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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought a 2011 rav4 with 16000 miles on it from a person that lost his license due to poor eyesight. Wonderful power from the hot v6. Now to the suspension, This not unlike other Toyota's week spot for me is the suspension, seems to go side to side more that I like if that makes sense. To much body roll and not to my liking. Wondering if anyone knows what I can do about such,,week in the handling department. Would stiffer shocks such as KYB or something might help or do they have an aftermarket anti sway bar or something??? Any help suggestions someone could give would be most appreciated. I am not a hot rod, am over 60 yrs old and mellowed just like a more compliant road car. Thank You in advance
 

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2008 RAV4 Limited V6
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Those look really nice, Thank You for your reply my friend. I am seeing some posts on sachs struts as well, they were older articles does anyone know where I could find them here in the states, rock auto not much and parts geek seems to have right hand struts only which seems wierd as they should be sold in sets I would assume. Do the above drastically remove the body roll even without different shocks/struts?
 

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A few things you can do...stiffer struts and shocks (I have kyb on my sport)...you can also go to a larger wheel and use a tire with a smaller sidewall...my sport SAP handled like it was on rails when I had the 18 inch wheels on it...
 

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I have the tower strut brace and over sized rear anti sway bar. Flat cornering? You bet!
Shocks & struts are stock.
 

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I have the tower strut brace and over sized rear anti sway bar. Flat cornering? You bet!
Shocks & struts are stock.
I never did go about getting the strut tower and sway bars. I have been out of the loop. Putting these on my shopping list.

As is though, the cornering seems pretty flat but if people notice a difference, what the hell.
 

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The difference is when you are pushing it. For instance......you are on the access road & come to a bridge where there is a U Turn lane to your left. It goes under the bridge and brings you out on the opposite side. Normally that is a slow maneuver due to the sharpness of the curve and it's usually narrow. Now I can fly around it with no braking, no tire scrubbing or squeal, and it's much flatter than prior to the installs.

No, it's not a Vette but for a UTE it does pretty damn well.
 

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Most of our driving of more than five miles from our home is on often-twisty narrow two-lane mountain roads, and all that I've done is keep the tires at 40psi (dealer service department suggestion), and I can really push the V6 with few curve and cornering issues. Have made no suspension mods. No tire squeal, no drifting - if there were much of that we would end up at least a hundred feet down a cliff and in one of the rivers below! Won't outdo a Vette or Porsche, but it was a lot less expensive to buy . . .
 

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Whatever you do don't install Sachs. I installed all new Sachs front struts and rear shocks in May 2016. Front struts are already blown and I suspect the rears are blown as well. Very disappointed in the lack of quality control at Sachs...................Taking to the shop later this month will report back. If you know the sound a blown strut makes? Unmistakable sound; not music to my ears..........Fronts are leaking and making the noise. I have not inspected rears but will soon when I convert to snow tires.
 

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There's no upgraded shocks/struts for 4.3 unfortunately. They'll increase stiffness a few percentage points, but nowhere near what enthusiasts would be happy with. If you want stiffer springs you're looking at lowering or raising springs, or coilovers. At least the coilover shocks/struts will be valved right.

Those frame cross members look good! I have a skid plate so can't have those, plus I need clearance.
 

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Hi all, and Hi JuneBug,
I'm new to RAV4 and new to the forum...thanks for the "welcome aboard" message.
I just bought a 2002 2WD 5SpM "L" with leather and sunroof with only 55,000 miles so I'm hoping it will last a long time to make a few mods worthwhile.
I think I got a good deal so there's some money left in the budget for upgrades...of course I'd like to try to stick to things that offer the most "bang for the buck"

First off, I'm in hot and sunny South Florida so I'm thinking in order for this puny 4cyl to stand up to my lead foot, I'd better get some kind of high perf cooling system
I'm no mechanic and anything I think I might know about cars Ive gained over the years by reading car magazines...not actual experience, so I'd really appreciate recommendations from you guys who actually work on Toyotas, I have no idea if larger radiators and fans are available for RAV4s or if they are an easy fit because I'll have to ask a shop to install it and mechanics usually don't like to install parts you bring them, especially if they require any kind of creative fitment too far off from stock.

2) JuneBug, the upper and lower frame mods you show above look great. Ive only ever heard of the across-the-tops-of-shock towers bracing manufacturers put on their 'sport' models. Please give me your suggestions for all the parts you recommend, whats a good deal and where to buy them online.
Also, Ive put Bilsteins on other vehicles and trust them...but the RAV4 uses struts so I'm confused as what to get. I want to upgrade front and rear all at once, and get matching springs and shocks that go together that uniformly stiffen and maybe lower the car a little front and rear. Even though this car is low miles, (55,000) I suspect that things that dry rot like the shock tower strut mount bushings and sway bar bushings etc should be replaced all at once with higher performance urethane or whatever is the thing to get...but here again, I'm hoping you guys can give complete recommendations to create a kind of "kit" because if I ask a mechanic to just check over and replace worn or dry rotted parts, he'll probably only use the cheapest oem type replacement.
Are there any concerns or things to look out for when getting an alignment after all the new suspension parts are installed?

3) The 2002 "L' comes with pretty decent twin spoke 5-star alloys that are in good shape...the only downside being they are 16" x 7".
to save money I wouldn't mind just getting a set of ultra high performance summer tires, I tend to push my luck in the rain so I usually pick ones with the best wet traction, my S10 pickup had Dunlop Direzzas, what tires and especially sizes do you guys recommend? I don't mind sacrificing tread life for ultimate traction.
I'm not sure if there's a downside to going with a much smaller rolling circumference, lower profile (smaller) tire other than speedometer error and speed bump clearance...I put those much smaller, stickier Dunlops on my S10 and loved them. I felt that the lowering effect they had gave a lower center of gravity and possible slightly better aerodynamics and smaller tires effectively lower your gearing for quicker off-the-line. My S10 was automatic and it really revved high at top speed (which is probably how I blew it up overheating) but I'm hoping that is less of a concern with this manual RAV4 with overdrive 5th gear. What do you guys think?

4) If I do decide to splurge on rims too, what size do you guys recommend? What is the stock alloy rim's offset? Ive been browsing hundreds of possible reasonably priced rims on tirerack...they list their weight and offset, but not how they differ from stock. In their long list of suggested rims, there is quite a range of available weights and offsets. If I understand it correctly, the offset is the difference in millimeters of the inner hub face from the centerline of the wheel, meaning that a negative offset, or lower positive number is a "dished" wheel, which allows you to widen the car's track or "stance" for better stability, but if overdone leads to alignment problems and unstable front end "wobble" under braking. Do I have that right? a lower offset number equals wider stance? If so, I'll pick from the lower offset wheels because tirerack tends to be pretty conservative with the mods they sell, probably because of liability issues, so I'd get the benefit of track width without any bad effects or rubbing against the body or brake parts.

5) Speaking of brakes, since the car has been sitting, should I do any maintenance like bleeding the system and replacing all the fluid or even lines? Mine has rear drums.
I'm trying to not break the bank but if you guys have some strong recommendations that make big improvements, like just certain pads or if RAV4s have any weaknesses you're sure I'd want to correct, I might as well do it all up now and enjoy my "brand new" sports car with practical space capability (why I bought it).

Thanks in advance for all your help...I hope what I was trying to say above made sense. I'm very psyched about enjoying this car and feeling like I got something fun and practical while, even with all the "wish list" above, spending a lot less than I might have on something else but with much less peace of mind.


Fingers crossed you guys don't tell me I wont be satisfied until I put on a turbo kit ;)
 
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