Toyota RAV4 Forums banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've never been happy with the steering feel on mine, or rather the lack of it. When I first drove it, I put it down to the very wet roads and the no-name Chinese tyres.

It improved slightly when I reduced the tire pressures from the 35 they were to the 26 they should be. A bit better again since fitting BFG ATs, hopefully more when I get a few miles under them. 4 wheel algnment, no difference.

I doesn't help that my front caster is just under 1 degree, when it should be closer to 2 degrees. (Caster imcrease self centering of the wheels and makes steering heavier) Unfortunately caster is not adjustable, but there may be something that can be done.

So first off, how does your steering feel?

Secondly, those of you who've fitted uprated bushes or strut braces/bars, have you noticed any improvement to the steering feel?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
172 Posts
CUTE 1997 Two Door: I replaced my rear shocks first in my ongoing upgrade program and that INSTANTLY fixed the bumping from the rear suspension. The springs are original 1997 and the shocks I replaced the original with are slightly shorter than factory. Did that have anything to do with it? Not sure. Replaced the front struts and like the new feel. Replacing the old bushings can help. The rubber as opposed to the poly bushings: rubber will absorb some of the road feel; poly will be a bit rougher I've heard. I LOVE the snappy yet very stable feel of the two door suspension. The 2005 4 door feels a bit more stable, not as bumpy and is original factory. As good as the higher-priced luxury SUVs? Nope I can't afford those....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,024 Posts
Whatever the feel of the steering on your 4.1 it must be better than that on my 4.3 RAV with electric power steering which has a rather dead feel. I've always thought that there isn't any need for power steering on a RAV - after having driven some much heavier vehicles without power steering with no problems, and even more so after having driven Austin - Healey Sprites, Mini Coopers and MGs with great road feel and lightning-quick steering.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Not checked the bushes yet. It had a recent MOT (yearly UK test of roadworthyness) when I got it. I suppose I should take a look when MsSlimJim16v is around to wiggle the steering wheel for me.

When I was looking for poly bushes, found you could only get Energy Suspension's suspension bushes from the US, so CARiD. Also found that SuperPro make them for the steering rack.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
As no one appears to have any experience with poly bushes or a strut brace on the front, I've found a Freesport being broken, which comes with a factory fit strut brace. I just need to confirm they have it as there's no under bonnet/hood photo.

I'm not expecting much, if any, improvement to steering feel, but it's the easiest (laziest) option to try first and I usually fit one to all my cars.

When I get around to changing my gearbox oil, I'll take a look at how easy it is to get at the steering rack bushes. However the temperature has hit zero here this weekend, so doubt I'll be tackling it myself until the spring, unless I get a garage to do it.
I wasn't impressed with Toyota's work on my rear suspension, so probably won't be going to them, will see what they have says on Tuesday.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A small update.
I fitted new OE spec rear damper, so went for a drive to try it. Much firmer rear, possibly a small improvement at low speed, but it has now shown up the front as very floaty and completely feel free. It inspires no confidence at all and is very difficult to go fast.

It now need new front dampers, so thinking about uprated ones, possibly Koni or Bilstein.
I have also looked at adding more caster.
There's not much that can be done at the top, without having new top mounts made.
The bottom ball joint however, could be moved forward, but would need the suspension arm modifying, as there's not enough meat around the mounting holes, so I think welding an extra metal plate on would work.

As for Toyota, I spoke with the technician (yes, that's what they're called now) who carried out the work. Next thing I knew it was up on a ramp being put right. That's what you call customer service and I've since discussed the steering feel with him also.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
149 Posts
I used H&R springs and bilstein sport shocks. Full energy suspension poly bushes with urethane rack mount bushings. I also made adjustable rear arms to correct the excessive rear camber I had. My front tyres ate 40 psi and 34 rears. It's currently has pirelli tyres on 17 jeep patriot rims. The rims didn't change things but quality tyres made a huge difference. The slightly stiffer springs helped too. Oh I also fitted the 4 door front anti roll bar.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think I've stopped lowering and uprating suspension on cars, finally. I got into 4x4s a few years back and leave them as they are, however even my old Suzukis had better steering and one had a live axle up front.

I'm probably gonna fit the poly bushes though, with the Bilsteins. Although you've made lots of changes, how do you find the Bilsteins?

Your tyre pressures, how did you get to 40 and 34 psi? Std is 26 psi.

Oh, good tip about the 4 door roll bar, thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Still not happy with the steering and still looking at it.
I didn't get round to fitting steering rack bushes, as I stupidly thought they had to be done from underneath, doh! They can be done from the side through the wheel arches :wall

I have changed the alignment, reducing rear camber and increasing front camber. Possibly a small improvement.

I started looking into wheel spacers, thinking spacing the wheels out would require more effort to turn.

