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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We bought my aunts 2010 Rav4. It has 20K+ on it and is almost a show room car. The longer we own it, a month now, I'm starting to learn it's characters. The one thing that is most annoying with this car is the way it handles. Because its done a lot of sitting in the garage before we got it I put a set of tires on it. I'd have to go look at what they are but they are a Goodyear Touring tire 800.00 worth with an alignment. So...
It drives like the caster is way off. It has a very quick to react touchy steering quality at highway speeds and seems as though one little steering correction to keep straight will over do it at the wheels. It's not a car that is enjoyable to drive you have to work at making it give a good handling straight ride. It feels like your driving it in a high wind situation or on a road that trucks have rutted from constant lane use!
I had the car aligned when the tires were installed and have the spec sheet showing a minor adjustment.
Does a Rav4 have adjustments that can be made only to factory sepcs or can a custom alignment shop make adjustments beyond what the factory suggests and in the end modify the characteristics of the way the car handles?
I'm loving the car but am starting to think trade in,,,
 

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Could it be the tires causing this? How did it drive prior to the new ones?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The car handled the same way before I change the tires that was one of the reasons why I changed the tires the other was because it had been sitting so long
 

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Perhaps only the front alignment was done only. There is a rear suspension arm recall that epoxy the parts so it does not come apart. You need to find out if the recall was done and check your invoice to see if the suspension arm was taken apart in order to do the alignment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's interesting to know I did take it to the Toyota dealer and have them check it for recall the only recall that it needed to have done was the wiper recall. Which was done I will look into the rear suspension thanks
 

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That's interesting to know I did take it to the Toyota dealer and have them check it for recall the only recall that it needed to have done was the wiper recall. Which was done I will look into the rear suspension thanks
A quick look at the rear should see label warning saying caution attention ....expoxy etc.
 

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Also you should go to the Toyota.com/owners website, enter your VIN. Search your Service History. Click on each entry for more details. You should see a few items done under warranty or recalls, including the rear stabilizers epoxy thingie if yours was on the list. Let us know what you find out.

My 09 drives straight and well planted, so you've got something going on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for that Toyota web site info...I registered and found that epoxy thing has been done. It was done at 15K it now has 24 K. It's done several trips FL to NH, MA to NC and everywhere in between. Does this recall have any chance of failing?. It was supposed to have a 4 wheel alignment at a Sullivan tire store. A reputable place in New England. Tires and the 4 wheel alignment made no difference. It handled like it does now before tire, etc
 

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Some have reported this epoxy fix has failed if done improperly since it doesn't allow rear adjustment. Jump on this thread grenade if you want to read and get some background:

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/178-recall/126522-recall-recall-lower-suspension-arms.html

I've not had any problem, but I did call the Toyota Corporate office and told them I was concerned if there was a problem in the future. They said Toyota would re-do the fix under warranty if it was out (no time frame given). They gave me a case number to present to a dealer if it ever happens, FWIW.

Your problem may not be related to this issue at all, but you could go to a Toyota dealer and have them check the alignment under this recall to find out if that is the problem. You could also return to the Sullivan shop and have them re-check and get an opinion if the rear adjustors are out of align, or if they suspect any other steering component.

Good luck and thanks for reporting your findings so far. Several folks here are interested of how this fix plays out over time. Yours is such a cream puff at only 20k miles, hard to imagine it is normal wear and tear. Also, Be sure to get a CarFax report in case the car was in a crash and not fixed at a Toyota shop.
 

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I get my cars aligned at a custom alignment shop that caters to high perf cars and racecars. The first time I brought a Honda Fit in he went with a 0 toe for the front and he hit it exactly. I noticed this exact "hunting" you are talking about. It was very "wearing" to drive this car, you always had to put input to the wheel. The shop is a ways away, so I called him to get a rough idea how much to turn it to gets some "toe in" dialed into the front end of this car. I did this and the car drives fine now. You maybe close to 0 toe or a hair to "toe out" that will give you that feeling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Also, Be sure to get a CarFax report in case the car was in a crash and not fixed at a Toyota shop.
I know the history of the car from day of delivery. While my aunt had the car she had bumped those infamous yellow concrete filled posts several times. It never went out in snow and rarely in rain. The car went to the body shop several times for yellow pole paint but never any major wrecks or suspension work. I never drove it very much in the early years but do remember it handling like it was in a high wind situation on the highway. I think I'll call Toyota and then contact the dealer in GA and start from there. I also think I'll look for a performance alignment shop too.
I'll be back. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction!!!
 

