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Discussion Starter #1
For over a year I've been searching for a 2 door Soft Top Rav4 Automatic preferably 4x4 but I can live with 2wheel drive. I seem to always miss out on one when it is offered for sale or sellers just never respond back to me.

Anyway, recently I found a '98 soft top in Maumee, Ohio (as of right now I still see it available on craigslist). It was perfect for me. I know most sellers don't want to mess with long distance sells so right off the bat I let the seller know that I'm from Texas and he/she said if I really wanted to buy then that's fine. So we communicated back and forth and on the second day he/she took pictures in the evening and sent them to me. This got me super exited. I was drooling over the pictures all night. I asked the seller for the VIN, and if he/she had title in hand, typical sort of stuff. The seller did not respond until the next day. When I got a response all that the seller said was that the dad took it to NY. Really? The car was in Ohio in the evening and then in NY the very next morning and is no longer for sale? I guess the seller decided he/she just wanted to do a local sale and get cash fast.

I just wish that person didn't get me so excited only to kill my dream. To make it worse, before my dream of owning a soft top was crushed, I had shopped around for auto shipping quotes. I guess they sold my contact info because for the past two days I've been getting tons of calls, emails and voicemails from shippers trying to get business. It is extremely annoying. Oddly enough, most of these auto transport companies are from FL.

I was able to find two more soft tops in FL, but neither sellers will respond. I guess they see my area code and don't want to bother with selling to an out of state buyer.

In the mean time, I am working on my 1/64 scale soft top Rav4...about the size of a typical Hot Wheels car. It started off as a pretty plain looking green diecast toy. I also have some larger scale Rav4 and one small 1/72 scale rav4. Anyway, I'm pretty depressed. Looks like my year long search continues.....
 

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Yeah, Craigslist isn't likely to work out well on a long distance deal. Just look at the warnings for sellers against accepting Western Union etc. and to deal locally in person. I've placed car-for-sale ads with my phone/text number only to have people email me. What are they hiding if they won't call? And if they call from a distance with a whole bunch of questions is it really worth my time for a deal that'll likely fall thru in the end. Ads could easily be fake and the legit ones are looking for in-person cash-in-hand straightforward transactions.

I bought both my RAV4 and Accord long distance, Florida and Georgia, having made the deal over the phone based on pictures and verbal descriptions and then buying one-way flights to drive them home. But both cars were only a few years old not 20 like in your situation where condition could range from pristine to junk. The RAV4 came from a used car dealer in Melbourne I knew was a straight shooter after five minutes on the phone. The Honda was a CPO from Athens Honda. Even then the sales lady said, "These long distance deals many times don't work out."

What's more likely to work for you is eBay where there's a lot more structure and an organization "watching" for underhanded buyers and sellers and a feedback system that keeps things as honest as possible.

Cars.com, Autotrader, etc. are a couple steps up from CL and might hook you up with a used car dealer willing to make a long distance deal work.

Combine all the above with the fact you're looking for a pretty rare animal and your search may continue for a while. I've both missed out on deals and felt terrible, and made some great ones by being the first one at the seller's door with cash-in-hand, the Odyssey being one.

Looking at my list all but the Odyssey and the DRZ-400 were out of state buys with the '99 F-250 and Volvo from PA on eBay and the '01 F-250 from NY on Autotrader.com
 
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I got RAV4 off ebay, actually i've bought several cars and one boat successfully on ebay having only one sale fall through when the car they tried to tell me was the one I bought wasn't the right color or VIN number. Fortunately with PayPal it is easy to recover your deposit. I have never had any success on craigslist for any big ticket item; they have always been ripoffs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have alerts set up for Autotrader, Cars.com, Carsforsale.com, Cargurus.com and I literally went into craigslist and clicked on every state and every city and created an alert for each one. I also check out Offerup.com, letgo.com, Carstory.com and ebay often. But yea.....I'm just going to ignore private seller ads on Craigslist from now on unless they are local or if its from a dealership. I seem to always miss out on the ones offered by dealers. The latest one I lost out on was from a dealership in Oregon. No rust and very well kept. The only issue it had was that it was over 300K miles but that doesn't deter me.

Anyway the lesson I learned, after many bad experiences and this latest one, is that it's better to deal with a (hopefully legit) dealership or a seller that is local.
 

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So sorry for your troubles. Hopefully you can find one soon.




Private sellers are not easy to work with.


Typically when I am buying a car, always a dealer has it. I guess most people just trade in.


I always sell myself cuz I don't have the capacity to loose money on trade-in. But I always put good efforts in to be nice and fair.


