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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all! New member here. I own a 2008 Liimted with AWD, auto trans and 2.4L I4 engine. My job takes me off road and I am looking for improvements to suspension, intake, and exhaust. I plan to install 1.5" lift springs front and rear with new shocks and struts for improved clearance and articulation, and install BFG AT (LT245/65R17) tires for better traction. I drive mostly unimproved roads, trails, and fire breaks. I am not trying to create a rock crawling buggie, just trying to take maximum advantage of the existing capabilities. I would also like to install a snorkel intake and improve breathing with a better exhaust. Any suggestions and experiences are welcome!
 

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BFG All-Terrans have taken me around the whole North American continent, including the Arctic Ocean (North Alaska roads).
There were a few MOAB trails I wasn't able to do with my STOCK 1998 RAVA4 only because I think I chickened out myself and I was fearing some damage to my vehicle.
I have driven through two feet of water and steep grades climing out of canyons where I wished I had a 4LO but my 220k mile vehicle did it with Central Diff Locker.
I have done the BAJA.

I plan to drive to South America soon.

In North America, unless someone wants to rock crawl, a stock 4WD can do anything and go anywhere. All these guys with 20 feet lift and that "off road look" have not left their county ever.

With me, I like adventure and going to unknown unexplored places and what is important to me is that the vehicle stays trouble free with FACTORY off road capabilities.

My personal opinion, you will mess up your vehicle more than make good use of it UNLESS you are doing it for looks.

... but that is just me and I am usually the minority thinker... :D:D
 
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Rav4evr,
Thanks for the reply! I would be interested to know what sized tires you use? My concern is that I may have some clearance issues at full compression with the slightly larger tires I plan to use. I know what you mean by the show-vs-go lift kits out there, ut I think 1.5" is pretty mild by most standards. You mentioned a central differential locker on your GEN II RAV. Is that an aftermarket part? If so who manufactured it? I can say that a locker is probably the best modification after AT tires you can do! I have cone places in a 4x2 with locker that others with a 4x4 couldn't go!
 

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Rav4evr,
Thanks for the reply! I would be interested to know what sized tires you use? My concern is that I may have some clearance issues at full compression with the slightly larger tires I plan to use. I know what you mean by the show-vs-go lift kits out there, ut I think 1.5" is pretty mild by most standards. You mentioned a central differential locker on your GEN II RAV. Is that an aftermarket part? If so who manufactured it? I can say that a locker is probably the best modification after AT tires you can do! I have cone places in a 4x2 with locker that others with a 4x4 couldn't go!

215 70/16 I used. Which is the exact size recommended by the manufacturer.
The Central Locking Diff is factory and the best thing ever !!
I think Toyota only had it in its first generation. I had GEN2s in the past fully loaded and none of them had it.
Anybody can correct me if I am wrong.
The locker was the reason I bought the first gen a few years ago and spent money on the vehicle to make it expedition worthy.


I have sufficient ground clearance with good tires and a locker my RAV machine has never let me down.
 

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Hi all! New member here. I own a 2008 Liimted with AWD, auto trans and 2.4L I4 engine. My job takes me off road and I am looking for improvements to suspension, intake, and exhaust. I plan to install 1.5" lift springs front and rear with new shocks and struts for improved clearance and articulation, and install BFG AT (LT245/65R17) tires for better traction. I drive mostly unimproved roads, trails, and fire breaks. I am not trying to create a rock crawling buggie, just trying to take maximum advantage of the existing capabilities. I would also like to install a snorkel intake and improve breathing with a better exhaust. Any suggestions and experiences are welcome!
245/65-17 will fit tho the stock spare tire cover wont.

I run 235/65-17 Hankook DynaPro ATM tires and they are great...have had them on several suvs.

Adding springs id fine, but doing anything to the exhaust or intake side is just a waste of money...carry an extra air filter or 2 since they are very easy to swap out.

Lastly a snorkel is more of a waste...no need for it unless you plan to go into some deep ass water.
 

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Hate to say this but I would not go about doing the majority of the stuff you indicate to your RAV. At best this is a grocery getter with AWD capabilities, I have a V6 Sport and am learning this all the hard way.

