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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey everyone! I'm looking to buy a new car and the RAV4 seems like it will fit my needs the most. I currently have a budget of $8,000 and I found a private party 2008 v6 RAV4 in light blue (kinda girly, but whatever). I'm excited about the purchase I've already test drove a 2012 4 cylinder and 2012 6 cylinder and I really liked the 6 better.

I am going to look at the car this weekend and I want to make sure I am as well prepared as I can be.

The Car:

-2008
-Sport Edition (sunroof, aftermarket gps)
-V6
-AWD (Yay finally, first AWD car)
-Blue
-120,000 miles
-1 Owner
-Asking $8,500 (i'm going to try for $7,500 and hopefully meet at 8k)
-New all season tires
-6000 miles left on warrantee
-brakes replaced in 2013
-drive belt 2012
-struts and shocks 2015
-water pump 2014
-new battery 1 month ago



He says that it has no visible rust except in the battery bracket and the trailer hitch. He says he has most the service records. He said he responded to a couple of recalls, none recent. He put the VIN # into the toyota database and it said that there is no unaddressed recalls for the vehicle.

My only worry is those stupid v6 oil hoses, my goal is to commute with this car and put around 20k miles a year for hopefully up to 5 more years.
My current car is a 2003 toyota celica gts 205k miles and she's given me zero issues and I want something like that, zero issues.

I've been talking with the owner via e-mail and he seems like a nice guy, seems rather honest and my dad is fairly mechanically inclined so we know what else to look for, as I said before I test drove 2 RAV4's already and I like the way they drive and I think it's a perfect fit for my needs, I just want to make sure it's going to be reliable.

I guess my question is this... What are some things to look for? So far it seems that the hoses is my main concern, were the hoses a recall from toyota? If not, then how difficult is it to replace myself? How expensive to replace?

Thanks a bunch everyone! I'm currently part of the toyotacelicas forum as a mod and if I end up with a rav4 you'll definitely see me around here more often! :)
 

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Listen for the transmission whine. There is a big thread about this issue on the forum and what speeds they happen.
The hoses were replaced under limited recall. So if the owner missed the deadline, they could have gotten it changed. There are pictures of before and after replacement of the hose on the forum.

The Sport suspension is harsher than the Base or Limited. So test drive it well in case you never drove a Sport version before.
ALso the 2008 is missing a few things compared to the 2012.
it has less sound proofing. The Sport 2008 surely has no steering wheel buttons. no MPG calculator.

There is also a document on the forum showing the changes from year to year.
 

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The only issue I can foresee is the ride quality of the Sport model. Some consider it nicely firm - others downright harsh. With the miles you intend that might deserve extra investigation.

Don't worry about the V6 hose. At some point Toyota started using an all-metal pipe (after they ran out of the contracted rubber ones IMO). If it's been replaced with another rubber one under the recall, like mine has, I've been told Toyota will warranty any further issues. Just in case I've purchased a metal one which I've yet to install.

The 4.3 RAV4s aren't full time AWD. That saves replacing all four tires if one get's ruined. It runs in front wheel drive full time for better fuel mileage engaging the rear drive when only it anticipates it's needed.

A bargaining tip: I've bought a lot of used cars, as many for friends as my family. I NEVER make an offer, instead I state what I'm willing to pay. That's a firmer stand, but w/o offending the seller. Saying, I'll offer you x$ invites a counter-offer.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
The only issue I can foresee is the ride quality of the Sport model. Some consider it nicely firm - others downright harsh. With the miles you intend that might deserve extra investigation.
Hmm, good point. What's different about the ride quality? The struts and springs make it stiffer? Or is it from the tires? I don't believe this model i'm looking at has the run flat tires. I am coming from a celica so any SUV will be a huge day and night improvement. When I test rode the V6 I noticed that it felt like it was dragging a little bit, but I thought that was just the brakes since they seemed to be really rusty and the car was sitting for over 3 months! When I tested the 4 cylinder I actually didn't like the suspensions, sure it was nice and comfortable but hitting the corners were kind of scary, I had to slow right to make sure it was stable the whole time, I didn't really notice that with the sport.

tl;dr I guess you could say I considered the V6 nicely firm, I didn't notice some drag though, maybe that was engine braking? Or maybe it was the brakes (I believe it was the latter)


Don't worry about the V6 hose. At some point Toyota started using an all-metal pipe (after they ran out of the contracted rubber ones IMO). If it's been replaced with another rubber one under the recall, like mine has, I've been told Toyota will warranty any further issues. Just in case I've purchased a metal one which I've yet to install.
Do you have any links about this? Not that I don't believe you, but I just would like to learn more about it. Also are there any links to how to replace it or how to check if you have a metal or rubber one? Maybe if I can crawl under the car and just look to see a date on the lines or something.

