTT.

One of my errands during this trip was to deliver a rear differential from a 1997 Toyota Caldina GTT (ST215) to another long time member of Rav4world; "Calgaryrav"

Meeting another Rav4world user in real life was a great experience, I am a thirty five year old electronics technician with a penchant for tinkering on Toyota's. When you reach my Age, meeting ANYONE with similar interests, can be as simple as trying to reach a human after calling the one eight hundred number, provided by your cable television supplier.

I've spent a lot of time researching the Rav4, on Rav4world, and the sum of all its parts on sister forums featuring other variants of "S" Engine powered Chassis' such as the Celica, Corolla, and of course, the JDM Caldina.

Some of you may know already, that last year, I imported two 97 Caldina GTT's from Japan. One was a very rare Aerial Version 5 speed AWD, and the other a standard GTT ST215 without the rare moon roof and interesting looking spoilers and roof racks.

I'll admit that even after five years or more of researching the Rav4 3S-GTE Swap, I was still intimidated by the prospect of doing my own engine swap, by myself, without any help but from what I could learn online.

Only because of blessed circumstances was I able to afford the importation and ownership of these two vehicles, and the White 98 Rav4. Mensajero, another User on here, who's posts, in addition to Calgaryrav's is what inspired me to go with the white on black color scheme and why I searched for a white rav4 for the project. I must say that having a working, running ST215 Caldina right beside me during the entirety of the Rav4 Swap was a huge help.

After proudly registering the Aerial GTT Caldina into my Wifes name, I subsequently stripped the second, Black GTT Caldina (which I named, "Blackdina), in my car-port after driving it 300 meters around my housing complex. I quickly got to work donating it's engine, gearbox, ECU, fuel pump and the most often missing Fuel change realy to my 98, auto Rav4 5 door.

After about two and a half months, using my ears as a tachometer, and a TomTom GPS as a speedometer, I finally figured out how to use Dakota Digital SGI-5E and SGI-8E Units to get ALL of my Original Rav4 Instrument Cluster Gauges reading correctly!

I have a 40W Coleman Solar Panel on the roof, which charges an auxillary battery in the rear of the Rav, I've used a 2" Hole Saw and butchered the Rav4 HVAC Vents and integrated 2" Mechanical Gauges for Boost, Oil Pressure, Water Temperature and Two Volt Guages, one for each battery, Engine, and Aux.

I have a second Oil Temp Sensor, not connected, just filling a void hole, which I will later convert into a functional air vent again. I've blocked off the driver foot and upper front facing HVAC Vents, and the silly, REAR foot HVAC Vent, and NOW, my Rav4 Defrosts in SECONDS on the windshield., more on that later, in another post.

My Wife and I being a Childless couple in our mid thirties, we are proud to say that the third bedroom of our condo sports not a Crib but storage for the four doors, hood, fender, tailgate, rear and front bumpers, side skirts and the entire supsension recovered from the second Donor Caldina GTT imported from Japan.

Should my Wife's 97 Aerial GTT ever get into a dinger, we've got all the body panels to give her a second chance, without a huge expense. I am currently writing a script to review my Wife's ST215 1997 Caldina GTT with Gen4 3S-GTE Engine on YouTube. as there exists not, a proper review for this incredibly unique, and before-its-time power plant, instrument panel, HVAC controls and overall design.

(the picture that sealed the deal, while still in Japan Auction yards)

(after five months waiting, and trip across the ocean I drive it from Calgary to Fort Mac Alberta, and discovering the clutch was pooched)

Damn Naggut, yank the 3S-GTE out

Narly Mangled Clutch Swapped for Stage1 Exedy Kit

All done!

My Rav4 got what it wanted, (A new 3S-GTE Engine and Calidna Strongbox)

my Wife got what she wanted, which was peace of mind that hard-to-come-by spare parts for her very rare JDM Import are only a few steps away. Practical insurance!

Upon learning that Calgaryrav, was quite keen on developing a "detroit locker" type of setup on his two door 98 AWD Rav4, I knew instantly that the parts I'm hanging on to upstairs, would be in better hands with him.

I offered the rear differential of the Caldina GTT to calgaryrav out of excitement, because I knew his intentions were to transplant the internals of the Caldina rear diff, to his Rav4 Rear diff, and enable his rav4 to spin the rear wheels in unison, A-la Skyline, A-La Camaro.