I would laugh at any 4.3 series RAV with a snorkel, if you go through water deeper than a foot any amount and you will have a $1200 CAD repair bill. The "Sealed" bearing in the viscous coupling is water resistant at best, a few good dunks and it starts to grind and scrape. Fix - Replace the Viscous Coupling as the bearing is non replaceable.

Lift in the suspension, get ready to replace the non serviceable driveshaft (or have it machined out to replace the U-joints) at another $1200 CAD. Yep the U-Joints are non replaceable and may not take the extra angle created by the lift. If this is the case you have 1 or 2 choices. Either replace the entire driveshaft every time a u-joint goes or remove the driveshaft and take it to a machine shop to hone out the holes and cut them so a replaceable u-joint will go in (I did this to mine).

When they made the 4.1 and 4.2 they put a real 4wd system in them. When they went to the 4.3 they made a bigger, more refined vehicle but that came at a cost....the ruggedness of the old. They made the 4.3 and now 4.4 models more of an on road, maybe you need to go on dirt road, wet grass, or in the snow type vehicle.

I love my 07 V6 Sport but have no illusions of it being much more than a capable station wagon for the family that goes like snot.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Interesting perspective, Canon101. I have no illusions of turning this into a great off-road vehicle. My intent was more of a trail capable RAV. I work "in the woods" in the sand hills of North Carolina so I thought a bit of ground clearance and some slightly larger tires would be good insurance against getting stuck on the way to work. Sounds like maybe I should just buy a new truck a year sooner than planned!
 

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Like I said, I love mine, and use it for towing a 2000lb Tent Trailer. My biggest disappointment came when I had to change the viscous coupling for the second time, reason. I was taking my dog to a field so she could go off leash and play, had to go through a puddle about 18" deep and about 10' long. The Toyota dealer said it was not built for this kind of "Off Roading", I explained it was a large dirty puddle but no mud. Just said it was not made to take the abuse.
 

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To be clear, Adding springs will not improve articulation. They're still going to compress all the way down the same as stock if you're 3 or 2 wheeling. If you want clearance at full compression, you'll need strut spacers for the front, and spring spacer for the rear. The benefit of this is you retain the same spring-rate for comfy ride.

Get a skid plate. I got mine from this guy: https://www.facebook.com/SkidPlateGuy/

You have a 2008, I'm not sure if your charcoal canister has the metal shielding. If it doesn't I suggest you weld a cage for it. I have a 2010 with the metal cage, and I still bashed mine, although if you're not rock crawling, it's probably not an issue.

Also, go behind your 4.3 and look under where the sway bar attaches. There's 2 low hanging bolt heads, I think where the swaybars would normally be. You'll bend those on the trail quickly. You can either leave them bent, or grind them down.

245/65-17 will clear easily. Would you consider 16" for more sidewall? I vote for BFG KO2 because they're widely available. If you slash 1, you can get a replacement at just about any tire store.

Snorkel is a consideration as the intake is just above the front tire. If you're going through deep stuff, you'll want it. It's something I've been contemplating but no time to make a hole in my fender.

Send me PM and we can talk off the board about off-roading.
 

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It's decent off road

Ok so i have a 2012 v6. It came stock with the locking differential. I took it up a pretty muddy/rocky/rutted road this weekend with all stock parts and M+S tires. I stopped multiple times on the muddy hill to scope out a new path and never had a single issue starting again with the lock on and my regular tires lol. Had to eventually stop because of a 3 foot deep rut that was 3 feet wide across the whole road, but there were times where 1 or 2 of my wheels left the ground and the rav kept trudging along. I was very surprised for sure! I think it's capable of much more than people think, but of course has its limitations. The looks on the Jeep drivers' faces was priceless. Probably confused how i got up there with a "soccer mom" suv. But that locking diff and the power behind the v6 and the towing package (keeps the engine cooler) all seemed to do very well! No complaints for a vehicle that isnt a true off roader. I am debating a suspension lift, But I think just better suspension components in general will be the number one priority (aside from solid AT tires) because the normal components will probably break easily with extended off road use...Then a lift, then skid plates.
 

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Please ignore.

It was only after writing a reply that I realized this thread is about 18 months old (!), and was (for some unknown reason) brought back from the dead.

I wonder what the OP eventually chose to do?

.
 
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