The 4.3 RAV4s aren't full time AWD. That saves replacing all four tires if one get's ruined. It runs in front wheel drive full time for better fuel mileage engaging the rear drive when only it anticipates it's needed.
It's crazy how good the V6's gas mileage is. I don't even really need a V6 but I couldn't live with the car knowing that there is a better engine version out there with very little penalties. I believe it gets like the same MPG either that or 1 mpg difference.


A bargaining tip: I've bought a lot of used cars, as many for friends as my family. I NEVER make an offer, instead I state what I'm willing to pay. That's a firmer stand, but w/o offending the seller. Saying, I'll offer you x$ invites a counter-offer.
haha, I've bought so many vehicles off craigslist, haggled so many times. And I must admit this seems like it would be a good tip to have, thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Listen for the transmission whine. There is a big thread about this issue on the forum and what speeds they happen.
Is it just a whine or does it actually cause problems? I don't really mind a little noise, my celica does it too, doesn't really bother me. But if it's a sign of things to come then i'll definitely make sure to listen for it!

The hoses were replaced under limited recall. So if the owner missed the deadline, they could have gotten it changed. There are pictures of before and after replacement of the hose on the forum.
Cool, thanks! I guess i'll get looking for those pictures! With 120k miles on the engine and being 7 years old I feel like they had to be replaced? I mean, what are the odds those hoses would have held up this long?

The Sport suspension is harsher than the Base or Limited. So test drive it well in case you never drove a Sport version before.
ALso the 2008 is missing a few things compared to the 2012.
it has less sound proofing. The Sport 2008 surely has no steering wheel buttons. no MPG calculator.
I guess I should of wrote that in the beginning but the V6 I test drove in the 2012 was a sport one, seemed okay to me. Although I did notice some drag when decelerating, although, that could have been an issue with the brakes sticking since that particular car had been sitting for a while.

The sound proofing is a bit of a disappointment, but not a turn off completely my celica makes so much noise and I hardly notice it since I usually have the radio on. Also I ride a motorcycle so I'm used to hearing lots of road noise :p Steering wheel buttons are no concern to me and I always track my mileage with an tripometer! :D

There is also a document on the forum showing the changes from year to year.
Good to know! i'll look for that document, thanks!
 

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This post has pictures of the old vs. new oil hose:

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/178-recall/88494-2gr-fev6-lsc90k-recall-oil-line-fails-dealer-wont-cover-damages-warning-4.html#post908370

This post is a description of where to find it, and pictures of what the replacement looks like after installation:

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/96-4-3-general/74583-quality-problem-v6-engine-rav4-camry-lexus-oil-hose-failing-59.html#post961361

It's the suspension in the Sport that makes the ride harsh (basically amplifies bumps in the road). The SAP version ("Sport Appearance Package" with no spare tire and runflat tires, model years 2009 - 2012) makes it even harsher due to the runflat tires.

.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just an update with links (for lurkers)

I found the transmission whine thread @vanib was talking about here http://www.rav4world.com/forums/99-4-3-mechanical/75633-whining-noise-40-50-mph-solved-updated-8-26-10-tsb-out.html

Seems like it may be related to the drive shaft alignment? Possibly.. not sure. Either way, hopefully if it isn't damaging? There is currently 5,000 miles left on the extended warranty so in theory I could bring it to a dealer and have them fix it. But obviously I would rather not deal with anything like that. Either way, noise doesn't bother me unless it foreshadows things to come.

Also I dug up the model year comparisons that @vanib was also talking about. I found this comment by @JuneBug New RAV4 Features: 2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012

Located in this thread (other useful information there as well!): http://www.rav4world.com/forums/96-4-3-general/178562-gen-3-specific-changes-across-years.html

I also found some pictures of the rubber hose vs metal line, Thanks again to @JuneBug and @friendly_jacek http://www.rav4world.com/forums/96-4-3-general/74583-quality-problem-v6-engine-rav4-camry-lexus-oil-hose-failing-59.html#post961361

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/771869-post49.html
 

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Discussion Starter #8
This post has pictures of the old vs. new oil hose:

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/178-recall/88494-2gr-fev6-lsc90k-recall-oil-line-fails-dealer-wont-cover-damages-warning-4.html#post908370

This post is a description of where to find it, and pictures of what the replacement looks like after installation:

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/96-4-3-general/74583-quality-problem-v6-engine-rav4-camry-lexus-oil-hose-failing-59.html#post961361

It's the suspension in the Sport that makes the ride harsh (basically amplifies bumps in the road). The SAP version ("Sport Appearance Package" with no spare tire and runflat tires, model years 2009 - 2012) makes it even harsher due to the runflat tires.