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I'm under the impression that once the rear end is epoxied in place the rear cannot be aligned in the future. If that is correct how were you able to get a 4 wheel alignment?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
WOW!!!! very interesting point! Monday can't come fast enough!
THANKS for that tidbit!
I have not been under there to see what the suspension looks like but what is involved in replacing the parts that are epoxied with new to be able to align the rear end again?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Talked with Toyota this AM! They are open on on Saturday Central time 7AM to 4:30PM.
The car is going to the Milton Martin Toyota in Gainsville, GA shortly. They were very helpful and sounded concerned with our issue even though the car is a 2010. 24K on the odometer might be the reason why.
The rep we talked to said the recall does not impair any alignment adjustments after the epoxy has been done. He did say that the car might have dry bushings from lack of use but the car has always handled like this so I 'm thinking that is not the problem. We'll see what the turn out is Toyota corporate is making our appointment!! COOL service!
I'll keep you posted! Thanks again for the directive help! I owe you guys one!:cheers:
 

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I know the history of the car from day of delivery. While my aunt had the car she had bumped those infamous yellow concrete filled posts several times. It never went out in snow and rarely in rain. The car went to the body shop several times for yellow pole paint but never any major wrecks or suspension work. I never drove it very much in the early years but do remember it handling like it was in a high wind situation on the highway. I think I'll call Toyota and then contact the dealer in GA and start from there. I also think I'll look for a performance alignment shop too.
I'll be back. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction!!!
You should definitely look for an alignment specialist shop. Especially if your Aunt hit a few of those "yellow things" along the way. A dealer will only set things to factory specs, but a specialist shop will work with you to overcome any possible damage to your suspension parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I did a quick look for specialty alignment shops in our area we live in the western part of North Carolina in the Smoky Mountains. Not to say there's not somebody out there that does specialty alignments but I am not able to find one so far. Especially alignment shop was one of the first things I thought of it feels like the car has too much Caster that's the problem it feels like. We just got an appointment for Thursday at 9 a.m. I'll keep you posted
 

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...what is involved in replacing the parts that are epoxied with new to be able to align the rear end again?
When I talked to Toyota Corporate Rep he told me he 'thought' the new parts that came out in late 2011 which do not require the epoxy would fit and restore adjustment. But they couldn't authorize doing it for free under the warranty because the "fix" had already been established with the NTSB--which is using the old parts and epoxy. Click here for my post with the old and new part numbers-- if it crops up as an option you wish to consider. (And yes, it is lame Toyota doesn't just use the new parts as the primary fix. The Rep said if enough people called in with a problem of the epoxy fix it would prompt them to re-consider.)

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/99-4-3-mechanical/226017-2012-ravs-up-rear-ajustments.html



Talked with Toyota this AM! They are open on on Saturday Central time 7AM to 4:30PM.
The car is going to the Milton Martin Toyota in Gainsville, GA shortly. They were very helpful and sounded concerned with our issue even though the car is a 2010. 24K on the odometer might be the reason why.
The rep we talked to said the recall does not impair any alignment adjustments after the epoxy has been done. He did say that the car might have dry bushings from lack of use but the car has always handled like this so I 'm thinking that is not the problem. We'll see what the turn out is Toyota corporate is making our appointment!! COOL service!
I'll keep you posted! Thanks again for the directive help! I owe you guys one!:cheers:
Sounds great! Will be interesting to see what their alignment diagram shows. I'm not sure what he says about 'no impairment' is entirely true. Although there is one procedure in the TSB involving loosening the bolts and "jouncing" the vehicle then retightening. Pretty high tech, lol, but whatever works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm under the impression that once the rear end is epoxied in place the rear cannot be aligned in the future. If that is correct how were you able to get a 4 wheel alignment?
So...Here's the follow up. I talked to Toyota in Huston, I think. Told my story. They called my dealer, explained the issue and we went to Toyota in Gainsville, GA last Thrsday. As I expected they said it handles like a normal Rav4. That was pretty much the start and end of the appointment. I did ask about the epoxy recall failing, they said none to their knowlege have failed and that the rear is still adjustable after the epoxy was applied.

