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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)


Hello all RAV4.1 enthusiasts.

We've finally finished our project of few years and wanted to share it with you all.

Intro
Autosuunnistus (loosely translates to auto orienteering) is a form motorsport ran in Nordic countries, started in1950's. It's a crossbreed of normal orienteering and rally/regularity and has a strong emphasis on precise navigation. Speeds aren't particularly high, but the routes are quite demanding and competition is tough. The races are ran on forest roads, quarries, sawmills, industiral parks, motorsport parks and so on. The cars used are usually bit older, compact 4wd passenger cars, such as RAV4s, Audi quattros, Suzukis etc.

The build
We've ran a VW Golf Syncro before, but the '86 model was becoming quite unreliable. We also were driving against many RAV4's and had seen the advantages of it, so the choice was easy.
On next weeks Nordic championships, there are 14 similar RAV4s in total.

RAV4.1's are in high demand here in Finland, mostly because of its reliability, compact form and good reputation among hunters and other forest goers. A good condition car usually has a asking price of +4000€ ($4400).
We picked up the car after it had been crashed on a deer related accident and slid on its side for around 100 meters. A roll cage isn't required on the rules, but we decided to cage it as the A-pillar had some damage.

Here's a quick listing of the modifications:

  • Full custom rollcage by a local rally workshop
  • FIA bucket seats
  • 4-point harness with a retractors for the driver, 6-point FIA harness for the co-pilot.
  • Navigation computers and trip-meters
  • Koni shock
  • 5dr diesel RAV4.2 springs on front, Mitsubishi Space Star springs on rear
  • Composite skidplate
  • HID low beams from a Sisu truck
  • Auxiliary lighting, front and rear (not all on the pictures)
  • Full vinyl wrap
  • Tons of smaller quality-of-life mods, such as intercom, map lights, documentation holders etc.
The car is road legal for competition use with a temporary plate.

How does it run?
The car feels great on the competition. There's just enough ground clearance, so I don't have worry about most of the obstacles, especially with the skid plate. Coming from a Syncro Golf, such a simple thing as power steering feels great.
The engine is totally stock. All tough I wouldn't mind a few more horses, it's still enough to battle anyone on the field. Its fast and nimble around the trees and I've gotten stuck only once (1m ditch full of snow sideways) and can easily the undesignated routes if necessary. Even with almost 400 000km (250 000 miles )on the clock there hasn't been any reliability issues, which is really important on a 6 hour race with no service. Currently I would have hard time trying to figure out a car better suitable for the sport.

Feel free to ask about anything related on the project and I'll try elaborate as good as I can!

Cheers,
- Olli












The sad starting point:
 

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I love it! If you can post some videos or links, it would be very interesting. 20 years ago, I was also involved in rally here in Canada. I owned 3 rally Corolla GTS rwd (AE86). Good luck with your RAV4! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
How did you swap the springs? They are direct fit or you did cut them?
The springs are direct fit. They give you a bit stiffer ride. The were found from Lesjöfors cataloque by comparing dimensions.
Some of my competitors are using custom made springs to get the front even more stiffer.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I love it! If you can post some videos or links, it would be very interesting. 20 years ago, I was also involved in rally here in Canada. I owned 3 rally Corolla GTS rwd (AE86). Good luck with your RAV4! :)
Thanks mate, glad you like it!

Heres some footage of a race we won back in July. It was fairly slow pace and with rallyist's eye it will look terribly sluggish.
But theres few flat out moments there and hopefully give you an idea of what's the sport about:

Those AE86's are just plain awesome! I've seen some on action here in historic rallies.
I used to drool over this one always when I needed some inspiration with the RAV. :)
 

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Is there a reason why you decided to install the spare wheel inside instead of the back door?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Is there a reason why you decided to install the spare wheel inside instead of the back door?
Good question.

Reason #1 is to make the external dimensions as small as possible, hence no towing hook or bullbar either. This one is very important on the sport, as we squeeze between the trees quite a lot. All the Imprezas have their bumpers and rear doors/hatches all the way dented up. :)

Reason #2 is that the spare wheel stresses the door hinges and one of the spare wheel mounting point was already a bit torn up

Reason #3 is weight distribution. I admit that it's not going to affect all that much, but there's going to be room for spare tire in the back anyways, so why not mount it there. I also tried to mount it vertically inside, but it would have restricted the rear visibility bit too much.
 

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This really makes me want to move to Finland and take part in a Autosuunnistus event!

Nice work with the repairs and modifications - it's beautiful.

What steering wheel wrap did you use? I'm looking for one for my 4.1 to cover up some minor wear (feels worse than it looks). I'm drawn to the leather ones, but yours looks interesting too. It looks stitched on. I wonder if it would fit a standard RAV4.1 steering wheel with an airbag.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
This really makes me want to move to Finland and take part in a Autosuunnistus event!

Nice work with the repairs and modifications - it's beautiful.

What steering wheel wrap did you use? I'm looking for one for my 4.1 to cover up some minor wear (feels worse than it looks). I'm drawn to the leather ones, but yours looks interesting too. It looks stitched on. I wonder if it would fit a standard RAV4.1 steering wheel with an airbag.
Thank you mate, appreciated! Glad you like it.

The steering wheel is actually suede a racing wheel by RRS, similar to Momo, OMP etc.
It's installed with a Momo hub, code MC7730 if I remember correctly. Unfortunately this requires an airbag delete.

Your build looks awesome. Would you be able to post a pic of your composite skidplate?
Thank you, and of course!
The skid plate in question is a by a Russian company Koy Sheriff. I cut and riveted some 6mm PE500 polyethylene plastic to it. It's been working great and after some bashing, I can just replace the cheap plastics.
Those OMP tow hooks gave up on the first pull.





Here's and recent pic from after the last weekends race while giving it a gentle lake water wash. Some sponsor graphics have also been added.

 

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The springs are direct fit. They give you a bit stiffer ride. The were found from Lesjöfors cataloque by comparing dimensions.
Some of my competitors are using custom made springs to get the front even more stiffer.
Just to be clear, you mean that Space Star's Front springs fit into rear of RAV4, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Just to be clear, you mean that Space Star's Front springs fit into rear of RAV4, right?
I'm sorry, I had a mix up on the original post. It's actually Mitsubishi Space Runner 91-99 springs I'm running at rear.

These are the ones I have, might be available on other manufacturers as well
Front Lesjöfors catalogue ID: 4092591, Rav 4.2 5d diesel
Rear Lesjöfors catalogue ID: 4259228, Mitsubishi Space Runner 91-99

Advantages of the Mitsubishi springs on the rear:
Coil spring wire diameter 13,25mm -> 14,25 mm
Diameter stays at 128mm
Shortens from 255mm -> 249 mm
So approximately 15% increase in stiffness.

This one is some heritage knowledge from other competitors, so leave some room for errors there.
 

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Front Lesjöfors catalogue ID: 4092591, Rav 4.2 5d diesel
Rear Lesjöfors catalogue ID: 4259228, Mitsubishi Space Runner 91-99

Advantages of the Mitsubishi springs on the rear:
Coil spring wire diameter 13,25mm -> 14,25 mm
Diameter stays at 128mm
Shortens from 255mm -> 249 mm
So approximately 15% increase in stiffness.

so with the above setup does the vehicle sits lower than the original height ?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
so with the above setup does the vehicle sits lower than the original height ?
I would assume so, yes. I don't have before-after measurements, but with the added stiffness, the difference to stock will be minimal.
On this build we didn't go for maximum ground clearance but rather for good handling.
Most of the ground clearance is from 205/80R16 tires.
 
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