.
Dang you beat me to it! Hahaha, thanks! :D
 

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The transmission whine started at 40 mph for me. It's quite noticeable as it goes away when you take your foot off the accelerator pedal.

Get the VIN from the owner and enter it at Toyota Owners Official Web Site and you can look at the service history. If that rubber hose was replaced it will show up there.
 

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When both vanib and I describe the Sport's suspension as being on the harsh side you say, "I did notice some drag when decelerating" and "When I test rode the V6 I noticed that it felt like it was dragging a little bit..." I don't see the connection between ride firmness and "dragging" whatever you mean by that term.
 

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The transmission whine had nothing to do with drive shaft alignment. It was present on some front wheel drives also. The final drive gear was not honed properly. Some had the whine others did not. We have two, one got a new transmission and the other was quiet.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
When both vanib and I describe the Sport's suspension as being on the harsh side you say, "I did notice some drag when decelerating" and "When I test rode the V6 I noticed that it felt like it was dragging a little bit..." I don't see the connection between ride firmness and "dragging" whatever you mean by that term.
Yeah.. not sure why I brought that up, I think my mind was just jumping around like it usually does. Sorry :I

Personally I liked the stiffer suspension the sport had, I felt way more in control. On the regular one I test drove it almost felt dangerous driving it (I know it actually isn't, just felt it, probably would feel better after a few hours of driving and adapting).
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
The transmission whine started at 40 mph for me. It's quite noticeable as it goes away when you take your foot off the accelerator pedal.

Get the VIN from the owner and enter it at Toyota Owners Official Web Site and you can look at the service history. If that rubber hose was replaced it will show up there.
Thanks! This is perfect! Only problem is whenever I tried signing up it says "service is temporarily down, Please try again!" :(

edit: nevermind, I looked it up. It doesn't say it was replaced there. But it did say something about doing recalls... hmm... not sure. I also read that some people said that the metal line was already on their RAV4 in 2008, only some models were affected.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The transmission whine had nothing to do with drive shaft alignment. It was present on some front wheel drives also. The final drive gear was not honed properly. Some had the whine others did not. We have two, one got a new transmission and the other was quiet.
New transmission, oh boy... That's crazy. I'll definitely be sure to listen for that whine and stay away if it has it.. Thanks for the caution!
 

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Mind you the tranny performed perfectly other than the loud whine. Several folks here have had it replaced under warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Mind you the tranny performed perfectly other than the loud whine. Several folks here had had it replaced under warranty.
Like I said, if it's just a whining sound then I don't really mind. My car makes a similar sound and I hardly ever notice it. not really a deal breaker. I'm just worried if it means there may be problems in the future.
 

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I have the sport sap and love it...I did replace the 18 inch wheels with 17 inch ones since the tires I wanted were not available in 18s...the 18 inch run flats were not as soft riding for sure, but that thing handled like it was on rails...I loved it...the 18s will give you better handling and control for sure...as a side benefit to stiffer tires you will get better mileage since you will lose less energy on tire flex...with the kind of miles you're talking about that will add up...
 

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I have the sport sap and love it...I did replace the 18 inch wheels with 17 inch ones since the tires I wanted were not available in 18s...the 18 inch run flats were not as soft riding for sure, but that thing handled like it was on rails...I loved it...the 18s will give you better handling and control for sure...as a side benefit to stiffer tires you will get better mileage since you will lose less energy on tire flex...with the kind of miles you're talking about that will add up...
Yeah, i'm excited just to get up off the ground... commuting with my 2003 celica gts has been a nightmare over the last 6 months. It was fine when I worked part time, commuting maybe 5000 miles a year, but now i'm full time and commute 4 times as much and my sciatic nerve can hardly take it anymore. Sitting in the RAV4 was such a breath of fresh air for me. I'm only 23 so I still wanted to opt for the sport edition, sure it's a little harsher, but it just felt like it handled so much better and considering where I came from this thing will feel like a Cadillac.
 

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Buy it!
I have a 2008 Base, V6 AWD with 120000 kilometres (not miles).
Love it!
But check that "dragging". Something's wrong there, fer sure. This is a different vehicle, though?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Buy it!
I have a 2008 Base, V6 AWD with 120000 kilometres (not miles).
Love it!
But check that "dragging". Something's wrong there, fer sure. This is a different vehicle, though?
Yessir.

I'm going to look at it tomorrow 8 AM, i'll let everyone know how it goes and if I buy it i'll be sure to upload plenty of pics :)
 
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