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Scotty's 2005 RAD4

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Earlier this year I was in need of a commuter car since I started a new job with an almost almost 90 mile round trip commute. I have a 2020 Ram 2500 that gets 14mpg, so I was definitely needing something more economical. A few months back, I bought this 2005 with 106,000 miles for $2500, which I feel was a great deal! So far, my RAV has been averaging 23mpg's, so it's saving me quite a bit. The car was mechanically solid, but filthy. I also have receipts for work that was done a few days before I bought it, such as recent tires, alignment check, new struts and shocks, oil change, a new hood release cable, a few other things. Since buying it, I've been pouring over these threads, getting ideas, and learning about my car. I've done a few things so far and figured I'd share them as best I can.
Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Sky
Wheel Car Automotive parking light Vehicle Tire

This was the day I bought it. The Arizona sun really takes it's toll on plastic headlights out here. This thing was filthy on the inside and in desperate need of a detail.
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2005 RAV4, 4WD, AT, Base
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Next up was the lift. I went with the simple strut and coil spacers, 40mm. from Amazon. It was surprisingly easy to install, especially using air tools. The same day I installed it, I drove down to a tire shop for an alignment. The alignment tech checked it and said it was still within spec. He could've gotten it closer, however he was unable to loosen the cam bolts because they were rusted and would need to be cut out with a torch. He also didn't have any in stock so he suggested I drive it and keep an eye out for tire wear. If needed, come back and he would get deeper into it, but it should be good as-is. So far after about 3,000 miles, the tires show no uneven or funny wear. I really like the way it looks with the additional height and ground clearance. The ride feels exactly as it did prior to the lift.
Automotive parking light Wheel Tire Vehicle Car
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Automotive parking light Tire Wheel Automotive side marker light Car

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
These 17 year old headlights were most definitely done! Borderline dangerous and were a priority to replace. I looked on Amazon and Ebay for some inexpensive options, but I firmly believe in the "buy once, cry once" principle and went with Toyota OEM units. I'd rather pay for quality, proven units than deal with potential problems down the road. Amazon for some things, sure, but when it comes to headlights, I'd rather have OEM. I bought them from https://trdshop.carlocktoyotaoftupelo.com/. They had the best price I could find at the time and their customer service is TOP NOTCH! I 100% will buy from them in the future. I did purchase the fog lights off of Amazon. They came complete with the wire harness, switch, and bulbs. My car didn't come from the factory with fogs. I thought about swapping out the turn signal stalk, adding the relay, and have them function as the factory intended, however I decided on these so I could wire them in from scratch and use them with the high beams at the same time. One thing about the fog kit I wish was different, the switch is green. I would prefer amber to match the rest of the dash lighting. The green really stands out like a sore thumb. Also, the switch needed a little trimming as it was too tall to fit. That was an easy fix and is now basically press-fit in the square hole. I would still buy these again if needed. The night time driving is head and shoulders above what it was! Plenty of clean light!
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you! My illuminated window switches should be here in a couple weeks. I definitely need to get the windows tinted, and I'd love to get some new wheels. I'm not a huge fan of aftermarket wheels so I'm keeping my eyes open for some RAV take-offs or something else that'll work. I also plan on swapping out the stereo head unit for a different OEM unit, something with more power and bluetooth. I've been looking at the replacement grill options, but I think I'm going to pick one up from a wrecking yard and experiment with it and try and make something that's nice, but different. I'm sure there'll be other things along the way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
When I bought the car, it had this 4x4 decal on the side. I wasn't a fan of it at all and wanted it gone. It had obviously been on there for a very long time and I was worried it was permanent. I'm pretty sure I saw this decal remover eraser wheel somewhere in these forums. I figured Id give it a try. It worked surprisingly well! I was very happy with how it removed the decals without damaging the paint. I did go over the area with wax to clean it up when I was done. I highly recommend this for old, dried, otherwise permanent decal removal!
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Damn you made a difference on that paint.

Here's mine I rescued from a junyard i used to work at. Someone decided that this good running, virtually rust free car with minimal issues was worth the $250 the junkyard paid for.
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Here it is after i put about an hour into polishing the passenger headlight.
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
My lighted window switches came in. They were surprisingly easy to install, although I did have an "oops", but then a fix for it. I know I had read somewhere here that they need to be removed starting from the leading edge and sliding them forward. Using the supplied tool, I wasn't thinking and started removing the drivers switch from the rear, thus breaking the plastic tab that holds it to the door panel.
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This clip is on the leading edge and is what needs to be pushed in so the switch assembly can be lifted slightly and slid forward.
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I broke this tab. My fix was to hold a razor blade with vice grips while heating it cherry red with a torch. Then I just kept dipping it into where the tab broke to sort of melt and mush it back together. It worked like a charm!
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Here's the new and old switches side by side.
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Even though the fronts were easy to install, once I learned and fixed my "oops", the rears were even easier! Like others on here, I highly recommend these as a nice little upgrade. The original switches worked just fine, but these are nice and add a little something extra to the interior.
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Much thanks to all you guys who have recommended these!
 

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Last week I did my 3 monthly headlight polish.

I know you can coat them afterwards with clear coat , but unsure how it works as wouldn't the cut and polish cause a problem with the paint sticking ? Clear coat is just paint after all.... Is love to see a perfect guide on how to permanently keep them clean instead of fading back to yellow. Specifically how to coat them once sanded/cut/polished

Yours look great in that pic!
 

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Looking good!

One thing about the fog kit I wish was different, the switch is green. I would prefer amber to match the rest of the dash lighting. The green really stands out like a sore thumb. Also, the switch needed a little trimming as it was too tall to fit.
This fog light switch with amber backlight seems to be a good fit as long as the dimensions are correct.
 
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