Tried to buy a 4Runner last month from a private lady in Brooklyn. I want a vehicle to add to my Toyota 4x4 fleet that I can teach my son how to drive in when he gets to driving age and then many be take it to college. It turned out that she just wanted to advertise her black/silver 2000 4Runner only to see how many calls she gets and interviews them and gets kick out of how much people really want to buy her vehicle but doesn't really want to sell it. She has it on sale for almost a year now. Bugging people just for fun. I was so pissed!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
turned out that she just wanted to advertise her black/silver 2000 4Runner only to see how many calls she gets
Wow! Some people just suck. Sorry to hear about your experience . From now on I just want to deal with dealerships or local sellers. However, in my experience some of the smal dealership that sell really old cars aren't much better. I'm hoping someone trades in a 2dr to one of the bigger dealership and I catch it in time. I did see a member on here advetise a silver soft top but he was asking 6k for it. That's like 2, almost 3 times KBB value.
 

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I've been seeing this one for so long now. Either something is very wrong with this 2dr so no one wants it or the dealer is using it to do a bate and switch when people come in to look at it. Records show it was first listed in December 2015 and there are almost 200 inquiries on it. They never responded to any of my emails. Even Google maps shows this car on their lot when you look at street view and 3D view. Makes you wonder how long it's been there. Anyone in Toledo care to check it out for me? Haha jk. I bet it's Swiss cheese all around the rear fenders and underside from rust.
 

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.............Private sellers are not easy to work with.
^^ Often due to the fact:
The good sellers, have been preyed on by out of town scammers, to frequently...of late.
- they are usually a PITA to deal with
- the pattern is buyer excitement, and they just have to close the deal / with few questions
- next comes the 3rd party shipping logistics &/or fake Western Union transfer of funds
- than the next flake, probably has insufficient funds / 8-9 photos aren't enough...they want more
- or your selling an auto or 2WD, and ad clearly states it
- questions come in...is it 4sp, its it a 4x4...BS
Yesterday's nice seller, are tired of constantly having to protect themselves, for the latest scam.

2 years ago - we bought our 2008 RAV4 Limited v6 off Kijiji (Canadian CraigsList) off a Doctor.
- seller lived 40 minutes away
- I quickly set up a meeting & test drive / initially with one phone call
- was utmost respectful for his busy schedule, I set up text communications...moving forward
- buyer was previously offered $13,000 for quick sale
- asking price was $14,200...seller didn't feel comfortable, with that pushy man
- wife and I spent an hour with seller, his GF and their Poodle / Doc. liked us...we paid $12,700
The buyer & seller relationship often needs some foundation building of trust, so a fluid financial transaction can materialize...that is legit.
- out of state buyers, are usually at a disadvantage now, in the Web site purchasing game
- the bad ones have largely ruined some opportunities, for the honest buyers (from another State)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
out of state buyers, are usually at a disadvantage, in the purchasing game
There are bad sellers and buyers. Recently I had a seller try to scam me with a Mazda RX7. The price of the car was very suspicious. I actually used Google image and found the actual car already listed on ebay. Also there are so many sellers out there that are lazy. What good does it do for potential buyers when all that is in the ad is, "has new tires. Drives good"? There are buyers who need to learn to read AND there are sellers who need to learn how to advertise their stuff.
 

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Haha thanks! I actually mentioned that car in post #8. I had seen his thread when he first posted it and I also found his listing on craigslist. It is quite pricey, one of the priciest 2dr I've seen. Plus shipping costs (or a plane ticket to cali and gas/food/lodging) and I'd be paying 2 to 3 times kelly blue book value.
 

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For over a year I've been searching for a 2 door Soft Top Rav4 Automatic preferably 4x4 but I can live with 2wheel drive. I seem to always miss out on one when it is offered for sale or sellers just never respond back to me.

Anyway, recently I found a '98 soft top in Maumee, Ohio (as of right now I still see it available on craigslist). It was perfect for me. I know most sellers don't want to mess with long distance sells so right off the bat I let the seller know that I'm from Texas and he/she said if I really wanted to buy then that's fine. So we communicated back and forth and on the second day he/she took pictures in the evening and sent them to me. This got me super exited. I was drooling over the pictures all night. I asked the seller for the VIN, and if he/she had title in hand, typical sort of stuff. The seller did not respond until the next day. When I got a response all that the seller said was that the dad took it to NY. Really? The car was in Ohio in the evening and then in NY the very next morning and is no longer for sale? I guess the seller decided he/she just wanted to do a local sale and get cash fast.

I just wish that person didn't get me so excited only to kill my dream. To make it worse, before my dream of owning a soft top was crushed, I had shopped around for auto shipping quotes. I guess they sold my contact info because for the past two days I've been getting tons of calls, emails and voicemails from shippers trying to get business. It is extremely annoying. Oddly enough, most of these auto transport companies are from FL.

I was able to find two more soft tops in FL, but neither sellers will respond. I guess they see my area code and don't want to bother with selling to an out of state buyer.