Earlier in this post someone mentioned a Honda Fit I think it was, that had the same issue as our Rav. I'm going to try to find a shop that does race alignments and see if this is the problem solver I need. There's not much in our ares like that but I'm gona try!!! If this Idea is a bust I think the car is going to the dealer for a trade. We'll see.

I'l keep you posted
 

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So...Here's the follow up. I talked to Toyota in Huston, I think. Told my story. They called my dealer, explained the issue and we went to Toyota in Gainsville, GA last Thrsday. As I expected they said it handles like a normal Rav4. That was pretty much the start and end of the appointment. I did ask about the epoxy recall failing, they said none to their knowlege have failed and that the rear is still adjustable after the epoxy was applied.

Earlier in this post someone mentioned a Honda Fit I think it was, that had the same issue as our Rav. I'm going to try to find a shop that does race alignments and see if this is the problem solver I need. There's not much in our ares like that but I'm gona try!!! If this Idea is a bust I think the car is going to the dealer for a trade. We'll see.

I'l keep you posted
It's my understanding that once the epoxy fix has been applied to the rear suspension, it's no longer adjustable. As to the "they all do that", is it possible to arrange to drive another similar RAV at the dealer and see for yourself?
 

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I've got a 2007 RAV4, 4-cyl., Automatic, and, initially, it had the same feeling to the steering wheel, as I was driving. It felt like I'm in a Formula I, and it responds to my slightest touch. It took a few weeks to accustom.

Your problem MAY be in not being accustomed to a steering wheel with no free-play whatsoever, as well as, an ELECTRIC type of power steering, (IF that is what you've got). Your older car probably had an older, steering fluid, type of steering system, with quite a bit of free play, and a slight delay in response.

These days all newer cars have all those stability control systems, schmability adjuster-stabilizer, and so on and so forth... It looks like you are simply not used to this 'immediate response' feeling, as I call it, steering setup.

Moreover, these newer cars' steering systems are programmable - Comfort, Sport, Rough Terrain, etc..., when your steering responds differently at a different setting. So, what may be happening, in your case, is that your car may, simply, be set for a 'Sport' response setting, and all you need to do is just to, well, choose a different type.

Yes, I know, they have those for struts and shocks, but, (if I remember correctly), I saw a YouTube video, either from ChrisFix, or Scotty Kilmer, or elsewhere, and it showed a nifty little, cigarette-sized hooker-uper to your OBDII port, from eBay, or somewhere there, (around $60.00), and he connected it to his car, and showed the screen into the camera. There were 4 settings to choose from...

...

In any case, you might simply not be accustomed to an electric-type of steering system, very tight and with no freeplay.
Personally, I just paced myself with the pressure I applied to my steering wheel, for a few days, (after I got tired of it reacting to any mouse-fart from a mile away), and, what do you know, I have gotten used to it real well, and now, I, actually, like it. It is very stable on the road, even if I let go of the wheel, (even at high speeds), my force of touch adjusted to just barely nodge, rather than steer with my entire ARM, and so on...

Try to find your own way to NOT apply too much force to the wheel. You are using too much of an arm. It's just a force of habit left over from your old car.

Be patient, enjoy the process, and you'll love it eventually.

I, also, drive a semi, and imagine me driving to work in my car, (electric power steering), then, driving a 30 - 40 ton mount of iron, all day long, with a fluid power steering, and then, in the evening, going back home with an electric power steering, again.

It was awesome!

...


Hope, some of it helps.

Regards
 
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