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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
So as most owners of 2013+ model, I am greatly disappointed with the riding comfort. I own a 2013 2.2Diesel AT. It just makes no sense to those who make occasional use of the car on less-than-baby's-bottom-smooth tarmac. It's a 4x4 with bigger than normal ground clearance and multipurpose intentions, comfort compromise in favor of dynamics is just too much. According to Toyota's design process, ignorant motoring press journalists are to blame, as well as...well all of us that have bought off roaders but haven't used them properly.

Now, to slightly improve things first thing to do is take off the arbars. They are an exaggeration for most of us and should improve on single side suspension work. Unless you charge often your car to 100℅ of its capacity, I see no problem in removing them. Mine are coming off soon. Next item are coils and shocks.... These are too stiff and damp too much under small suspension steps. To slightly shift the balance from dynamic to capable of riding comfortably unladen, we seek:

1. Lower rate springs - I contacted KYB, King and OME. KYB makes stuff to OEM spec. Kings are stiffer... I had high hopes for OME as they design based on comfort and vehicle behavior in on and off road conditions. Comments from local retailers are...well fuzzy to say the least. Will try contacting AUS headquarters soon. Springs that help in this department should in principle be longer and with more spirals.

2. Lower damping shocks - saw nothing on this end on the market. In similarity to springs, KYBs are made to OEM spec. Apart from lowering coilovers with weird aftermarket shocks, dunno what to do except start playing with stock valving. Do know a couple of guys of can revalve them so...maybe will give it a go.

Would you guys care to share the information you collected or the experiments you made....? How about trying on the '16 MY suspension, as many say it's slightly better?

I understand there more posts about this subject out there but none that I found actually discusses or proposes any solutions the market may offer.

Please provide your input.

Thanks!

Regards from Portugal/France,

Bruno Belo

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Here's an easy solution, have a couple of 150-200lb friends ride in the back seat and see how much nicer the ride is, you could always add sand bags in case your friends aren't available! :D That's part of the reason why the Hybrid rides nicer, it's heavier. Can't help with the suspension components, although you can go to smaller wheels and bigger tires as another option, a 17" tire has more rubber between you and the road than an 18", and a 16" even more. Good luck in your quest.:wink
 

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I guess I haven't noticed the rough ride that so many others have talked about. That could be because I went from a 2000 Ford Taurus to a 2015 Rav4... :) but even to friends and family that have other vehicles (newer & older) they have all commented on how nice, smooth, and comfortable ride it is. I haven't done/had any suspension work done it. All factory. Best of luck with getting a smoother ride!
 

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I guess I haven't noticed the rough ride that so many others have talked about. That could be because I went from a 2000 Ford Taurus to a 2015 Rav4... :) but even to friends and family that have other vehicles (newer & older) they have all commented on how nice, smooth, and comfortable ride it is. I haven't done/had any suspension work done it. All factory. Best of luck with getting a smoother ride!
Not sure which year you have, but there were some suspension improvements starting in 2016. I had a 2014 with 17" wheels and the ride was much more rough than the 2016 with 18" wheels.
 

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So as most owners of 2013+ model, I am greatly disappointed with the riding comfort. I own a 2013 2.2Diesel AT. It just makes no sense to those who make occasional use of the car on less-than-baby's-bottom-smooth tarmac. It's a 4x4 with bigger than normal ground clearance and multipurpose intentions, comfort compromise in favor of dynamics is just too much. According to Toyota's design process, ignorant motoring press journalists are to blame, as well as...well all of us that have bought off roaders but haven't used them properly.

Now, to slightly improve things first thing to do is take off the arbars. They are an exaggeration for most of us and should improve on single side suspension work. Unless you charge often your car to 100℅ of its capacity, I see no problem in removing them. Mine are coming off soon. Next item are coils and shocks.... These are too stiff and damp too much under small suspension steps. To slightly shift the balance from dynamic to capable of riding comfortably unladen, we seek:

1. Lower rate springs - I contacted KYB, King and OME. KYB makes stuff to OEM spec. Kings are stiffer... I had high hopes for OME as they design based on comfort and vehicle behavior in on and off road conditions. Comments from local retailers are...well fuzzy to say the least. Will try contacting AUS headquarters soon. Springs that help in this department should in principle be longer and with more spirals.

