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I have a 97 Rav4 2wd/2door with around 90K miles on it and used to own a 97 Rav4 4wd/4door with about the same miles and my 2 door seems about 40 percent quicker than the 4 door. I am wondering how much difference having the all-time 4wd and the extra weight of the 4 door affect speed and fuel consumption. When I use to drive over steep hills in the 4dr/4wd, I always had to downshift just to keep speed. My 2dr/2wd though goes over them with ease and fuel consumption has been way better with the smaller one. Both are stick shift and both were/are well maintained. Do you think there is a big difference. I no longer have the 4 door to do a fair comparison.
 
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There will ALWAYS be the difference there, and economy favours the lighter load of the 2-door 2WD. Because of this, it will be a lot more peppy as well due to less weight constriction. The best setup would be to have a manual tranny in this configuration. Even lighter and better gear selection. ;)
 

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4wd into a 2wd?

I was thinking about this today on my way to work... What damage would it do, if any, to mark and remove the drive shaft from the transfer case to the rear diff and run my 4wdL as a FWD for the summer months when I really don’t need 4WD?? I guess I would still be turning the rear drive shafts and diff but Im wondering if it would increase power and fuel economy without trashing the transfer case and rear diff in the process! It’s only a few bolts to remove the shaft so for the 3 months a year that I actually need 4 wheel drive for the snow season I could bolt it back in place... Just a thought???
 

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I know in my old 88 4x4 pickup with manual hubs that power and fuel economy drop when I click them in, even in 2H... When I’m actually using 4H or 4L the fuel mileage gets cut in half so removing the drive shaft in theory would help.. Hmmm might be worth a shot!
 

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I know in my old 88 4x4 pickup with manual hubs that power and fuel economy drop when I click them in, even in 2H... When I’m actually using 4H or 4L the fuel mileage gets cut in half so removing the drive shaft in theory would help.. Hmmm might be worth a shot!
If the center differential in the RAV is an Open differential then removing the rear drive shaft would only hurt the vehicle. Open differentials send power to shaft of least resistance. So all of the power would try and go to the rear drive shaft, which isn't there.

There is someone in "Fault's & Fixes" I believe who is having an issue involving the center dif where the car will only move when it's locked, which means something inside is possibly dead.
 

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You would need to put the diff-lock ON if you are removing the prop-shaft to the rear axle, so theoretically it should work.

Mileage difference:
Fuel economy depends on weight for energy used in acceleration and rolling resistance, but aerodynamics is also significant as does drive-train losses.

You can get better acceleration as you suggested, but fuel economy, which is a much more complex calculation might only be 10% better overall with the 3dr version.

Basically weight is less significant in cruising, but more important during acceleration.
Aerodynamics is less significant during acceleration, at least up to 40 mph, but more important during highway cruising at higher speeds.

The engine size and gearing are actually quite significant.

There is extra drag/friction with another axle/diff whether it is driven or not, but the highest drag/friction happens when it is transmitting power.
 

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I replaced my front struts the other day so while the front end was in the air I tested my theory. With the trans in N and the rear wheels down you can turn the front wheels which leads me to believe that the center diff is electronically controlled and not engaged all the time,though the front diff is an open diff so when I turned one wheel one direction the other turned the opposite, perhaps if they were both turning together in the same direction the transfer case might have engaged... I’m not sure, I guess I could drop the prop shaft and see what happens, though it might not be worth the effort or risk of screwing up the trans case or rear diff....
 
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