In the mean time, I am working on my 1/64 scale soft top Rav4...about the size of a typical Hot Wheels car. It started off as a pretty plain looking green diecast toy. I also have some larger scale Rav4 and one small 1/72 scale rav4. Anyway, I'm pretty depressed. Looks like my year long search continues.....

Honestly, maybe you should consider buying a 2 door Jeep YJ with a 4.0 Liter inline six cylinder. They are cheap, very well built, that engine lasts forever, and every option under the sun is available for them. Get a good sport bar- that's actually a functional roll bar, and put a soft safari top on it, and never look back. These gen-1 RAV4's are good cars, but they have no factory support, other than basic drive train repair parts. The '97s are defunct as of this year. And there is very little aftermarket support for them. Hell, there's more aftermarket support for the Suzuki Samurai. Consider a YJ, you'll be a happy camper.
 

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Consider a YJ, you'll be a happy camper.
I have considered the 2dr keep but I drive 40miles to work and 40 miles home so it's just not a good car for me gas wise. Since my 4door died I have to take my Toyota sequoia and it is a killer on the wallet. And the taller cars aren't as fun to drive
 

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I have considered the 2dr keep but I drive 40miles to work and 40 miles home so it's just not a good car for me gas wise. Since my 4door died I have to take my Toyota sequoia and it is a killer on the wallet. And the taller cars aren't as fun to drive

Those little Jeep YJ's get good mileage, that little 4L six is a torquey gas sipper, my AWD RAV4 is a gas hog in comparrison.
 

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For over a year I've been searching for a 2 door Soft Top Rav4 Automatic preferably 4x4 but I can live with 2wheel drive. I seem to always miss out on one when it is offered for sale or sellers just never respond back to me.

Anyway, recently I found a '98 soft top in Maumee, Ohio (as of right now I still see it available on craigslist). It was perfect for me. I know most sellers don't want to mess with long distance sells so right off the bat I let the seller know that I'm from Texas and he/she said if I really wanted to buy then that's fine. So we communicated back and forth and on the second day he/she took pictures in the evening and sent them to me. This got me super exited. I was drooling over the pictures all night. I asked the seller for the VIN, and if he/she had title in hand, typical sort of stuff. The seller did not respond until the next day. When I got a response all that the seller said was that the dad took it to NY. Really? The car was in Ohio in the evening and then in NY the very next morning and is no longer for sale? I guess the seller decided he/she just wanted to do a local sale and get cash fast.

I just wish that person didn't get me so excited only to kill my dream. To make it worse, before my dream of owning a soft top was crushed, I had shopped around for auto shipping quotes. I guess they sold my contact info because for the past two days I've been getting tons of calls, emails and voicemails from shippers trying to get business. It is extremely annoying. Oddly enough, most of these auto transport companies are from FL.

I was able to find two more soft tops in FL, but neither sellers will respond. I guess they see my area code and don't want to bother with selling to an out of state buyer.

In the mean time, I am working on my 1/64 scale soft top Rav4...about the size of a typical Hot Wheels car. It started off as a pretty plain looking green diecast toy. I also have some larger scale Rav4 and one small 1/72 scale rav4. Anyway, I'm pretty depressed. Looks like my year long search continues.....

If you find one in south Florida I could help you out.

Here is one I just spotted in Erie, PA looks good - Cars for Sale: Used 1998 Toyota RAV4 4WD 2-Door for sale in Erie, PA 16509: Sport Utility Details - 455582749 - Autotrader

And another in N Hollywood, CA - Cars for Sale: Used 1998 Toyota RAV4 2WD 2-Door for sale in North Hollywood, CA 91606: Sport Utility Details - 456864753 - Autotrader
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for helping but I actually seen both of those within in an hour of them being posted thanks to all of the alerts I've set up on many sites. The one in north Hollywood got me very excited.....that is until I saw it was a manual. Not fun in major Dallas rush hour going 40 miles to and from work. And the one in Erie has bad rust. I was in contact with that dealership and they sent me different pictures than what is online and I could see that it was bad. That is why the price is under 2k.
 

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I have considered the 2dr keep (Jeep?) but I drive 40miles to work and 40 miles home so it's just not a good car for me gas wise. Since my 4door died I have to take my Toyota Sequoia and it is a killer on the wallet. And the taller cars aren't as fun to drive.
What doesn't make sense to me is why whatever killed your 4 door RAV4 wouldn't be likely to do the same to another 20 year old RAV4. :egad:You're talking nearly 20,000 miles commuting per year.
 

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You're talking nearly 20,000 miles commuting per year.
I really like the convertible body. I know if I get one then the engine won't last forever. Thats why I plan to drop in a new engine. I figure I'll drive it til the engine dies, then drop in a new engine and from then on it becomes something I baby a lot and drive on weekends. It'll be sort of a restored classic car or a museum piece. It'll be my garage mistress.
 
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