2. Lower damping shocks - saw nothing on this end on the market. In similarity to springs, KYBs are made to OEM spec. Apart from lowering coilovers with weird aftermarket shocks, dunno what to do except start playing with stock valving. Do know a couple of guys of can re-valve them so...maybe will give it a go.

Would you guys care to share the information you collected or the experiments you made....? How about trying on the '16 MY suspension, as many say it's slightly better?

I understand there more posts about this subject out there but none that I found actually discusses or proposes any solutions the market may offer.

Please provide your input.

Thanks!

Regards from Portugal/France,

Bruno Belo

Sent from my Lenovo P2a42 using Tapatalk


I have been through this too, Don't worry about spring rates right now, that too hard to alter correctly unless you want custom spring charge. Worry about finding a lower dampered rear shock. 80% of a cars ride quality comes from the rear shock damping. My wife's old car 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT has really soft rear damping (too soft really just a hint of a pogo on a large dip ->rebound damping need 10% more to correct I think) and it is such a smooth ride. My wife drives our 2014 Rav4 so I don't have to live with it daily. I have called and dug into this with Bilstein, Koni, Sachs, KYB, and others. I will have to find my other post about this and link it. I am getting ready for work and don't have the time right now. We have shock mount type and rough measurement specs. We need to find one that fits from someone like Bilstein so we can send it off to get it re-valved.

I agree it is a problem to me and I use to drive around a VW Scirroco street car with a 12 point roll cage and a de-tund Super-Vee motor with Bilstein race coilovers for years. Now I am 54 and I like a softer ride. Ha Ha!!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi there Mainia, thanks for your input. I understand and agree with your the comments. It will be difficult to find a 100℅ matching shock for stroke (considering working angles) and and shock main working position don't you think? Why not revalving RAV4 own shocks? I know a couple of guys in the motorsport scene, I'll ask a couple​ of questions. Thanks!

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I would have to look at my rear shocks again to get the brand again....I called their high perf/testing division about re-valving and they said there is no way to do it all welded and valving is nonadjustable. I even asked about drilling in and installing a less viscous shock oil. The guy said there is 2000 psi nitrogen if you do drill and question how without that the shock would work without it. Since the rear shock doesn't have a spring attached to it you actually have a good chance to find a shock from a manufacture that could alter valving. Bilstein would be my first choice because almost every one of their shocks can be re-valved. if the stroke is a hair shorter or longer and we can figure the spring or suspension bump stop interferes before shock bottom out we are fine. Classic example is their is a guy selling rear racing Koni's that are not made for a Honda Fit but they work because the shock 1 inch shorter fully extended and is not an issue with topping out.

bmbelo, what country do you live in?

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Discussion Starter #8
Portuguese living in France, after having lived in the UK and Belgium as engineer for Toyota Motors Europe :D Nevertheless, I know a guy....who knows a guy that does shocks ahahahha but yes, it's true these are gas shocks but I don't think this guy ever got a challenge he couldn't overcome. But he does everything from cutting them open to revalving refilling and closing them as well. Dunno details but will keep you posted as soon as I get info on this. If it works, unless Trump issues a ban on shocks, it should be ok for you guys as well.... :D

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I recently purchased a 2014 Rav4 XLE after driving a 2003 4Runner (v8) for 14 years. The difference in the driving experience is startling, and for me, it's what sold the vehicle. (I really did love the 4Runner but an expensive repair at 197K miles had me shopping for a replacement.) The Rav4 hugs the road (lower center of gravity and in Sport - AWD mode) and has a car-like feel with the all-weather capabilities and cargo options I wanted. The Rav4 isn't the truck I had before, but neither is the ride. Yes, it's a little bumpy, but for me it seems really nice on the rural roads and freeway that I drive most often. I have found that the ride softened with the addition of a 2" trailer hitch (70 pounds) put on by U-haul. I added a cargo basket (I have a Curt one that folds up - used it with the 4Runner) and the additional weight on the back of the Rav4 make the ride much less bumpy without a loss in performance. Yes, this does take the mpg average down a notch or two, but there are always trade offs I guess.
 