So I did some reading, found out about scrub radius, then KPI/SAI and the relation to castor. I did some rough measurements and calculations and quite a negative scrub radius, which isn't good for feel. Also the KPI/SAI is 11 degrees and the castor about 1.5 degrees, not good.

What this means is that as you turn the steering, the outside tyre in a turn loses camber, so the top of the wheel/tire leans out, so the bottom slowly rolls onto its outer corner. Especially with that big a difference between KPI/SAI and castor.

none of this is easy or cheap to play with, however I've still ordered a pair of 15mm bolt on hub-centric spacers for the front. In theory it would make it worse, as it reduces the scrub radius, but worth a try. They should be here in 2 weeks.

I've also ordered a cheap magnetic camber gauge, so I can see what happens to the outer wheel as you turn the steering. Should be here next week.

I may be talking rubbish, so if anyone knows anything about suspension, I'd be grateful for a second opinion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
551 Posts
I've never been happy with the steering feel on mine, or rather the lack of it. When I first drove it, I put it down to the very wet roads and the no-name Chinese tyres.

It improved slightly when I reduced the tire pressures from the 35 they were to the 26 they should be. A bit better again since fitting BFG ATs, hopefully more when I get a few miles under them. 4 wheel algnment, no difference.

I doesn't help that my front caster is just under 1 degree, when it should be closer to 2 degrees. (Caster imcrease self centering of the wheels and makes steering heavier) Unfortunately caster is not adjustable, but there may be something that can be done.

So first off, how does your steering feel?

Secondly, those of you who've fitted uprated bushes or strut braces/bars, have you noticed any improvement to the steering feel?
I never heard of uprated bushes nor strut braces/bars for 2016 rav4.
What are they exactly?
What are they used for?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I never heard of uprated bushes nor strut braces/bars for 2016 rav4.
What are they exactly?
What are they used for?
Strut brace is the same as a strut tower bar. It braces the top of the struts together, stiffens the chassis, can improve handling and steering.

Uprated bushes are made of polyurethane and replace the softer rubber ones used as std. They improve suspension rigidity so better handling, but stiffer and noisier ride. They are also easier to fit and longer lasting.

I got my suapension bushes from Energy Suspension for my 4.1 and my steering rack bushes from SuperPro.

The strut brace I'l be using was fitted by Toyota to some special editions, so available used. Ultra Racing make lots, also Sparco.

Our cars aren't usually heavily modified, so it can be difficult finding aftermarket performance parts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
551 Posts
Strut brace is the same as a strut tower bar. It braces the top of the struts together, stiffens the chassis, can improve handling and steering.

Uprated bushes are made of polyurethane and replace the softer rubber ones used as std. They improve suspension rigidity so better handling, but stiffer and noisier ride. They are also easier to fit and longer lasting.

I got my suapension bushes from Energy Suspension for my 4.1 and my steering rack bushes from SuperPro.

The strut brace I'l be using was fitted by Toyota to some special editions, so available used. Ultra Racing make lots, also Sparco.

Our cars aren't usually heavily modified, so it can be difficult finding aftermarket performance parts.
Thanks for the info.
I doubt I'll ever install uprated bushes. the ride comfort is bad enough as it is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Oh, there is another advantage.

On the 4.1 and probably 4.2, maybe the later models too, if the rear transverse arm bushes go, they are not available from Toyota, so you have to buy a complete arm for lots £/$s. So a poly bush is an no-brainer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Another update. Got the camber gauge, although they sent the wrong one, it went from -6 to + 6, so not as accurate.



Having had my alignment done recently and knowing the front camber, I attached the zeroed the gauge, so any change was to be added or subtracted from the existing camber, which is just under 1 degree negative on both sides. I moved the steering wheel 1/4 turn at a time measuring the outer angle each time.

Both sides gained about a 1/3 of a degree negative, a good thing. So the theory and/or my understanding of it is wrong :shrug:

Next I fitted the 15mm spacers to the front.



It looks a bit tougher, but the tyres rub on the arch liners, being 225/70x16 BFG ATs they're a bit bigger.

Now the test drive. Straight away I could feel the steering was lighter. Onto some faster tighter turns next, nope not good, worse than before :frown This time agreeing with what the theory said it would do, reducing the scrub radius reduces steering effort.

Might try the spacers on the back, just for looks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Apologies for digging this thread up, I just thought I'd give my two pence worth - I also struggle with steering feel due to my Rav being solely used for night rallying. The best mod I have found for this is fitting a significantly smaller steering wheel. It really helped - although I understand many will shy away from ditching the airbag for obvious reasons.
 

·
Premium Member
'99 RAV4.1, 3MZ-FE, E250F 4x4, Torsen Dif
Joined
·
2,163 Posts
Well SlimJim now that this thread has been dug up, how did your suspension mods turn out?
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top