Meeting Calgaryrav was a really neat experience, I got quite the kick out of one of his Statements on the phone prior to meeting, where said that "In Internet miles, were neigbours!" 2,000km round trip was completely worth it! We got some site-seeing in, and met what I am certain to be a life-long friend, were already planning camping trips for next summer!

Of course, you never know what to expect of people you meet on the internet, however since this wasn't a blind folded close encounter from the backpages of craigslist, all you really expect is to meet some dude with a similar love for my silly mid nineties econo-box crossover SUV.

I'll admit that its interesting how reluctant I can be to let my own Wife drive my Rav4 GTT, but handing over the keys to a fellow (albeit complete stranger from the internet) rav4world member was alot easier than I expected.

Getting a second opinion on my 3S-GTE Swap was what was most exciting. Calgaryrav was quite impressed with how the rav4 looks (yada yada) but what Struck me as hilarious was his reaction to seeing my Rav 4's automatic dash cluster, throw up an Illuminated "R" (reverse) light, when he pressed in the clutch, and shifted the manual E150 AWD Gearbox into Reverse.

Considering I wired the vehicle, to me it was no big deal, but I do completely understand how hilarious it must seem to be seeing an Auto Gearbox Shift Indicators still functional after an engine swap.

I'm STILL Shocked and excited at how amazing my Rav4 GTT Swap handles and accelerates, but seeing the joy and excitement on Calgaryrav's face was worth ALL the risks of letting a stranger drive my Rav.

As I said to Calgaryrav in person on his doorstep, my Rav4 GTT is not MINE, it's Rav4World's. I am ever Greateful to have had the opportunity to build and drive this Rav4 3S-GTE Swap, let alone Own it and watch it continue improve itself tweak after tweak, with nothing major, post swap except a bad wheel bearing (not the engine's fault, and going without working gauges for two months until I found Dakota Digital Products. It's performance after I've POUNDED through at LEAST a 10,000km in 90 days through British Columbia Mountains since I completed the swap mid March of of 2015.

One thing I want to say to all the young fellar's out there is that this Rav has had a complete suspension and braking system overhaul. I've put about thirty thousand dollars into this rav4, now mind you, that includes the six thousand dollars I paid for the Black Caldina (after tax and importing). Because my Rav4 sports an Old Man EMU Suspension kit, which JUST HAPPENS to lift it, which was not it's orignal inention, it's a "medium duty" suspension kit. it's up 1.5 Inches from Stock due to that, and up another 1.5 Inches due to the 235/65/17 tires I'm running.

The complete Energy Suspension Race Bushing Kit which replaces 99 percent of the rubber in the running gear of the engine, along with Poly filling the engine mounts has turned this vehicle into a very stable vehicle. A recent and often 4 wheel alignment is done to ensure that I'm running true.

Be safe guys, if you 3s-GTE swap a tired, sloppy tracking Rav4 you could die in it. Don't be stupid. Spend your money on complete brake system replacement and stiffen that suspension first. I put 1/4" wheel spacers on it to suit the mild lift it got from the Old Man EMU Kit. I'm planning on going 1" Out and having a professional install the rally suspension system.

First, I'm going to be installing the complete ST215 Caldina Hubs, bearings and brakes onto the Rav4, as a test, and provision to the rally suspension upgrade.

At one point, before the rally suspension I have planned (in order that I can seriously utilize British Columbia's Forest Service Road's) I will be able to see this rav4 sitting with a working 4 wheel disc brake system. there are some differences between the rav4 hub to strut connection and hub to ball joint connection, I am currently working with Millwrights locally, and strut manufacturers on the telephone (I'm a hell of a cold-caller).

I'm hoping to install a 100% rally grade offroad adjustable Gravel Suspension System, and cut out the rear wheel wells to support the Celica ST205 Running gear, with this beautiful braking system soon.

What i've learned from Rav4 World, and the users who lurk, and post here has enabled me to preserve and improve on Toyota's mid-90's design, with the experiences, skills and support of other users on this site.

Calgaryrav, it was a pleasure to meet you, and I look forward to a life-long friendship comrade! I look forward to the completion of your rear diff project as I am hoping you'll get your hands dirty building one for me after it's done!



876 Posts
It sure was nice to meet you too. You have put a lot of work into your rav and it really shows. Its very refreshing to meet another person face to face that sees the rav as a great platform with so much potential.

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