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My question is simple. If you did not like how it rides, why did you buy it? There are probably a 100 different cars that ride nicer. Buy one of those.

Mine rides fine and our roads stink from the freeze and thawing in Winter.

Because, rough ride sometimes is a slow process that your brain all of a sudden doesn't like. Kind of like noise. You know that. When I test drove it we went on a bunch of different roads. I didn't think it was rough. Like I said in a previous post I use to drive around race cars on the street and could live with it when younger. So yes, I am aware of shock valving and the 30 minute test drive did not show us the over valving for a more comfortable ride. With time and certain roads it become very apparent it is a bit over valved in a couple of road scenarios to the point you want to look for a more refined valved shock.

Classic example is my new new at the time, 2009 Honda Fit was/is very stiffly valved to the point when new going up north to our family's cabin I had to let the air out of the tires to 25 psi because it beat the smit out of you. in 2016 I had a 2015 Fit for 3 months s part of the airbag recall. It was softly valved and had a comfort ride while handling as good as the 2009. I then put a set of the orange Konis in my car when I recieved my car back. The koni's were a much more refined shock, German esq. A 15% reduction in aggressive valving made it a joy to drive in.


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Discussion Starter #11
Well it doesn't matter why I bought, it matters now that I have it and have a problem or find something strange with it. That's why these forums exist. But as previously said, I knew the car quite well already and didn't focus on driving comfort on the test drive I did. This fault was not obvious. And I would very likely buy it again over the competition within my budget. This is just a nagging charact of the car.... Small price to pay for Toyota badge.

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It is a 4wd SUV. If you wanted a cushy soft ride, logic would dictate that you go look at a Lexus, Cadillac, or some other car. I have had numerous cars over the years and this one is hardly rough riding...especially for an AWD. One guy I work with has a Hyundia SUV, another a Ford Escape, and they both seem to ride just about the same as the RAV.

Good luck in your efforts to get it to ride like you hope. If you have 18" tires, you might start by switching the rims/tires to 17" or even 16". Your ride will change massively just by getting rid of the 18" lower profile tires/wheels.

All it would take is a 10% change in rear compression and rebound dampening and the problem would be solved. I talked to a Koni engineer and he said Japanese are noted for spending very little time on testing their shock damping where Germans test the most.
 

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Ok so just came of the phone with the guy - you can check him out on FB, search for a small business in Portugal called Paulo Amortecedores. I explained the situation well, he will do the job. Apparently, as contrary to what Mainia explained of his talks with Koni, Bilstein, KYB, in this case here doesn't seem to exist a technical impediment....let's see how it goes. The guy has been doing this for a living since ever and works 95‰ for off road racing teams. I'll get a used set of used shocks off ebay and send it over to him. I'll aim for a damping reduction off 10% at the front and 20℅ in the back. This'll be an empirical thing as I have no means or patience to get stock shock characteristics. Target is to be somewhere in the ballpark of confortable riding while unladden. I'll keep you posted.

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Discussion Starter #15
Well just noticed KONI has a set of front and rear adjustable shocks for the RAV4 - Heavy Track. Anybody has experience with these....? They are for models up to 12.12 but doesn't the gen4 share shock mounts and dimensions with previous generation?

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Discussion Starter #16
Well KONI distributor says no, only till '12 however I find many shocks compatible between both models like LWB XA30 and XA40 - like this one on eBay 272223026443. Can anyone confirm shocks are shared?

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Discussion Starter #17
Confirmed different shocks and part numbers from Toyota and got this answer from KONI Netherlands



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Most of the shock companies use their website search info as a key indicator of whether to bring a shock to market or not. Everyone start using the top after market shock companies website search for 2013 and after Rav4. They log your gateway/firewall IP address, so use your work or friends computers at different locations too.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Toyota prices and references. Will start with only rear shocks to see how it goes.... Will buy new as didn't find used. These will be shipped to Paulo dos Amortecedores to be modified.



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